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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #51 

Felix talkin' smack..........

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2004-09-23/metro.html


From miaminewtimes.com
Originally published by Miami New Times 2004-09-23
©2005 New Times, Inc. All rights reserved.

Contra Campaign
John Kerry once took a shot at Miami's Felix Rodriguez for his part in the Iran-contra scandal. Now the Bush family friend is shooting back.
By Bob Norman


Getty Images
 
 
Telling the vets in D.C. that Kerry is a liar
 

The life of Felix I. Rodriguez provides a tour through the dark heart of America. From the Bay of Pigs fiasco to Vietnam to the El Salvador death squads to the Iran-contra scandal, the Cuban exile and self-described "CIA hero" was there. His most famous assassination mission came in 1967, when he led the Bolivian army group that captured and summarily executed leftist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He's worked closely with right-wing terrorists, and some of his associates were involved in the Watergate break-in. Given his background, it's not surprising his name has surfaced in numerous JFK conspiracy theories as well.

Now retired in North Miami-Dade near Barry University, Rodriguez, who says his CIA career was always fueled by a hope to unseat Fidel Castro, also has special relationships with both of this year's presidential candidates. George W. Bush sends him a White House Christmas card each year. The president's father counts Rodriguez as an old friend; Bush Sr. worked with him during the mid-Eighties, when Rodriguez ran the operation to arm the Nicaraguan contras for the Reagan administration.

Democratic nominee John Kerry, though, isn't so cozy with Rodriguez. In 1986 the then-rookie senator formed a committee to investigate Iran-contra. The so-called Kerry Committee alleged that Rodriguez had helped steer $10 million from the notorious Medellín cocaine cartel to the contras. The committee concluded that trafficking was rampant in the rebels' effort.

Rodriguez ,who now leads Brigade 2506, the Bayh of Pigs veterans' group squared off with Kerry during a closed congressional hearing. He told the Massachusetts senator point-blank that the allegation was a damned lie and, for good measure, added that he had no respect for him.

That was some seventeen years ago, but Rodriguez's hatred for Kerry -- and his closeness to the Bush family -- has driven Rodriguez from the CIA shadows onto the open political stage. He's railed against Kerry on Cuban radio and in the October edition of Soldier of Fortune magazine. He also jumped at the chance to join the Vietnam Veterans for Truth, an anti-Kerry group that invited Rodriguez to speak at a nationally televised September 12 rally at the Capitol.

At the sparsely attended event, the storied spook began with some words on Vietnam, where he flew assassination and assault missions (and flights with CIA-backed Air America, which has been tied to the heroin trade). He portrayed his time there as if he were dropping food and medicine from his combat helicopter. "I never saw any atrocities that Senator Kerry claims we did in Vietnam," Rodriguez told the gathering in his thick accent. "We helped the Vietnamese people."

Then he turned his attention to Central America, referring to Kerry's accusation and noting that his nemesis ultimately backed off the allegation against him. "That was one more lie from Senator Kerry," he triumphantly said.

But who, really, is lying? Rodriguez maintains he saw no hint of drug trafficking while he was helping to run the contra operation in El Salvador and Honduras. "I never saw any indication of that at all -- it was all a great fabrication," he said during a telephone interview last week. "That all came from Senator Kerry's committee. It came from those people that didn't want to help the Nicaraguan resistance, people like Kerry, who wanted to hurt Vice President Bush, who was going to win the presidency."

It's a familiar -- and absolutely untenable -- refrain from the Reagan and Bush administrations that continues to this day: The narcotics ties to the contra operation were a politically motivated myth. Vice President Dick Cheney, who was then a congressman, played a key role in the disinformation campaign. He led the effort to squelch various Iran-contra investigations, especially when it came to drug allegations. And George W. Bush? Well, he seems to have no qualms about Iran-contra, since he has hired several of the scandal's central figures -- including Elliott Abrams, Otto Reich, and John Negroponte -- to serve under him.

Though it has been largely ignored, this historic battle between Kerry and the Bush family not only provides a revelatory subtext to this election but also indicates how much the two men running for president dislike each other.

History clearly favors Kerry's side -- and he may even have been right about that $10 million in cartel money. Rodriguez, at the time, was the government's key man in El Salvador, where he was conducting counterinsurgency missions against leftist rebels. But his main job was the contra operation. He claims to this day that he wasn't paid for his efforts, a contention about as shaky as H.W.'s famous excuse that he was "out of the loop" on the contra affair. Rodriguez also worked in Honduras, where the contras trained in the mountains, and at another shipping point in Costa Rica (which has been repeatedly tied to the drug trade).

The allegation against Rodriguez came from Medellín cartel accountant and convicted money launderer Ramon Milian-Rodriguez, who met with Felix Rodriguez in 1985 while he was out on bail on federal drug charges in Miami. Milian told the Kerry Committee that Rodriguez solicited the cash from the cartel and that it was later channeled to the contras. The cartel, he said, hoped the contribution would bring it "good will" from U.S. authorities. At the same time he was implicating the CIA operative, Milian was adamant that Felix Rodriguez had the American government's interest at heart and never kept a dime of the proceeds.

Rodriguez admits the meeting took place but insists it concerned only an offer from the money launderer to help set up the Nicaraguan government in a cocaine sting. In 1988 Milian failed a lie detector test on the subject, and Kerry retracted the allegation.

Rodriguez then had every right to gloat, but in 1991 the accusation resurfaced. Medellín cartel cofounder Carlos Lehder, while testifying for the U.S. government against deposed Panamanian President Manuel Noriega, admitted that his organization had indeed given $10 million to the contras. Lehder, then a federal witness working with U.S. prosecutors, had no known motive to lie.

In light of that information, I asked Rodriguez if he was absolutely sure the contra operation didn't receive the drug money. "I don't think it did," he said, losing his resolute tone. "They always say the same shit. Where did the money go to if they did? Every single penny that went into the contras was accounted for."

While it's open to debate just how meticulously the contras kept their ledgers, there have been other indications that Rodriguez's operation may have been involved in drug smuggling. In 1984 Rodriguez's business partner, international arms dealer Gerald Latchinian, was arrested in a conspiracy to smuggle $10 million in cocaine to finance a plot to assassinate Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova. (He was later convicted.) While Rodriguez was never tied to the crime, Latchinian argued that it was connected to the CIA.

Rodriguez's agency-trained compatriot, fellow Cuban exile Frank Castro, was deeply involved in both drug smuggling and the contra effort, according to the CIA. And in 1989 a drug pilot named Mike Tolliver alleged on a CBS news show that he ran guns to Honduras for the contras and that, while there, his plane was loaded with marijuana for a return flight to Homestead Air Force Base. He identified Rodriguez as his boss.

Perhaps the most damning allegation against Rodriguez comes from former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Celerino Castillo, a decorated Vietnam vet who was stationed in Central America during Iran-contra. While working for the DEA, Castillo says he became aware of drug trafficking at San Salvador's Ilopango air base, where Rodriguez was organizing the contra supply effort. The DEA agent has testified in Congress and recounted in his well-documented book, Powderburns, how the airport hangars controlled by Rodriguez and other government operatives were used by drug traffickers. "The only reason Felix wasn't arrested is because he knew where all the bodies were buried in the Iran-contra operation," says Castillo, who is now a substitute high school teacher living in Texas.

Castillo recounts that in 1986 he met then-Vice President Bush at an ambassador's party in Guatemala. "I told him there was something funny going on at Ilopango," he says. "And he just smiled and walked away."

While Bush Sr. avoided the truth about Iran-contra, Castillo has worked for years to expose it and, in so doing, has researched Rodriguez's life -- from Cuba to Vietnam to El Salvador. He's come to the conclusion that the Cuban exile is no hero. "He's always been a terrorist, just like Osama bin Laden and all the terrorists we've made in the past," he says.

Unflinching words, but Rodriguez has indeed been tied to known terrorists, most notably Luis Posada Carriles, a CIA-trained operative who worked closely with Rodriguez after his 1985 escape from a Venezuelan jail, where he served nine years for his role in the downing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 civilians. Rodriguez admits he worked with Carriles on the contra effort but says his friend wasn't convicted of anything. He proffers that Fidel Castro may have blown up the jetliner to "get rid of" Cuban military officials on board who were plotting against the dictator.

But that far-fetched theory doesn't explain the Havana hotel bombings that Carriles has acknowledged committing, or his recent incarceration in Panama for planning to blow up Castro at a political conference (his recent pardon made international news).

"I don't endorse or support bombings," Rodriguez says. "I believe it kills innocent people, and that is not the way to do it. That will backfire."

Rodriguez says he doesn't know why Castillo has made the allegations against him. He insists he watched every contra supply plane land, refuel, and take off from Ilopango and that there were never any drugs onboard. "What I understand from the guys I asked at DEA was that they fired [Castillo] for making all kinds of allegations about Ilopango," he says. "He was fired for incompetence. If any of his allegations had a grain of truth, the Iran-contra committee would have brought it up. They looked at everything with a toothbrush."

(Castillo actually retired from the DEA -- under pressure from higher-ups regarding his whistleblowing -- in 1992. He collects a pension from the agency.)

The Iran-contra Committee, which carried more weight than Kerry's subcommittee, was, in reality, famously unconcerned with the narcotics allegations. Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, who conducted the criminal investigation, never even interviewed Castillo. Later, after reporter Gary Webb's well-researched 1996 "Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury News showed clear ties between the contras and the Los Angeles crack trade, a Justice Department investigation indeed found the "seed of truth" in Castillo's allegations but didn't bother to make a real case.

As for the media, they can only look back at the time with shame. The press -- led by the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times -- tried to discredit Webb. Though the papers dutifully reported many of the salient facts, they never conveyed the big picture and, in the end, let the perpetrators of one of the greatest scandals in American history go largely unpunished.

Other than Soldier of Fortune, only the conservative Website NewsMax.comhas brought up Iran-contra in the context of the presidential election. In a July article, the Website portrayed Rodriguez as a "wholly innocent freedom loving patriot" who was blindsided by the unscrupulous, CIA-hating senator.

It may be just the beginning. Rodriguez says he'll vigorously oppose Kerry until election day, continuing his work with the anti-Kerry veterans' group, which is ideologically aligned with the similarly named Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and exposing the terrible injustice done to him by the Democratic nominee. "He will tell you one thing, then he will tell you another thing," Rodriguez says of Kerry. "He is a complete liar."

We all know that Rodriguez can fight with the best of them, but what about Kerry? His Florida campaign communications director, Matt Miller, didn't respond to the question. Former DEA man Castillo, who counts his vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980 as one of the worst mistakes of his life, isn't sure. And he believes Bush II -- who has already led the country into a nightmarish war using false pretenses -- will cook scandals to make Iran-contra pale in comparison if elected to a second term.

"They say Kerry is a liar, that he lied about Felix Rodriguez, who is a hero and patriot," Castillo says. "Bush and Cheney know how to fight. Cheney says, öGo fuck yourself.' I am so upset because Kerry won't take the gloves off. It's like he's idling. If he doesn't fight now, will he ever fight for us?"

 





miaminewtimes.com | originally published: September 23, 2004


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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #52 
Written Statement of Celerino Castillo, 3rd (Former DEA Special Agent)

JULY 2000

For

THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE

(The CIA Inspector General Report of Investigation) VOLUME II : The Contra
Story
Released October 8, 1998

And

REPORT ON THE CIA's ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN CRACK COCAINE TRAFFICKING IN THE
LOS ANGELES AREA

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

FEBRUARY 2000








Several years ago, as a patriot, I took an oath to protect the
Constitution of the United States and itís citizens. I fought for it in
Vietnam and as a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. And
now, I find myself ready to fight for it once more. Sadly enough, it's a
battle against the criminals in my own government. It has cost me so much to
become a complete human being, that I realize by exposing these powerful
criminals, I have placed my life in danger. However, I strongly believe that
by placing my life on the line, I will make a difference in preserving my coun
try from these criminals. Some of the evidence that you are about to view
have never been exposed to the public. These atrocities were committed by my
government, from drug trafficking, to obstruction of Justice, to murder with
relative ease.

The following statement would have been my testimony before the
governmentís committees investigating the allegations of US government
involvement in drug trafficking. However, for apparent reasons, I was never
summoned to testify. My only stipulation was, that if I was to be
interviewed, I would be allowed to record the interview. Because of my
prior experience with the government, that would had been my only proof of
what I did or did not say.

You will view some, but not many, quotations that you have read in the
past. However, I hope that the viewer will focus on these quotations as part
of my foundation of evidence for the criminal cases. You will also view some
quotations that haven't been witnessed by many. This is essentially
important in building my cases against these criminals.

As a twenty year criminal investigator, specifically drug cases, I have
found overwhelming evidence that would convict, without reasonable doubt,
these criminals in my own government. Furthermore, you will view evidence
that has continuously been there, but because of agendas or simply because of
people protecting their career, it was never exposed. I will also prove,
emphatically and without equivocation, that high US Government officials
"Obstructed Justice". These individuals should be held accountable for their
actions for deceiving the American people, judges and members of Congress.

My first response would have been to Senator John Kerry's "Senate
Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy". At the time,
as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), I should
have had my, "God given right as a citizen and as a government agent to
testify before this committee." One of the reasons that the committee gave
for not interviewing me, was that the DEA had established, "That no evidence
was found that the Contras were involved in drug trafficking." As you begin
to view my evidence, you will sense the massive cover up by the DEA and
other government agencies because they 1
were terrified of the CIA. Most of the evidence will fall, with
confirmation, that IIopango Air Base in El Salvador was the "O'Hare Airport"
of drug trafficking. It still boggles my mind why a criminal investigator,
for these investigative committees, never bothered to travel to Guatemala or
El Salvador to interview US elements of the US Embassies. Some of these
agents had gathered the intelligence and evidence that implicated the US
Government in drug trafficking. The only reason I could gather would be that
the committees came to an understanding with the government about the "drug
issue".

"In 1995, Deutch, fired two CIA officials from the Office of Operation
for Guatemala."

NOTE: Chances are that they were hired back as "contract labor".


"If this information turns up wrong doing, we will bring these people to
justice and make them accountable." John Deutch, DCI - 11-15-96


OVERT ACT : An open, manifest act from which criminality may be
implied. An outward act done in pursuance and manifestation
of an intent or design. An open act, which must be manifestly
proved.




Selections from the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and
Foreign Policy chaired by Senator John. F. Kerry

1988


"We permitted narcotics, we were complicit, as a country, in narcotics
trafficking. At the same time, we are spending countless dollars in this
country to try to get rid of this problem. As law enforcement officials risk
their lives, how can you ask a DEA agent to go out there and risk his life,
when there is a whole other policy out there that is willing to overlook
narcotics. It's mind boggling."

Senator, John Kerry, 1988

2
1. INTRODUCTION

SPRING OF 1986,...On the basis of this evidence, it 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.

NOTE: I will prove that, not only did the CIA turned a "blind eye", but were
complicit in drugs and arms trafficking. Not to mention the
participation in assassinations by CIA assets. As you view the
evidence, you will find dates, times, places, and for the first time names
of CIA officials who participated in the approval of these murders.


"There is no question in my mind, "one or more agencies" of the US
government had information regarding the involvement either while it
was occurring, or immediately thereafter. Reports were
reaching the highest councils of our government. In the White
House and the Justice Department. There is no question about that, I can
document that."
John Kerry

II. THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH RESPONSE TO CONTRA-DRUG CHARGES

In the wake of press accounts concerning links between the Contras and
drug traffickers beginning DECEMBER, 1985, with a story by the Associated
Press, both houses of Congress began to raise questions about the
drug-related allegations associated with the Contras. This caused a review
in the spring of 1986 of the allegations by the State Department, in
conjunction with the Justice Department and relevant US intelligence agencies.

Following the review, the State Department told the Congress in April,
1986 that it had at that time "evidence of a limited number of incidents in
which known drug traffickers tried to establish connections with Nicaraguan
resistance groups."

NOTE: John (Jack) McCavett was the CIA Chief of Station in Guatemala
and El Salvador during this time period (1980s).



3

Spring of 1986, ...At the time, the FBI had "significant information"
regarding the involvement of narcotics traffickers in Contra operations and
Neutrality Act violations.

NOTE: Costa Rica and El Salvador airbase "Ilopango" were the main targets
of these investigations.

Footnote: See extensive FBI investigative materials released in discovery in
US v Corbo and US v Calero, SD Florida, 1988, documenting
information the FBI had collected regarding these matters from
1984 - 1986. See Iran/Contra Deposition of FBI Agent Kevin
Currier, Appendix B, Vol. 8 pp. 205-206.

FBI 302's of SA Kisyznski, released in US v Corbo, SD Florida
1988.

...the FBI had already assembled substantial information confirming the
Neutrality Act violations, including admissions by some of the persons
involved indicating that crimes had taken place.

In fact, as the FBI had previously learned from informants, that
Cuban-American supporters of the Contras had shipped weapons from south
Florida to Ilopango....Corbo, one of the principals in the shipment,
explicitly told the FBI that he had participated in shipping weapons to the
Contras in violation of US Neutrality laws.

NOTE: Did Jack McCavett know this? He states in his response to the House
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that "The Contra effort at
Ilopango was closely supervised".

1987
In August 1987, the CIA's Central American Task Force Chief became
the first US official to revise that assessment to suggest instead that the
links between Contras ...to narcotics trafficking was in fact far broader
than that acknowledged by the State Department in 1986.

Footnotes: Iran-Contra testimony of Central American Task Force Chief
August 5, 1987, 100-11, pp. 182-183.

"Drugs moved in and out--"Fiers on Ilopango", interview with
Iran Contra investigators, 1991"

(1) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING
4

1987, DEA Assistant Administrator David Westrate said 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".

Footnote: Subcommittee testimony of David Westrate, Part 4, July 12, 1988,
p. 144.
THE CONTRA STORY VOL. II (THE AMERICAN CITIZEN).

NOTE: DEA at that time, had assembled substantial information of drug
trafficking at Ilopango Air Base during Jack McCavett's watch.
However, when DEA asked where (SA Cele Castillo or SA Sandy
Gonzlaes) agent's reports were, they testified that there were no reports
to implicate the Contras in drug trafficking.

Example: Walter Grasheim, US citizen, was running a covert operation
at Ilopango since 1984. In May 3,1986 he was forced to land his aircraft
in Florida. He had with him two suitcases which contained suspected
cocaine. He alleged that he was transporting top secret documents in the
suitcases for the CIA. After the incident, he went back to his operation at
Ilopango.

Jack McCavett was aware of the incident and permitted him to
continue his support for the Contras. Jack could have warned
everyone at the embassy about the Grasheim allegation.

(1) Overt Act "Obstruction of Justice" by both the DEA & CIA


V. THE PILOTS

...Gary Wayne Betzner, drug pilot who worked for convicted smuggler George
Morales, testified that twice in 1984 that he flew weapons for the Contras
from the US to northern Costa Rica and returned to the US with loads of
cocaine.

...Betzner testified that his first delivery of arms to the Contras was
in 1983, when he flew a DC-3 carrying grenades and mines to Ilopango in El
Salvador. His co-pilot on the trip was Ricahrd Healey, who had flown drugs
for Morales.

Footnote: Subcommittee testimony of Gary Betzner, Part 3, April 7, 1988, pp.
262-265.
Address book seized by Customs, Port Charlotte, Florida, N2551,
March 16, 1987. 5
DC-4 seized by the DEA on March 16, 1987. DC-4 was registered to drug
traffickers. ...US Law enforcement personnel also found an address book
aboard the plane, containing among other references, the telephone numbers of
some Contra officials and the Virginia telephone number of Robert Owen,
Oliver North's courier.

NOTE: US Col. Oliver North (DEA file # GFGD-91-9139) was working out of
Ilopango during that time period. It is suspected that this DC-4 flew out
of Ilopango. Jack McCavett was still in El Salvador. Who was the
plane registered to.? Col. North was documented in DEA files going
back to the 1980s. Two years before running for US Senate,
he was documented, "smuggling weapons to the Philippines with
known drug traffickers."



(2) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING


...In October 1984, Colombian drug trafficker, George Morales,
transported a C-47 from Haiti to Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador.
Morales donated the aircraft to the Contras at Ilopango.


(3) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

NOTE: Ilopango had been utilized by drug traffickers since 1984. Jack
McCavett was in Central America or on his way at that time. He should
have been briefed prior to his arrival. Where are his reports?

Footnote: Ibid., p. 15.


...Adolfo "Popo" Chamorro gave the Subcommittee a list of flights made by
that C-47 to ferry arms from Ilopango to Costa Rica and La Penca. Between
October 18, 1984 and February 12, 1986, some 156,000 pounds of material were
moved from Ilopango to air fields in Costa Rica.

NOTE: A clear violation of the Neutrality.


Footnote: Chamorro, ibid., pp. 11-12.
6
...In addition, Cesar told the Subcommittee that he told a CIA officer
about Morales and his offer to help the Contras.

Senator KERRY: Did you have occasion to say to someone in the CIA that you
were getting money from him and you were concerned he was a drug dealer? Did
you pass that information on to somebody?

Mr. Cesar: "Yes, I passed the information on about the --not the
relations--well, it was the relations and the airplanes; yes. And the CIA
people at the American military attachÈ's office that were (sic) based at
Ilopango also, and any person or any plane landed there, they had to go..."

...Morales continued to work with the Contras until January 1986. He was
then indicted for a second time in Florida and was arrested on June 12, 1986.

...In November 1988, the DEA gave Morales a lengthy polygraph examination on
his testimony before the Subcommittee and he was considered truthful.

Footnote: See correspondence from DEA Mr. Lawn to Senator Kerry, Jan.13,
1989. Evidences About My Investigation At Ilopango (Extracts from my
Journals)
Note: Every DEA 6 report or cable that I submitted was approved by my Country
Attache, Robert J. Stia

November 08, 1985, Placed a Contra pilot-DEA Informant (Manundo) on a
flight to the US from Guatemala. This pilot had severely hurt his leg in an
airplane accident in a clandestine airstrip in Costa Rica. His brother,
Charlie Manundo also became a DEA informant. DEA Russell Reina was the case
agent.

FOOTNOTE: DEA case file TG-85-0014, Frank Carvajal-Florez

December 05, 1985, Libyans came to Guatemala in an attempt to assassinate
Jack McCavett. Information was provided by the DEA Airport detail. A
couple of days later, the Libyans were found murdered. Information about
the Libyans was given to CIA Officer, Manny Brand (Cuban-American). He
then gave the order to the Guatemalan G-2. A couple of days later, the
Libyans were found murdered. This was reported in the local newspaper.

NOTE: The information on the Libyans was given to FBI agent Sullivan
(Panama AttachÈ). Jack McCavett was stationed in Libya. 7
(1) Overt Act Murder

..."I said, I want you to tell, Abu Abbas, that I'm coming after him, and
when I get to him, I AM GOING TO KILL HIM!" Duane "Dewey" Clarridge
CIA Official 1957-1987

January 13, 1986, I wrote a DEA 6 report on El Salvador (GFTG-86-9145).

January 14, 1986, Met with V.P. George Bush re: Contras at Ilopango.

NOTE: Was forewarned of the Contras-Drug connection.

January 16, 1986: Report on aircraft Colombian aircraft -- HK-1217W--Contra
pilots Carlos Silva and Tulio Pedras.

January 28, 1986: Contra supporter Sofie Amuary, gave the names of Raul
Samana and Adela Herrera (Brigada 2506). Salomon Nassad (Armenia)

NOTE: DEA file TG-86-0003

Feb. 05, 1986, I seized $800,000 in cash, 35 kilos of cocaine, and an
airplane at Ilopango airport in El Salvador. Colombian M-19
terrorist.

Note: The above case was initiated by Jack McCavett's asset. The operation
was conducted by the CIA "goon squad". The squad members were made up of
several former Venezuelans Police Officers working as advisors for McCavett.
Leader of this group was Victor Rivera who was involved in several
murders for the CIA in El Salvador and Guatemala. This is a FACT that is
well documented in DEA files.

Footnote: DEA-6 Case file TG-86-0001, Giatan-Giatan, Leonel

Example: A Salvadoran Military Major was kidnapped in Guatemala by
Rivera and his crew. The Major was then tortured and assassinated by
Rivera. This was done with the approval of Jack McCavett and CIA agent
Manny Brand. I assisted the squad in the capture of the Major in Guatemala
City under the pretext that the Major was a fugitive. Who was the plane
registered to at Ilopango?

(2) Overt Act on Murder

8
April 17, 1986, wrote DEA 6's reports on Costa Rican Contra Pilots at
Ilopango.

Footnote: El Salvador case file GFTG-86-9999, Air Intelligence

March 24, 1986, I wrote a DEA 6 report (GFTG-86-4003) on the Contra
operation in El Salvador. It was on Frigorificos de
Puntarenas, S.A. US registration on aircraft N-68435 (Cessna 402)
white/brown at Ilopango.

NOTE: DEA files GFTF-86-9999 (Air Intelligence) and GFTF-86-4003, IE4-C0,
Frigorificos de Puntarenas, SA. Who was the plane registered to?

March 25, 1986, HK-2281P (Tail Number) Juan Mata-Ballesteros

NOTE: Who is the plane registered to?

Early part of 1986, I received a cable from DEA SA Sandy Gonzales in
Costa Rica. He was requesting for me to investigate Hangers 4 and 5 at
Ilopango. He advised that they had received reliable information that the
Contras were flying cocaine into the hangers. Both hangers were owned and
operated by the CIA and the National Security Council. Operators of hanger
4 were US Lt. Col. Oliver North and former CIA agent Felix Rodriguez.

(See attached letter by Bryan Blaney (OIC) dated March 28, 1991)

FOOTNOTE: Southern Front Contras 447---In April 1986, a CIA cable to
Headquarters reported information from a March 18, 1986 DEA report regarding
Carlos Amador. According to the cable, the DEA report noted that Amador
had recently flown a Cessna 402 from Costa Rica to San Salvador where he had
access to Hanger 4 (Felix Rodriguez) at Ilopango air base. The cable also
indicated that a "DEA source stated that Amador was probably picking up
cocaine in San Salvador to fly to Grand Cayman and then to Florida." The
cable also reported that DEA request the San Salvador police investigate
Amador and anyone associated with Hangar 4. It linked Amador with Hangar
14 at Tobias Bolanos International Airport in San Jose. The hangar was
owned by Segio and Jorge Zarcovic. These two individuals reportedly under
DEA investigation in connection with a shipment of cocaine that was
seized in Miami.

NOTE: See DEA 6s from Costa Rica and El Salvador. 9
(4) Overt Act on drug trafficking

April 1986, The Consul General of the US Embassy in El Salvador (Robert J.
Chavez) forewarned me that CIA Officer George Witters was
requesting a US visa for a documented Nicaraguan drug trafficker
and Contra pilot by the name of Carlos Alberto Amador.
(mentioned in 6 DEA files)

NOTE: McCavett was questioned by me as to why the CIA was issuing a
US visa to a drug trafficker. Answer: "We just need to get
the
guy to the US."

(5) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

April 17, 1986, I wrote a Contra report DEA 6 (GFTG-86-9999 Air
Intelligence) on the Contra operation on Arturo Renick and Johnny
Ramirez (both Costa Ricans) at Ilopango air field.
Tail numbers of aircraft: TI-AQU and BE-60

NOTE: Who do the planes belong to?

June 06, 1986, I send a DEA cable to DEA HQS re: Contra pilots, Carlos
Alberto Amador and Carlos Armando Llamos (Honorary Ambassador to
Panama). Llamos flew from Ilopango to Panama on an air plane tail
number N-308P. Llamos delivered 4 1/2 million dollars to Panama for
the Contras. Leon Portilla - TI-ANO; Navajo 31 and YS-265-an
American pilot: Francisco Vidal (sic). Roberto Gutierrez (N-82161;
Mexican (X-AB)

(1) OVERT ACT on Money Laundering

NOTE: Who do these planes belong to?

June 11, 1986, Oscar Alvarado-Lara (Guatemalan Contra Pilot) DEA NADDIS
number 1927543, transported 27 illegal Cubans to Ilopango, where they
were then smuggled into Guatemala. Lara is documented in several
DEA files and is a personal pilot for the CIA in Guatemala and El
Salvador. His aircraft is identified as TG-REN.

"Again this proves that the CIA participated in activities with documented
drug traffickers."

NOTE: Who does this plane belong to?
10
(6) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

June 18, 1986, Francisco Rodrigo "Chico" Guirola-Beeche, Contra Pilot and
documented cocaine and weapons smuggler, departed Ilopango
with a large shipment of cocaine and money to the Bahamas.

(7) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

June 21, 1986, On Chico's return flight he arrived with passengers Alejandro
De Urbizu and Patricia Bernal. In 1988, De Urbizu was
arrested in the US in a cocaine conspiracy case.

Note: In 1985, Guirola was arrested with 5 1/2 million dollars cash by US
Cutoms. It was suspected that the money came from drug traffickers
in Los Angeles for the Contras. He was released because of his support
for the CIA.

"Once more, Guirola went back to working at Ilopago as a document drug
trafficker with the approval of the CIA."

(2) OVERT ACT ON MONEY LAUNDERING

Aug. 15, 1986, I met with Jack McCavett and CIA Official, Don Richardson in
El Salvador re: drug trafficker Fernando Canelas Sanez.

Aug. 18, 1986, I received $45,000.00 in cash from CIA Chief of Station, Jack
McCavett. This was witnessed by DEA informant Ramiro
Guerra and US Lt. Col. Albert Adame. This money
was
turned over to them with a receipt.

NOTE: This information is in my Journals and I have the original
receipt of the $45,000.00.

Aug. 28, 1986, I had a meeting with El Salvador US Ambassador, Edwin Corr
re: Wally Grasheim (mentioned in several DEA and FBI files),
Pete's Place and Carlos Amador re: CIA US visa for Amador
(documented drug trafficker ). Visa requested by CIA agent George
Witter.

Sept 28, 1987, Oscar Alvarado transported CIA Official Randy Capister from
Puerto Barrios, Guatemala to Guatemala City after a joint DEA, 11
CIA and Guatemala Military (G-2) operations. In this operation
several individuals were murdered by G-2 and witnessed by the DEA
(Castillo) and CIA Officer Capister.

NOTE: Reported in DEA file TG-86-0005. Guatemalan Congressman: Carlos
Ramiro Garcia de Paz. Who as of this date, has a US visa.

(3) Overt Act On Murder

Sept. 01, 1986, Walter Grashiemís residence in El Salvador was raided by a
DEA task force. US military munitions were
found. This
individual is mentioned in The Contra Story Vol.
II. He is
documented in several DEA, CIA, US Customs and
FBI files.

Footnote: January 20, 1987, Joel Brinkley, special to the New York Times,
"Contra Arms Crew said to Smuggle Drugs".

Note: In late 1984, Donald P. Gregg introduced Col. Oliver North to Felix
Rodriguez, (a retired CIA agent) who had already been working in Central
America for over a year under George 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 US.

October 21, 1986, Sent a telex/cable to Washington DC on the Contras at
Ilopango.

April 01, 1987, Bob Stia, Walter Morales and myself flew to Ilopango Airbase
and met with two CIA Officials who advised us that we could no
longer utilize Mario Murga because he was now working with them.

Note: Mario Murga was our DEA informant who initiated the flight plans for
the Contra pilots at Ilopango. CIA Officer George Witter stole Murga
from DEA so that there would be no more reporting on CIA assets.

"The CIA has jurisdiction above US federal agencies in foreign countries"

..."McCavett maintained good liaison relationships with the DEA..."
John McCavett interview by HPSCI
12
August 30, 1988, Received intelligence from the number three man (Guido Del
Prado)at the US embassy in El Salvador re: Carlos Armando
Llemus-Herrera (Contra pilot ).

NOTE: See DEA 6 on Carlos Armando Llemus-Herrera

December 03, 1988, Seized 356 kilos of cocaine in Guatemala DEA report
TG-89-0002, Hector Sanchez.

NOTE : This case was initiated on Gregorio Valdez, owner and operator of
Piper Co. in Guatemala. Personal pilot of Jack McCavett, and CIA
Officer Randy Capister. Mr. Valdez and Piper Co. are well
documented in DEA files in drug trafficking. For several years, this
company was contracted by the CIA and the DEA for support.
Thousands of dollars were paid to this company even after they had
been documented in DEA files. Several Contra pilots flew out of Piper.

"Once more it proves that the CIA & DEA were sleeping with the enemy"

(8) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING


Documented Drug-Traffickers (Contra Pilots) Flying Out of Ilopango


Col. Enriques Bermudez, the former Nicaraguan military attachÈ in
Washington, D.C., who had already been placed on the CIA payroll
to organize an anti-Sandinista force. Colonel Bermudez would serve
as the "Commander in Chief: of the FDN forces at Ilopango. He is well
documented in DEA, FBI and CIA files as
a suspected drug trafficker. This goes back to 1981. This was
never reported to Congress by the CIA.

Marcos Aguado, Chief pilot for the Meneses drug organization who operated
out of the FDN clandestine military base at Ilopango. Flew El Salvadoran
Air Force planes to Colombia to pick up cocaine and delivered them to a
US military base (Carswell Air Force base) in Texas. He was also a
personal pilot for Eden Pastora. He worked hand in hand
with another documented drug trafficker, Duran. Aguado was sent
to
Ilopango to destroy the Islander aircraft, circa July 1984. In
1986, he
was documented by DEA as a drug trafficker after an interview.
He still
flew out of Ilopago with the approval of CIA. 13

1987: A Congressional report identifies Aguado as an associate of Colombian
drug trafficker George Morales. Oliver North aide Rob Owen also identifies
Aguado as a Contra pilot operating out of Ilopango.

Footnote: Southern Front Contras-277- and 278--In October 1984, the CIA
got their first indication that Aguado was involved in drug
trafficking.

January 1986, CIA cable, Aguado associates were arrested with
600 kilos of cocaine in the US.

(9) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING


In April 1986, CIA cable: Adolfo Chamorro "plans to denounce
Aguado as being involved in drug trafficking activities.

Felix Rodriguez , In March 1986, according to a sworn statement of pilot
Michael Tolliver, under Felix Rodriguez's instructions, Tolliver flew a
DC-6 aircraft to a Contra base in Honduras, picked up 12 tons of
marijuana, and flew the dope to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida.
Rodriguez paid Tolliver $75,000. Tolliver said that on another
return trip to the US he carried cocaine for Rodriguez. In another
circuit of flights, Tolliver and his crew flew between Miami and El
Salvador's Ilopango airbase. Tolliver said the Rodriguez "instructed
me where to go and who to see." While making these flights, he "could
go by any route available without any interference from any agency. We
didn't need a stamp of approval from Customs or anybody." Rodriguez was
placed at Ilopango airbase by the National Security Council and the
CIA. Worked under Jack McCavett (U.S. vs George).

In a June 26, 1987 closed session of the Kerry's Subcommittee's,
Miliam Rodrigurez testified that in a meeting between Felix Rodriguez
and himself an agreement was made within themselves to furnish the
Contras with drug money. Felix accepted the offer and $10 million in
such assistance was subsequently provided the Contras through a system
of secret couriers.

Note: Jack McCavett should had known about this while at Ilopango.

(10) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING
14
Gregg's notes read: Felix knew him at Bay of Pigs, also close to
Tom Clines whom Felix used to know---split over Libya."

Rodriguez: " North involvement with a group of people
connected to terrorists like Libya's Mu'ammar Quadhafi."

Luis Posada Carriles, In 1985, Felix Rodriguez helped Posada get to Salvador
from a Venezuelan prison and brought him straight to Ilopango to
work with him. Posada had participated in blowing up a Cuban airline
which took the lives of 78 individuals. Rodriguez gave him the name
of Ramon Medina, gave him bogus papers and put him to work for the
Contra operation at Ilopango. The job description for this individual
was to be head of Logistics. Posada was a "gofor" for the Contra
pilots by accommodating safe-houses and paying them with cash
from banks in Florida and Panama.

Note: Lawrence Victor Harrison (DEA informant) testified that he had been
present when two of the partners of Felix Gallardo and Matta Ballesteros,
Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca, 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.

(11) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

Where was Jack McCavett, if, "Ilopango was well supervised?î

FOOTNOTE: DEA 6 Report out of Los Angeles "Debriefing of Harrison"


Carlos Alberto Amador, A Nicaraguan pilot mentioned in six DEA files by
1987. He is alleged to have smuggled narcotics and weapons to Ilopango
from Costa Rica for the Contras. He was carrying credentials
signed by General Bustillo, Chief of the Air Force at Ilopango.
Individuals known to have flown with him are Carlos Viques, Jorge
Zarcovick, Nicola Ly Decker, and Maria Elens Ly Decker. Zorcovick
was arrest in the US for smuggling large quantities of cocaine.



15
Footnotes: SOUTHERN FRONT CONTRAS- 444-- A July 1985 CIA
cable..."Carlos Amador on June 8 that a 150 kilos shipment of
cocaine that had been seized near Barra Del Colorad, Costa Rica,
...was destined to the United States.

SFC- 445 and 446--CIA cable Aug. 1985...Carlos Amador was to
ferry two airplanes from Miami to Colombia, via San Salvador and
Belize... and used in a drug smuggling operation...

NOTE: CIA Agent George Witter attempted to give him a US visa by
orders of Jack McCavett, COS at El Salvador.

(12) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING


Francisco Rodrigo Guirola-Beeche, DEA NADDIS # 1585334 and 1744448. This
individual is documented in FBI, CIA and US Custom files. On February 6,
1985 Guirola departed Orange County, California in a private airplane with
3 Cuban Americans. It made a stop in South Texas where US Customs seized
5 1/2 million dollars in cash. It was alleged that it was drug money but
because of his ties with the Salvadoran death squads and the CIA he was
released and the airplane given back.

NOTE: In May 1984 Guirola accompanied Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, head of
the death squads in El Salvador, to a very sensitive meeting with former
CIA Deputy Director Vemon Walters in the US. Walters was sent to stop the
assassination of the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering.
Guirola was documented by me at Ilopango from 1986 to 1989 while Jack
McCavitt was in El Salvador.

(3)OVERT ACT ON MONEY LAUNDERING
(13) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING

Walter Lee Grasheim (Wally), This individual is a US citizen who was, as
far as I was concerned, a mercenary operating a covert operation out of
Ilopango. He arrived at Ilopango in 1984. By his own admission he
claimed to be working for the CIA, US Army and other government agencies.
On Sept. 01, 1986, his residence in El Salvador was raided by a DEA Task
Force. Found were huge amounts of US military munitions that he had no
bussiness with, since he was a civilian. Also found was approximately a
pound of Marijuana and Marijuana plants growing in the back yard. He had
just violated Salvadoran Law for having these munitions. The Salvadoran
Constitution prohibits any foreign nationals or 16
national from having war munitions. The question remains, where did
he get these munitions from and who approved it? US Custom agent Richard
Rivera attempted to trace the munitions but was stopped short of finding
out. An arrest warrant was issued for his arrest by Lt. Franco of the
Salvadoran National Police. In late 1986, Grasheim threatened US
Ambassador Edwin Corr, claiming that, "If he went down, half of the
Mil-group would go down with him."

(14) OVERT ACT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING


On December 13, 1990, FBI SA Michael S. Foster, interviewed Walter L.
Grasheim on behalf of the Office Of Independent Counsel on Iran-Contra.
Grasheim claims that he arrived in El Salvador in early 1984. Upon his
arrival, he met with Art McArney who was now employed by Bell Helicopter.
Grasheim claimed to be selling night vision equipment to the Salvadoran
Military. He was the Litton Corporationís representative in El Salvador. He
claimed to have several retired special operations officers working for him .
He further claimed that he was doing very well, not only financially, but in
assisting the Salvadoran Military.

Grasheim, claims that in 1985, he had had a conversation with US Colonel
Aaron Royer, who worked at Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA) at the
Pentagon. Royer wanted Grasheim to meet Oliver L. North but the meeting
never took place. Grasheim claims that Royer had a military items shipping
list from North. Royer didn't specifically say but Grasheim believed this
was military items destined for the CONTRAS. Royer had requested from
Grasheim to provide him with prices and availability of various military
items. Grasheim believed this was also related to the CONTRAS.

Also in 1985, or early 1986, Col. Steele told Grasheim that the Contras
had paid too much for their aircraft, meaning the caribou and the C-123s.

Grasheim then identifies Mario del Amigo, known as "Mr. Contra" in
Honduras. During that time period Grasheim and Mr. del Amigo would travel
back and forth to Honduras and El Salvador. Grasheim introduced del Amigo to
Rafael Bustillo, Jim Steele and others, "Who were involved with the Contras."
Grasheim claims that del Amigo sold arms to the Contras and overcharged
them. Del Amigo complained to Grasheim that Secord was selling arms to the
Contras and overcharging them as well.

Grasheim claims that Del Amigo used to meet with various people and
discuss the supply of the Contras at Grasheim's house before it was 17
raided. Grasheim believes that maybe one of the reasons why the raid took
place was because Secord's competition used it for meetings. Grasheim
believed Del Amigo was running the Contra re-supply operation in El Salvador.

Grasheim was in the US military from 1959 to 1961. Grasheim has never
had any other affiliation with the military other than this tour of duty and
he has never had any affiliation with the CIA.

NOTE: Keep the latter paragraph in mind for a later reference.

Grasheim, then gives up a former Marine by the name of Boykin. He was
part of the Mil Group in El Salvador. Boykin retired from the Marines and
went to work for the Contras. Boykin is on the cover of an old NEWSWEEK
magazine concerning the Contras. Grasheim is mentioned in a story in the
same magazine.

He also claims to have known Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador when
Rodriguez flew a C-12 from Panama to Ilopango. Grasheim also claim to have
known Luis Rodriguez, a close friend of Felix Rodriguez. Grasheim claims
that he had learned that the US Embassy was paying for Felix Rodriguez's car
and the fuel for the Contra Re-supply aircraft. He claims that the embassy
would send checks to Mexico where the fuel was provided to the re-supply
operation.

Grashiem acknowledge that his Salvadoran house was raided by DEA agent
Celerino Castillo and the local police. Grasheim admitted that he had
automatic weapons in the residence. He claims that the raid totally
destroyed his business and ruined his reputation. Grasheim states that about
a month and a half after the raid, he saw a "state Department guy" in New
Orleans. The guy told him, "We were asked to do that (the raid)." After the
raid he claims that the US embassy would not help him and that The Litton
Corporation took away Grasheim's orders for equipment. Grasheim then claims
that he went to the National Police and that he had been advised by the Chief
of Police (Regalado) that the raid was ordered by the US embassy.

Grasheim claims that in 1986, he was approached by a US Customs officer
who told him he was under investigation for impersonating an FBI agent. He
also claims that US Customs (Victor in Miami 1990) had seized his personal
effects.

Grasheim then gives up, Hilda Martinez , Secretary to Col. Steel in El
Salvador for "Improper Activity". He claims that she married a US Army
officer and moved to California. 18
Another person that Grasheim gives up is Lupita Vega, who was the log
secretary with the Mil Group in El Salvador. "A person who would know
things".

NOTE: Ms Vega is alleged to have had Mr. Grashiem's child. The mother and
child now reside in El Paso, Texas. (phone number is available.)


Also in 1986, Grasheim claims that the US military asked him to get night
vision goggles to the Contras. Grasheim recalls the incident because he had
to make up the sets himself. A US military helicopter took the goggles to
the Contras in Honduras. Grasheim also claims that he met with Barbara
Studley and John Singlaub and they wanted him to sell night vision equipment
to the Contras. They were working with Mike Timpani, a retired US Army
helicopter pilot.

NOTE : Mike Timpani was the copilot and navigator of the suspicious
transportation of "Lady Ellen" from the US to Ilopango. It was a 25 year-o
ld UH-1B (rebuilt Helicopter) to be used for medevac on Contras
operations. See Soldier of Fortune Magazine June of 1987 issue.

Grasheim claims that he got an idea to prepare a military raid on an
airport in Nicaragua, using Tamarindo as a staging base. Grasheim told
General Gorman this and then immediately afterward, Rodriguez came to see
Grasheim without warning and asked to talk about the idea. Rodriguez told
Grasheim that he was talking to the White House and the NSC but he didn't
tell him any specifics. Rodrigues did tell Grasheim that he talked to Vice
President George Bush.

Finally, Grasheim admits that he knew Alan Fiers and stated he is another
one who was involved in the situation in El Salvador and was aware of Contra
re-supply activity.

NOTE: In his interview, Grasheim admits to a couple violations of the
Neutrality Act.


NEUTRALITY LAWS: ACTS OF CONGRESS WHICH FORBID THE FITTING OUT AND
EQUIPPING OF ARMED VESSELS, THE ENLISTING OF TROOPS, OR THE ENGAGING IN
OTHER SPECIFIED ACTIVITIES; FOR THE AID OF EITHER OF TWO BELLIGERENT
POWERS WITH WHICH THE UNITED STATES IS AT PEACE. 19

VOLUME II: THE CONTRA STORY
CIA RECORDS: "A US CITIZEN"


This "US citizen" that they are discussing is Walter L. Grasheim.

1035--..."Also, no information has been found to indicate that the U.S.
citizen's activities in El Salvador were related to the Contras in any
manner,...

NOTE: (Count 1) Obstruction of Justice by Hitz. Apparently he did not check
with Iran-Contra on the Interview of Grasheim on 12-13-90 or did he?

1036---....The April 25, 1986 cable---as mentioned earlier--also made a
reference to the US citizen and the Contras. This cable provided an update
regarding, the arrest of American citizens suspected of being mercenaries in
Brazil. According to the cable, the detainees had been visited in prison by
the US citizen and another person, "both of whom are apparent friends of
several of the detained mercenaries. Regarding the US citizen, the cable
stated that: ...visiting US consul...who previously served in San Salvador,
told [CIA] in San Salvador as a military advisor to Contras operating on the
Honduran border with El Salvador...


NOTE: What the CIA failed to tell us, was who were the mercenaries?

On March 14, 1986, eight American mercenaries were arrested by Brazilian
Federal Police off the coast of Rio de Janeiro; their ship, The Nobistor, and
its cargo of weapons, ammunition and other military gear was seized. Their
mission was the attempted to overthrow of the west African country of Ghana.

After contacting the American Consulate in Rio, "State Department Guy"
Ken Sackett, told them, "I've got some close friends in immigration." We
will take care of everything and make sure you're all on the boat to go home.
There were identified as "The RIO 8": Steve Sosa, Julio Raul Rodriguez, John
Early, Tim Carmody, Fred Verduin, Sheldon Ainsworth, Steve Hedrick and Bob
Foti. Most of these individuals had seen action in various hotspots around
the world ---Vietnam, Rhodesia, South Africa, EL SALVADOR ( I wonder who gave
them approval ), Lebanon and other places. 20


Twenty-five days in jail and didn't hear a word from Sackett. Sackett
finally showed up and told them that, "They would be going home, that it was
just a visa problem and won't need lawyers." In July they were sentenced to 4
to 7 years for "Suspicious of contraband and of forming a group to create
that suspicion."

They were sent to Agua Santa prison where the warden advised them, "The
American Consul had # * @ % them." It was obvious that "some government
wanted them to vanish".

Based on the way they were treated from the "State Guy" and the obstacles
their families received from US government, most of the mercs theorized the
US government wanted them kept imprisoned and out of the way. If this turned
out to be a US government's covert operation, too many perplexing questions
might arise if the mercs were on the loose and free to talk.

The FBI, US Customs and other law enforcement agencies conducted an
investigation into the Ghana coup attempt . What do you think the final out
come was? Why did Vol. II, The Contra Story fail to explain the "Rio 8"
mercenaries? Because it was one covert operation on top of another. The
same mercenaries who, more then likely, conducted covert operation in El
Salvador.

FOOTNOTE: The San Jose Mercury News and Soldier of Fortune magazine
1987 issue.


1038---A March 26, 1987, cable to Headquarters reported that the US citizen
and another individual had been arrested by Dominican Republic authorities
upon landing an airplane in that country. The airplane contained various
types of military-related equipment.

NOTE: Where is the criminal investigations by our federal agencies in this
case?

1047---CIA Records: Castillo's contact with CIA officials...although no
information has been found to indicate the process by which the vehicle were
purchased and given over to the Salvadorans, no information has been found to
indicate that the transaction involved Castillo or DEA in any manner... 21


NOTE: Count 2 "Obstruction of Justice" by Hitz. He seems to get into the
habit of misleading members of the committee.

He implies that there are no records to be found, to explain where the
money was spent. To start out with, he should have checked with the
Salvadoran National police and inquired about the vehicles that had been
purchased. Lt. Franco could had been one of the individuals to have been
interviewed about the vehicles. Did he check with DEA reports on the
vehicles that were purchased? NO! Did he check with the Mil-group in El
Salvador who purchased the vehicles? NO! It's obvious, that the CIA sent out
a "Boy Scout" to conduct a criminal investigation. But then again, maybe
they didn't want someone who would find out the truth.

As I stated before, I have the original receipt of who the money was
given to for the purchase of the vehicles.


1054---...The CIA officer says he has no knowledge of drug trafficking at
Ilopango...

NOTE: Where in the world was this so called CIA Official. Did he not read
his own agency's report on drug trafficking during the early 1980's.

1063---...This officer (CIA) emphatically denies that he had any knowledge
of Contra trafficking activities at Ilopango or elsewhere...

NOTE: This individual is Randy Capister who should be under criminal
investigation for the murders of several Colombians and
Mexicans. DEA file TG-86-0005, Carlos Ramiro Garcia de Paz.
Also his association with drug traffickers is well established:
Gregorio Valdez and Oscar "El Negro" Alvarado.

1064---...he has no knowledge of any alleged Contra drug trafficking
activities being conducted from Ilopango or elsewhere...or that the US
citizen had no apparent links to the Contras...

NOTE: Let the record speak for it self. This CIA official should be
under investigation for making a false statement. I guess he forgot
the information on Mr. del Amigo and Oliver North's Notebook and
Grasheimís interview with OIC.



22
On February 28, 1998, I met with Walter L. Grasheim at his attorney's
office in McAllen, Texas. Grasheim had advised me that he was in the process
of filing a civil lawsuit against the U.S government. He was requesting if I
was willing to bestow upon him a deposition regarding my knowledge of him
while he was in El Salvador. I advised him that I did not have a problem
with telling the truth.

To make a very long story short, he admitted in the (depo) that he had
manufactured night vision equipment for the Contras. He also admitted that
he was on contract by the US Army to train the Salvadorans. Grasheim advised
me that his case would never go to trial because he had a video of CIA
Officials on search and destroy missions with the Salvadoran Military.
Grasheim preceded to show the video and we witnessed several American
individuals in military uniforms on patrol with Salvadoran military. One of
the Americans was Grasheim. Another American was seen in a class room
instructing the Salvadoran Military on operations. You could witness the
American cautioning (who ever was shooting the film) to stop filming.

FOOTNOTE: For a nice view of a Special Forces trooper, on the ground in El
Salvador, see the July 1992 issue of Soldier of Fortune magazine,
"Salvador's Unsung Heroes". These US soldiers were asking for credit
for a combat tour for 6 month work on covert operation in El
Salvador. As a former Vietnam combative veteran, I spent 5 years in
and out of Salvador not only fighting the drug traffickers but also
the corruption at the US embassy and the host government. The only
thing I asked for "was the truth." Please read this article because
it's a blue print of what the US government is ready to do
in Colombia. Also for a good laugh read SOF magazine
Oct.
1983 issue, EDITORIAL by Richard M. Nixon, Perilous
Parallel:
El Salvador and Vietnam. All you have to do is change
the
name from El Salvador to Colombia for Congressional
approval.

Grasheim further admitted that his son and himself had smuggled night
vision equipment (batteries) to Europe during the Gulf War. He stated that
it had been approved by the U.S. Army.

In my opinion, Gresheim was attempting to blackmail the government. In
the end, I was also named in his lawsuit as a defendant. In the early part
of 2000, a federal court threw out the lawsuit.

Witness to the deposition was Grasheim's attorney: Honorable Tom Wilkins
of Wilkins & Slusher 800 Neuhaus Tower, PO Box 3609 McAllen, Texas 78502,
W. Lee Grasheim, Tony Cordova, Tim Wilkins and myself. 23

"From the very beginning, what the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) has not been able to understand, is that there are rules
and
laws that this country wants followed. If you undermine the
basic
value of this country, in the name of defending it, what do you
have left? For several decades, the CIA has violated the laws
of
the United States of America and other countries. Laws that we
at
home, are abide to respect. They need to take seriously that
no
governmental institution will survive without the support of
itís
citizens, not the congress, not the president, BUT THE
CITIZENS. Admiral Stansfield Turner
CIA Director 1977-1981

In conclusion, If I got a little personal on my response, It's because
the CIA has no remorse about lying to the American people. All I had ever
asked was for a chance to prove my allegations. At first, I thought I had
that chance. But the deck was "fixed". So I chose to put my life through
"controversy" in an attempt to find a solution in a very peaceful manner. I
now carry the burden of my dream to have had the opportunity to finish my
career as a drug agent. But now, as an educator, I promise myself that I
will desperately attempt to bring "Hope" to the America people. As the only
son of a very patriotic Mexican-America family, I was reared that beneath it
all, Americans are decent people with the sense of integrity and fair play.
When people read my writings on these atrocities, they are not only cheered
by individuals involved in the moment but also from individuals within my own
government. As an individual who gladly placed his life on the line for his
government, there is no greater conflict in me. How do I feel about what my
government has done and how does my government feel about me, for telling the
truth? These are the questions that my children have asked of me. A fair
and partial opportunity is all I had asked for, nothing that you yourself
would demand, if you were in my shoes. You see, America is not easy and that
is why we have these serious problems. I hope and pray to GOD, that we'll
have some conscientious people in solving these problems. These battles
remind us that if Congress will not lead a resistance to covert power, it may
respond to popular pressure. But before that happens, the press must give
the American people a much better picture of the extent to which
counter-terrorist campaigns have been misused against covert drug alliances
in Central and South America.

One of the first targets for an effective drug strategy should be
Washington D.C. itself, and specifically its own support for corruption and
drug-trafficking within OUR GOVERNMENT !

Celerino "Cele" Castillo, 3rd
powderburns@prodigy.net

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/102604B.shtml
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/10/25/contra/index.html

How John Kerry Exposed the Contra-Cocaine Scandal
    By Robert Parry
    Salon.com

    Monday 25 October 2004

Derided by the mainstream press and taking on Reagan at the height of his popularity, the freshman senator battled to reveal one of America's ugliest foreign policy secrets.

    In December 1985, when Brian Barger and I wrote a groundbreaking story for the Associated Press about Nicaraguan Contra rebels smuggling cocaine into the United States, one U.S. senator put his political career on the line to follow up on our disturbing findings. His name was John Kerry.

    Yet, over the past year, even as Kerry's heroism as a young Navy officer in Vietnam has become a point of controversy, this act of political courage by a freshman senator has gone virtually unmentioned, even though - or perhaps because - it marked Kerry's first challenge to the Bush family.

    In early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America.

    Kerry assigned members of his personal Senate staff to pursue the allegations. He also persuaded the Republican majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to request information from the Reagan-Bush administration about the alleged Contra drug traffickers.

    In taking on the inquiry, Kerry challenged President Ronald Reagan at the height of his power, at a time he was calling the Contras the "moral equals of the Founding Fathers." Kerry's questions represented a particular embarrassment to Vice President George H.W. Bush, whose responsibilities included overseeing U.S. drug-interdiction policies.

    Kerry took on the investigation though he didn't have much support within his own party. By 1986, congressional Democrats had little stomach left for challenging the Reagan-Bush Contra war. Not only had Reagan won a historic landslide in 1984, amassing a record 54 million votes, but his conservative allies were targeting individual Democrats viewed as critical of the Contras fighting to oust Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government. Most Washington journalists were backing off, too, for fear of getting labeled "Sandinista apologists" or worse.

    Kerry's probe infuriated Reagan's White House, which was pushing Congress to restore military funding for the Contras. Some in the administration also saw Kerry's investigation as a threat to the secrecy surrounding the Contra supply operation, which was being run illegally by White House aide Oliver North and members of Bush's vice presidential staff.

    Through most of 1986, Kerry's staff inquiry advanced against withering political fire. His investigators interviewed witnesses in Washington, contacted Contra sources in Miami and Costa Rica, and tried to make sense of sometimes convoluted stories of intrigue from the shadowy worlds of covert warfare and the drug trade.

    Kerry's chief Senate staff investigators were Ron Rosenblith, Jonathan Winer and Dick McCall. Rosenblith, a Massachusetts political strategist from Kerry's victorious 1984 campaign, braved both political and personal risks as he traveled to Central America for face-to-face meetings with witnesses. Winer, a lawyer also from Massachusetts, charted the inquiry's legal framework and mastered its complex details. McCall, an experienced congressional staffer, brought Capitol Hill savvy to the investigation.

    Behind it all was Kerry, who combined a prosecutor's sense for sniffing out criminality and a politician's instinct for pushing the limits. The Kerry whom I met during this period was a complex man who balanced a rebellious idealism with a determination not to burn his bridges to the political establishment.

    The Reagan administration did everything it could to thwart Kerry's investigation, including attempting to discredit witnesses, stonewalling the Senate when it requested evidence and assigning the CIA to monitor Kerry's probe. But it couldn't stop Kerry and his investigators from discovering the explosive truth: that the Contra war was permeated with drug traffickers who gave the Contras money, weapons and equipment in exchange for help in smuggling cocaine into the United States. Even more damningly, Kerry found that U.S. government agencies knew about the Contra-drug connection, but turned a blind eye to the evidence in order to avoid undermining a top Reagan-Bush foreign policy initiative.

    The Reagan administration's tolerance and protection of this dark underbelly of the Contra war represented one of the most sordid scandals in the history of U.S. foreign policy. Yet when Kerry's bombshell findings were released in 1989, they were greeted by the mainstream press with disdain and disinterest. The New York Times, which had long denigrated the Contra-drug allegations, buried the story of Kerry's report on its inside pages, as did the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. For his tireless efforts, Kerry earned a reputation as a reckless investigator. Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom Watch dubbed Kerry a "randy conspiracy buff."

    But almost a decade later, in 1998, Kerry's trailblazing investigation was vindicated by the CIA's own inspector general, who found that scores of Contra operatives were implicated in the cocaine trade and that U.S. agencies had looked the other way rather than reveal information that could have embarrassed the Reagan-Bush administration.

    Even after the CIA's admissions, the national press corps never fully corrected its earlier dismissive treatment. That would have meant the New York Times and other leading publications admitting they had bungled their coverage of one of the worst scandals of the Reagan-Bush era.

    The warm and fuzzy glow that surrounded Ronald Reagan after he left office also discouraged clarification of the historical record. Taking a clear-eyed look at crimes inside Reagan's Central American policies would have required a tough reassessment of the 40th president, which to this day the media has been unwilling to do. So this formative period of Kerry's political evolution has remained nearly unknown to the American electorate.

    Two decades later, it's hard to recall the intensity of the administration's support for the Contras. They were hailed as courageous front-line fighters, like the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, defending the free world from the Soviet empire. Reagan famously warned that Nicaragua was only "two days' driving time from Harlingen, Texas."

    Yet, for years, Contra units had gone on bloody rampages through Nicaraguan border towns, raping women, torturing captives and executing civilian officials of the Sandinista government. In private, Reagan referred to the Contras as "vandals," according to Duane Clarridge, the CIA officer in charge of the operation, in his memoir, "A Spy for All Seasons." But in public, the Reagan administration attacked anyone who pointed out the Contras' corruption and brutality.

    The Contras also proved militarily inept, causing the CIA to intervene directly and engage in warlike acts, such as mining Nicaragua's harbors. In 1984, these controversies caused the Congress to forbid U.S. military assistance to the Contras - the Boland Amendment - forcing the rebels to search for new funding sources.

    Drug money became the easiest way to fill the depleted Contra coffers. The documentary evidence is now irrefutable that a number of Contra units both in Costa Rica and Honduras opened or deepened ties to Colombian cartels and other regional drug traffickers. The White House also scrambled to find other ways to keep the Contras afloat, turning to third countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and eventually to profits from clandestine arms sales to Iran.

    The secrets began to seep out in the mid-1980s. In June 1985, as a reporter for the Associated Press, I wrote the first story mentioning Oliver North's secret Contra supply operation. By that fall, my AP colleague Brian Barger and I stumbled onto evidence that some of the Contras were supplementing their income by helping traffickers transship cocaine through Central America. As we dug deeper, it became clear that the drug connection implicated nearly all the major Contra organizations.

    The AP published our story about the Contra-cocaine evidence on Dec. 20, 1985, describing Contra units "engaged in cocaine smuggling, using some of the profits to finance their war against Nicaragua's leftist government." The story provoked little coverage elsewhere in the U.S. national press corps. But it pricked the interest of a newly elected U.S. senator, John Kerry. A former prosecutor, Kerry also heard about Contra law violations from a Miami-based federal public defender named John Mattes, who had been assigned a case that touched on Contra gunrunning. Mattes' sister had worked for Kerry in Massachusetts.

    By spring 1986, Kerry had begun a limited investigation deploying some of his personal staff in Washington. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry managed to gain some cooperation from the panel's Republican leadership, partly because the "war on drugs" was then a major political issue. Besides looking into Contra drug trafficking, Kerry launched the first investigation into the allegations of weapons smuggling and misappropriation of U.S. government funds that were later exposed as part of North's illegal operation to supply the Contras.

    Kerry's staff soon took an interest in a federal probe in Miami headed by assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Feldman. Talking to some of the same Contra supporters whom we had interviewed for the AP's Contra-cocaine story, Feldman had pieced together the outlines of North's secret network.

    In a panicked memo dated April 7, 1986, one of North's Costa Rican-based private operatives, Robert Owen, warned North that prosecutor Feldman had shown Ambassador Lewis Tambs "a diagram with your name underneath and John [Hull]'s underneath mine, then a line connecting the various resistance groups in C.R. [Costa Rica]. Feldman stated they were looking at the 'big picture' and not only looking at possible violations of the Neutrality Act, but a possible unauthorized use of government funds." (For details, see my "Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press and 'Project Truth.'")

    John Hull was an American farmer with a ranch in Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border. According to witnesses, Contras had used Hull's property for cocaine transshipments. (Hull was later accused of drug trafficking by Costa Rican authorities, but fled the country before facing trial. He returned to the United States.)

    On April 10, 1986, Barger and I reported on the AP wire that the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami was examining allegations of Contra gunrunning and drug trafficking. The AP story rattled nerves inside the Reagan administration. On an unrelated trip to Miami, Attorney General Edwin Meese pulled U.S. Attorney Leon Kellner aside and asked about the existence of this Contra probe.

    Back in Washington, other major news organizations began to sniff around the Contra-cocaine story but mostly went off in wrong directions. On May 6, 1986, the New York Times relied for a story on information from Meese's spokesman Patrick Korten, who claimed "various bits of information got referred to us. We ran them all down and didn't find anything. It comes to nothing."

    But that wasn't the truth. In Miami, Feldman and FBI agents were corroborating many of the allegations. On May 14, 1986, Feldman recommended to his superiors that the evidence of Contra crimes was strong enough to justify taking the case to a grand jury. U.S. Attorney Kellner agreed, scribbling on Feldman's memo, "I concur that we have sufficient evidence to ask for a grand jury investigation."

    But on May 20, less than a week later, Kellner reversed that recommendation. Without telling Feldman, Kellner rewrote the memo to state that "a grand jury investigation at this point would represent a fishing expedition with little prospect that it would bear fruit." Kellner signed Feldman's name to the mixed-metaphor memo and sent it to Washington on June 3.

    The revised "Feldman" memo was then circulated to congressional Republicans and leaked to conservative media, which used it to discredit Kerry's investigation. The right-wing Washington Times denounced the probe as a wasteful political "witch hunt" in a June 12, 1986, article. "Kerry's anti-Contra efforts extensive, expensive, in vain," screamed the headline of a Washington Times article on Aug. 13, 1986.

    Back in Miami, Kellner reassigned Feldman to unrelated far-flung investigations, including one to Thailand.

    The altered memo was instrumental in steering Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., away from holding hearings, Kerry's later Contra-drug report, "Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy," stated. "Material provided to the Committee by the Justice Department and distributed to members following an Executive Session June 26, 1986, wrongly suggested that the allegations that had been made were false," the Kerry report said.

    Feldman later testified to the Senate that he was told in 1986 that representatives of the Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI had met "to discuss how Senator Kerry's efforts to get Lugar to hold hearings on the case could be undermined."

    Mattes, the federal public defender in Miami, watched as the administration ratcheted up pressure on Kerry's investigation. "From a political point of view in May of '86, Kerry had every reason to shut down his staff investigation," Mattes said. "There was no upside for him doing it. We all felt under the gun to back off."

    The Kerry that Mattes witnessed at the time was the ex-prosecutor determined to get to the bottom of serious criminal allegations even if they implicated senior government officials. "As an investigator, he had a sense it was there," said Mattes, who is now an investigative reporter for Fox News in San Diego. "Kerry was a crusader. He was the consummate outsider, doing what you expect people to do. ... At no point did he flinch."

    Years later, in the National Archives, I discovered a document showing that the Central Intelligence Agency also was keeping tabs on Kerry's investigation. Alan Fiers Jr., who served as the CIA's Central American Task Force chief, told independent counsel Lawrence Walsh's Iran-Contra investigators that the AP and Feldman's investigations had attracted the hostility of the Reagan-Bush administration. Fiers said he "was also getting a dump on the Senator Kerry investigation about mercenary activity in Central America from the CIA's legislative affairs people who were monitoring it."

    Negative publicity about the Contras was particularly unwelcome to the Reagan-Bush administration throughout the spring and summer 1986 as the White House battled to restore U.S. government funding to the Contras. In the politically heated atmosphere, the administration sought to smear anti-Contra witnesses cooperating with Kerry's investigation.

    In a July 28 memo, initialed as read by President Reagan, North labeled onetime Contra mercenary Jack Terrell as a "terrorist threat" because of his "anti-Contra and anti-U.S. activities." North said Terrell had been cooperating "with various congressional staffs in preparing for hearings and inquiries regarding the role of U.S. government officials in illegally supporting the Nicaraguan resistance."

    In August 1986, FBI and Secret Service agents hauled Terrell in for two days of polygraph examinations on suspicion that Terrell intended to assassinate President Reagan, an allegation that proved baseless. But Terrell told me later that the investigation had chilled his readiness to testify about the Contras. "It burned me up," he said. "The pressure was always there."

    Beyond intimidating some witnesses, the Reagan administration systematically worked to frustrate Kerry's investigation. Years later, one of Kerry's investigators, Jack Blum, complained publicly that the Justice Department had actively obstructed the congressional probe. Blum said William Weld, who took over as assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division in September 1986, was an "absolute stonewall" blocking the Senate's access to evidence on Contra-cocaine smuggling. "Weld put a very serious block on any effort we made to get information," Blum told the Senate Intelligence Committee a decade after the events. "There were stalls. There were refusals to talk to us, refusals to turn over data."

    Weld, who later became Massachusetts governor and lost to Kerry in the 1996 Senate race, denied that he had obstructed Kerry's Contra probe. But it was clear that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was encountering delays in getting information that had been requested by Chairman Lugar, a Republican, and Rhode Island Sen. Claiborne Pell, the ranking Democrat. At Kerry's suggestion, they had sought files on more than two dozen people linked to the Contra operations and suspected of drug trafficking.

    Inside the Justice Department, senior career investigators grew concerned about the administration's failure to turn over the requested information. "I was concerned that we were not responding to what was obviously a legitimate congressional request," Mark Richard, one of Weld's top deputies, testified in a deposition. "We were not refusing to respond in giving explanations or justifications for it. We were seemingly just stonewalling what was a continuing barrage of requests for information. That concerned me no end."

    On Sept. 26, 1986, Kerry tried to spur action by presenting Weld with an 11-page "proffer" statement from a 31-year-old FBI informant who had worked with the Medellin cartel and had become a witness on cartel activities. The woman, Wanda Palacio, had approached Kerry with an account about Colombian cocaine kingpin Jorge Ochoa bragging about payments he had made to the Nicaraguan Contras.

    As part of this Contra connection, Palacio said pilots for a CIA-connected airline, Southern Air Transport, were flying cocaine out of Barranquilla, Colombia. She said she had witnessed two such flights, one in 1983 and the other in October 1985, and quoted Ochoa saying the flights were part of an arrangement to exchange "drugs for guns."

    According to contemporaneous notes of this "proffer" meeting between Weld and Kerry, Weld chuckled that he was not surprised at allegations about corrupt dealings by "bum agents, former and current CIA agents." He promised to give serious consideration to Palacio's allegations.

    After Kerry left Weld's office, however, the Justice Department seemed to concentrate on poking holes in Palacio's account, not trying to corroborate it. Though Palacio had been considered credible in her earlier testimony to the FBI, she was judged to lack credibility when she made accusations about the Contras and the CIA.

    On Oct. 3, 1986, Weld's office told Kerry that it was rejecting Palacio as a witness on the grounds that there were some contradictions in her testimony. The discrepancies apparently related to such minor points as which month she had first talked with the FBI.

    Two days after Weld rejected Palacio's Contra-cocaine testimony, other secrets about the White House's covert Contra support operations suddenly crashed -literally - into view.

    On Oct. 5, a quiet Sunday morning, an aging C-123 cargo plane rumbled over the skies of Nicaragua preparing to drop AK-47 rifles and other equipment to Contra units in the jungle below. Since the Reagan administration had recently won congressional approval for renewed CIA military aid to the Contras, the flight was to be one of the last by Oliver North's ragtag air force.

    The plane, however, attracted the attention of a teenage Sandinista soldier armed with a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile. He aimed, pulled the trigger and watched as the Soviet-made missile made a direct hit on the aircraft. Inside, cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus, an American mercenary working with the Contras, was knocked to the floor, but managed to crawl to an open door, push himself through, and parachute to the ground, where he was captured by Sandinista forces. The pilot and other crew members died in the crash.

    As word spread about the plane crash, Barger - who had left the AP and was working for a CBS News show - persuaded me to join him on a trip to Nicaragua with the goal of getting an interview with Hasenfus, who turned out to be an unemployed Wisconsin construction worker and onetime CIA cargo handler. Hasenfus told a press conference in Managua that the Contra supply operation was run by CIA officers working with the office of Vice President George Bush. Administration officials, including Bush, denied any involvement with the downed plane.

    Our hopes for an interview with Hasenfus didn't work out, but Sandinista officials did let us examine the flight records and other documents they had recovered from the plane. As Barger talked with a senior Nicaraguan officer, I hastily copied down the entries from copilot Wallace "Buzz" Sawyer's flight logs. The logs listed hundreds of flights with the airports identified only by their four-letter international codes and the planes designated by tail numbers.

    Upon returning to Washington, I began deciphering Wallace's travels and matching the tail numbers with their registered owners. Though Wallace's flights included trips to Africa and landings at U.S. military bases in the West, most of his entries were for flights in Central and South America.

    Meanwhile, in Kerry's Senate office, witness Wanda Palacio was waiting for a meeting when she noticed Sawyer's photo flashing on a TV screen. Palacio began insisting that Sawyer was one of the pilots whom she had witnessed loading cocaine onto a Southern Air Transport plane in Barranquilla, Colombia, in early October 1985. Her identification of Sawyer struck some of Kerry's aides as a bit too convenient, causing them to have their own doubts about her credibility.

    Though I was unaware of Palacio's claims at the time, I pressed ahead with the AP story on Sawyer's travels. In the last paragraph of the article, I noted that Sawyer's logs revealed that he had piloted a Southern Air Transport plane on three flights to Barranquilla on Oct. 2, 4, and 6, 1985. The story ran on Oct. 17, 1986.

    Shortly after the article moved on the AP wires, I received a phone call from Rosenblith at Kerry's office. Sounding shocked, the Kerry investigator asked for more details about the last paragraph of the story, but he wouldn't say why he wanted to know. Only months later did I discover that the AP story on Sawyer's logs had provided unintentional corroboration for Palacio's Contra-drug allegations.

    Palacio also passed a polygraph exam on her statements. But Weld and the Justice Department still refused to accept her testimony as credible. (Even a decade later, when I asked the then-Massachusetts governor about Palacio, Weld likened her credibility to "a wagon load of diseased blankets.")

    In fall 1986, Weld's criminal division continued to withhold Contra-drug information requested by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. According to Justice Department records, Lugar and Pell - two of the Senate's most gentlemanly members - wrote on Oct. 14 that they had been waiting more than two months for information that the Justice Department had promised "in an expeditious manner."

    "To date, no information has been received and the investigation of allegations by the committee, therefore, has not moved very far," Lugar and Pell wrote in a joint letter. "We're disappointed that the Department has not responded in a timely fashion and indeed has not provided any materials."

    On Nov. 25, 1986, the Iran-Contra scandal was officially born when Attorney General Edwin Meese announced that profits from secret U.S. arms sales to Iran had been diverted to help fund the Nicaraguan Contras.

    The Washington press corps scrambled to get a handle on the dramatic story of clandestine operations, but still resisted the allegations that the administration's zeal had spilled over into sanctioning or tolerating Contra-connected drug trafficking.

    Though John Kerry's early warnings about White House-aided Contra gunrunning had proved out, his accusations about Contra drug smuggling would continue to be rejected by much of the press corps as going too far.

    On Jan. 21, 1987, the conservative Washington Times attacked Kerry's Contra-drug investigation again; his alleged offense this time was obstructing justice because his probe was supposedly interfering with the Reagan administration's determination to get at the truth. "Kerry's staffers damaged FBI probe," the Times headline read.

    "Congressional investigators for Sen. John Kerry severely damaged a federal drug investigation last summer by interfering with a witness while pursuing allegations of drug smuggling by the Nicaraguan resistance, federal law enforcement officials said," according to the Times article.

    The mainstream press continued to publish stories that denigrated Kerry's investigation. On Feb. 24, 1987, a New York Times article by reporter Keith Schneider quoted "law enforcement officials" saying that the Contra allegations "have come from a small group of convicted drug traffickers in South Florida who never mentioned Contras or the White House until the Iran-Contra affair broke in November."

    The drift of the article made Kerry out to be something of a dupe. His Contra-cocaine witnesses were depicted as simply convicts trying to get lighter prison sentences by embroidering false allegations onto the Iran-Contra scandal. But the information in the Times story was patently untrue. The AP Contra-cocaine story had run in December 1985, almost a year before the Iran-Contra story broke.

    When New York Times reporters conducted their own interview with Palacio, she immediately sensed their hostility. In her Senate deposition, Palacio described her experience at the Times office in Miami. She said Schneider and a "Cuban man" rudely questioned her story and bullied her about specific evidence for each of her statements. The Cuban man "was talking to me kind of nasty," Palacio recalled. "I got up and left, and this man got all pissed off, Keith Schneider."

    The parameters for a "responsible" Iran-Contra investigation were being set. On July 16, 1987, the New York Times published another story that seemed to discredit the Contra-drug charges. It reported that except for a few convicted drug smugglers from Miami, the Contra-cocaine "charges have not been verified by any other people and have been vigorously denied by several government agencies."

    Four days later, the Times added that "investigators, including reporters from major news outlets, have tried without success to find proof of ... allegations that military supplies may have been paid for with profits from drug smuggling." (The Times was inaccurate again. The original AP story had cited a CIA report describing the Contras buying a helicopter with drug money.)

    The joint Senate-House Iran-Contra committee averted its eyes from the Contra-cocaine allegations. The only time the issue was raised publicly was when a demonstrator interrupted one hearing by shouting, "Ask about the cocaine." Kerry was excluded from the investigation.

    On July 27, 1987, behind the scenes, committee staff investigator Robert A. Bermingham echoed the New York Times. "Hundreds of persons" had been questioned, he said, and vast numbers of government files reviewed, but no "corroboration of media-exploited allegations of U.S. government-condoned drug trafficking by Contra leaders or Contra organizations" was found. The report, however, listed no names of any interview subjects nor any details about the files examined.

    Bermingham's conclusions conflicted with closed-door Iran-Contra testimony from administration insiders. In a classified deposition to the congressional Iran-Contra committees, senior CIA officer Alan Fiers said, "with respect to [drug trafficking by] the Resistance Forces [the Contras] it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people."

    Despite official denials and press hostility, Kerry and his investigators pressed ahead. In 1987, with the arrival of a Democratic majority in the Senate, Kerry also became chairman of the Senate subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations. He used that position to pry loose the facts proving that the official denials were wrong and that Contra units were involved in the drug trade.

    Kerry's report was issued two years later, on April 13, 1989. Its stunning conclusion: "On the basis of the evidence, it 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."

    The report discovered that drug traffickers gave the Contras "cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials." Moreover, the U.S. State Department had paid some drug traffickers as part of a program to fly non-lethal assistance to the Contras. Some payments occurred "after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies."

    Although Kerry's findings represented the first time a congressional report explicitly accused federal agencies of willful collaboration with drug traffickers, the major news organizations chose to bury the startling findings. Instead of front-page treatment, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times all wrote brief accounts and stuck them deep inside their papers. The New York Times article, only 850 words long, landed on Page 8. The Post placed its story on A20. The Los Angeles Times found space on Page 11.

    One of the best-read political reference books, the Almanac of American Politics, gave this account of Kerry's investigation in its 1992 edition: "In search of right-wing villains and complicit Americans, [Kerry] tried to link Nicaraguan Contras to the drug trade, without turning up much credible evidence."

    Thus, Kerry's reward for his strenuous and successful efforts to get to the bottom of a difficult case of high-level government corruption was to be largely ignored by the mainstream press and even have his reputation besmirched.

    But the Contra-cocaine story didn't entirely go away. In 1991, in the trial of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega for drug trafficking, federal prosecutors called as a witness Medellin cartel kingpin Carlos Lehder, who testified that the Medellin cartel had given $10 million to the Contras, a claim that one of Kerry's witnesses had made years earlier. "The Kerry hearings didn't get the attention they deserved at the time," a Washington Post editorial on Nov. 27, 1991 acknowledged. "The Noriega trial brings this sordid aspect of the Nicaraguan engagement to fresh public attention."

    Kerry's vindication in the Contra drug case did not come until 1998, when inspectors general at the CIA and Justice Department reviewed their files in connection with allegations published by the San Jose Mercury News that the Contra-cocaine pipeline had contributed to the crack epidemic that ravaged inner-city neighborhoods in the 1980s. (Ironically, the major national newspapers only saw fit to put the Contra-cocaine story on their front pages in criticizing the Mercury News and its reporter Gary Webb for taking the allegations too far.)

    On Oct. 4, 1996, the Washington Post published a front-page story, with two more pages inside, that was critical of the Mercury News. But while accusing the Mercury News of exaggerating, the Post noted that Contra-connected drug smugglers had brought tons of cocaine into the United States. "Even CIA personnel testified to Congress they knew that those covert operations involved drug traffickers," the Post reported.

    A Post editorial on Oct. 9, 1996, reprised the newspaper's assessment that the Mercury News had overreached, but added that for "CIA-connected characters to have played even a trivial role in introducing Americans to crack would indicate an unconscionable breach by the CIA."

    In the months that followed, the major newspapers - including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times - joined the Post in criticizing the Mercury News while downplaying their own inattention to the crimes that Kerry had illuminated a decade earlier. The Los Angeles Times actually used Kerry's report to dismiss the Mercury News series as old news because the Contra cocaine trafficking "has been well documented for years."

    While the major newspapers gloated when reporter Gary Webb was forced to resign from the Mercury News, the internal government investigations, which Webb's series had sparked, moved forward. The government's decade-long Contra cocaine cover-up began to crumble when CIA inspector general Frederick Hitz published the first of two volumes of his Contra cocaine investigation on Jan. 29, 1998, followed by a Justice Department report and Hitz's second volume in October 1998.

    The CIA inspector general and Justice Department reports confirmed that the Reagan administration knew from almost the outset of the Contra war that cocaine traffickers permeated the CIA-backed army but the administration did next to nothing to expose or stop these criminals. The reports revealed example after example of leads not followed, witnesses disparaged and official law-enforcement investigations sabotaged. The evidence indicated that Contra-connected smugglers included the Medellin cartel, the Panamanian government of Manuel Noriega, the Honduran military, the Honduran-Mexican smuggling ring of Ramon Matta Ballesteros, and Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans.

    Reviewing evidence that existed in the 1980s, CIA inspector general Hitz found that some Contra-connected drug traffickers worked directly for Reagan's National Security Council staff and the CIA. In 1987, Cuban-American Bay of Pigs veteran Moises Nunez told CIA investigators that "it was difficult to answer questions relating to his involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he had performed at the direction of the NSC."

    CIA task force chief Fiers said the Nunez-NSC drug lead was not pursued then "because of the NSC connection and the possibility that this could be somehow connected to the Private Benefactor program [Oliver North's fundraising]. A decision was made not to pursue this matter."

    Another Cuban-American who had attracted Kerry's interest was Felipe Vidal, who had a criminal record as a narcotics trafficker in the 1970s. But the CIA still hired him to serve as a logistics officer for the Contras and covered up for him when the agency learned that he was collaborating with known traffickers to raise money for the Contras, the Hitz report showed. Fiers had briefed Kerry about Vidal on Oct. 15, 1986, without mentioning Vidal's drug arrests and conviction in the 1970s.

    Hitz found that a chief reason for the CIA's protective handling of Contra-drug evidence was Langley's "one overriding priority: to oust the Sandinista government ... [CIA officers] were determined that the various difficulties they encountered not be allowed to prevent effective implementation of the Contra program."

    According to Hitz's report, one CIA field officer explained, "The focus was to get the job done, get the support and win the war."

    This pattern of obstruction occurred while Vice President Bush was in charge of stanching the flow of drugs to the United States. Kerry made himself a pest by demanding answers to troubling questions.

    "He wanted to get to the bottom of something so dark," former public defender Mattes told me. "Nobody could imagine it was so dark."

    In the end, investigations by government inspectors general corroborated Kerry's 1989 findings and vindicated his effort. But the muted conclusion of the Contra-cocaine controversy 12 years after Kerry began his investigation explains why this chapter is an overlooked - though important - episode in Kerry's Senate career. It's a classic case of why, in Washington, there's little honor in being right too soon. Yet it's also a story about a senator who had the personal honor to do the right thing.

  -------





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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #54 
PBS DRUG WAR SPECIAL (1988)




Legendary CIA Officer Anthony "Tony Poe" Poshepny, the man in charge of all covert operations in Laos and Cambodia during the vietnam war talks about the heroin trade and Air America--admitting that his assets smuggled opium, and gave money to the President of South Vietnam! POE was the inspiration for the character of "Colonel Kurtz" (Marlon Brando) in Apocolypse Now.
It is my understanding that the man named by Poe as being the largest heroin dealer, Vang Pao, is now a U.S. citizen!


(Excerpt) I recommend clicking the link to read the whole transcript, it is pretty damning.......

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/gunsdrugscia.html

Article about Poe's death in asia times:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/EG08Ae02.html
His memorial on Air America website:
http://www.air-america.org/In_Remembrance/poe.shtml
http://www.sacbee.com/static/archive/news/projects/hmong/recent_bee/082900.html#

NARRATOR
Back in the old days the men who flew for Air America and drank in the Purple Porpoise Bar in Vientiane were less discreet.

Most of them are long gone and far away from Laos now but one legendary CIA officer still lives across the Mekong River close to his old mountain battleground.

RON RICKENBACH
The man that was in charge of that local operation was a man by the name of Tony Poe, and he was notorious. He had been involved with the agency from the OSS days he was a World War II combat veteran and he had been with the agency from its inception and he was the prototype operations officer. They made a movie about him when they made Apocalypses Now. He was the caricature of Marlon Brando.

NARRATOR
Until now, Tony Poe has never talked publicly about the Laos operation. He saw it from beginning to end. one of Vang Pao's early case officers, Poe claims he was transferred from Long Chien because unlike his successors, he refused to tolerate the Meo leader's corruption.

TONY POE, Former CIA Officer
You don't let him run loose without a chain on him. You gotta control him just like any kind of an animal or a baby. You have to control him. Hey! He's the only guy that had a pair of shoes when I first met him--what are you talking about, why does he need Mercedes Benz, apartments and hotels and homes where he never had them in his life before. Why are you going to give it to him?

Frontline:
Plus he was making money on the side with his business?

Tony Poe:
Oh, he was making millions, 'cos he had his own source of, uh, avenue for his own, uh, heroin.

Frontline:
What did he do with the money?

Tony Poe:
What do you mean? U.S. bank accounts, Switzerland, wherever.

Frontline:
Didn't they know, when Vang Pao said 'I want some aircraft', didn't they know what he wanted that for?

Tony Poe:
I'm sure we all knew it, but we tried to monitor it, because we controlled most of the pilots you see. We're giving him freedom of navigation into Thailand, into the bases, and we don't want him to get involved in moving, you know, this illicit traffic--O.K., silver bars and gold, O.K., but not heroin. What they would do is, they weren't going into Thailand, they were flying it in a big wet wing airplane that could fly for thirteen hours, a DC-3, and all the wings were filled with gas. They fly down to Pakse, then they fly over to Da Nang, and then the number two guy to President Thieu would receive it.

NARRATOR
Nguyen Van Thieu was president of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1975. Reports at the time accused president Thieu of financing his election through the heroin trade. Like Vang Pao, he always denied it, remaining America's honored and indispensable ally.

Tony Poe:
They were all in a contractual relationship:Some of this goes to me, some of this goes to thee. And you know just the bookkeeping--we deliver you on a certain day; they had coded messages and di-di-di. That means so and so as this much comes back and goes into our Swiss bank account. Oh they had a wonderful relationship and every, maybe, six months they'd all come together, have a party somewhere and talk about their business:is it good or bad. It is like a mafia, yeah, a big organized mafia.





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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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jurisnot

Registered:
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #55 

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 09:53:50 -0800 (PST)
From: judson witham
Subject: Fwd: Gary Webb, Dead at 49 - Linked CIA to Drug Sales
To: martindom@yahoo.com
CC: APFN@apfn.org, jeffandmary@ozarkopathy.org,
PeopleBeforeLawyers@yahoogroups.com, slmays007@aol.com

HUGE amounts of LOOTED MONEY also caused Don Bolles,  Brian Quig and Mark Lombardi amongst others to DIE.  Gary Webb another great Journalist SILENCED !
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Judson Witham


APFN <APFN@apfn.org> wrote:
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 22:46:48 -0700
From: APFN
To: APFN Yahoogroups
Subject: Gary Webb, Dead at 49 - Linked CIA to Drug Sales

Associated Press
Gary Webb, Dead at 49 - Linked CIA to Drug Sales
Mon Dec 13, 2004 00:47
http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495;article=72602;title=APFN

Gary Webb, Reporter Who Linked CIA to Drug Sales, Dead at 49
The Associated Press
Published: Dec 12, 2004
http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBNTHRXN2E.html

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who wrote a controversial series of stories linking the CIA to crack cocaine trafficking in Los Angeles, has died at age 49.

Webb was found Friday morning at his home in Sacramento County, dead of an apparent suicide. Moving-company workers called authorities after discovering a note posted on his front door that read, "Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance."

Webb died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Sacramento County coroner's office.

Webb was part of the San Jose Mercury News reporting team that won a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Webb's 1996 series in the Mercury News alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and funneled millions of dollars in profits to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980s.

The articles did not accuse the CIA of directly aiding drug dealers to raise money for the Contras, but implied that the agency was aware of the activity.

Major parts of Webb's reporting were later discredited by other newspaper investigations. An investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department found no evidence of a connection between the CIA and the drug traffickers.

In 1997, then-Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos backed away from the series, saying "we fell short at every step of our process." Webb was transferred to one of the paper's suburban bureaus.

"This is just harassment," Webb said after his demotion. "This isn't the first time that a reporter went after the CIA and lost his job over it."

After quitting the newspaper in December 1997, Webb continued to defend his reporting with his 1999 book "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion."

Born in Corona, Calif., to a military family, Webb dropped out of journalism school and went to work for the Kentucky Post and the Cleveland Plain Dealer before landing at the Mercury News.

Webb worked in state government after leaving the paper, most prominently as a member of an audit committee investigating former Gov. Gray Davis' controversial award of a $95 million no-bid contract to Oracle Corp. in 2001.

Earlier this year, Webb was one of a group of employees fired from the Assembly Speaker's Office of Member Services for failing to show up for work. He continued writing occasionally for various publications.

"All he ever wanted to do was write," said Webb's ex-wife, Susan Bell.

Webb is survived by two sons and a daughter.
==================================================

Gary Webb Speaks: "Dark Alliance" Author Talks on CIA, Contras & ...
Investigative journalist Gary Webb spoke to a packed house in Eugene,
Oregon at 7:30 pm on January 16, 1999. ParaScope presents ...

===================================

March 21, 2001
Silencing the Messenger Censoring NarcoNews
by Gary Webb
http://www.counterpunch.org/narconews.html

Not long after I wrote a series for the San Jose Mercury News about a drug ring that had flooded South Central Los Angeles with cheap cocaine at the beginning of the crack explosion there, a strange thing happened to me. I was silenced.

This, believe it or not, came as something of a surprise to me. For 17 years I had been writing newspaper stories about grafters, crooked bankers, corrupt politicians and killers -- and winning armloads of journalism awards for it. Some of my stories had convened grand juries and sent important people to well-deserved jail cells. Others ended up on 20/20, and later became a best-selling book (not written by me, unfortunately.) I started doing television news shows, speaking to college journalism classes and professional seminars. I had major papers bidding against each other to hire me.

So when I happened across information implicating an arm of the Central Intelligence Agency in the cocaine trade, I had no qualms about jumping onto it with both feet. What did I have to worry about? I was a newspaperman for a big city, take-no-prisoners newspaper. I had the First Amendment, a law firm, and a multi-million dollar corporation watching my back.

Besides, this story was a fucking outrage. Right-wing Latin American drug dealers were helping finance a CIA-run covert war in Nicaragua by selling tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods in LA, who were turning it into crack and spreading it through black neighborhoods nationwide. And all the available evidence pointed to the sickening conclusion that elements of the US government had known of it and had either tacitly encouraged it or, at a minimum, done absolutely nothing to stop it.

And that's when this strange thing happened. The national news media, instead of using its brute strength to force the truth from our government, decided that its time would be better spent investigating me and my reporting. They kicked me around pretty good, I have to admit. (At one point, I was even accused of making movie deals with a crack dealer I'd written about. The DEA raided my film agent's office looking for any scrap of paper to back up this lie and appeared disappointed when they came up emptyhanded.)

To this day, no one has ever been able to show me a single error of fact in anything I've written about this drug ring, which includes a 600-page book about the whole tragic mess. Indeed, most of what has come out since shows that my newspaper stories grossly underestimated the extent of our government's knowledge, an error to which I readily confess. But, in the end, the facts didn't really matter. What mattered was making the damned thing go away, shutting people up, and making anyone who demanded the truth appear to be a wacky conspiracy theorist. And it worked.

As a result, the CIA was allowed to investigate itself, release a heavily censored report admitting that it had worked with cocaine traffickers, and simultaneously declare itself innocent of any wrongdoing. And that's where our firebrand national news media has let the matter lie to this day.

Now it's NarcoNews' turn for the silence treatment. And, if I had to guess, I'd venture to say that it's probably more important to the folks selling us the Drug War to shut up Al Giordano than it is to silence mainstream reporters who, in my father's eloquent words, wouldn't say shit if they had a mouth full of it.

No one can lean on NarcoNews's editors, or their bosses, or its board of directors to reign Al in or, failing that, reassign him to the night copy desk. The only person they can lean on is Al, who doesn't take to being leaned on. And they can't shut down the Internet either. So two choices remain.

They can grit their teeth and suffer Al's reporting, day after aggravating day, as he exposes the ugly underside of this endless war on drugs - and actually makes things happen, like real journalists are supposed to do. Or they can try to make it impossible for him to do his job by harassing him with specious lawsuits, bedevil him with lawyers and depositions and interrogatories and subpoenas, and reduce him to penury. Why? To silence
him. To make him go away. To keep him from looking under rocks that reporters aren't supposed to look under.

Make no mistake. This court fight isn't about any particular story NarcoNews has done. It's about ALL of them, and all of the ones yet to come. And it's a battle over the continued independence of Internet journalism as well. The silencing of Al Giordano and NarcoNews isn't a theoretical possibility that might happen a couple years from now. It's already happening. Al and his volunteer lawyers are hip-deep in it right now. And they need our help.

Narco News and Al Giordano face an April 9th deadline to respond to the Banamex censorship lawsuit or they will be declared in default - guilty without a single fact being heard in a case where the facts prove them right.

A civil lawsuit is different than a criminal case: complex legal issues require trained lawyers to dig through the law books on procedural issues so far from the basic truths about photographs of cocaine trafficking on the coast of Mexico. The bank's lawyers at Akin Gump are paid astronomic fees to raise every small point of process and delay the day when the facts come to light in New York City court.

If this case goes to trial, that's when Narco News will triumph. And all of us will win with it as the real facts of the corruption of the international drug war come to light in the media center of New York.

The hard part comes right now, in navigating the maze of irrelevantprocess issues, as any reporter who has covered the courts has seen. Narco News will either be able to have skilled attorneys get them through this complicated phase or - I can see it coming - Al will have to take a long trip to the law library himself, abandon reporting for the coming weeks or months in order
to wage his own defense. Then you and I will not be able to read new reports on Narco News at this key moment when Plan Colombia explodes regionally and more Latin American voices are raised against the drug war, like the Mexican police chief yesterday, who, if not for Narco News, would never be heard by those of us who speak and read in English.

That is what is at stake: Whether a skilled reporter has to retire for months to become a pro se lawyer, or whether he can continue reporting the facts to us.

I was silenced but am not silenced any more. When, the other day, the film rights to my book Dark Alliance about US complicity in the cocaine trade were purchased for a television movie, I wrote Al to pledge part of those
proceeds to his defense. In the years to come, there is no question that Narco News will be proven right and will be helping the next generation of reporters fight efforts to censor them.

But wouldn't it be wonderful if this time the censors failed entirely to take Al and Narco News out of circulation, for a year, for months, even for a week? Wouldn't that be the best deterrent against bankers and lobbyists from waging these frivolous lawsuits against Free Speech on the Internet? I understand that Narco News needs only about $13,000 more to be able to have the most difficult stage of the lawsuit process - that which it faces immediately - handled with professional legal assistance, thus allowing Al to continue expending his energy and time in reporting to us the facts. One person of means could solve this problem with a check. Two dozen people giving $500 could do it. 130 people giving a hundred dollars... you can do the math: If half of Narco News' readers give one dollar each, Narco News will keep publishing.

The hard part is that it must be done now, today. Please join me in sending a check to:

Drug War on Trial
C/O Thomas Lesser, Esq.
Lesser, Newman, Souweine & Nasser
39 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Al often says that Narco News never wanted to ask its readers for a cent, and I sense that it pains him to ask the readers who benefit from his reporting to support his defense in court. That's why I'm writing you.

This lawsuit is bigger than the fate of one Internet publication. It is larger than, but it will decide, free speech issues in cyberspace for years to come. What is at stake here is nothing less than whether the public knows the truth and the facts about the war on drugs in our hemisphere.

If we don't all act today, we will be in the dark again tomorrow.

For information about the lawsuit and its defense:

http://www.narconews.com/warroom.html

Secret Patriot Act II to give Hitler's Powers to Bush

"Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #56 
http://www.customscorruption.com/drug_war.htm

Drug War: Covert Money, Power & Policy: Interdiction


The E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning & Control System

If you ask the DEA what percentage of smuggled drugs they intercept, they'll give you exactly the same answer they gave in 1928 or 1948, "about 10%", which is both a wild exaggeration and a cover story. A busy port receives over 100,000 containers a week. They can't even search 1%, let alone nail 10%. A DEA official in "candid" mode will admit they really intercept only 5%, still an absurd exaggeration, although the confiscation laws do enable the narks to make make money coming and going. They're just part of the system.

A wild peninsular coastline like Washington State-British Columbia is uncontrollable. NYT:1/31/95: "Canada has only a few Coast Guard cutters and Mountie patrol boats to watch 16,900 miles of [BC] coastline." The U.S. has almost 90,000 miles of coastline, 300 ports of entry.

As of early 1998, the U.S. had 7,000 agents patrolling the sexy 2,000-mile Mexican border, but only 300 covering the entire 5,500-mile Alaska-Canada-U.S. border. 99% of Canada's superb hydroponic pot gets through, making it a multi-billion dollar factor in the Canadian economy.

Otay Mesa, next to Tijuana, is the main commercial truck entrance from Mexico's maquilladora ("final touch") factories into the U.S. It is overwhelmed with traffic, 24/7. "Spend a couple of hours at Otay Mesa, and you'll notice a lot of guys on either side of the border just hanging around, chatting a lot of the time on their cell phones. They're spotters for trucks on drugs runs. They tip off the driver about what time to come, which lane to use, what to say, and the DEA can't tap into their calls because they all have encryption or scrambler devices." That is, they're coordinating the drug run with their very own customs agents, who make as much as $50,000 in untraceable street cash simply for waving a hot truck through. That's a year's wages for ten minutes work.

U.S. Customs mapped 500 airstrips within a hundred miles of either side of the Mexican border. Of nearly 7,000 suspicious flights detected by the Pentagon in 1990, 49 were caught. In 1996, The Christian Science Monitor informs us, "AWACS provided information that led to four cocaine interdictions worth $945 million - about 35 percent of all cocaine intercepted coming into the US." That is, about ¹ of 1% of all the cocaine coming into the U.S.

CSM:"'Interdiction, although it is often bad-mouthed, has to be one of the principal components of the fight against drugs,' says a retired military officer who now serves in the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy. 'The capstone is the AWACS with their special "look down" radar. Nothing gets by them when they are up.' As it turns out, the green blip - signifying a small airplane flying low over the ocean, southeast of Florida - was not trafficking in illegal drugs." That is, the celestial AWACS has no earthly way of distinguishing between the scores of small aircraft on its screen at any one time. That means that one scramble in 100 hits the mark.

Thanks to the political pressure, coke and pot seizures were up along the Mexican border in 1995. The Nogales Border patrol station seized a little more than a ton of coke in 95. But that's just a 1% tax to smugglers who can slip more than a hundred tons through Nogales each year. But Mexican streetfighters don't take that Gringo crap nohow. Phil Jordan, 1995 DEA director of the El Paso Intelligence Center, had his brother shot dead in an El Paso street by a Mexican hit squad. And they're not above hitting his kids, either. This gives Jordan's subordinates serious pause when offered a piece of the action by a Mexican hit team. "It's kind of like this," explains Robert Nieves, former DEA Chief of International Operations, "You're offered a bribe. If bribery doesn't work, you're offered violence. And that violence will be exacted against you or your family members." Plata o Plomo, Silver or Lead, as the famous phrase goes.


Jorge Hank Rhon and Customs Port Director Jerry B. Martin

Still, one still wonders why the border continues to be so porous, given the muscle the El Paso Intelligence Center, operating along with Army Joint Task Force 6 out of Biggs Army Airfield, can muster. Biggs employs some 300 people coordinating intelligence from all Pentagon, NSA, FBI, Treasury, DIA and CIA sources, and can mobilize military SWAT teams. Senior Customs Inspector John Carman provides part of the answer:ãMillionaire-Smuggler-Crime Figure Jorge Hank-Rhon and Customs Port Director Jerry B. Martin. Both associated with former District Director Allan J.Rappoport and John ãJackä Maryon, who were all under investigation, but Customs Internal Affairs, FBI, or the other Federal agencies investigating did nothing about these dangerous liaisons... I was Îorderedâ not to put Jorge Hank Rhonâs name into the Customs/Treasury look out system TECS (Treasury Enforcement Computer System) because of another Customs Supervisor named John ãJackä Maryon. Hank Rhon was later caught smuggling more currency at LAX international airport.ä http://www.customscorruption.com

The above-quoted DEA Chief of International Operations, Robert Nieves, before rising to that exalted position, ran the DEAâs Costa Rica office. He ran interference for the Contras and Manuel Noriega against the likes of reformist antidrug revolutionary Hugo Spadafora and reformist antidrug DEA agent Celerino Castillo. It was Nieves who protected Hank Rhonâs trading partner Norwin Meneses for the CIA, literally helping to run his huge Contra-cocaine supply operation, as Gary Webb has documented in such detail. Nieves then went on to head the DEAâs cocaine task force in DC - with zero strategic effect, needless to say. 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.

The rest of the answer to the open border question, aside from John Carman's computer-entry orders, is that their TECS, NADDIS and NIN (Narcotics Information Network) computer system is just another impotent eye in the sky. It don't tell them squat about the cucarachas. NADDIS can go after money-laundering "kingpins" all it wants. But it's the system - the bottom-up economics of street-dealing - that generates the "kingpin," not the other way around.

As Clinton deplaned in Mexico on 5/5/97, I heard reporters on all three major networks authoritatively declare that the Mexican drug problem was really "kingpin" Amado Carillo. That's just the fluff of the moment, the dehydrated, homogenized formula - just add air time and whip. The reportage on all three networks was virtually identical, word for word, as if these guys were reading press releases. Not one reporter mentioned the economics of Prohibition, although one did add some parenthetical mumbling about "corruption."

The DEA guesses that more than 500 tons of coke were successfully smuggled into the U.S. in 1996. Their guess, and they admit it's a guess, is probably a gross underestimation, given that total coke siezures, including all maritime seizures, were close to 80 tons. But even according to the DEA's own figures, so much coke gets through that confiscations, however heavy, simply function to protect the value of the successfully smuggled imports.

To quote the State Department's own end-of-year 1996 Enforcement Affairs report, "in FY 1996 the total USG budget for international drug control operations was approximately $1.6 billion. That equates to 16 metric tons of cocaine; the drug trade has lost that much in two shipments and scarcely felt the loss."

The General Accounting Office, in 1997, reported that all interdiction and seizure efforts made by the U.S. Government between 1988 and 1995 "made little impact on the availability of illegal drugs in the United States and on the amount needed to satisfy U.S. demand."

That is, drug enforcement throughout the U.S. simply has the practical effect of protecting, indeed creating, the artificially inflated street value of illegal drugs, thereby financing the smugglers. That's the fascist game. That's why Santos Trafficante, a genius at smuggling contraband, worked for the CIA. Trafficante, of course, was also a genius at keeping himself relatively unknown.

We are constantly told that the death of a "kingpin" is a strategic victory, but it's the system that generates the dealer, not the dealer the system. J. Edgar Hoover pioneered the well-publicized destruction of "kingpins," brilliantly throwing a blanket of PR over his ineffectiveness and corruption. Hoover used the same ghost writer as Harry Anslinger, former circus press agent Courtney Ryley Cooper, the man who invented the phrase "Reefer Madness." Cooper wrote flashy magazine stories dramatizing J. Edgar's fictitious personal encounters with "America's most wanted."

In 1939 Hoover decided that Lepke Buchalter was "the most dangerous man in America." This momentous decision was forced on J. Edgar when Lepke got himself indicted in 1937 for importing huge amounts of Japanese-KMT heroin from Tientsin. Although the FBI had nothing to do with the investigation or the indictment, it asked Lepke's partners, Lansky and Luciano, to hand him over to Hoover personally, in the presence of Walter Winchell, no less, in exchange for anonymity and protection. Lansky and Luciano wisely complied - it was good for business, and they were wise guys.

Trafficante, Marcello, Giancana, Rosselli, Lansky, Costello, Dalitz, Licavoli, Dragna, even the flamboyant Luciano never became FBI "Public Enemies" like John Dillinger or Pretty Boy Floyd, redneck pistoleros who never actually owned a Banana Republic. Of course, if Hoover's objective wasn't the suppression of organized crime but the suppression of political dissent, then he was, by his lights, acting correctly. Lansky, left, was a dedicated "anti-communist." Look how he helped Lepke "decommunize" the New York clothing industry. Look how Joe Adonis, right, helped clean the Reds out of Sicily, and Guatemala. Look what Trafficante did for Cuba. Hoover's FBI never went after the Syndicate or narcotics at all.

I remember seeing roving U.S. ambassador Lewis Tambs, in a PBS Frontline documentary on Medell’n "kingpin" Pablo Escobar, at pains to stress J. Edgar's old line. He said the drug business is "dealer-driven," and that if we'd only concentrate on these nasty people, we could ignore all that fussy structural stuff. Bullshit. Escobar's dead and Colombian coke is flying through the pipeline faster than ever. Cali "kingpins" are biting the dust too, but Colombian coke just keeps on flowing through La Pipa.

The State Department's end-of-year 1996 Narcotics Control Strategy Report also goes on and on, country by country, about the destruction of "kingpins," continually claiming completely imaginary strategic progress. It measures this progress not only by the death of this or that bad guy, literally counting bodies, but by its successful efforts to enhance "police-military cooperation" in-country with U.S. enforcement entities. "Progress," of course, justifies an ever-expanding budget. It also points to the real import of the Drug War - the enhancement of U.S. power "in-country."

On May 2, 1996, Attorney General Reno, flanked by a phalanx of heavies, treated us to her John Mitchell impersonation. She announced that the United States had smashed a major drug ring with "tentacles" extending into Colombia, Mexico and cities all across the U.S. The operation netted 130 arrests, $17 million in cash and 6 tons of cocaine. "The most sophisticated and the most well-coordinated effort that I've ever seen," beamed one DEA official, who surely must have known better. The bust was trumpeted, in a strangely homogenized way, all over the media as a tactical victory in the War. The fact that busts like this have been routine for the past 25 years, and that the Colombians replaced the coke and the street dealers within ten minutes, wasn't mentioned. All Reno actually did was reinforce the value of the mountain of coke that remained on the street, thus creating yet more incentive to produce more coke as rapidly as possible.

The Colombians distribute much of their coke through the Gangster Disciples, who are so powerful they can buy 300-kilo lots direct and manage the nationwide distribution themselves. That's not just a gang, that's a culture. The Disciples can use their army of wholesalers to front ambitious 12-year-olds a "sixty-pack" of ten-dollar crack vials. An outgoing hustler can sell-out in half an hour. The kid keeps a hundred, turns $500 over to the wholesaler, and gets another sixty-pack. The kid can make $1000 in a day, and the wholesaler many times that. The cops end up at war with the whole neighborhood.

"Gang violence has spread to every corner of America," intoned Janet Reno, as she announced the results of the July, 1996 survey of gang activity, which showed an estimated 650,000 gang members in 25,000 gangs nationwide. These figures demonstrate the need for yet more and better warfare aimed at the projects, insisted the AG.

Thanks to this logic, the Bloods, the Crips, the Vice Lords, the Cobra Stones and the Gangster Disciples have an ironclad monopoly on street dealing throughout the U.S. The power-hungry Disciples enforce their membership with savage rules of violence. You come to work on-time, and you come to work sober, or else. You don't screw up the brothers. These guys are more disciplined than the Mafia ever was. These serious pistoleros won't be dignified in the media as freedom fighters, of course, but they sure as hell are fighters, and many see themselves as freedom fighters. The Gangster Disciples call themselves "Brothers of the Struggle." Try taking the night away from them in downtown Chicago.

The Gangster Disciples, created in 1974 by an organizational genius named Larry "King" Hoover, from prison, now have 30,000 members in 35 states - and an annual income of at least $100 million. You better believe they know how to defend their turf. So what if King Hoover gets another 200 years added to his life sentence. How's that going to affect his Midwest pistoleros, or the cops on their payroll? If you were offered $10,000 for one night's work, or a bullet in the head, which would you take?

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #57 
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2004/121304.html

America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb
By Robert Parry
December 13, 2004

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that forced a long-overdue investigation of a very dark chapter of recent U.S. foreign policy – the Reagan-Bush administration’s protection of cocaine traffickers who operated under the cover of the Nicaraguan contra war in the 1980s.
For his brave reporting at the San Jose Mercury News, Webb paid a high price. He was attacked by journalistic colleagues at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the American Journalism Review and even the Nation magazine. Under this media pressure, his editor Jerry Ceppos sold out the story and demoted Webb, causing him to quit the Mercury News. Even Webb’s marriage broke up.
On Friday, Dec. 10, Gary Webb, 49, died of an apparent suicide, a gunshot wound to the head.
Whatever the details of Webb’s death, American history owes him a huge debt. Though denigrated by much of the national news media, Webb’s contra-cocaine series prompted internal investigations by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department, probes that confirmed that scores of contra units and contra-connected individuals were implicated in the drug trade. The probes also showed that the Reagan-Bush administration frustrated investigations into those crimes for geopolitical reasons.
Failed Media
Unintentionally, Webb also exposed the cowardice and unprofessional behavior that had become the new trademarks of the major U.S. news media by the mid-1990s. The big news outlets were always hot on the trail of some titillating scandal – the O.J. Simpson case or the Monica Lewinsky scandal – but the major media could no longer grapple with serious crimes of state.
Even after the CIA’s inspector general issued his findings in 1998, the major newspapers could not muster the talent or the courage to explain those extraordinary government admissions to the American people. Nor did the big newspapers apologize for their unfair treatment of Gary Webb. Foreshadowing the media incompetence that would fail to challenge George W. Bush’s case for war with Iraq five years later, the major news organizations effectively hid the CIA’s confession from the American people.
The New York Times and the Washington Post never got much past the CIA’s “executive summary,” which tried to put the best spin on Inspector General Frederick Hitz’s findings. The Los Angeles Times never even wrote a story after the final volume of the CIA’s report was published, though Webb’s initial story had focused on contra-connected cocaine shipments to South-Central Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times’ cover-up has now continued after Webb’s death. In a harsh obituary about Webb, the Times reporter, who called to interview me, ignored my comments about the debt the nation owed Webb and the importance of the CIA’s inspector general findings. Instead of using Webb’s death as an opportunity to finally get the story straight, the Times acted as if there never had been an official investigation confirming many of Webb’s allegations. [Los Angeles Times, Dec. 12, 2004.]
By maintaining the contra-cocaine cover-up – even after the CIA’s had admitted the facts – the big newspapers seemed to have understood that they could avoid any consequences for their egregious behavior in the 1990s or for their negligence toward the contra-cocaine issue when it first surfaced in the 1980s. After all, the conservative news media – the chief competitor to the mainstream press – isn’t going to demand a reexamination of the crimes of the Reagan-Bush years.
That means that only a few minor media outlets, like our own Consortiumnews.com, will go back over the facts now, just as only a few of us addressed the significance of the government admissions in the late 1990s. I compiled and explained the findings of the CIA/Justice investigations in my 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth.’
Contra-Cocaine Case
Lost History, which took its name from a series at this Web site, also describes how the contra-cocaine story first reached the public in a story that Brian Barger and I wrote for the Associated Press in December 1985. Though the big newspapers pooh-poohed our discovery, Sen. John Kerry followed up our story with his own groundbreaking investigation. For his efforts, Kerry also encountered media ridicule. Newsweek dubbed the Massachusetts senator a “randy conspiracy buff.” [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Kerry’s Contra-Cocaine Chapter.”]
So when Gary Webb revived the contra-cocaine issue in August 1996 with a 20,000-word three-part series entitled “Dark Alliance,” editors at major newspapers already had a powerful self-interest to slap down a story that they had disparaged for the past decade.
The challenge to their earlier judgments was doubly painful because the Mercury-News’ sophisticated Web site ensured that Webb’s series made a big splash on the Internet, which was just emerging as a threat to the traditional news media. Also, the African-American community was furious at the possibility that U.S. government policies had contributed to the crack-cocaine epidemic.
In other words, the mostly white, male editors at the major newspapers saw their preeminence in judging news challenged by an upstart regional newspaper, the Internet and common American citizens who also happened to be black. So, even as the CIA was prepared to conduct a relatively thorough and honest investigation, the major newspapers seemed more eager to protect their reputations and their turf.
Without doubt, Webb’s series had its limitations. It primarily tracked one West Coast network of contra-cocaine traffickers from the early-to-mid 1980s. Webb connected that cocaine to an early “crack” production network that supplied Los Angeles street gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, leading to Webb’s conclusion that contra cocaine fueled the early crack epidemic that devastated Los Angeles and other U.S. cities.
Counterattack
When black leaders began demanding a full investigation of these charges, the Washington media joined the political Establishment in circling the wagons. It fell to Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s right-wing Washington Times to begin the counterattack against Webb’s series. The Washington Times turned to some former CIA officials, who participated in the contra war, to refute the drug charges.
But – in a pattern that would repeat itself on other issues in the following years – the Washington Post and other mainstream newspapers quickly lined up behind the conservative news media. On Oct. 4, 1996, the Washington Post published a front-page article knocking down Webb’s story.
The Post’s approach was twofold: first, it presented the contra-cocaine allegations as old news – “even CIA personnel testified to Congress they knew that those covert operations involved drug traffickers,” the Post reported – and second, the Post minimized the importance of the one contra smuggling channel that Webb had highlighted – that it had not “played a major role in the emergence of crack.” A Post side-bar story dismissed African-Americans as prone to “conspiracy fears.”
Soon, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times joined in the piling on of Gary Webb. The big newspapers made much of the CIA’s internal reviews in 1987 and 1988 that supposedly cleared the spy agency of a role in contra-cocaine smuggling.
But the CIA's decade-old cover-up began to crack on Oct. 24, 1996, when CIA Inspector General Hitz conceded before the Senate Intelligence Committee that the first CIA probe had lasted only 12 days, the second only three days. He promised a more thorough review.
Mocking Webb
Meanwhile, however, Gary Webb became the target of outright media ridicule. Influential Post media critic Howard Kurtz mocked Webb for saying in a book proposal that he would explore the possibility that the contra war was primarily a business to its participants. “Oliver Stone, check your voice mail,” Kurtz chortled. [Washington Post, Oct. 28, 1996]
Webb’s suspicion was not unfounded, however. Indeed, White House aide Oliver North’s emissary Rob Owen had made the same point a decade earlier, in a March 17, 1986, message about the contra leadership. “Few of the so-called leaders of the movement … really care about the boys in the field,” Owen wrote. “THIS WAR HAS BECOME A BUSINESS TO MANY OF THEM.” [Capitalization in the original.]
Nevertheless, the pillorying of Gary Webb was on, in earnest. The ridicule also had a predictable effect on the executives of the Mercury-News. By early 1997, executive editor Jerry Ceppos was in retreat.
On May 11, 1997, Ceppos published a front-page column saying the series “fell short of my standards.” He criticized the stories because they “strongly implied CIA knowledge” of contra connections to U.S. drug dealers who were manufacturing crack-cocaine. “We did not have proof that top CIA officials knew of the relationship.”
The big newspapers celebrated Ceppos’s retreat as vindication of their own dismissal of the contra-cocaine stories. Ceppos next pulled the plug on the Mercury-News’ continuing contra-cocaine investigation and reassigned Webb to a small office in Cupertino, California, far from his family. Webb resigned the paper in disgrace.
For undercutting Webb and the other reporters working on the contra investigation, Ceppos was lauded by the American Journalism Review and was given the 1997 national “Ethics in Journalism Award” by the Society of Professional Journalists. While Ceppos won raves, Webb watched his career collapse and his marriage break up.
Probes Advance
Still, Gary Webb had set in motion internal government investigations that would bring to the surface long-hidden facts about how the Reagan-Bush administration had conducted the contra war. The CIA’s defensive line against the contra-cocaine allegations began to break when the spy agency published Volume One of Hitz’s findings on Jan. 29, 1998.
Despite a largely exculpatory press release, Hitz’s Volume One admitted that not only were many of Webb’s allegations true but that he actually understated the seriousness of the contra-drug crimes and the CIA’s knowledge. Hitz acknowledged that cocaine smugglers played a significant early role in the Nicaraguan contra movement and that the CIA intervened to block an image-threatening 1984 federal investigation into a San Francisco-based drug ring with suspected ties to the contras. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’]
On May 7, 1998, another disclosure from the government investigation shook the CIA’s weakening defenses. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, introduced into the Congressional Record a Feb. 11, 1982, letter of understanding between the CIA and the Justice Department. The letter, which had been sought by CIA Director William Casey, freed the CIA from legal requirements that it must report drug smuggling by CIA assets, a provision that covered both the Nicaraguan contras and Afghan rebels who were fighting a Soviet-supported regime in Afghanistan.
Justice Report
Another crack in the defensive wall opened when the Justice Department released a report by its inspector general, Michael Bromwich. Given the hostile climate surrounding Webb’s series, Bromwich’s report opened with criticism of Webb. But, like the CIA’s Volume One, the contents revealed new details about government wrongdoing.
According to evidence cited by the report, the Reagan-Bush administration knew almost from the outset of the contra war that cocaine traffickers permeated the paramilitary operation. The administration also did next to nothing to expose or stop the criminal activities. The report revealed example after example of leads not followed, corroborated witnesses disparaged, official law-enforcement investigations sabotaged, and even the CIA facilitating the work of drug traffickers.
The Bromwich report showed that the contras and their supporters ran several parallel drug-smuggling operations, not just the one at the center of Webb’s series. The report also found that the CIA shared little of its information about contra drugs with law-enforcement agencies and on three occasions disrupted cocaine-trafficking investigations that threatened the contras.
Though depicting a more widespread contra-drug operation than Webb had understood, the Justice report also provided some important corroboration about a Nicaraguan drug smuggler, Norwin Meneses, who was a key figure in Webb’s series. Bromwich cited U.S. government informants who supplied detailed information about Meneses’s operation and his financial assistance to the contras.
For instance, Renato Pena, a money-and-drug courier for Meneses, said that in the early 1980s, the CIA allowed the contras to fly drugs into the United States, sell them and keep the proceeds. Pena, who also was the northern California representative for the CIA-backed FDN contra army, said the drug trafficking was forced on the contras by the inadequate levels of U.S. government assistance.
The Justice report also disclosed repeated examples of the CIA and U.S. embassies in Central America discouraging Drug Enforcement Administration investigations, including one into alleged contra-cocaine shipments moving through the airport in El Salvador. In an understated conclusion, Inspector General Bromwich wrote: “We have no doubt that the CIA and the U.S. Embassy were not anxious for the DEA to pursue its investigation at the airport.”
CIA's Volume Two
Despite the remarkable admissions in the body of these reports, the big newspapers showed no inclination to read beyond the press releases and executive summaries. By fall 1998, official Washington was obsessed with the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, which made it easier to ignore even more stunning disclosures in the CIA's Volume Two..
In Volume Two, published Oct. 8, 1998, CIA Inspector General Hitz identified more than 50 contras and contra-related entities implicated in the drug trade. He also detailed how the Reagan-Bush administration had protected these drug operations and frustrated federal investigations, which had threatened to expose the crimes in the mid-1980s. Hitz even published evidence that drug trafficking and money laundering tracked into Reagan’s National Security Council where Oliver North oversaw the contra operations.
Hitz revealed, too, that the CIA placed an admitted drug money launderer in charge of the Southern Front contras in Costa Rica. Also, according to Hitz’s evidence, the second-in-command of contra forces on the Northern Front in Honduras had escaped from a Colombian prison where he was serving time for drug trafficking
In Volume Two, the CIA’s defense against Webb’s series had shrunk to a tiny fig leaf: that the CIA did not conspire with the contras to raise money through cocaine trafficking. But Hitz made clear that the contra war took precedence over law enforcement and that the CIA withheld evidence of contra crimes from the Justice Department, the Congress and even the CIA’s own analytical division.
Hitz found in CIA files evidence that the spy agency knew from the first days of the contra war that its new clients were involved in the cocaine trade. According to a September 1981 cable to CIA headquarters, one of the early contra groups, known as ADREN, had decided to use drug trafficking as a financing mechanism. Two ADREN members made the first delivery of drugs to Miami in July 1981, the CIA cable reported.
ADREN’s leaders included Enrique Bermudez, who emerged as the top contra military commander in the 1980s. Webb’s series had identified Bermudez as giving the green light to contra fundraising by drug trafficker Meneses. Hitz’s report added that that the CIA had another Nicaraguan witness who implicated Bermudez in the drug trade in 1988.
Priorities
Besides tracing the evidence of contra-drug trafficking through the decade-long contra war, the inspector general interviewed senior CIA officers who acknowledged that they were aware of the contra-drug problem but didn’t want its exposure to undermine the struggle to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government.
According to Hitz, the CIA had “one overriding priority: to oust the Sandinista government. … [CIA officers] were determined that the various difficulties they encountered not be allowed to prevent effective implementation of the contra program.” One CIA field officer explained, “The focus was to get the job done, get the support and win the war.”
Hitz also recounted complaints from CIA analysts that CIA operations officers handling the contra war hid evidence of contra-drug trafficking even from the CIA’s analytical division. Because of the withheld evidence, the CIA analysts incorrectly concluded in the mid-1980s that “only a handful of contras might have been involved in drug trafficking.” That false assessment was passed on to Congress and the major news organizations – serving as an important basis for denouncing Gary Webb and his series in 1996.
Though Hitz’s report was an extraordinary admission of institutional guilt by the CIA, it passed almost unnoticed by the big newspapers.
Two days after Hitz’s report was posted at the CIA’s Internet site, the New York Times did a brief article that continued to deride Webb’s work, while acknowledging that the contra-drug problem may indeed have been worse than earlier understood. Several weeks later, the Washington Post weighed in with a similarly superficial article. The Los Angeles Times never published a story on the release of the CIA’s Volume Two.
Consequences
To this day, no editor or reporter who missed the contra-drug story has been punished for his or her negligence. Indeed, many of them are now top executives at their news organizations. On the other hand, Gary Webb’s career never recovered.
At Webb’s death, however, it should be noted that his great gift to American history was that he – along with angry African-American citizens – forced the government to admit some of the worst crimes ever condoned by any American administration: the protection of drug smuggling into the United States as part of a covert war against a country, Nicaragua, that represented no real threat to Americans.
The truth was ugly. Certainly the major news organizations would have come under criticism themselves if they had done their job and laid out this troubling story to the American people. Conservative defenders of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would have been sure to howl in protest.
But the real tragedy of Webb’s historic gift – and of his life cut short – is that because of the major news media’s callowness and cowardice, this dark chapter of the Reagan-Bush era remains largely unknown to the American people.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His new book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #58 
note....SOF editor Robert K. Brown exposed American lives to danger during the early 1980's by exposing Lt. Col. Bo Gritz' POW hunt mission WHILE GRITZ WAS IN COUNTRY! http://www.decentria.com/trimmer.html http://www.aiipowmia.com/ssc/gritz.html http://www.supremelaw.org/authors/gritz/index.htm and http://www.serendipity.li/cia/gritz1.htm Gritz was subsequently captured and attempts were made to prosecute him in the USA, upon his return when he began telling tales of meeting with Opium Lord Khun Sa in Burma. Khun Sa implicated senior U.S. intelligence officials in the dope trade, including Theodore Shackley and current deputy undersecretary of defense RICHARD ARMITAGE. Letter to Soldier of Fortune http://educate-yourself.org/tw/soldieroffortunemag02oct04.shtml Soldier of Fortune, Inc. Attn: Editor Robert K. Brown 5735 Arapahoe Ave., Suite A-5 Boulder, CO 80303 Dear Mr. Brown: My name is Matthew and I live in San Diego, California. I have been a long time reader of your magazine and I am also a recipient of some email exchanges between yourself and Mr. Celerino Castillo III. Apparently, Mr. Castillo, a retired federal agent, has responded to an anti-Kerry editorial (In your magazine) which attacked the presidential candidate for his Senate committee investigations of Contra involement in drug trafficking during the 1980's. http://www.thememoryhole.com/kerry/ The editorial in your magazine was then followed by another piece by CIA operative Felix Rodriguez which also attacked Kerry for his investigation of government links to the drug trade. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2004-09-23/metro.html I just wanted to write and let you know that as a reader of your magazine, I was shocked to hear first hand Mr. Castillo's experiences in Central America. He is one of the few eyewitnesses to the real history of Central America in the 1980's willing to speak about his experiences. He is one of the few people in a position to know this information. First of all, let me explain that I actually met and spoke with Mr. Castillo on more than one occasion. He was in San Diego on the campus of San Diego State University in November of 2000 giving a lecture on the war on drugs. He later addressed the national conference of MECHA, a hispanic student organization, on the SDSU campus in April, 2001. He then returned in May, 2002 for a lecture on Intelligence failures entitled "BLOWBACK" All three lectures attracted hundreds of people and attendance was "standing room only". A professor of education at SDSU is organizing a special collection at the university library. The archive contains documents and photos of Castillo's law enforcement career. His material is required reading for Education Majors (All future teachers) who want to earn a teaching credential at SDSU, thanks to the same professor. I want to let you know that I found Mr. Castillo to be a very proud and patriotic man who did EVERYTHING that his country asked him to do, without question. He is modest and soft-spoken and truely a gentleman who loves his country. He is the son of a WWII veteran who was shot six times in the Phillipines by the Japanese and earned a silver star for his actions in the war. During the Vietnam war, Castillo's father approached him and said "Son, you gotta pay your dues, just like I did". Although Mr. Castillo did not have to go to Vietnam, he unquestioningly followed the wishes of his father and was drafted into the war. (Unlike our current president and all of the other priveleged people in our government) He spent his time involved in covert operations where he was a sniper assigned to kill North Vietnamese army officers. His experiences during the war lead him to become a police officer and later a federal agent. Some of the things he witnessed: -Rape, torture and murder with the knowledge or approval of U.S. Intelligence agencies. -Drug trafficking and money laundering by U.S. Intelligence agencies. -top government officials in the countries he was assigned to work in (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador) were documented drug traffickers in DEA files. -Pilots involved in the Contra movement were given U.S. Visas despite being listed as drug traffickers in government files. The same pilots bragged of using their credentials to move dope. -U.S. asset bragging that they had killed a Roman Catholic archbishop, Oscar Romero. Being forced to work with same. -Purchased confiscated arms from Salvadoran military while posing undercover as a member of a drug cartel. Told by supervisors not to embarass the Salvadoran government. -Oliver North involved in drugs -Escaped Terrorist Enrique Posada hired by Felix Rodriguez and working for the Contra operation. -Castillo raided the home of U.S. civilian Walter Grasheim in El Salvador after repeated denials of CIA, US Military and U.S. Embassy that he worked for them. The raid was in response to several informants information that planes entering illopango and part of the Contras operations were involved in massive drug trafficking. Found during the raid were U.S. diplomatic passports, Salvadoran military ID cards in Grasheim's alias (Wlliam Brasher), U.S. Embassy license plates on his vehicles, M-16 rifle registered to U.S. Milgroup leader Col James Steele, ledgers indicating payoffs to Salvadoran military and government officials. Also found were small amounts of drugs and brand new military supplies such as C-4, Rifles and night vision equipment stacked to the ceiling. Attempts to trace the explosives were allegedly blocked by the Pentagon, according to U.S. Customs agent Richard Rivera, whom Castillo called in to help investgate. (Rivera was an expert at identifying and tracing weapons) -Federal agents in Panama had previously warned Castillo that Grasheim had flashed the credentials of the CIA, FBI and DEA when he arrogantly entered their offices and demanded to know if his pilots at Illopango were listed in the DEA NADDIS database. The agents ran Grasheim's name instead and tossed him out of the office after finding HIS name listed in more than ten files. -Grasheim would later call Castillo to threaten him and demand that his weapons be RETURNED. When confronted with evidence found in the raid, the U.S. Embassy, Castillo's supervisors, the CIA and the U.S. Milgroup would admit that they were aware of Grasheim's presence and that they were under orders from Oliver North to cooperate with him. In his speeches at SDSU, Castillo would sadly tell the audience that the things that made him the most proud in life were his kids and his bronze star. He later said that he had left his bronze star at the Vietnam Memorial in protest of the things he had witnessed in Latin America. Mr. Castillo has paid a heavy personal price for his honesty. Not only did he sacrifice a promising career in law enforcement, he lost his wife and children to divorce as a result. I am writing to ask you to let Mr. Castillo have his say. He backs his statements with file numbers, documents and names of witnesses who also happen to be government employees. http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/hall/contra1.html http://www.drugwar.com/castillo.shtm This is a lot more than your anti-Kerry writer wrote in his piece. It is a lot more than Felix Rodriguez said in his article. In addition, several other retired federal agents have come foward with similar allegations, (see attachment) including Mike Levine, Mike Holm and Hector Berrellez. http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2004/041217_mfe_webb_1.html Let me challenge you, Mr. Brown. Your magazine states that it is "pro-law enforcement". By your actions you are helping to cover up a major drug trafficking scandal. I am curious if you think it is okay for the government to traffic drugs if the cause is anti-communist. Your magazine glorifies military action and the men involved. You simply cannot face what paid for a lot of the covert operations around the world. The KLA in the Balkans, the Contras in Nicaragua, the Vietnam conflict, the Afghan warlords in present day. I will respect you if you come out and tell me what your motivation is for covering up for these people. Does the ends justify the means? Do you think it is okay to imprison people for what the government does with immunity? Do you think foreign policy should be dictated by drug traffic like it is in Afghanistan, Central America in the 80's and Asia during the 60's? If anyone has earned a right to speak, it is Mr. Castillo. He has suffered long enough for naively thinking that the U.S. government is a straight, honest government that always does the right thing. That is what the government does. It takes a young man, a true beleiver, and then chews him up. You owe it to the TRUE heros of the world like Mr. Castillo, who was chased through the mountains of Peru by indians angry that he cut down their coca crops.... Sincerely, Matthew D San Diego, California
__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #59 

Retired U.S. Customs Agent John Carman outs former DEA agent Bobby Nieves as being an employee of Guardian Technologies (Oliver North's company) after his 1995 retirement from the DEA. Nieves ordered fellow DEA agent Celerino Castillo III to investigate CIA drug trafficking at Illopango airbase in El Salvador during the 1980's and now spends his time trying to discredit the CIA drug link. The producers of the PBS Frontline failed to mention this in their documentary. Attempts to contact the writer Craig delavel and Lowell Bergman through the PBS website have never been answered.

http://www.customscorruption.com

The above-quoted DEA Chief of International Operations, Robert Nieves, before rising to that exalted position, ran the DEA's Costa Rica office. He ran interference for the Contras and Manuel Noriega against the likes of reformist antidrug revolutionary Hugo Spadafora and reformist antidrug DEA agent Celerino Castillo. It was Nieves who protected Hank Rhonâs trading partner Norwin Meneses for the CIA, literally helping to run his huge Contra-cocaine supply operation, as Gary Webb has documented in such detail. Nieves then went on to head the DEAâs cocaine task force in DC - with zero strategic effect, needless to say. 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.





PBS Frontline Drug War Special (October, 2000)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/nieves.html


Nieves was a special agent with the DEA from 1973 to 1995. He served as head of international operations and describes the inner workings of the global drug industry.
(excerpt)

When you go overseas [as] a federal agent and learn about drugs that are coming into the U.S., [is it] a crime if you don't stop it or inform authorities?

Yeah. There are controlled deliveries. You can't be a participant in drugs hitting the street. You're duty-bound, you're obligated to take the proper enforcement actions when you learn about shipments of drugs. No question...Essentially it's our job to take the drugs off the street. That's what it's about.

You've been publicly accused of letting it happen.

I was publicly accused by conspiracy theorists whose opinions don't value much. The person who publicly accused me was Gary Webb, in a book called Dark Alliance. The guy's a fabricator. Publications like the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, have all said that his stories were fantasy. His own Knight-Ridder Publications retracted many of the things he reported, so I place no value on what Gary Webb says. He is a conspiracy theorist, his motivation was clearly to sell books. It's irrelevant what he says.

The suspicion is still there...

What you are referring to is the Iran-Contra affair. In my opinion, it's the second most investigated event in American history, the first being the J.F.K. assassination. Every stone has been turned. Every page has been written. Everybody who had any knowledge about it has been questioned ad nauseam. There is no story about Contra drug smuggling that hasn't been reported a thousand times by the Kerry commission, Tower Commission, the IG's...There is no story...

...The Inspector General of the CIA has said in a second volume of the report on Gary Webb that there were 51 known Contra-related people who were involved in drugs: 14 individuals who were directly related, working with the Contras; another 14 pilots who at one time or another had some drug connection; 23 of their support people, and 3 of the companies that were involved in supplying the Contras. If it wasn't a grand conspiracy, what was it?

First of all, I don't know that those numbers are accurate. I think they probably include uncorroborated reports. You have to understand Central America at that time was a haven for conspiracy theorists. The Christic Institute, people like Gary Webb, others down there looking to dig up some story for political advantage. No sexier story than to create the notion in people's minds that these people are drug traffickers.

I was given carte blanche to do my job. Never once did anybody say anything about anything I was doing that wasn¼t supportive. What the American people have lost sight of, and what the liberals [and conspiracy theorists] would want you to lose sight of...is the fact that the Contra conflict was about indigenous people...fighting for survival...against the Communist government. They're lost in all these conspiracy theories. You never hear about them. At their height there might have been 10,000 Contras. Let's say that the [I.G.'s] right, and there were mentions of about 100 people. That's 1%, or less than 1% of the Contra movement that was even whispered about being engaged in this...

... [In Costa Rica] you were privy to what was going on in the region related to drug trafficking. What was going on at that time?

Heavy Colombian trans-shipment of drugs by way of Costa Rica. And huge cases were made...We were busy making real cases and not chasing fantasy shipments that people were imagining were taking place there. Because there weren't...All of these reports were looked at, all of these issues were found to be uncorroborated and unsubstantiated. There was no organized Contra drug trafficking supply line through Costa Rica. It just wasn't there. It's a fantasy, it's a conspiracy...

Why do you think that particularly in the [American] black community they believed these stories?

Because I think certain black leaders have embraced the conspiracy theory as a way to gain some political advantage in the political mainstream. It's just that simple. Creating in the minds of constituents the fact that the government must be to blame for drug addiction in X, Y or Z location, seems to be a tool that some politicians like to use to gain some political advantage. It's only politics. That's all it is.

So you're sitting here today and saying this was all created for political advantage?

I think so. There's no question in my mind about it. That's all it is. It's smoke. You think something like this could be secret? Do you think if people misbehaved the way Gary Webb says they misbehaved that [it] would go unproven? It can't happen. It just can't happen.

...What the conspiracy theorist does is he takes a shred of proof. Bob Nieves was the DEA agent in Costa Rica. And at that time, Mr. X was an informant in that office. Therefore, it follows that he must have known all of these things. It's not so. I'm here to tell you it's not so.

So all these reports on CBS news [about] John [Hull], a farmer in Costa Rica, [who] was a CIA operator running drugs--

How do you know? Well, I don't know what John Hull was and wasn't. I do know this--if he misbehaved as much as they say he did, why isn't he in jail?

...People misbehave, you get the proof, [and] they go to jail. And the bottom line is [if] there is no proof . . . nobody goes to jail. So the conspiracy theory thrives on the notion that you can just keep digging up this dirt and adding all these angles and spins to a story because it has political value...By the way, I don't think black America is sold on this theory. I think that a certain vocal minority among the black community buys into this, but I don't think black America by any stretch of the imagination is sold on it.

(excerpt)
But was it frustrating to you on the ground to see CIA, State, Defense Department concerns override your primary objectives?

They weren't overriding our primary--never, under no circumstances. Contrary to what Leslie Cockburn, [and] Gary Webb think, the embassy was being run in a way that allowed me to do an outstanding job down there. I think we increased seizures in Costa Rica by a remarkable amount. We gave more assistance to the Costa Rican government than any other time prior to that. We had put a program in place that allowed us to engage in some of the best investigative efforts that were done in that country. Now all of that gets put on the back burner in favor of these outlandish conspiracy theories that people want to put forth that this was some kind of a Dodge City where the Sheriff was wrong. And the fact of the matter is, it's not true. It just didn't happen that way, it's all fantasy.



http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/cia.html
(excerpt)
Former DEA field agent Nieves denied the suggestion that CIA objectives overrode DEA drug enforcement during the Contra War.
"I was given carte blanche to do my job," Nieves said. "Never once did anybody ever say anything to me about anything I was doing that was nothing but supportive. There was no interference. There was no overriding priority, there was no competition, there was no anything except for support of the DEA's mission. And that's a fact."
But others say the CIA's loose grip on its contacts certainly didn't help the DEA's cause.
"I believe that elements working for the CIA were involved in bringing drugs into the country," said Hector Berrellez, DEA field agent.
"I know specifically that some of the CIA contract workers, meaning some of the pilots, in fact were bringing drugs into the U.S. and landing some of these drugs in government air bases. And I know so because I was told by some of these pilots that in fact they had done that."
While most D.E.A. veterans we interviewed dismiss allegations of any conscious CIA activity or involvement in drug trafficking, a number are suspicious, and a handful like Berrellez claim they had hard evidence of "CIA contract employees" being involved. With the exception of the Venezuela National Guard case we were unable to find any evidence that any CIA agent was ever considered a potential target of a grand jury investigating drug trafficking.





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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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http://www.newsreview.com/issues/sacto/2004-12-13/feature.asp




In Memory

Gary Webb

August 31, 1955 - December 10, 2004

Rest in peace.







The memorial service for Gary Webb will be held at The Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento on Saturday, December 18th at 2:00 p.m. The address is 2001 Point West Way. It will be in the Garden Terrace Room. Hotel phone number: 916-929-8855.

Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
by Gary Webb

Gary Webb remembered
In their words ... and his own
SN&R Feature by Melinda Welsh and Bill Forman

A sad goodbye
SN&R Editor's note by Tom Walsh

Author Archives
(Gary Webb's recent stories for the SN&R)

Kill the Messenger
Gary Webb, 1955-2004
by Nick Schou

Cracked Report
Why did the San Jose Mercury News recant Gary Webb's story about CIA involvement in the War of Drugs?
(SN&R's 1997 Cover on Gary Webb by Nick Budnick)

R.I.P. Gary Webb -- Unembedded Reporter
(Jeff Cohen on the death of Gary Webb)

America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb
(Robert Parry on the death of Gary Webb)

Snow Job
The Establishment's Papers Do Damage Control for the CIA
(Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's background on the history of Gary Webb and Dark Alliance)

Gary Webb Speaks
(Complete text of Gary Webb's 1999 talk in Eugene, Oregon)

Trashed by the CIA's Claque
Gary Webb: a Great Reporter
(Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair on the death of Gary Webb)

Is Anyone Apologizing to Gary Webb?
by Michael Levine

Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004
Esquire--and All of Journalism--Loses a Friend
(Introduction and Esquire stories)



In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Gary Webb Memorial Fund, c/o the address listed below.

If you would like to send condolences to the family:

Susan Bell
552 Fisher Circle
Folsom CA 95630
suebell@sbcglobal.net












Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004






Investigative journalist Gary Webb was a friend of ours. And he was a damn fine reporter and writer. Gary was all you could ask for in a journalist: tough, unafraid, and honest as the day is long. He lived his life to be a check on the powerful, like any good investigative journalist worth his salt. Well, in 1996 he wrote a series of articles for the San Jose Mercury-News on the CIA and that agency's complicity in the cocaine trade in southern California in the 1980s. It wasn't flawless journalism, but it told a very important story, and in fact it prompted an investigation by the CIA's inspector general which subsequently confirmed the pillars of Webb's findings. But the funny thing is that Webb was driven from journalism because of that series. Rather than extending Webb's story by doing their own reporting, major newspapers instead turned on him and were more determined, it seemed, to attempt to undermine and discredit Webb's reporting. Indeed, the ombudsman for The Washington Post at the time, Geneva Overholser, wrote that her own paper and other major media had "shown more passion for sniffing out the flaws in the Mercury News's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves." In so doing, these newspapers relied on many official sources, which is odd considering the subject of Webb's stories. One can only guess as to their motivations.

In any event, Webb was abandoned by his own paper and could not find work in journalism after that. In September 1998, this magazine published the story of what happened to Gary Webb. Written by Charles Bowden and entitled "The Pariah," it is posted below. Esquire is also very proud to have published Webb's return to investigative journalism, a definitive and exclusive piece on a DEA-run program called "Operation Pipeline" which was a program of official racial profiling, and which involved law enforcement all over the country. Webb's piece, entitled "Driving While Black," was followed a year later by a New York Times story on Operation Pipeline in which the Times took credit for the scoop and did not mention that it was Gary Webb who had first broken the story.

Last week, Gary Webb took his own life. Words cannot express our sympathy to his family and to everyone who loved him. And words cannot express our sadness at the terrible loss, to journalism and to the world.

-Esquire Magazine

http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2004/041217_mfe_webb_1.html

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #61 
http://www.ocweekly.com/ink/05/15/news-schou.php

December 17, 2004

Kill the Messenger
Gary Webb, 1955-2004


by Nick Schou

A tangled Webb
Photo by Brad Wilson


There’s no evidence of foul play in the death last week of Gary Webb, but that hasn’t stopped the conspiracy mill from working 24-hour shifts. As a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, Webb uncovered the CIA’s role in the 1980s Los Angeles crack-cocaine epidemic. Internet postings figure Webb died at the hands of a CIA spook. In fact, it was the media that killed him.

Early reports say Webb perished of self-inflicted gunshot wounds at his Sacramento-area home on Friday. According to a Dec. 12 Los Angeles Times obituary, Webb had by that time lost his job and family thanks in part to controversy over his August 1996 Dark Alliance series. Webb’s meticulous reports ignited a firestorm of outrage in South-Central LA and a public-relations nightmare for the CIA. They turned Webb into a minor celebrity. Controversy followed. "Major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, wrote reports discrediting elements of Webb’s reporting," the Times reported.

I first met Webb as debate over his work was cresting, in late 1996. He was in Santa Monica to speak at the now-closed Midnight Special Bookstore. Many in the audience seemed eager to hear Webb accuse the CIA of deliberately dealing dope in the inner city. But Webb began his speech by drawing the sorts of subtle distinctions he drew in his work. He insisted he didn’t believe the CIA would—let alone could—intentionally spark the crack-cocaine epidemic.

Some in the crowd booed him.

By then, Webb’s story had become a magnet—and potential source of credibility—for every conspiracy theorist claiming the CIA was involved in drugs, murder or mind control. Yet despite its ominous title, Dark Alliance wasn’t about a massive CIA plot. It was about the agency’s tie to exactly one major drug ring—which happened to include the most successful crack dealer in South-Central during the 1980s: Freeway Ricky Ross.

Well before Webb even knew of Ross, the Los Angeles Times had dubbed Ross—a flamboyant drug dealer now serving life in prison—the "king of crack." But then the Times fecklessly dropped Ross’ story. Webb simply revealed one feature of Ross’ peculiar luck: the CIA had helped protect his Nicaraguan cocaine smugglers from federal prosecution. The CIA’s interest was mercenary: the drug ring’s profits purchased weapons for the U.S.-backed war against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas.

Working with Ross’ Nicaraguan suppliers was a mysterious ex-Laguna Beach cop named Ronald Lister. When cops raided his Mission Viejo home for drugs in 1986, Lister darkly warned his interrogators he worked for the CIA, which wasn’t going to be happy about the raid. After Webb’s story, the CIA took a rare step. In a press release designed to aid Webb’s critics in the media, the agency categorically denied ever having employed Lister.

Because Lister was an ex-Orange County cop, I spent months looking into his possible connection to the CIA. That effort alone made it almost impossible to work on any other story—and made me understand what Webb was up against: haggling with slow-moving local, state and federal bureaucracies over records; interviewing reluctant co-conspirators; sizing up potential charlatans; deciding whether to meet with sources who promise big information in out-of-the-way places. There seemed no escape from the story—not at work, certainly, but even in my personal life, where friends and family expressed skepticism about "conspiracy theories" and fear that I had entered my own terminal dark alliance.

Webb’s story had already revealed that Lister’s Newport Beach security company worked in El Salvador during the civil war there, even meeting with leaders of that country’s notorious right-wing death squads. After my first article ran, Webb called and thanked me. He said it was refreshing to see another journalist take his story seriously and actually try to add to the reporting. The LA Times, for example, scooped by Webb on the source of Ross’ cocaine, now backpedaled desperately: having once crowned Ross a member of crack’s royal family, it suddenly demoted him to a mere street thug "dwarfed" by other crack dealers.

For the next several months, Webb and I spoke about once a week, up to an hour each time, sharing the thrill of chasing an important story the mainstream media seemed eager to dismiss.

In late 1996, I tracked down Tim La-france, who flew to El Salvador with Lister’s security firm. Lafrance claimed Lister was a CIA operative who helped funnel weapons to the U.S.-backed contras. I also discovered that the late Bill Nelson, a former second-in-command at the CIA, more recently an executive at Irvine-based multinational Fluor Corp., had helped Lister with his Central American "business" deals. I interviewed a pair of ex-spooks who admitted they knew Lister—and then nervously denied Lister had any relationship to the CIA. One of them, a Fairfax, Virginia-based security consultant and former CIA agent, advised me to ponder the fact that "some people" weren’t going to be happy about my reporting.

That was creepy. Creepier still was discovering from Webb the story of reporter Danny Casolero. In 1991, Casolero was investigating Iran-contra-era covert operations in California. Among his potential contacts were Lafrance and one of the ex-spooks with whom I’d spoken. Casolero never got to put his story to bed: he was discovered dead in the bathtub of a West Virginia hotel room in 1991. Noting several deep wounds in Casolero’s forearms, the coroner ruled it suicide. But then as now, widespread speculation of CIA hitmen followed. It was easier for some to believe a tale of assassination than to accept the more mundane possibility of a struggling freelance writer, doggedly pursuing the story of his life, now reaching the end of his dwindling financial and psychological resources.

As far as I know, Webb didn’t have an opinion on Casolero’s death. But he thought it noteworthy the covert operations Casolero had chased led to some of the same characters I had interviewed about Lister—a weird coincidence Webb would mention in his 1998 book, Dark Alliance. But Casolero’s wasn’t the only odd suicide involving Webb’s story. Back in the late 1980s, a federal prosecutor probing the Dark Alliance drug ring in Los Angeles had been found in his car, apparently after shooting himself. Shortly after leaving the San Jose Mercury News, Webb asked me to run up to LA to find and mail him the death certificate, just to make sure it described the agent’s gunshot wound as self-inflicted. It did.

During our many telephone conversations, I remember asking Webb whether he ever felt threatened. He just laughed. Webb’s partner, Georg Hodel, a Swiss reporter based in Nicaragua who helped report the original Dark Alliance series, had received death threats in Central America and had once been violently run off the road by an unmarked car.

But as Webb was all too aware by then, his real danger was losing his career and paycheck, if not his credibility.

In May 1997, Webb’s editors at the Mercury News stepped back from his stories, apologized for "errors" in them and reassigned him to a tiny bureau in Cupertino, California. Webb soon quit; went through a divorce; and wrote Dark Alliance, the 540-page book defending his original articles. A year later, there was exoneration: the CIA’s Inspector General reported the agency knew the Nicaraguan contras were trafficking cocaine and not only did nothing to stop the business, but also specifically directed agency employees not to report it.

I kept in touch with Webb and shared occasional updates on Lister from heavily censored, sporadically released FBI reports. He seemed excited to hear about my discoveries, but as they dwindled over time, so did the frequency of our contact. Although he had been pushed out of journalism by the mainstream media, the alternative media treated him like a king. Esquire magazine published a detailed story about his career. Hollywood seemed interested in a Dark Alliance film.

Webb worked for a few years as a researcher for the California Legislature. But this summer, he told me he had been laid off and he was once again looking for work as a reporter. He promised to pay a visit during a weekend motorcycle trip to LA for a series of job interviews. It rained that weekend; in any case, Webb never called.

When I found out a month later he had joined the Sacramento News & Review as a staff writer, I left him a congratulatory message. He didn’t return my call. I forgave him, imagining he was busy working on big stories. He was. Go to the News & Review website (newsreview.com) and read "The Killing Game," an October piece in which Webb examines the military’s new interest in computer killing games; it displays everything that made Webb one of the nation’s great investigative reporters—his toughness, accuracy, wit and grace. But he was also just trying to move on with his life, which had been ruined by a story that wouldn’t forget him.

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #62 
December 18 / 19, 2004
From Kobe Bryant to Uncle Sam
Why They Hated Gary Webb
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
I read a piece about Kobe Bryant a couple of days ago. The way it described his fall made me think of Bryant as a parable of America in the Bush years, that maybe even W himself could understand. No longer the big guy leading the winning team to victory over Commie scum, but a street-corner lout, picking on victims quarter his size, trying always to buy his way out of trouble. Don't leave your sister alone with Uncle Sam! No one want to buy Uncle Sam's jerseys anymore, same way they don't buy Kobe Bryant's.
This business of Uncle Sam's true face brings me to Gary Webb and why they hated him. Few spectacles in journalism in the mid-1990s were more disgusting than the slagging of Gary Webb in the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Squadrons of hacks, some of them with career-long ties to the CIA, sprayed thousands of words of vitriol over Webb and his paper, the San Jose Mercury News for besmirching the Agency's fine name by charging it with complicity in the importing of cocaine into the US.

There are certain things you aren't meant to say in public in America. The systematic state-sponsorship of torture by the US used to be a major no-no, but that went by the board this year (even though Seymour Hersh treated the CIA with undue kindness in Chain of Command: the Road to Abu Ghraib) . A prime no-no is to say that the US government has used assassination down the years as an instrument of national policy; also that the CIA's complicity with drug dealing criminal gangs stretches from the Afghanistan of today back to the year the Agency was founded in 1947. That last one is the line Webb stepped over.He paid for his presumption by undergoing one of the unfairest batterings in the history of the US press, as the chapter from Whiteout we ran on our site yesterday narrates.
Friday, December 10, Webb died in his Sacramento apartment by his own hand, or so it certainly seems. The notices of his passing in many newspapers were as nasty as ever. The Los Angeles Times took care to note that even after the Dark Alliance uproar Webb's career had been "troubled", offering as evidence the fact that " While working for another legislative committee in Sacramento, Webb wrote a report accusing the California Highway Patrol of unofficially condoning and even encouraging racial profiling in its drug interdiction program." The effrontery of the man! "Legislative officials released the report in 1999", the story piously continued, "but cautioned that it was based mainly on assumptions and anecdotes", no doubt meaning that Webb didn't have dozens of CHP officers stating under oath, on the record, that they were picking on blacks and Hispanics.
There were similar fountains of outrage in 1996 that the CIA hadn't been given enough space in Webb's series to solemnly swear that never a gram of cocaine had passed under its nose but that it had been seized and turned over to the DEA or US Customs.
In 1998 Jeffrey St Clair and I published our book, Whiteout, about the relationships between the CIA, drugs and the press since the Agency's founding. We also examined the Webb affair in detail. On a lesser scale, at lower volume it elicited the same sort of abuse Webb drew. It was a long book stuffed with well-documented facts, over which the critics lightly vaulted to charge us, as they did Webb, with "conspiracy-mongering" though, sometimes in the same sentence, of recycling "old news". Jeffrey and I came to the conclusion that what really affronted the critics, some of them nominally left-wing, was that our book portrayed Uncle Sam's true face. Not a "rogue" Agency but one always following the dictates of government, murdering, torturing, poisoning, drugging its own subjects, approving acts of monstrous cruelty, following methods devised and tested by Hitler's men, themselves transported to America after the Second World War.
One of the CIA's favored modes of self-protection is the "uncover-up".The Agency first denies with passion, then later concedes in muffled tones, the charges leveled against it. Such charges have included the Agency's recruitment of Nazi scientists and SS officers; experiments on unwitting American citizens; efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro; alliances with opium lords in Burma, Thailand and Laos; an assassination program in Vietnam; complicity in the toppling of Salvador Allende in Chile; the arming of opium traffickers and religious fanatics in Afghanistan; the training of murderous police in Guatemala and El Salvador; and involvement in drugs-and-arms shuttles between Latin America and the US.
True to form, after Webb's series raised a storm, particularly on black radio, the CIA issued categorical denials. Then came the solemn pledges of an intense and far-reaching investigation by the CIA's Inspector General, Fred Hitz. On December 18, 1997, stories in the Washington Post by Walter Pincus and in the New York Times by Tim Weiner appeared simultaneously, both saying the same thing: Inspector General Hitz had finished his investigation. He had found "no direct or indirect" links between the CIA and the cocaine traffickers. As both Pincus and Weiner admitted in their stories, neither of the two journalists had actually seen the report.

The actual report itself, so loudly heralded, received almost no examination. But those who took the time to examine the 149-page document the first of two volumes--found Inspector General Hitz making one damning admission after another including an account of a meeting between a pilot who was making drug/arms runs between San Francisco and Costa Rica with two Contra leaders who were also partners with the San Francisco-based Contra/drug smuggler Norwin Meneses. Present at this encounter in Costa Rica was a curly-haired man who said his name was Ivan Gomez, identified by one of the Contras as CIA's "man in Costa Rica." The pilot told Hitz that Gomez said he was there to "ensure that the profits from the cocaine went to the Contras and not into someone's pocket ." The second volume of CIA Inspector General Fred Hitz's investigation released in the fall of 1998 buttressed Webb's case even more tightly, as James Risen conceded in a story in the New York Times on October 120 of that year.
So why did the top-tier press savage Webb, and parrot the CIA's denials. It comes back to this matter of Uncle Sam's true face. Another New York Times reporter, Keith Schneider was asked by In These Times back in 1987 why he had devoted a three-part series in the New York Times to attacks on the Contra hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry. Schneider said such a story could "shatter the Republic. I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass." Kerry did uncover mountains of evidence. So did Webb. But neither of them got the only thing that would have satisfied Schneider, Pincus and all the other critics: a signed confession of CIA complicity by the DCI himself. Short of that, I'm afraid we're left with "innuendo", "conspiracy mongering" and "old stories". We're also left with the memory of some great work by a very fine journalist who deserved a lot better than he got from the profession he loved.
Footnote: a version of this column ran in the print edition of The Nation that went to press last Wednesday. In fact the oddest of all reviews of Whiteout was one in The Nation, a multi-page screed by a woman who I seem to remember was on some payroll of George Soros. She flayed us for giving aid and comfort to the war on drugs and not addressing the truly important question, Why do people take drugs. As I said at the time, to get high, stupid!
http://www.counterpunch.com/cockburn12182004.html

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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http://www.counterpunch.org/webb12172004.html

December 17, 2004

CounterAttack
How the Press and the CIA Killed Gary Webb's Career

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

[What follows is an extended excerpt from Chapter Two of our book Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press. AC / JSC]

The attack on Gary Webb and his series in the San Jose Mercury News remains one of the most venomous and factually inane assaults on a professional journalist's competence in living memory. In the mainstream press he found virtually no defenders, and those who dared stand up for him themselves became the object of virulent abuse and misrepresentation. L. J. O'Neale, the prosecutor for the Justice Department who was Danilo Blandón's patron and Rick Ross's prosecutor, initially formulated the polemical program against him. When one looks back on the assault in the calm of hindsight, what is astounding is the way Webb's foes in the press mechanically reiterated those attacks.

There was a disturbing racist thread underlying the attacks on Webb's series, and on those who took his findings seriously. It's clear, looking through the onslaughts on Webb in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, that the reaction in black communities to the series was extremely disturbing to elite opinion. This was an eruption of outrage, an insurgency not just of very poor people in South Central and kindred areas, but of almost all blacks and many whites as well. In the counterattacks, one gets the sense that a kind of pacification program was in progress. Karen De Young, an assistant editor at the Washington Post, evoked just such an impulse when Alicia Shepard of the American Journalism Review interviewed her. "I looked at [the Mercury News series] when it initially came out and decided it was something we needed to follow up on. When it became an issue in the black community and on talk shows, that seemed to be a different phenomenon." Remember too that the O. J. Simpson jury decision had also been deeply disturbing to white opinion. In that case, blacks had rallied around a man most whites believed to be a vicious killer, and there was a "white opinion riot" in response. Now blacks were mustering in support of a story charging that their profoundest suspicions of white malfeasance were true.

So in the counterattack there were constant, patronizing references to "black paranoia," decorously salted with the occasional concession that there was evidence from the past to support the notion that such paranoia might have some sound foundation.
Another factor lent a particular edge to the onslaughts. This was the first occasion on which the established press had to face the changing circumstances of the news business, in terms of registering mass opinion and allowing popular access. Webb's series coincided with the coming of age of the Internet. The Miami Herald, another Knight-Ridder paper in the same corporate family as the Mercury News, had been forced to change editorial course in the mid-1980s by the vociferous, highly conservative Cuban American presence in Miami. The Herald chose not to reprint Webb's series. However, this didn't prevent anyone in south Florida from finding the entire series on the Internet, along with all the supporting documents.

The word "pacification" is not inappropriate to describe the responses to Webb's story. Back in the 1980s, allegations about Contra drug running, also backed by documentary evidence, could be ignored with impunity. Given the Internet and black radio reaction, in the mid-1990s this was no longer possible, and the established organs of public opinion had to launch the fiercest of attacks on Webb and on his employer. This was a campaign of extermination: the aim was to destroy Webb and to force the Mercury News into backing away from the story's central premise. At the same time, these media manipulators attempted to minimize the impact of Webb' s story on the black community.

Another important point in the politics of this campaign is that Webb's fiercest assailants were not on the right. They were mainstream liberals, such as Walter Pincus and Richard Cohen of the Washington Post and David Corn of the Nation, There has always been a certain conservative suspicion of the CIA, even if conservatives outside the libertarian wing heartily applaud the Agency's imperial role. The CIA's most effective friends have always been the liberal center, on the editorial pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times and in the endorsement of a person like the Washington Post's president, Katharine Graham. In 1988 Graham had told CIA recruits, "We live in a dirty and dangerous world. 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."
By mid-September of 1996 the energy waves created by Webb's series were approaching critical mass and beginning to become an unavoidable part of the national news agenda. For example, NBC Dateline, a prime-time news show, had shot interviews with Webb and Rick Ross and had sent a team down to Nicaragua, where they filmed an interview with Norwin Meneses and other figures in the saga. Webb tells of a conversation with one of the Dateline producers, who asked him, "Why hasn't this shit been on TV before?" "You tell me," Webb answered. "You're the TV man."
A couple of weeks after this exchange, the program was telling Webb that it didn't look as though they would be going forward with the story after all. In the intervening weeks, the counterattack had been launched, and throughout the networks the mood had abruptly shifted. On November 15, NBC's Andrea Mitchell (partner of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, about as snugly ensconced a member of the Washington elite as you could hope to find) was saying on NBC News in Depth that Webb's story "was a conspiracy theory" that had been "spread by talk radio."
The storm clouds began to gather with the CNN-brokered exchange between Webb and Ron Kessler. Kessler had had his own dealings with the Agency. In 1992 he had published Inside the CIA, a highly anecdotal and relatively sympathetic book about the Agency, entirely devoid of the sharp critical edge that had characterized Kessler's The FBI. A couple of CIA memos written in 1991 and 1992 record the Agency's view of the experience of working with Kessler and other reporters.

The 1991 CIA note discusses Kessler's request for information and brags that a close relationship had been formed with Kessler, "which helped turn some 'intelligence failure' stories into 'intelligence success' stories." Of course this could have been merely self-serving fluff by an Agency officer, but it is certainly true that Kessler was far from hard on the Agency. That same CIA memo goes on to explain that the Agency maintains "relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly and TV network." The memo continues, "In many instances we have persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests or jeopardized sources or methods."
The next attack on Webb came from another long-time friend of the Agency, Arnaud de Borchgrave. De Borchgrave had worked for News- week as a columnist for many years and made no secret of the fact that he regarded many of his colleagues as KGB dupes. He himself boasted of intimate relations with French, British and US intelligence agencies and was violently right-wing in his views. In recent years he has written for the sprightly Washington Times, a conservative paper owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
The thrust of de Borchgrave's attack, which appeared in the Washington Times on September 24, 1996, was that Webb's basic thesis was wrong, because the Contras had been rolling in CIA money. Like almost all other critics, de Borchgrave made no effort to deal with the plentiful documents, such as federal grand jury transcripts, that Webb had secured and that were available on the Mercury News website. Indeed, some of the most experienced reporters in Washington displayed, amid their criticisms, a marked aversion to studying such source documents. De Borchgrave did remark that when all the investigations were done, the most that would emerge would be that a couple of CIA officers might have been lining their own pockets.
That same September 24, 1996, a more insidious assault came in the form of an interview of Webb by Christopher Matthews on the CNBC cable station. There are some ironies here. Matthews had once worked for Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. O'Neill had been sympathetic to the amendment against Contra funding offered by his Massachusetts colleague, Edward Boland. On the other hand, O'Neill had swiftly reacted to a firestorm of outrage about cocaine after the death of the Celtics' draftee Len Bias, a star basketball player at the University of Maryland. At that time, he rushed through the House some appalling "War on Drugs" legislation whose dire effects are still with us today.
Matthews left O'Neill's office with a carefully calculated career plan to market himself as a syndicated columnist and telepundit. Positioning himself as a right-of-center liberal, Matthews habitually eschewed fact for opinion, and is regarded by many op-ed editors as a self-serving blowhard with an exceptionally keen eye for the main chance. Clearly sensing where the wind was blowing, Matthews used his show to launch a fierce attack on Webb. First, he badgered the reporter for supposedly producing no evidence of "the direct involvement of American CIA officers." "Who said anything about American CIA agents?" Webb responded. "That's the most ethnocentric viewpoint I've ever seen in my life. The CIA used foreign nationals all the time. In this operation they were using Nicaraguan exiles."

Matthews had clearly prepped himself with de Borchgrave's article that morning. His next challenge to Webb was on whether or not the Contras needed drug money. Matthews's research assistants had prepared a timeline purporting to show that the Contras were flush with cash during the period when Webb's stories said they were desperate for money from any source.

But Webb, who had lived the chronology for eighteen months, stood his ground. He patiently expounded to Matthews's audience how Meneses and Blandón's drugs-for-guns operation was at its peak during the period when Congress had first restricted, then later totally cut off US funding to the Contra army based in Honduras. Webb told Matthews, "When the CIA funding was restored, all these guys got busted." After the interview, Webb says Matthews stormed off the set, berating his staff, "This is outrageous. I've been sabotaged."

The tempo now began to pick up. On October 1, Webb got a call in San Diego from Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post media reporter. "Kurtz called me," Webb remembers, "and after a few innocuous questions I thought that was that." It wasn't. Kurtz's critique came out on October 2 and became a paradigm for many of the assaults that followed. The method was simplicity itself: a series of straw men swiftly raised up, and as swiftly demolished. Kurtz opened by describing how blacks, liberal politicians and "some" journalists "have been trumpeting a Mercury News story that they say links the CIA to drug trafficking in the United States." Kurtz told how Webb's story had become "a hot topic," through the unreliable mediums of the Internet and black talk radio. "There's just one problem," Kurtz went on. "The series doesn't actually say the CIA knew about the drug trafficking." To buttress this claim, Kurtz then wrote that Webb had "admitted" as much in their brief chat with the statement, "We'd never pretended otherwise. This doesn't prove the CIA targeted black people. It doesn't say this was ordered by the CIA. Essentially, our trail stopped at the door of the CIA. They wouldn't return my phone calls."

What Webb had done in the series was show in great detail how a Contra funding crisis had engendered enormous sales of crack in South Central, how the wholesalers of that cocaine were protected from prosecution until the funding crisis ended, and how these same wholesalers were never locked away in prison, but were hired as informants by federal prosecutors. It could be argued that Webb's case is often circumstantial, but prosecutions on this same amount of circumstantial evidence have seen people put away on life sentences. Webb was telling the truth on another point as well: the CIA did not return his phone calls. And unlike Kurtz's colleagues at the Washington Post or New York Times reporter Tim Golden, who offered twenty-four off-the-record interviews in his attack, Webb refused to run quotes from officials without attribution. In fact, Webb did have a CIA source. "He told me," Webb remembers, "he knew who these guys were and he knew they were cocaine dealers. But he wouldn't go on the record so I didn't use his stuff in the story. I mean, one of the criticisms is we didn't include CIA comments in [the] story. And the reason we didn't is because they wouldn't return my phone calls and they denied my Freedom of Information Act requests."

But suppose the CIA had returned Webb's calls? What would a spokesperson have said, other than that Webb's allegations were outrageous and untrue? The CIA is a government entity pledged to secrecy about its activities. On scores of occasions, it has remained deceptive when under subpoena before a government committee. Why should the Agency be expected to answer frankly a bothersome question from a reporter? Yet it became a fetish for Webb's assailants to repeat, time after time, that the CIA denied his charges and that he had never given this denial as the Agency's point of view.

The CIA is not a kindergarten. The Agency has been responsible for many horrible deeds, including killings. Yet journalists kept treating it as though it was some above-board body, like the US Supreme Court. Many of the attackers assumed that Webb had been somehow derelict in not unearthing a signed order from William Casey mandating Agency officers to instruct Enrique Bermúdez to arrange with Norwin Meneses and Danilo Blandón to sell "x kilos of cocaine." This is an old tactic, known as "the hunt for the smoking gun." But of course, such a direct order would never be found by a journalist. Even when there is a clearly smoking gun, like the references to cocaine paste in Oliver North's notebooks, the gun rarely shows up in the news stories. North's notebooks were released to the public in the early 1990s. There for all to see was an entry on July 9, 1984, describing a conversation with CIA man Dewey Clarridge: "Wanted aircraft to go to Bolivia to pick up paste." Another entry on the same day stated, "Want aircraft to pick up 1,500 kilos."

"In Bolivia they have only one kind of paste," says former DEA agent Michael Levine, who spent more than a decade tracking down drug smugglers in Mexico, Southeast Asia and Bolivia. "That's cocaine paste. We have a guy working for the NSC talking to a CIA agent about a phone call to Adolfo Calero. In this phone call they discuss picking up cocaine paste from Bolivia and wanting an aircraft to pick up 1,500 kilos." None of Webb's attackers mentioned these diary entries.

A sort of manic literalism permeated the attacks modeled on Kurtz's chop job. For instance, critics repeatedly returned to Webb's implied accusation that the CIA had targeted blacks. As we have noted, Webb didn't actually say this, but merely described the sequence which had led to blacks being targeted by the wholesaler. However, we shall see that there have been many instances where the CIA, along with other government bodies, has targeted blacks quite explicitly in testing the toxicity of disease organisms, or the effects of radiation and mind-altering drugs. Yet Webb's critics never went anywhere near the well-established details of such targeting. Instead, they relied on talk about "black paranoia," which liberals kindly suggested could be traced to the black historical experience, and which conservatives more brusquely identified as "black irrationality."
Kurtz lost no time in going after Webb's journalistic ethics and denouncing the Mercury News for exploitative marketing of the series. As an arbiter of journalistic morals, Kurtz castigated Webb for referring to the Contras as "the CIA's army," suggesting that Webb used this phrase merely to implicate the Agency. This charge recurs endlessly in the onslaughts on Webb, and it is by far the silliest. One fact is agreed upon by everyone except a few berserk Maoists-turned-Reaganites, like Robert Leiken of Harvard. That fact is that the Contras were indeed the CIA's army, and that they had been recruited, trained and funded under the Agency's supervision. It's true that in the biggest raids of all the mining of the Nicaraguan harbors and the raids on the Nicaraguan oil refineries the Agency used its own men, not trusting its proxies. But for a decade the main Contra force was indeed the CIA's army, and followed its orders obediently.
In attacks on reporters who have overstepped the bounds of political good taste, the assailants will often make an effort to drive a wedge between the reporter and the institution for which the reporter works. For example, when Ray Bonner, working in Central America for the New York Times, sent a dispatch saying the unsayable that US personnel had been present at a torture session the Wall Street Journal and politicians in Washington attacked the Times as irresponsible for running such a report. The Times did not stand behind Bonner, and allowed his professional credentials to be successfully challenged.

The fissure between Webb and his paper opened when Kurtz elicited a statement from Jerry Ceppos, executive editor of the Mercury News, that he was "disturbed that so many people have leaped to the conclusion that the CIA was involved." This apologetic note from Ceppos was not lost on Webb's attackers, who successfully worked to widen the gap between reporter and editor.

Another time-hallowed technique in such demolition jobs is to charge that this is all "old news" as opposed to that other derided commodity, "ill-founded speculation." Kurtz used the "old news" ploy when he wrote, "The fact that Nicaraguan rebels were involved in drug trafficking has been known for a decade. " Kurtz should have felt some sense of shame in writing these lines, since his own paper had sedulously avoided acquainting its readers with this fact. Kurtz claimed, ludicrously, that "the Reagan Administration acknowledged as much in the 1980s, but subsequent investigations failed to prove that the CIA condoned or even knew about it." This odd sentence raised some intriguing questions. When had the Reagan administration "acknowledged as much"? And if the Reagan administration knew, how could the CIA have remained in ignorance? Recall that in the 1980s, the Reagan administration was referring to the Contras as the "moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers," and accusing the Sandinistas of being drug runners.

Kurtz also slashed at Webb personally, stating that he "appeared conscious of making the news." As illustration, Kurtz quoted a letter that Webb had written to Rick Ross in July 1996 about the timing of the series. Webb told Ross that it would probably be run around the time of his sentencing, in order to "generate as much public interest as possible." As Webb candidly told Ross, this was the way the news business worked. So indeed it does, at the Washington Post far more than at the Mercury News, as anyone following the Post's promotion of Bob Woodward's books will acknowledge. But Webb is somehow painted as guilty of self-inflation for telling Ross a journalistic fact of life.
On Friday, October 4, the Washington Post went to town on Webb and on the Mercury News, The onslaught carried no less than 5,000 words in five articles. The front page featured a lead article by Roberto Suro and Walter Pincus, headlined "CIA and Crack: Evidence Is Lacking of Contra-Tied Plot." Also on the front page was a piece by Michael Fletcher on black paranoia. The A section carried another piece on an inside page, a profile of Norwin Meneses by Douglas Farah. A brief sidebar by Walter Pincus was titled, "A Long History of Drug Allegations," compressing the entire history of the CIA's involvement with drug production in Southeast Asia a saga that Al McCoy took 634 pages to chart into 300 words. Finally, the front page of the Post's Style section that Friday morning contained an article by Donna Britt headlined, "Finding the Truest Truth." Britt's topic was how blacks tell stories to each other and screw things up in the process.

Connections between Walter Pincus and the intelligence sector are long-standing and well-known. From 1955 to 1957, he worked for US Army Counter-Intelligence in Washington, D.C. Pincus himself is a useful source about his first connections with the CIA. In 1968, when the stories about the CIA's penetration of the National Student Association had been broken by the radical magazine Ramparts, Pincus wrote a rather solemn expose of himself in the Washington Post. In a confessional style, he reported how the Agency had sponsored three trips for him, starting in 1960. He had gone to conferences in Vienna, Accra and New Delhi, acting as a CIA observer. It was clearly an apprenticeship in which as he well knew Pincus was being assessed as officer material. He evidently made a good impression, because the CIA asked him to do additional work. Pincus says he declined, though it would be hard to discern from his reporting that he was not, at the least, an Agency asset. The Washington Times describes Pincus as a person "who some in the Agency refer to as 'the CIA's house reporter.'"
Since Webb's narrative revolved around the central figures of Blandón and Meneses, Pincus and Suro understandably focused on the Nicaraguans, claiming that they were never important players in Contra circles. To buttress this view, the Post writers hauled out the somewhat dubious assertions of Adolfo Calero. As with other CIA denials, one enters a certain zone of unreality here. Journalists were using as a supposedly reliable source someone with a strong motivation to deny that his organization had anything to do with the cocaine trafficking of which it was accused. Pincus and Suro solemnly cited Calero as saying that when he met with Meneses and Blandón, "We had no crystal ball to know who they were or what they were doing." Calero's view was emphasized as reliable, whereas Blandón and Meneses were held to be exaggerating their status in the FDN.

Thus, we have Webb, based on Blandón's sworn testimony as a government witness before a federal grand jury, reporting that FDN leader Colonel Enrique Bermúdez had bestowed on Meneses the title of head of intelligence and security for the FDN in California. On the other hand, we have the self-interested denials to Pincus and Suro of a man who has been denounced to the FBI as "a pathological liar" by a former professor at California State University, Hayward, Dennis Ainsworth.

Just as Kurtz had done, Pincus and Suro homed in on the charge that Webb had behaved unethically. This time the charge was suggesting certain questions that Ross's lawyer, Alan Fenster, could ask Blandón. Webb' s retort has always been that it would be hard to imagine a better venue for reliable responses than a courtroom with the witness under oath.

But how did all the Washington Post writers come to focus in so knowledgeably on this particular courtroom scene?
Kurtz never mentions his name, and Pincus and Suro refer to him only in passing, but Assistant US District Attorney L. J. O'Neale was himself being questioned by Los Angeles Sheriff's Department investigators on November 19, 1996. The department's transcript of the interview shows O'Neale reveling in his top-secret security clearance with the CIA, and saying that "his personal feelings were that Mr. Webb had become an active part of Ricky Ross's defense team. He said that it was his personal opinion that Webb's involvement was on the verge of complicity." While he was speaking, O'Neale was searching for a document. As the investigators put it in their report, "In our presence he called Howard Kurtz, the author of the first Washington Post article, but nobody answered." Thereupon, also in their presence, he talked to Walter Pincus.

This hint of pre-existing relations between the Washington Post and the federal prosecutor suggests that O'Neale had rather more input into the Post's attacks on Webb than the passing mention of his name might suggest. And indeed, a comparison between O'Neale's court filings and the piece by Pincus and Suro shows that the Washington Post duo faithfully followed the line of O'Neale's attack. Once again, motive is important. O'Neale had every reason to try to subvert a reporter who had described in great detail how the US District Attorney had become the patron and handler of Danilo Blandón. Webb had described how O'Neale had saved Blandón from a life term in prison, found him a job as a government agent and used him as his chief witness in a series of trials. O'Neale had an enormous stake in discrediting Webb.
O'Neale's claim, reiterated by Pincus and Suro, is that Blandón mainly engaged in sending cocaine profits to the Contras in late 1981 and 1982, before hooking up with Rick Ross. Furthermore, the amount of cocaine sold by Blandón was a mere fraction of the national market for the drug, and thus could not have played a decisive role in sparking a crack plague in Los Angeles. In other words, according to the O'Neale line in the Post, Blandón had sold only a relatively insignificant amount of cocaine in 1981 and 1982 (later the magical figure $50,000 worth became holy writ among Webb's critics). His association with Ross had begun after Blandón had given up his charitable dispensations to the Contras, and thus was a purely criminal enterprise with no political ramifications. Therefore, even by implication, there could be no connection between the CIA and the rise of crack.
O'Neale had reversed the position he had taken in the days when he was prosecuting Blandón and calling him "the largest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States." Now he was claiming that Blandón's total sales of cocaine amounted to only 5 tons, and thus he could not be held accountable for the rise of crack. This specific argument was seized gratefully by Pincus and Suro. "Law enforcement estimates," Pincus and Suro wrote, "say Blandón handled a total of only about five tons of cocaine during a decade-long career."

Imagine if the Washington Post had been dealing with a claim by Mayor Marion Barry that during his mayoral terms "only" about 10,000 pounds of crack had been handled by traffickers in the blocks surrounding his office!
Webb was attacked for claiming, in the opening lines of his series, that "millions" had been funneled back to the Contras. In his statements to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department investigators, O'Neale said, " Blandón dealt with a total of 40 kilos of cocaine from January to December 1982. The profits of the sales were used to purchase weapons and equipment for the Contras." O'Neale was trying to narrow the window of "political" cocaine sales. However, during that time Blandón was selling cocaine worth over $2 million in only a fraction of the period that Webb identified as the time the cocaine profits were being remitted to Honduras.

The degree of enmity directed toward Webb can be gauged not only by O'Neale's diligent briefings of Webb's antagonists, but also by the raid on the office of Gary Webb's literary agent, Jody Hotchkiss of the Sterling Lord Agency, by agents of the Department of Justice and the DEA. The government men came brandishing subpoenas for copies of all correspondence between the Sterling Lord Agency, Rick Ross, Ross's lawyer Alan Fenster, and Webb. The DEA justified the search on the grounds that it wanted to see if Ross had any assets it could seize to pay his hefty fines. But Webb reckons "they were really looking for some sort of business deal between me and Ross. They wanted to discredit me as a reporter by saying he's making deals with drug dealers." The raid produced no evidence of any such deal, because there was none.

Cheek by jowl with Pincus and Suro on the Washington Post's front page that October 4 was Fletcher's essay on the sociology of black paranoia. Blacks, Fletcher claimed, cling to beliefs regardless of "the shortage of factual substantiation" and of "denials by government officials." Fletcher duly stated some pieties about the "bitter" history of American blacks. Then he bundled together some supposed conspiracies (that the government deliberately infected blacks with the AIDS virus, that Church's fried chicken and Snapple drinks had been laced with chemicals designed to sterilize black men) and implied that allegations about the CIA and cocaine trafficking were of the same order. It is true, Fletcher conceded, that blacks had reasons to be paranoid. "Many southern police departments," he wrote delicately, "were suspected of having ties to the Ku Klux Klan." He mentioned in passing the FBI snooping on Martin Luther King Jr. and the sting operation on Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Marion Barry. He also touched on the syphilis experiments conducted by the government on blacks in Tuskegee, Alabama. "The history of victimization of black people allows myths and, at times, outright paranoia to flourish." In other words, the black folk get it coming and going. Terrible things happen to them, and then they're patronized in the Washington Post for imagining that such terrible things might happen again. "Even if a major investigation is done," Fletcher concluded, "it is unlikely to quell the certainty among many African Americans that the government played a role in bringing the crack epidemic to black communities."

A few days later, a Post editorial followed through on this notion of black irrationality and the lack of substance in Webb's thesis. The writer observed that "The Mercury [had] borrowed heavily from a certain view of CIA rogue conduct that was widespread ten years ago." The "biggest shock," the editorial went on, "wasn't the story but the credibility the story seems to have generated when it reached some parts of the black community." This amazing sentence was an accurate rendition of what really bothered the Washington Post, which was not charges that the CIA had been complicit in drug running, but that black people might be suspicious of the government's intentions toward them. The Post's editorial said solemnly that "[i]f the CIA did associate with drug pushers its aim was not to infect Americans but to advance the CIA' s foreign project and purposes."
In the weeks that followed, Post columnists piled on the heat. Mary McGrory, the doyenne of liberal punditry, said that the Post had successfully "discredited" the Mercury News. Richard Cohen, always edgy on the topic of black America, denounced Rep. Maxine Waters for demanding an investigation after the Washington Post had concluded that Webb's charges were "baseless." "When it comes to sheer gullibility or is it mere political opportunism? Waters is in a class of her own."

One story in that October 4 onslaught in the Post differed markedly from its companion pieces. That was the profile of Meneses by Douglas Farah, which actually advanced Webb's story. Farah, the Post's man in Central America, filed a dispatch from Managua giving a detailed account of Meneses's career as a drug trafficker, going back to 1974. Farah described how Meneses had "worked for the Contras for five years, fundraising, training and sending people down to Honduras." He confirmed Meneses's encounter with Enrique Bermúdez and added a detail the gift of a crossbow by Meneses to the colonel. Then Farah produced a stunner, lurking in the twelfth paragraph of his story. Citing "knowledgeable sources," he reported that the DEA had hired Meneses in 1988 to try to set up Sandinista political and military leaders in drug stings. Farah named the DEA agent involved as Federico Villareal. The DEA did not dispute this version of events. In other words, Farah had Meneses performing a political mission for the US government, side by side with the story by his colleagues Pincus and Suro claiming Meneses had no such connections.

Shortly after the Post's offensives on October 2 and October 4, the Mercury News's editor, Jerry Ceppos, sent a detailed letter to the Post aggressively defending Webb and rebutting the criticisms. "The Post has every right to reach different conclusions from those of the Mercury News," Ceppos wrote. "But I'm disappointed in the 'what's the big deal' tone running through the Post's critique. If the CIA knew about illegal activities being conducted by its associates, federal law and basic morality required that it notify domestic authorities. It seems to me that this is exactly the kind of story that a newspaper should shine a light on."

The Post refused to print Ceppos's letter. Ceppos called Stephen Rosenfeld, the deputy editor of the editorial page, who suggested that Ceppos revise his letter and resubmit it. Ceppos promptly did this, and again the Post refused to print his response. Rosenfeld said Ceppos's letter was "misinformation." Ceppos later wrote in the Mercury News: "I was stunned when the Washington Post rejected my request to reply to its long critique of 'Dark Alliance.' The Post at first encouraged me, asking me to rewrite the article and then to agree to other changes. I did. Then, a few days ago, I received a one-paragraph fax saying that the Post is 'not able to publish' my response. Among other reasons, the Post said [that] other papers 'essentially' confirmed the Post's criticism of our series. I've insisted for years that newspapers don't practice 'groupthink.' I'm still sure that most don't. But the Post's argument certainly gives ammunition to the most virulent critics of American journalism. The Post also said I had backed down 'elsewhere' from positions I took in the piece I wrote for the Post. But I didn't. I shouted to anyone who would listen (and wrote that, in another letter to the Post). It was too late. On the day that the Post faxed me, the Los Angeles Times incorrectly had written that reporter Gary Webb, who wrote the 'Dark Alliance' series, and I had backed down on several key points. Fiction became fact. As if I had no tongue, and no typewriter, I suddenly had lost access to the newspaper that first bitterly criticized our series."

The Post's sordid procedures in savaging Webb were examined by its ombudsman, Geneva Overholzer, on November 10. Ultimately she found her own paper guilty of "misdirected zeal," but first she took the opportunity to stick a few more knives into poor Webb. "The San Jose series was seriously flawed. It was reported by a seemingly hot-headed fellow willing to have people leap to conclusions his reporting couldn't back up principally that the CIA was knowingly involved in the introduction of drugs into the United States." That said, Overholzer then turned her sights on the Post's editors, saying that the Post showed more energy for protecting the CIA than for protecting the people from government excesses. "Post editors and reporters knew there was strong evidence that the CIA at least chose to overlook Contra involvement in the drug trade. Yet when those revelations came out in the 1980s they had caused 'little stir,' as the Post delicately noted. Would that we had welcomed the surge of public interest as an occasion to return to a subject the Post and the public had given short shrift. Alas, dismissing someone else's story as old news comes more naturally."

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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December 17, 2004

CounterAttack
How the Press and the CIA Killed Gary Webb's Career
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

CounterAttack, Part Two, Excerpted from Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press.

Despite Ceppos's anger at the Washington Post, the unrelenting attacks from organizations that he held in great professional esteem were beginning to take their toll. It is also quite possible that he was feeling pressure from within the Knight-Ridder empire. To judge from the bleating tone of his pieces about the Webb series in the Mercury News the November 4 article, for example Ceppos may not have had quite the necessary backbone to hold up under pressure.

Ceppos assigned another Mercury News investigative reporter, Pete Carey, to review Webb's reporting against the charges of the media critics. On October 12 the Mercury News published Carey's findings, which backed up Webb's work and actually added new information, particularly regarding the 1986 search warrant against Blandón and his arms-dealing associate, Ronald Lister. But though Webb's reporting was vindicated, the assignment to Carey was an omen of the paper's increasing defensiveness.

Another omen was Ceppos's reaction to charges that Webb had a vested interest in the story because he had a book offer and film offers. The Los Angeles Times reported, inaccurately, that Webb had signed a deal. "This story really pissed off Ceppos," Webb recalls. "He said it made the paper look bad." Webb told Ceppos he didn't have any deals. Ceppos then told Webb, "I don't want you to sign any deals and if you sign any book deals or movie deals you can't work on this story for us anymore."

"That's kind of asking a lot," Webb says he answered. "This is what most reporters dream of."
"Well, you'll have to make up your mind," Ceppos said. "You can either do a book deal or you can work on it for us."
Webb went home to talk over the ultimatum with his wife, Sue, a respiratory therapist. She told him, "Screw them. Do the book. Do the movie and let the Mercury News worry about itself."
"I owe it to the paper," Webb answered. "They're being sniped at." So he called up Hotchkiss at Sterling Lord and told him, "Forget the books. Forget the movie deals. They want me to do more stories. Then I'll do the book."

Sue had better instincts about the Mercury News than her husband. Having told Webb to give up the deals and write the stories for the paper, Ceppos thus did his reporter out of book and movie advances, then failed to run the stories and finally tried to ruin his career.

The next assault was a double-barreled one from either side of the continent, on Sunday, October 17, in the New York Times, staff reporter Tim Golden was given an entire page on which to flail away at Webb. In the Los Angeles Times, an army of fourteen reporters and three editors put out a three-part series, intended to finish off Webb forever.

Golden's piece, entitled "The Tale of CIA and Drugs Has Life of Its Own," was remarkable, among other reasons, for the pullulating anonymity of its sources. Golden claimed to have interviewed "more than two dozen current and former rebels, CIA officers and narcotics agents." From these informants, Golden had concluded that there was "scant" proof to support the paper's contention that Nicaraguan rebel officials linked to the CIA played a central role in spreading crack through Los Angeles and other cities. One conspicuous common link between all the officials quoted by Golden as being critical of Webb is that they remained anonymous. Only Adolfo Calero permitted himself to be identified. Golden's editors at the New York Times allowed him to offer scores of blind quotes without any identification. The Mercury News never offered Webb that indulgence, nor did he request it.

In truth, Golden's story had no substance whatsoever. He got his final word on the story from that well-known Uncle Tom to the thumb-sucking crowd, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a black professor from the Harvard University Medical School. Poussaint, who is always being wheeled out in these situations, ascribed the reaction of black America to the Mercury News story as another case of black paranoia. This tendresse for the CIA's reputation was nothing new for the New York Times. In 1987, its reporter Keith Schneider weighed in with a three-part series dismissing allegations of Contra drug trafficking. A month later Schneider explained to In These Times magazine why he took that approach. He said such a story could "shatter the Republic. I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass." In other words, it would have to be approved by the Agency.

Of all the attacks on Webb, the Los Angeles Times series was the most elaborate and the most disingenuous. For two months the dominant newspaper in Southern California had been derided for missing the big story on its own doorstep. The only way it could salvage its reputation was to claim that there'd been no big story to miss. This is the path it took. It would have been extraordinary if the Times had the decency to clap the Mercury News on the back and praise it for good work, particularly given the disposition of its editor-in-chief at the time, Shelby Coffee III. Coffee came to Los Angeles from the Washington Post, where he had been editor of the Style section. He was regarded there as a smooth courtier in the retinue of Katharine Graham and not in any way as a boat rocker. It would have gone against every instinct for Coffee to have endorsed a story so displeasing to liberal elites. "He is the dictionary definition of someone who wants to protect the status quo," said Dennis McDougal, a former Los Angeles Times reporter, in an interview with New Times, "He weighs whether or not an investigative piece will have repercussions among the ruling elites and if it will, the chances of seeing it in print in the LA Times decrease accordingly."
The mood of the group doing the series, under the leadership of Doyle McManus, could scarcely be described as one of objective dispassion. They referred to themselves as the "Get Gary Webb Team," as Peter Kornbluh reported in the Columbia Journalism Review, and bragged in the office about denying Webb his Pulitzer.

The most important task for the hit squad was to deal with its own backyard. They assigned Webb's old nemesis Jesse Katz the task of undermining Webb's assertion that the Blandón/Ross cocaine ring helped spark the crack epidemic in Los Angeles. Katz duly turned in an article claiming that "the explosion of cheap smokable cocaine in the 1980s was a uniquely egalitarian phenomenon, one that lent itself more to makeshift mom and pop operations than to the sinister hand of a government-sanctioned plot." Katz went on to minimize the role of Rick Ross: "How the crack epidemic reached that extreme, on some level, had nothing to do with Ricky Ross." Katz then asserted that gangs had little or nothing to do with the crack trade, stating flatly that crack sales did not "fill the coffers of the Bloods and the Crips." He also disputed the idea that crack use had spread across the country from Los Angeles.

This was a substantial turnaround from what the Los Angeles Times and Katz had previously reported, before the task of demolishing the Mercury News became paramount. The drumbeat of the newspaper during the mid- and late 1980s was that the Los Angeles Police Department had to crush the gangs. In a 1987 news story, the Times described the gangs as "the foot soldiers of the Colombian cartels." On August 4, 1989, another news story sympathetically relayed a Justice Department report: "Los Angeles street gangs now dominate the rock cocaine trade in Los Angeles and elsewhere, due in part to their steady recourse to murderous violence to enforce territorial dealing supremacy, to deter cheating and to punish rival gang members. The LAPD has identified 47 cities, from Seattle to Kansas City, to Baltimore, where Los Angeles street gang traffickers have appeared."

As for Ross, on December 20, 1994 the Los Angeles Times had published a 2,400-word investigative report by Katz entitled "Deposed King of Crack Now Freed After Five Years in Prison. This Master Marketer Was Key to the Drug's Spread in LA." Katz pulled out all the stops in his lead. "If there was an eye to the storm, if there was a criminal mastermind behind crack's decade-long reign, if there was an outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles' streets with mass-marketed cocaine, his name was Freeway Rick." Katz reported that "Ross did more than anyone else to democratize it, boosting volume, slashing prices, and spreading disease on a scale never before conceived." Katz called Ross "South Central's first multi-millionaire crack lord" and said "his coast-to-coast conglomerate was selling more than $500,000 a day, a staggering turnover that put the drug within reach of anyone with a few dollars."

A day later, it was Doyle McManus who tried to undermine Webb's work on the Contra connection. One hopes that McManus felt some slight tinge of embarrassment at his newspaper's attack on Webb for unethical behavior in signing a book deal (which, as we have seen, Webb had not in fact done). McManus himself had reported on the Iran/Contra scandal, and simultaneously put out a book on the affair, co-written with Jane Mayer. McManus went the familiar route of larding his story with unattributed quotes from Contras, CIA men and associates of Blandón, all of them naturally enough protesting their innocence. "I wish we had been able to identify them by names of course," McManus piously told Alicia Shepard of the American Journalism Review. McManus, apparently in some sort of journalistic race to the bottom with his co-assailants Pincus and Golden, contended that Meneses gave the Contras only $20 to $30 at a time, and asserted that Meneses's and Blandón's total contribution was far less than $50,000. This conclusion is derived from McManus's unnamed informants, and has to be set against court testimony, under oath, from numerous named sources cited by Webb. No less an authority than assistant federal prosecutor L. J. O'Neale, who lowballed the dollar figures for reasons noted earlier, had still produced a number of more than $2 million in a single year.

McManus tried to establish a scenario in which Blandón and Meneses gave very little to the Contras, to whom they were not connected in any official capacity, and in which Meneses's cocaine never made it to Rick Ross to be transformed into crack. McManus claimed Ross's crack came from Colombian cocaine and had nothing to do with the Nicaraguans. In McManus's version, Blandón and Meneses were incompetent stooges. However, amid all this dogged effort to subvert Webb's chronology, McManus tripped himself up badly. He alleged that Blandón and Meneses had severed their relationship "entirely by 1983." A few paragraphs later, amid an anecdote designed to establish Meneses as head of a gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight, McManus quoted at length a description of a scene at Meneses's house in San Francisco in November 1984. The unnamed source is identified as a member of the Blandón cocaine ring. He is describing the reaction of Meneses and Blandón to the news that Jairo Meneses, Meneses's cousin, and Renato Peña Cabrerra, official spokesman for the FDN's San Francisco group, had just been busted on cocaine charges. Although McManus had just said that Meneses and Blandón had split two years earlier, he now had them in the midst of a division of cash from a cocaine deal. "Danilo and Norwin had done some business deal. The deal is 40 to 50 kilos. The money was all divvied up. There was cash all over the place. Norwin had steaks on the grill. It was going to be a big party. The phone rings and Margarita shrieks, 'Jairo's been arrested!' Well, everybody cleared out in a heartbeat. They grabbed the money and ran. I don't think anyone turned off the steaks."

It's hard to imagine an anecdote that could more effectively rebut everything McManus had previously labored to establish.
McManus's other objective was to assert the moral purity of the CIA. To this end he interviewed Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA officer and staffer at the National Security Council at the time Oliver North was manfully toiling at Reagan's behest to keep the Contras afloat. Cannistraro told McManus that sometimes CIA station chiefs turn a blind eye to "misdeeds by the foreign collaborators they recruit." Cannistraro referred to this trait as "falling in love with your agent." Cannistraro adamantly insisted, however, that there's "no tendency to turn a blind eye to drug trafficking. It's too sensitive. It's not a fine line. It's not a shaded area where you can turn away from the rules." (In 1998 the CIA Inspector General finally admitted to Congress that in 1982 the Agency had received clearance from the Justice Department not to report drug trafficking by CIA assets.) What McManus failed to confide to his readers was that Cannistraro had a deep personal interest in denying any Agency tolerance for trafficking. He had supervised many of the CIA/Contra operations and was then transferred to the NSC, where he oversaw US aid to the Afghan mujahidin. As we shall see, the mujahidin were heavily engaged in the trafficking of opium and heroin. Perhaps the most piquant bit of effrontery in McManus's attack was his assertion that even if Meneses had been selling drugs in California and remitting the profits to the Contras, the CIA would have had to turn a blind eye, because the Agency was prohibited from domestic spying!

Even after his pummeling by the two big West and East Coast papers, Webb felt he still retained the support of his editors. "They urged me to continue digging on the story so that we could stick to the Washington Post," For the next two months, Webb continued his research. He flushed out more evidence of direct CIA knowledge of Meneses's operations in Costa Rica and El Salvador. He traced how the DEA made Meneses one of their informer/assets as early as 1985. And he secured more evidence on the controversial money angle, finding that as much as $5 million was channeled back to the Contras from the Blandón/Meneses ring in 1983 alone. Webb turned the stories in to his editor, Dawn Garcia, in January 1997, and the newspaper sat on them. "They didn't edit them," Webb recalls. "They told me that they had read them, but they never asked me for any supporting documentation. They never asked any questions about them."

Then Webb got a call from a friend, saying that a reporter had requested copies of all of Webb's clippings. The reporter seemed interested in digging into Webb's personal background. She particularly asked about an incident in which Webb had fired his .22 at a man who had been trying to steal his prized TR6 and who threatened Webb and his then-pregnant wife. (The man turned out to be a known local crook already convicted of manslaughter.) The reporter pursuing this story was Alicia Shepard of the American Journalism Review. Shepard had formerly worked as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. Her story was another smear on Webb's journalistic ethics, but this time the smears were coming from a source much closer to home. Shepard recounted how Sharon Rosenhause, managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner (a paper boasting Chris Matthews as its Washington, D.C. correspondent), had filed a petition with the Society of Professional Journalists to have Webb stripped of the Journalist of the Year Award that had just been bestowed on him. This had elicited a stinging letter from the director of the Society of Professional Journalists, emphasizing how Rosenhause had a private agenda, and how the society stood behind Webb.

Shepard got several Mercury News staffers to go on record with their criticism of Webb and his stories. Economics writer Scott Thrum, investigative editors Jonathan Krim and Chriss Schmitt, editorial page editor Rob Elder, and the most virulent critic of all, Phil Yost, who is the chief editorial writer for the Mercury News. The criticisms consisted mostly of hand-wringing by nervous colleagues who felt that Webb had compromised the newspaper's "hard-won credibility." Yost simply reiterated the charges made by other newspapers. It was a disgusting demonstration of backstabbing. And it showed clearly that the Mercury News was beginning to distance itself from Webb.

What accounts for the vicious edge to many of these attacks on Webb? One reason for the animosity of the California reporters can be traced back to one of Webb's earliest investigations for the Mercury News. His story revealed that a number of reporters were moonlighting for the very agencies they were supposed to be covering for example, how a TV reporter in Sacramento was being paid by the California Highway Patrol for coaching officers on how to deal with the press. He uncovered a curriculum for the TV reporter's class describing how the CHP should call up editors and complain about unfavorable stories. Webb also exposed reporters at the Sacramento Bee and United Press International, who had received state contracts from the California Lottery Commission. Webb says that after this story appeared, his colleagues regarded him as an outsider.

Another reason for ostracism by his colleagues could be what Webb describes as racist attitudes among the Mercury News staff toward the editor of his series, Dawn Garcia. "I don't think she has a lot of friends in that newsroom, because she came in and she was regarded as one of the Hispanic hires, a quota hire. That's unfair. She's a good newsperson. She took a job from someone that was widely liked in the newsroom."

With his stories sitting unpublished on his editor's desk, some time in early 1997 Webb got a call from Georg Hodel, who had done legwork for him in Nicaragua. Hodel said that he had located four other members of the Meneses/Blandón operation who were willing to talk to Webb. Webb called his editors and said he was going to Nicaragua. They told him they didn't want him to go until they figured out what to do with his stories. Worried that the drug dealers might disappear, Webb said he'd go anyway, on his own time and money.

Soon after he returned to Sacramento from Nicaragua, Webb got a call from Jerry Ceppos, who had spent much of the winter months being treated for prostate cancer. Ceppos told Webb that he was going to publish a letter in the Mercury News admitting that "mistakes had been made" in the "Dark Alliance" series. Ceppos originally wanted to run the apologia in the Easter Sunday edition. When Webb saw a draft of the column, he was outraged. "This is idiotic," Webb recalls telling Ceppos. "Half this stuff isn't even true. It's unconscionable to run this." Ceppos told Webb not to take it personally, that it was just a column and it didn't mean the paper was trying to hang him out to dry.

Webb insisted that he thought Ceppos's column was unethical for a number of reasons, including the fact that though it said there had been shortcomings in the series, it made no reference to the fact that six months of further research had substantiated and advanced most of Webb's original findings. Ceppos replied that they didn't "want to get into that kind of detail."

Ceppos's column ran on May 11. It was a retreat on every front, and a shameful day for American journalism. It accused Webb of leaving out contradictory information, of failing to emphasize that the multimillion-dollar figure was an estimate, and of not including the obligatory denials of the CIA. The series, Ceppos said, had oversimplified the origins of the crack epidemic. Ceppos also declared that the series had wrongly implied CIA knowledge of the Contra drug ring.

Predictably, Ceppos's appalling betrayal of his own reporter was greeted with exuberance by the New York Times, where Todd Purdum used it to legitimize the New York Times's original attack and to lash out at Webb as a paranoid. Purdum also alleged that Ceppos's column had been based on "an exhaustive review" written by a seven-member Mercury News team of reporters and editors. Both the "exhaustive review" and the team had never existed, according to Webb. Though Webb had submitted four stories totaling 14,000 words, Ceppos told Purdum that the reporter had only submitted "notes and ideas." Purdum also marshalled disobliging blind quotes from Webb's Mercury News colleagues.

The Ceppos column was also greeted with glee on the New York Times editorial page, where Ceppos got a patronizing clap on the back for his "courageous gesture." The editorial again affixed blame on Webb, saying that Ceppos's action "sets a high standard for cases in which journalists make egregious errors." Webb had made no such errors. Down at Langley, the CIA was quick to use Ceppos's letter to assert that the Agency had been absolved. "It's gratifying to see," said the Agency's Mark Mansfield, "that a large segment of the media, including the San Jose Mercury News, has taken an objective look at how this story was constructed and reported."

Nor did the Ceppos letter escape notice by Nicaragua's right wing, with perilous consequences for those who had worked on the story with Webb and who had been interviewed by him. The Nicaraguan press, chiefly La Prensa, which had been funded for years by the CIA, ran stories denouncing Webb and urging people to sue him, as well as Hodel and others associated with the story. The Nicaraguan papers alleged that the Mercury News would not mount a defense against such libel actions.

It wasn't long before Georg Hodel became the target of harassment and a possible murder attempt. In mid-June 1997, about a month after Ceppos disowned Webb, Hodel and an attorney for several of the men he and Webb had interviewed were run off the road in Nicaragua and threatened by a group of armed thugs. Hodel and the lawyer escaped and went to a police station to file a complaint. A few days later, a story appeared in one of Nicaragua's right-wing papers saying that Hodel and his companions had gotten drunk and driven off the road themselves.

Meanwhile, the Mercury News had told Webb that his follow-up stories were being killed and that he was being reassigned to the paper's Cupertino bureau, 150 miles from Sacramento. Webb filed a grievance against the paper.

The New York Times continued its vendetta. In perhaps the lowest of all the attacks, Iver Peterson, one of the newspaper's more undistinguished reporters, went back over Webb's investigative pieces before he embarked on the "Dark Alliance" series. Peterson charged that Webb had a history of playing loose with the facts and having "a penchant for self-promotion." He reached this conclusion after dredging up four libel suits, two of which had been dismissed and two of which had been settled. Webb says no major corrections were ever required. (The Times refused to print Webb's letter correcting the record, which is reproduced below.) Peterson also quoted from the targets of Webb's investigations, who, predictably, were not appreciative of the reporter. Back in his Ohio days as a reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Webb had exposed Ohio Supreme Court Judge Frank D. Celebrezze as being in receipt of political contributions from organizations tied to the mob. Celebrezze had sued. There was a settlement and no retraction. Peterson dutifully cited Celebrezze's eager comment that Webb "lied about me and whatever happens to him I think he deserves." It was as if some reporter had used Richard Nixon as a reliable source on the quality of reporting by the New York Times.

However, the coverup and counterattacks had not yet ended. There was the delicate matter of how to deal with the CIA's own internal probe. It's a neat trick to get great coverage for a report you haven't published and that no journalist has actually seen. You need accomplices. The CIA once again used its friends in the press to issue a self-serving news release on its internal investigation of charges that the Agency had connived in Contra drug smuggling into Los Angeles in the early 1980s.

In this particular piece of news management, the CIA outdid itself. In the past, it has relied on its journalistic allies to put the best face on probes that, albeit heavily censored, displayed the Agency in an unpleasing light. But in late December 1997, the CIA elicited friendly coverage, even though the report by the CIA's own Inspector General remained unpublished and under heavy security wraps.

It will be recalled that a month after Webb's story first appeared, the CIA's director John Deutch announced that the Agency's Inspector General, Frederick Hitz, was launching "the most comprehensive analysis ever done" of CIA activities in this sphere. The gambit of the internal probe was initially confined to the allegations made by Webb, but was then widened to take in any references to drug connections in the CIA's files. Also launched in the fall of 1996 was a Justice Department review of Webb's charges. Deutch initially pledged that the CIA report would be finished and released to the public by the end of December 1996. Sixteen months went by.

Then on December 18, 1997 came stories in the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News under headlines such as "CIA Clears Itself in Crack Investigation." CNN picked up the Mercury News's story immediately, telling viewers that the very paper that had made the initial charges against the CIA was now reporting that "an investigation" had absolved the Agency.

But where was the CIA report that had prompted the stories in the LA Times and Mercury News? Unavailable. Reason? It depended who one called. The stories in the LA Times and Mercury News about the mysterious report were filed on Wednesday, December 17 and appeared in print the next day. Then on Thursday, the Justice Department announced its view that public release of the CIA report would damage current criminal investigations. When called, the CIA's press department stated that the CIA now wanted to wait until mid-January, when the second part of the Inspector General's report was supposedly to be finished. Later that Thursday, the Justice Department stated that it would edit the CIA's and its own probes to purge them of any compromising material.

In other words, one was being asked to believe that after sixteen months the CIA and Justice Department had somehow, entirely by accident, contrived a news "event" that exonerated the CIA in major headlines, without providing any evidence to support such a conclusion. Imagine the fury that would have been unleashed if Webb had written a news story thus shorn of any documentary substantiation.

Friday, December 19 brought stories in the New York Times by Tim Weiner and in the Washington Post by Walter Pincus, who had started the press onslaught on Webb in the fall of 1996. Weiner's story ran under the headline, "CIA Says It Has Found No Link Between Itself and Crack Trade." Weiner quoted no named sources and relied entirely on our old friend, "a government official who would not allow his name to be used." Pincus quoted three anonymous officials who claimed that the CIA report shows "no direct or indirect link" between the CIA and cocaine traffickers.
Just how thorough was the CIA's much-touted probe of itself? All indications are that the investigation was far from fierce. The Inspector General had no subpoena power. The CIA's former chief officer in Central America, Dewey Clarridge, now retired and working for General Dynamics, told the Los Angeles Times that the CIA "sent me questions that were a bunch of bullshit." He refused to be interviewed by the CIA's investigators. Clarridge, it should be noted, was a central figure in CIA operations with the Contras, whom he conjured into being from an initial recruitment of Argentinian military torturers, and whose assassination schemes he boasts of having recommended. Other people interviewed by the CIA claim to have been bullied by the Agency's investigators whenever they showed signs of supporting Webb. And what about the author of the stories, Gary Webb? He was never interviewed.

With Webb, we get to the heart of the dust storm. On Saturday, December 13, the San Jose Mercury News announced that Gary Webb had resigned from the paper, after reaching a settlement on a grievance he had filed about his transfer from Sacramento to Cupertino. In the Washington Post and New York Times, Webb's departure from the Mercury News was flagged, with the implication that somehow it offered further evidence of the conclusiveness of the CIA's self-examination.

It looks as though the Agency took the opportunity of Webb's departure to leak a self-serving press release about its conduct. This item was eagerly seized upon by the papers who had been after Webb, and by the Mercury News, which had been terrorized into betraying a fine reporter.

Looking back at the series in mid-1997, Webb said he had nothing to apologize for. "If anything, we pussy-footed around some stuff we shouldn't have, like CIA involvement and their level of knowledge. I'm glad I did the series because this is a story that gutless papers on the East Coast have been ducking for ten years. And now they're forced to confront it. However they chose to confront it, they still have to say what the story's about."
Source Notes

The attack on Gary Webb by his colleagues in the national press was relentless. There are a lot of examples, but perhaps none more blatant than Iver Peterson's smear on Webb in the New York Times, nearly a year after Webb's story had appeared. The initial assault was led by four "star" reporters at the nation's biggest papers: Howard Kurtz and Walter Pincus at the Washington Post, Tim Golden at the New York Times and Doyle McManus (Lt. Colonel of a "Get Webb Team") at the Los Angeles Times. Once these heavyweights drew blood, the editorial pages from across the country came in for the kill. The behavior of the top editors at Webb's own paper, the San Jose Mercury News, was despicable and cowardly. Even the so-called progressive press took shots at Webb, most notably the Nation, whose David Corn sniped that Webb's reporting was flawed.

On the other hand, Webb had his defenders. The LA Weekly was quick to reveal the gaping holes in the Los Angeles Times's saturation bombing of the "Dark Alliance" series. Norman Soloman's article "Snow Job" for Extra!, the magazine of the media watchdog group FAIR, was a fine piece of work that was useful to us. Robert Parry and his colleagues at The Consortium wrote good press criticism and worked to advance the story. The Consortium also printed a harrowing account from Nicaragua by Webb's partner, Georg Hodel, showing the dangers of writing about these forbidden topics in a hostile landscape. Similarly, Peter Kornbluh, the investigator at the National Security Archives, wrote a fine piece for the Columbia Journalism Review. Alicia Shepard's story in the American Journalism Review is neither kind nor fair to Webb, but it does expose the biases and petty jealousies of his colleagues.

As an example of the obdurate and spiteful hostility of the New York Times toward Webb, we include here two letters to the Times correcting serious inaccuracies and exhibitions of bias in the paper's reporting. The first is a response by Webb to Peterson's attack noted above. The Times refused to print it. The second is another commentary, which speaks for itself, on Peterson's story. The Times likewise had refused to print this letter.

To the editor: Since the New York Times allegedly places such a high value on accuracy, I would like to point out some factual errors and omissions in your June 3 story about me and the "Dark Alliance" series I authored last year.

@XXSERIES = The statement that a state audit "cleared" Tandem Computers for its part in a $50 million computer debacle at the California Department of Motor Vehicles is incorrect. The audit, by California Auditor General Kurt Sjoberg, corroborated the findings of my investigation and the Tandem project was scrapped at considerable cost to the state's taxpayers. Moreover, two state officials who approved and oversaw this project and then went to work for Tandem paid large fees to settle conflict of interest charges lodged by the state Fair Political Practices Commission. These charges were filed as a result of my reporting, which won the California Journalism Award in 1994.

@XXSERIES = The statement that the Mercury News "never published a follow-up story" to the Tandem series is also false. Several follow-ups were published, including stories I wrote about the Auditor General's report and the fines paid by the former state officials.

@XXSERIES = (It might have been useful to note that the reporter who criticized my Tandem stories, Lee Gomes, was covering Tandem while its much-ballyhooed DMV project was collapsing, yet somehow managed to miss the story entirely.)

@XXSERIES = Since your reporter, Iver Peterson, did not question me about my Tandem stories, perhaps it's not surprising that these errors and omissions occurred.

@XXSERIES = Finally, I found it amusing that while Mr. Peterson spent many inches airing vague complaints from people I've investigated, he would neglect to mention that I have won more than 30 journalism awards, been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize half a dozen times, and sent a number of corrupt or incompetent government officials and businessmen to jail or early retirement by exposing their misdeeds.

@XXSERIES = Granted, this kind of reporting makes few friends and prompts libel suits, but being well-loved and lawsuit-free has never been part of a reporter's duties as I understand them.

@BODY TEXT AU = Gary Webb, June 3, 1997

To the editor: A Times reporter [Iver Peterson] has seen fit to lead a story (6/3) on the San Jose Mercury New's "Dark Alliance" series with the stunning news that a request was placed on the agenda of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) to strip the series' author, Gary Webb, of his 1996 Journalist of the Year award. Gratified as I am, as president of the organization, to see that our monthly agenda is of such interest to a national newspaper, in the interests of ethical journalism, which SPJ is dedicated to furthering, please allow me to correct the misleading impression that you have knowingly fostered with that lead paragraph.
Putting an anecdote in the lead paragraph of a news story implies that it has some representative significance, and indeed your writer goes on to state that the agenda item "illustrates" how Webb's series "continues to echo among journalists."
Actually, it illustrates no such thing. One person, an editor at a competing newspaper, has been insisting for nearly a year that the award be withdrawn, and she reiterated her request after appearance of the Mercury News column clarifying (not retracting) its series. As a courtesy to that one person, the item was placed on our agenda. But as your writer was aware because he asked me that person was in no way representative. In fact, she is the only person who has expressed such a view to us, and she acknowledges that she has other reasons to be angry with the San Jose Mercury News.

When the board finally discussed the issue at the member's request, there was no sentiment for withdrawal of the award. The discussion was brief, mostly centered on the irresponsibility of the Times's story.

Your reporter's determination to prove a point with a misguided example is disturbing, but even more so is the fact that he knew in advance that it was misleading and even wrote that "Chances are remote that Webb will lose the award because of one request." The reporter knew that the person who brought our meeting to his attention had an interest in inflating the significance of her own request. In other words, his informant's interest illustrated his informant's interest. Period.

Indeed, if the SPJ chapter meeting had had the importance that the Times's article implied, shouldn't the paper have reported the results of the meeting after it was held?

If the suggestion of potential retraction of Gary Webb's SPJ award continues to echo among journalists, it echoes because those journalists have read it in the New York Times and perpetuated the misimpression by calling us to find out what happened at the meeting, hyped by the Times and its source.
I suggested that the Times'<W0>s energy in bludgeoning flaws in the Mercury News series and personally attacking its author be matched by an equal or greater determination to explore the far more important story of the degree of US government complicity in the Contras' dealing in drugs that have devastated so many American communities. That is the story that the major news media have downplayed for more than a decade, while newspapers such as yours devote unprecedented lineage to debunking, in the most personal terms, the efforts of a reporter at another newspaper.

Peter Y. Sussman, President, Northern California Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists June 6, 1997

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Ceppos, Jerry. "Perspective: In the Eye of the Storm." San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 3, 1996.

... "A Letter to the Washington Post," San Jose Mercury News, Oct. 18, 1996.

... "A Letter to Our Readers." San Jose Mercury News, May 11, 1997.

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Ciolli, Rita. "Paper Admits Flaws." Newsday, May 13, 1997.

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... "The CIA's Latest Coup." CounterPunch, Dec. 1630, 1997.

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<%-8>--<%0>. "Black Caucus Urges Probe of CIA Drug Charge." Washington Post, Sept. 13, 1996.

<%-8>--<%0>.<|>"History Lends Credence to Conspiracy Theories." Washington Post, Oct. 4, 1996.

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<%-8>--<%0>. "Knight-Ridder Defends Botched Stories." Washington Inquirer, Dec. 9, 1996.

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<%-8>--<%0>. "Tracking the Genesis of the Crack Trade." Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20, 1996.

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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SAYING GOODBYE TO A GIANT

Gary Webb Memorial Attended by Hundreds

New Information Confirms Suicide - "Open and Shut"



by

Michael C. Ruppert

© Copyright 2004


Gary Webb’s first typewriter

Carmichael, California; Saturday December 18, 2004, (FTW) - The world has said its powerful, enduring and loving goodbye to Gary Webb.

Approximately 300 people came from as far away as New Jersey to this quiet Sacramento suburb to honor a man who - against all odds - made the corrupt and venal world of corporations, covert operations and search-and destroy economics blink, stagger and show its true vulnerabilities. Webb's August 1996 Dark Alliance series in the San Jose Mercury News, and his 1998 book of the same name sparked an international outrage that led to congressional hearings, massive disclosures of criminal activity by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Reagan-Bush (I) White House. They also gave brief, if fleeting, hope to the oppressed - from America's inner cities to villages and farms from Mexico to Colombia - that justice might not be the sole province of a parallel universe, untouched and unreachable from the world in which we "the abandoned ones" must live.


But even as his memorial service was a stirring tribute to a man who changed our world, Gary's passing was not without controversy and a just few more cheap shots for which his courageous surviving family has paid the inevitable price. That was the nature of Gary's life and - given his experience since 1996 - he would/should have expected this. To be fair, these follow-on blows are also an inevitable byproduct of all suicides for which the one pulling the trigger must bear some responsibility.

The Los Angeles Times' obituary, published just hours after Webb's body was discovered, drew universal outrage at the service, not only from Webb's family but also from about eight of his long-time former colleagues - professional journalists and writers all - who showed up to defy the way Gary's life had been distorted by corporate press in (as of last count) 73 obituaries published in the US and around the world. Most of Gary's obituaries were cut-and-paste jobs using material from the Times and Associated Press which explains the Times' rush to put their "stink" on Gary's passing as quickly as possible. The L.A. Times obituary was published shortly after midnight on Sunday December 12th.

Emmy Award-winning former CBS News producer Kristina Borjesson, herself a brutal victim of the mainstream media's "buzz saw", sat quietly in the crowded hall paying her respects. She had come all the way from New Jersey and as I was leaving to come home on the last cleared flight out of Sacramento's fog-shrouded airport, she missed her flight home and probably had to spend the night there. This is what friends do for each other.

The Times and the major press had to kill Gary Webb a second time just to make sure it stuck. He, like his incredible and professional journalism, was that hard to kill. Otherwise they might all have all been shamed for their relentless continuing extermination of anything resembling real investigative journalism.

As much as I know that Gary appreciated the many glowing tributes to his work, I also thought I heard him rage at some of the pseudo-journalism and malicious spin that followed his December 11th suicide because it came from people who should have been his friends and behaved like it.

But for those who were present, who spoke, and who sent messages to his family and to the world, it was clear that what Gary Webb accomplished in life was fully appreciated and will never be forgotten. Gary was remembered and honored as he should have been. This is what will endure long after the bitter tastes and painful memories have faded from the consciousness of all who knew him.

Gary Webb was a giant in a village of midgets.

Standing room only

SUICIDE CONFIRMED

Gary's suicide was accomplished with two gunshot wounds to the head. In death Gary proved to be as determined and single-minded as he had been in life.

Because of the rampant and ill-informed speculation that has been traversing the Internet it is a sad necessity to put this issue to rest right up front. What follows should be a warning and a lesson to all activists and progressives; to all those who dare label themselves as "journalists" without ever once following standard journalism protocols designed to ensure fairness and minimize unnecessary harm to the innocent and those already in pain.

After arriving in this quiet suburb of Sacramento California I drove to and photographed the outside of the house in which Gary died. The new owners were still moving in and they were extremely gracious. Then I drove to a nearby Doubletree Hotel and met Gary's family. I note that not one of the so-called journalists eager to cry murder -- especially radio demagogue and sensationalist fear monger Alex Jones (See Below) -- bothered to pick up the phone, send an email or make any attempt to contact the family or any agency for their observations, wishes or facts. Not the slightest concern was shown by any of them for an already devastated family. The wounded were kicked and exploited when they were already down. For this there can be no forgiveness and no pardon.

In other words, one of the most fundamental tenets of journalism - one that Gary himself would have honored and demanded - was completely ignored by people who demonstrated that they have no class, zero judgment and not the slightest thought for anything but their own self-serving needs.

Here are the facts:

Gary Webb fired two shots from a .38 caliber revolver into his own head. The entrance wounds for both shots were at or near the right ear. However, for the first shot Webb had the gun angled downward which produced a through-and-through wound blowing out his lower left jaw. This was obviously not a fatal wound. His second shot, angled upward, successfully reached the brain, killing him instantly.

As a former LAPD police officer and detective I have seen several suicides where multiple gunshots, especially from a relatively weak handgun like a .38, using inappropriate target ammunition, required multiple shots. In most cases the second and sometimes third shots were required because the victim made "hesitation" movements as they pulled the trigger, moving the gun barrel away from a fatal trajectory. There are many places on the human head to which a gunshot wound is not fatal (e.g. the lower and upper jaws, the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the nose, etc.). Only a shot to the brain usually produces death but even that is not always guaranteed. I have seen attempted suicide and homicide victims survive after a .38 "ball" round had passed completely through and exited the opposite side of the skull.

Based upon an initial statement I received from an unidentified Coroner's spokesperson on the day of Gary's death, I and others had suspected a shotgun had been used because of indications of multiple wounds and the fact that one statement indicated that there was substantial disfigurement. At the time, my notes indicated that the Coroner's staff member had said there was only one gunshot. That led me to suspect a shotgun. (12 Gauge shotguns using 00 buckshot release between nine and twelve pellets, each causing a separate wound.). However, in an initial email to certain activists, authors and leaders who knew Gary, I was careful to use the qualifying word "suspect" because we didn't know for sure what kind of a weapon had been used and I said so. Given what Gary's brother and ex wife were to tell me later it's just possible that the Coroner's staffer made a mistake. Her phones were ringing off the hook. That happens sometimes and that's why reporters double check things. The fact that Gary had used a .38 was not disclosed until a December 14th Coroner's statement and a follow-up story from the Sacramento Bee were necessitated by the hysterical rumor mongering an unbridled publishing coming from the activist-progressive community.

Both Gary's ex-wife Susan and his brother Kurt viewed the body and they confirmed the location of the wounds to me when I met them.

In addition, Gary left multiple suicide notes to family members which were confirmed to be in his own hand by them. He laid his driver's license out on the bed next to where he shot himself so that paramedics would be able to identify him. He had carefully placed his baby shoes in his mother's (her name is Anita and she is a real human being) storage bin. He had recently changed his bank account to make his ex-wife Susan the beneficiary. He had made statements to her in the days before his death that if this way the way he had to live he didn't want to continue.

There had been no reported deaths threats against Webb and no physical violence directed against him in the days preceding his death. There had been no reported burglaries of his residence and Gary had mentioned no recent difficulties or threats of any kind to his family. Several members of his family had seen Gary in the last days preceding the suicide and nothing out of the ordinary had happened except for the fact that his motorcycle had been stolen. Many friends and colleagues were aware of what writing assignments Gary had been working on for a small local magazine and none of them had to do with the CIA or drug running or major government corruption even approaching the magnitude of the Dark Alliance stories. He had no pending book contract, no publisher and - in fact - couldn't even get a full time job as a reporter. He was not writing another book.

Thanks to the LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times and all major print publications in the country Gary Webb had become virtually unemployable in the world of big newspapers or book publishing. Still he was never able to let go of his desire to be recognized in that milieu and those of us who knew him were fully aware of that. Because of the trashing of his reputation and the absolutely unforgivable abandonment he has received from his Mercury News editor Jerry Ceppos, any new Gary Webb exposé in a major publication would have been discredited, discounted and ignored as soon as the major media saw his byline.

Veteran journalist and American expatriate Al Giordano described Gary's dwindling hopes and despair in detail in a brilliant essay titled "Do What Gary Webb Did". It is a painful read but well worth the effort for those who have doubts.

A note warning movers arriving at Gary's house on Saturday morning, asking them to not enter the house but call paramedics had been taped on the front door. Gary was well-familiar with police procedures from his years as an investigative street reporter. He protected the crime scene for them. He knew that a homicide (suicide) crime scene could not be initiated until after an official pronouncement of death. Police officers cannot pronounce death. Only paramedics or doctors can do that. That was the first step and he knew it. He was careful to leave his license next to where his body was found to expedite the identification process. He was thinking of the paramedics and the cops and making their job easier. He had been scheduled to vacate his house that day because - due to his chronic inability to get a job with a large newspaper - he was unable to keep up the payments. It had been sold and he was moving out.

Ironically his stolen motorcycle was recovered by the police just a few days after his death.

These are facts that cannot be faked unless one was to assume that Gary Webb was a willing conspirator in his own murder. The fact of Gary Webb's suicide is open and shut.

TRIBUTES

Gary’s son Eric reading a letter from Congresswoman Maxine Waters


FBI Agent Lok Lau

Gary was eulogized by his brother Kurt, his ex-wife Susan, his former sister-in-law Diana, his sons Ian and Eric, and his daughter, Christina. His grieving mother Anita and his uncle sat weeping in the audience, unable to speak from the podium.

Kurt recalled that Gary's first demonstrated passion for writing came when Gary was eight as he won an award for a school essay titled "What America means to me". Later, the two brothers came across an antiquated mimeograph machine. While Kurt quickly tired of the cumbersome process required to print a single sheet of printed text, Gary persisted - as was his nature - and rejoiced when he found that he could publish the written word. Gary's first typewriter sat nearby on a table next to the podium as his brother choked through tears. Writing was clearly Gary Webb's truest passion. Gary later wrote for his high school paper, becoming its music critic prompting his brother to observe, "Even though he had no musical talent, he certainly had an opinion."


Gary’s brother Kurt

Webb's brother then paused - as if reflecting on the harm caused by internet rumors - "Gary would never print anything unless he had checked it a couple of times over."

Before ending his eulogy, Kurt Webb left us a visual picture that will forever ring true with any serious journalist or author who has ever written about the CIA and drugs, or about government corruption.

"We would see him slaving into the dark night to pursue his stories and that is the way I will always remember him."

Ian, one of Gary's two sons read a letter expressing profound grief from California congresswoman Maxine Waters who had championed Webb's stories in 1996 and 1997. The remaining family members spoke briefly, struggling to find words to express their feelings through their tears. It was absolutely apparent to all who were in attendance that Gary was deeply loved and he left behind a wonderful, courageous and beautiful family.

I was the first to speak after the family. I had come bearing messages from Peter Dale Scott (The Iran-Contra Connection, Cocaine Politics, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK), Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, former Assistant HUD Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts, former DEA agent and Bronze Star recipient Celerino Castillo (Powderburns), Al Giordano (Narconews Bulletin) and former US Army Special Forces Master Sergeant and author Stan Goff (Hideous Dream and Full Spectrum Disorder).

After delivering these incredible messages I made some personal observations which hit the family hard and brought tears to all of us.

I have only disclosed it to a few close friends over the years, but in the week prior to the publication of the Dark Alliance series in 1996 I had been wrestling with suicide myself. I had been trying to tell the world about CIA drug dealing for seventeen fruitless years and no one would listen. At the time I was broke, homeless, divorced, hopeless and fully convinced that the great effort of my life had amounted to nothing. I had been labeled crazy by the press and I had known the weight of a corporate media determined to destroy my reputation. FTW and my book, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil, would never have existed had it not been for Gary Webb. The best achievements of my life came to me because Gary Webb opened the door for them.

Gary gave me back my purpose but ultimately he lost his. It was as if Gary Webb removed the gun from my mouth only to have it ultimately placed against his own head.

I concluded my remarks by asking the entire audience to join me in a Latin American salute for comrades fallen in battle. As I called an imaginary roll of heroes about to enter battle against the forces of oppression I called Gary Webb's name and 300 people in unison responded, "Presenté."

I was followed by many people who knew Gary: Journalist/author Lisa Pease; FBI Agent Lok Lau who quipped "The truth will not set you free. It will get you fired"; Faye Kennedy of the Sacramento area Black Caucus; former colleagues and professional journalists Tom Dressler and Kim Alexander who spoke for all of the real reporters present in praising Webb's skills, professionalism and dedication; a Hollywood screenwriter and many other people whose lives Gary had touched. The room was filled with awards from his lifetime of writing, truth-telling and ceaseless digging. There were more tears shed than I care to remember. There were laughs and there was, above all, the great unanswered question: Why?

Only Gary Webb knows that.

(Click link for full article)
Click Here



Mourners line up to sign the guest book        


Some of Gary’s many awards and memorabilia. “Crossing the Rubicon” was placed on the table by Gary’s ex wife Susan.






NOTES FOR GARY WEBB
Click Here

Cele Castillo – Quoting Theodore Roosevelt

It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly -- who errs and comes short again and again because their efforts are not without error and shortcomings -- who knows the great devotion -- who spends himself in a worthy cause -- who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph -- and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know nether victory no defeat.

Peter Dale Scott

More than any of us, Gary Webb changed history, and our knowledge of history. For this he paid a terrible price. The authorities we live under took steps to make sure of that.

At this moment when thousands of Americans and Iraqis are dying for a lie, Gary was a victim of his pursuit of truth. It would have been far, far better if he had not died, but at least his was a cause worth dying for.

And as for those who maligned him and are still nervously maligning him: what, if anything, will history say of them?


Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney

I had the honor to meet this true patriot. I invited him to come to DC and do investigations for me. I wish he had contacted me. I could use him now. He deserved so much more.


Catherine Austin Fitts

Gary, we gather in our hearts to say farewell and to tell you how grateful we are for your presence in our lives. Your courage and your talent helped us to face America's shadow. Like the Buddha who taught us that the lotus blossoms out of the mud, your work birthed a living network -- Mike Ruppert, Cele Castillo, Kelly O'Meara, Al Giordano, Preston Peet, Linda Minor, Alastair Thompson, Kyle Hence, Ian Inaba, Tom Flocco, Sam Smith and many more -- a new generation of leaders dedicated to coming clean and rising in the divine power of illumination you inspired.

Gary, my prayers are with you and your family. I carry in my heart the signature of your honor and I invoke the words of Chief Seattle who wisely reminded us that "the dead are not powerless." Gary, go in peace with our love, with our thanks, and with our praise.

Al Giordano

To be an authentic journalist in 2004 is to be at war…

Gary never wrote with mere ink or pixels. Gary opened up a vein every time he sat down to tell us a new truth and he signed his byline, always, in blood. If you think that his suicide did not send as powerful a message as the stories he investigated and penned in life, think again: Gary was The Last North American Career Journalist. He presided over a transitional era and his death marks the end of that era. Fellow and sister journalists: The canary has died in the coal mine. Run out of that mine now, and seek alternate routes to truth-telling. There is no longer room for us inside the corporate machine.

All over the world he is mourned today. The compañeros here in Chiapas came to me last night. “You knew him. He worked for you. Did he ever come here? Did he know about us?”

Stan Goff

“This is shocking. There will be a day when the witch hunters become the hunted. Until then, we have another comrade's memory to fight for.

Be warned, those of you who tear the pieces from our brothers and sisters. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. We will never retreat, and we will never surrender.”

As for me…

From Crossing the Rubicon – p 17

By May of 1999 what should have been hundreds of thousands of people in the street and a massive government scandal had dwindled to about a hundred or so apparatchiks who would wave the People’s Tribunal as evidence of their leadership. I laughed with pity as they returned to the beltway to ask for larger grants from their patrons, major foundations and other institutionally compromised entities. The people who ran the tribunals were ultimately beholden to the same powers that had created the problem in the first place. Experts with compromised wallets had staged a controlled burn of brief outrage, cooling rapidly to insouciance. The inconsistencies were soon forgotten.

There’s an old saying that in a ham and eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. None of us who were convinced of the urgency of the CIA-drug story and who were heartbroken by its burial doubted that unless people found the courage to deal with the problem, something much worse — something as bad as 9/11 — was certain to happen.

As for myself I could talk for a long time about Gary Webb and the many, many lessons he taught me. But I will be brief today.
There would be no FTW with its 21,000 subscribers in 40 countries without Gary Webb. There would be no book Crossing the Rubicon without Gary Webb. Catherine Austin Fitts and I would never have met had it not been for Gary Webb. Dick Gregory would not have made me his white son on the radio had it not been for Gary Webb. I would never have confronted John Deutch at Locke High had it not been for Gary Webb.

I myself might have committed suicide in 1996 - broke, divorced and having given up all hope of making people listen -- had it not been for Gary Webb. His Dark Alliance stories broke just as – for the third time in my life I was struggling that great and most painful a human can face – To be, or not to be.
It seems that history, fate; whatever we know as God took the gun from my mouth and placed it to Gary’s head.
For some years now suicide has been neither an option nor a wish for me. It seems that I rediscovered my purpose as Gary Webb lost his.
There’s one thing else that Gary understood: It is that particularly painful place that a writer goes to when writing a book about the corruption that surrounds us – about the unwillingness of most people to either face it or accept responsibility for it. In order to write a book like Dark Alliance or Rubicon or Cocaine Politics or Powderburns an author must literally immerse himself in evil for months, sometimes years on end. He or she must wrestle with it, try to understand it, stifle his rage against it, and surrender – day in and day out – to the fact that it must be faced completely, thoroughly, and ruthlessly to be described. There is no “off” switch to get it out of one’s brain. The process changes a writer forever. I know personally that it can take an author into darkness so deep that only total commitment and a will to do some good and provide some useful knowledge for a troubled planet can see one through. I know that there were times when he found it very difficult to see the implications of what he was uncovering. I know that there were times when he wanted the revelations to stop.
Gary did that for all of us even though I don’t think he could see what it would cost him in the end.
In closing I would like to ask all of you to join me in a Latin American custom which celebrates a comrade fallen in battle…






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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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GWashingtonVisionValleyFo

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Reply with quote  #66 
Maynard
just saw your post here
great stuff
God Bless
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GWashingtonVisionValleyFo

Registered:
Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #67 
Milton William Cooper
1943-2001
God Bless, Rest in Peace,
May you and your God and mine, guide our actions here.
Gave his life for what he believed in, God and Country, for real,
(not the current Penn Ave occupant's fakery).


William Cooper, the same,
Air Force / Navy Intelligence / Vietnam veteran
author,
"Behold A Pale Horse" (1991)
His military service record included,
Exposed / exposes many agent provocateurs,
some still operating. 

Killed by "law enforcers" outside his home,
2001.

Don't believe me, google search for the details. 

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maynard

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Reply with quote  #68 
True Lies of a CIA Drug Runner
http://www.alternet.org/story/11185/
By Matt Coker, OC Weekly. Posted July 17, 2001.

Ken Bucchi says he was a drug-running spook. The CIA says he's an impostor. Someone's lying.        

The 1980s. The U.S. appetite for cocaine is insatiable. Everyone's snorting. Nancy Reagan's screaming, "Just say no!" The government decides to kick ass.

Uncle Sam goes straight to the source: Central America. South America. Any America that's not North America. We go down there. A familiar face smiles back. The CIA's been there for years. "What took you so long?"

The CIA had already hopped from one impoverished country to another. The CIA had already propped up one repressive regime after another. The CIA knows the drug trade. "Fight your silly Drug War," the CIA says. "Just don't fuck up our groundwork."

Their groundwork. They know the coke flow is immense. Immeasurable. Unstoppable. The CIA knows about the money. Fuck Woodward and Bernstein! Don't follow the money. It leads back to the CIA. You think Joe Sixpack funds these dictators? Hah!

There's enough lucre here to fund secret operations the world over. The Iranians need arms to fight the Iraqis. They helped put Ronnie Reagan in the White House. It's payback time.

Drugs are seized before they enter the U.S. Drugs are sold to buy arms. Arms are exchanged for hostages. Drug seizures are celebrated as major victories in the sham Drug War. Drug proceeds that fund black ops are better celebrated in private. In the Star Chamber. Clink your glasses. We win. They lose. They can die. Must die. God bless the Americas.

Ken Bucchi says he was a contract soldier in the CIA Drug War. He says the Agency recruited him out of Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He says he endured rigorous training in a crater in the Nevada desert. He says his final exam was sinking drug boats in the Florida Keys. He says his graduation included bombing cocaine labs in Colombia.

Bucchi says he met with then-CIA director William Casey, who is now rotting in Hell. He says they developed Operation Pseudo Miranda. He says deals were made with the "coke lords," even Pablo Escobar. Bucchi says Operation Pseudo Miranda would stop half the cocaine coming into the U.S. How? By agreeing to allow the other half to arrive at its destination unimpeded. He says the big, protected cartels like Medellin turned the CIA on to smaller, competing drug operations. He says the CIA set about crushing the competition. All in the name of Operation Pseudo Miranda. All in the name of Nancy Reagan's sham Drug War. All in the name of America.

I was at another newspaper seven years ago. Ken Bucchi called. His New England accent was as thick as chowder. He'd just written a novel, CIA: Cocaine in America. A small "true crime" house published it. Would I interview him?

Interviewing an author is about as fun as a root canal with a rusty nail and no Vicodin. Reading an interview of an author is even worse. But how many guys claim to be spooks? It was worth at least a listen.

He walked into the conference room. Tan. Slim. Athletic. Handsome. Early 30s. Casually dressed, but nice stuff -- like you'd find in a nice men's shop. I listened.

I'll admit it now if I didn't admit to readers then: his tale was mighty convoluted. So was CIA: Cocaine in America. The lead character in Bucchi's fictional book was really Bucchi. Obviously. The lead character hobnobbed with dangerous drug lords. The lead character boned a fellow CIA soldier who turned out to be a total babe once you stripped her down. The CIA babe later died in his arms. The lead character may have had a secret meeting with then-Vice President George Bush.

May have? Well? Did you or didn't you? Don't know, Bucchi answered. The CIA often arranged meetings between contractors like Bucchi and impostors. He mildly apologized for the way some details were presented in CIA: Cocaine in America. "For storytelling purposes," he said, the publisher made him take a lot of literary license.

Sounded more like literary bullshit. Sounded like Ken Bucchi must be a nut. But something kept nagging at me. At the core of his story were fascinating details about an alleged CIA drug operation. Enough specifics to give Tom Clancy a boner the size and tensile strength of the Red October. How could someone make stuff like this up whole-cloth?

And details like these popped up again. Two years after our interview. The San Jose Mercury News. Reporter Gary Webb's groundbreaking "Dark Alliance" series chronicled the real-life CIA connection to crack cocaine sales on the streets of South-Central LA. But Webb has since been shit on. Heat came from other newspapers. The Los Angeles Times led the wolf pack. The Times didn't break the CIA-crack story, therefore it couldn't have happened. A Mercury News editor concurred. Webb's story was branded sloppy. He's now out of the biz.

Bucchi has since been shit on, too. But first we've gotta backtrack.

This much we know is true about Kenneth C. Bucchi: he did attend Murray State. Got a B.S. in criminology in 1984. Joined the Air Force a year later. His discharge papers say he was in aircraft maintenance. His discharge papers say he was a captain. That he was in for six years. That he received two Air Force commendation medals and an achievement medal. That he served in the Gulf War from 1990 to 1991. That he was discharged in '91.

He told me he left the service to become a private investigator. Two years later, he became a corporate investigator. Undercover. At the time we first met, he said he was living in California, spying on employees for a defense giant. Then he moved to Oregon to do the same thing at a paper plant.

His experiences led to his first nonfiction book, Inside Job: Deep Undercover as a Corporate Spy. It hit the bookstore shelves, and the TV yakfests started calling. Bucchi made the rounds. He also did radio: National Public Radio, Howard Stern, John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten). During the Stern interview, Bucchi's CIA past came up. He told the shock jock that part of his training involved trying to keep a straight face while asking girls if they were wearing underwear.

The publisher of Inside Job is Granite Bay-based Penmarin Books, a small outfit with a big jones for the CIA. Publisher Hal Lockwood asked Bucchi if he had any other experiences worthy of a book. Bucchi mentioned Operation Pseudo Miranda. Bucchi showed Lockwood CIA: Cocaine in America. Lockwood looked at real documents Bucchi said backed up his story. What's that they say about truth being stranger than fiction? Lockwood wanted Bucchi's real-life CIA exploits on the printed page. Lockwood wanted Operation Pseudo Miranda: A Veteran of the CIA Drug Wars Tells All. It came out last year.

Bucchi made the media rounds again. Reluctantly. He didn't mind voicing his opinions on the latest spy incident in the news -- and there have been a bunch, in case you haven't been paying attention. But talking about his own involvement in The Life bothered Bucchi.

Fox called this past January. They wanted Bucchi to talk about Pseudo Miranda on the Jan. 29 O'Reilly Factor. Blowhard host Bill O'Reilly hedged his bets on the air. "Now, once you put this in a book, they said you were a psycho," O'Reilly said. It had come out somehow, despite supposedly sealed military records, that the Air Force had tagged Bucchi as "delusional." Bucchi tried to offer O'Reilly his defense. "So you can prove it by these documents that you have," the host remarked. "And we've looked them over. But, you know, documents can be doctored." Fox had called the CIA and the State Department. No comment. A common response.

From the time I first interviewed Bucchi in 1994 through his O'Reilly Factor appearance, no government agency ever publicly commented on his story. When he appeared on Fox News with former FBI directors a short time before O'Reilly to discuss the Robert Hanssen spy case, no one questioned the veracity of Bucchi's Drug War games. The closest he had ever gotten to official reaction was a couple of phone calls. Anonymous. Always women. Always late at night.

"You're rubbing the Agency the wrong way."

April 20, 2001. CIA-contract employees are flying a U.S. plane in the skies above Peru. They're tracking small aircraft. They spot a single-engine Cessna. Must be a drug runner. They radio for a Peruvian fighter jet. The jet shoots the plane down. Holy shit! It wasn't a drug plane! It was a missionary plane! An American woman and her baby perish in the crash.

The same American public that couldn't give two shits about that region before suddenly wants answers. CNN wanted Ken Bucchi to provide them. He was in the Rolodex as a former CIA contractor. He was in the Rolodex as having fought in the Drug War. He was in the Rolodex as being media-savvy. He apparently wasn't in the Rolodex for being "delusional." That wasn't important right now. The public demanded to know how such a horrific incident could happen?

Bucchi was booked on the April 23 CNN afternoon newscast. He laid out the shady ways the government works in the southern hemisphere. Anchor Stephen Frazier was appalled. Bucchi reasoned with him. Pseudo Miranda may have let half the drugs in, but at least no missionary planes were shot down back in the day.

Bucchi did so well that he was held over for that evening's telecast of The Point With Greta van Susteren. Among the other three guests was Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), one of the nation's leading critics of the CIA. Bucchi said the CIA purposely distances itself from contractors like those who sicced the Peruvian Air Force on what was thought to be a drug plane. Meanwhile, the CIA takes the credit for stopping 60 percent of the drugs coming out of Peru.

"Does anybody in America today feel like 60 percent of the drugs came off their streets?" Bucchi asked. Waters found those words revelatory. Like they came from on high. "Ken, I want to thank you for being the clearest voice that I have ever heard coming out of the CIA or any related agency about what is going on in this Drug War," she said. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

Someone was not amused. CNN got a call from the CIA. The Agency said Ken Bucchi was an impostor. The Agency said Ken Bucchi never worked for the CIA. The Agency said Ken Bucchi never was a CIA contractor. Van Susteren went on the air April 25. "I have a secret agency of the government telling me one thing and a citizen telling me another. I've seen and heard falsehoods from both before. Both positions are aired on CNN." Bucchi says that after Van Susteren read the statement, he got a call from a guy he knew from a secret CIA base in Arkansas who offered to confirm their shared experiences with CNN. Bucchi says he told him not to bother because his life would be turned upside down.

April 26. CIA spokesman Bill Harlow released what was apparently an unprecedented statement ("Apparently" because Harlow did not return phone calls seeking clarification):

On April 23, 2001, CNN aired a program during which they interviewed an individual named Kenneth Bucchi, whom CNN described as a "former CIA narcotics agent." During the program, Bucchi alleged that the CIA "basically had a complicit operation, a quid pro quo, if you will, with the drug lords of Colombia and essentially, what we [the CIA] did is put the lion's share of the market in small cash in drug lords' hands....

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said the following in response to this allegation:

"Bucchi never worked for or was affiliated with the CIA in any way; he was neither an employee nor a contractor at any time. Bucchi's account of an operation supposedly working with the drug lords of Colombia is complete and utter nonsense -- it is fiction."

Harlow added that while the CIA usually declines to say whether or not a person has ever worked for the Agency, "this one has just gone too far."

Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz pounced on the story. "CNN's Very Secret Agent: CIA says man's story is phony." Kurtz played up Harlow's prime directive while introducing Bucchi's defense this way: "In a rambling interview ..." He quoted Bucchi saying he can't prove he worked for the CIA, that he can't prove he wasn't delusional. Then the coup de grace: Bucchi used an "expletive."

Fucking Kurtz! Lockwood, the publisher, was livid. How could the Washington Post -- the vaunted Washington Post -- put out such one-sided trash? How could they take the CIA response at face value while ignoring Bucchi's facts? Lockwood checked those facts. Fox News checked those facts. They were solid.

Bucchi says Kurtz snipped his quotes. Bucchi says Kurtz ignored his documents. Bucchi says the great Howard Kurtz -- who loves going on TV to blast TV for rushing to put people on the air without thorough background checks -- relied on just one source for his story: the most secretive spy agency in the world.

Those Bucchi facts? The Air Force branded him delusional for running around and talking about Pseudo Miranda. So Bucchi sought Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) documents to back up his claims. Turns out the DEA was in on the operation. Bucchi filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. But the DEA's initial response in November 1990 says the DEA has no records on a Kenneth C. Bucchi nor an Operation Pseudo Miranda. Then Bucchi showed up on the witness list for Manuel Noriega. The pock-marked Panamanian dictator was being tried in this country for drug trafficking. Bucchi filed another FOIA request in 1991. This time, the DEA responded with seven reasons it could not release information on Bucchi or Pseudo Miranda, including "national security."

More facts? Noriega's flamboyant lead attorney Frank Rubino was on Larry King Live around this time. The host asked about the connection between Pseudo Miranda, the Panamanian leader, the Bush administration CIA and some fellow named Ken Bucchi. "Oh, if we had about two hours, I'd love to sit down and tell you what the connection is, but obviously, this is something we've discussed with our client," Rubino said. "It's an area of great interest to us."

More: Carlos Lehder was the Colombian transport guru of the Medellin cartel. He's at a theater near you. In Blow, he's the basis for the fictional character who partnered with George Jung, the American coke dealer portrayed by Johnny Depp. Bucchi says he wrote to Lehder seeking confirmation of the CIA's quid pro quo drug operation. Bucchi produced a letter whose return address says it's from Lehder inside an Illinois prison. "The topics and Pseudo Miranda program are very much intelligence affairs of the United States anti-drug proyects [sic]. I, Carlos Lehder, as a foreigner, shall not and must not involve myself in any internal affairs of your great nation, just as I disaprove [sic] of foreigners doing so in my country."

That "delusional" tag? Bucchi says Carl Bernstein called his air base for an interview about Pseudo Miranda. Air Force brass caught wind of it. They're still picking the shit out of the fan. Bucchi was hauled before the Top Guns. He offered to dodge any sensitive questions from the legendary journalist who helped break Watergate. Command reasoned that would be interpreted as "he's hiding something." Plausible deniability was in order. Trash the source. Bucchi's a nutbar. Wrap him up in a mental condition. The government would have to pay Bucchi, then just 30 years old, a full medical retirement for life. But it was a small price to pay to keep his records forever sealed due to a medical condition.

Bucchi fought back. He could be the first person in history to try to prevent the military from doling out full retirement benefits. To Bucchi, it was a small price to keep from being forever labeled "delusional." His attorney, Major Miles D. Wichelns, got it in the official record that an Air Force psychiatrist refused to diagnose Bucchi as delusional. The same psychiatrist ordered the Office of Special Investigations to look into Bucchi's claims about Pseudo Miranda.

The top dogs would not be denied. They took the case to D.C., where (Bucchi claims) a military board was supposed to determine whether his constitutional rights had been violated. Instead, the board reinstated his classification as "delusional." Case closed. No appeal. And just to make sure, the government tied it up in a bow: national security.

Is Ken Bucchi a nutbar? He admits he has no hard evidence that he worked for the CIA. Apparently, the Agency does not give pay stubs to spooks. No one involved in Pseudo Miranda knew their colleagues' real names (Ken Bucchi was Anthony Vesbucci). Wouldn't the Air Force notice Captain Bucchi missing from his post? He explained he often worked at a base in San Antonio, Texas, for days at a time. He says that, from there, he would be ferried by Air Force planes to his CIA missions, which would last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. "If I had to do anything that would take longer, I'd be put on 'temporary duty.' Everything was done so above board, I didn't think anything of it." Don't ask, don't tell.

So finally you have the crux of this spy tale: the same secrecy that the CIA uses to protect itself from scrutiny makes Bucchi's claims no more outlandish than your average political assassination, toppled government or inner-city crack cocaine operation.

"If you look at [whistleblowers] who've been on Primetime Live, 60 Minutes, all these shows, the military always uses 'delusional' to describe the person," Bucchi says. "It's very effective. Once they label you delusional and a reporter hears that, the media backs away. That's why you never see stories on the CIA. If I was on that side, I would use the same thing. If those DEA documents came out, you'd see a million stories on the CIA."

Bucchi takes pride that his story elicited an unprecedented response from Spy Central. "The fact that the CIA violated its own policy of not responding to whether someone was a contract agent compels them to respond to all such inquiries in the future lest they be asked what difference the present question poses vs. mine. That is how badly they wanted to shut me up. That establishes more clearly than I ever could the gravity of their role in the Drug War," he said. "Has the CIA ever done anything on par with Operation Pseudo Miranda that was unethical, illegal or immoral? If so, show me where they admitted to it. Does the fact that they have never willingly admitted to any such operation mean they've never conducted one? Can anyone make up a CIA story and get Langley to comment on record about its falsehood? I've seen all kinds of people on TV claiming to have worked for the CIA and claiming that the CIA was involved in the Kennedy assassination, but not once have I heard the CIA defend themselves and call assassination theorists liars or quacks. Is that because claiming the CIA-killed-Kennedy story has not 'gone too far?' Boy, do they have a false sense of priorities."

He's come up with several reasons why his case so spooked the spooks. CNN is on in bars and lounges and hotel rooms the world over. Maxine Waters apparently went back to Washington and raised holy hell. Then there was the biggest threat of all, the message Bucchi was trying to get across to viewers. This is it: the CIA makes pacts with government leaders and drug lords to control who is in power-and who is not-in Central and South America. Whoever has the arms has the power. The CIA gets to decide who gets the arms under the guise of the Drug War. America would not have even known of a CIA role down there had it not been for the missionary plane mishap. "There are probably other Peruvian families who have been shot down over the years that we do not hear about," Bucchi said. "We don't do that within our own borders because Americans would be outraged over people being mistakenly shot down, so we fight our battles on other borders."

He pitched this opinion to CNN's van Susteren: "We could save a lot of money if the government just went to Colombia and asked, 'How much for all the cocaine?' It's not that farcical. The cost would be tremendous, but it would still be less than what we are spending now for the Drug War. But then we would not be able to justify giving weapons to governments. If we bought it all, the drug dealers would have the same amount of money as the people in power. The CIA doesn't want leftist guerrillas or Pablo Escobars having the same power as the people they help put in power."

He's unsure whether that message will ever get through. "The media is mostly to blame," he said. "They shouldn't put their tails between their legs so quickly. They dismissed me so easily, but they won't be able to dismiss those people who were shot down as easily. If the media just believed me for a second, it would be easier to understand what happened in Peru."

Now Bucchi's got a wife and a couple of kids. His 40th birthday is just around the corner. Life's not so bad. He gets 50 percent of his military pay for the rest of his life. "I should for the shit they put me through," he interjected. He would even have all his medical and dental bills paid were he not afraid to return to a military base to visit a clinic. If put under anesthesia, "I probably wouldn't leave alive," he figured. He'd surrender all the pay and benefits "the moment they admitted I'm not delusional and, subsequently, confessed the truth about Pseudo Miranda."

He's now a pencil-pushing government bureaucrat. Personnel officer for a community redevelopment agency. How does a guy jump from being a maintenance officer in the Air Force to a corporate investigator for a defense giant to a bureaucrat for a city's redevelopment agency? Contacts. Former military contacts. Former CIA contacts. Truth is stranger than fiction.

But don't worry: he doesn't plan on writing a book that casts his new agency as a shadowy government entity (even if it is). Instead, he's writing treatments and screenplays for Hollywood. The Rock writers Douglas Cook and David Weisberg got Universal Pictures to fork over the high six figures for their pitch for Dixie Cups, which is based on Bucchi's Operation Pseudo Miranda. Bucchi got a fee that will mushroom into big bucks if that picture becomes a go.

Meanwhile, he's working on his own movie scripts and says he has sold a couple of pilots to the networks. Should Hollywood come calling, will he give the city his notice? "Yeah," he said, "obviously, I'd leave in a heartbeat." But no more books or scripts about his life in The Life. "I don't buy all this New Age psychology about confronting your past. Some things are better left in the past. Repressed memory is a good safety mechanism the brain pulls."

The CIA shit on Ken Bucchi, on the notion of an Operation Pseudo Miranda. But Bucchi may get the last laugh. Millions of Americans could line up around blocks to see a fictionalized version of his alleged Agency exploits on the Silver Screen. Finally, someone will believe it really happened.





































CIA INSPECTOR GENERAL FREDERICK P. HITZ -

Let me be frank. 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.

REP. NORMAN DICKS, WA - Did any of these allegations involve trafficking in the United States?

HITZ - Yes

[Testimony before House Intelligence Committee, March 16, 1998]



http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=1998_record&page=H10818&position=all
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?r105:9:./temp/~r105QkrR82::

CIA IGNORED CHARGES OF CONTRA DRUG DEALING (House of Representatives - October 13, 1998)

[Page: H10818] GPO's PDF

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Waters) is recognized for 5 minutes.

*

* Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, well, the CIA has finally admitted it and the New York Times finally covered it. The Times ran the devastating story on Saturday, with the headline: CIA Said to Ignore Charges of Contra Drug Dealing in 80s.

* In a remarkable reversal by the New York Times, the paper reported that the CIA knew about Contra drug dealing and they covered it up. The CIA let it go on for years during the height of their campaign against the Sandinista government.

* Among other revelations in the article were that `the CIA's inspector general determined that the agency `did not inform Congress of all allegations or information it received indicating that contra-related organizations or individuals were involved in drug trafficking.'

* The Times article continued pointing out `[d]uring the time the ban on [Contra] funds was in effect, the CIA informed Congress only about drug charges against two other contra-related people. [T]he agency failed to tell other executive branch agencies, including the Justice Department, about drug allegations against 11 contra-related individuals or entities.'

* The article continues stating `[the Report] makes clear that the agency did little or nothing to investigate most of the drug allegations that it heard about the contra and their supporters. In all, the inspector general's report found that the CIA has received allegations of drug involvement by 58 contras or others linked to the contra program. These included 14 pilots and two others tied to the contra program's CIA -backed air transportation operations.

* The Times reported that `the report said that in at least six instances, the CIA knew about allegations regarding individuals or organizations but that knowledge did not deter it from continuing to employ them.'

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

* I have not seen this appendix. But the sources are very reliable and well-informed. The Department of Justice must release that appendix immediately. If the Department of Justice chooses to withhold this clearly vital information, the outrage will be servere and widespread.

* We have finally seen the CIA admit to have knowingly employed drug dealers associated with the Contra movement. I look forward to a comprehensive investigation into this matter by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, now that the underlying charges have finally been admitted by the CIA


******************
At the end of Volume II, the Inspector General of the CIA Frederick P. Hitz laid down a challenge for legislators and law enforcement officials to continue the investigation of the CIA's protection of Contra drug traffickers, stating simply, "This is grist for more work, if anyone wants to do it."

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #69 
http://www.onlinejournal.com/Media/010705Drolette/010705drolette.html
(see the original of this article. It is filled with links)





We have met the enemy and it is US (corporate media)

By Mark Drolette
Online Journal Contributing Writer


January 7, 2005—On December 18, I attended Gary Webb's memorial service in Sacramento, along with about 250 other people.

In 1996, Webb wrote a series of articles ("Dark Alliance") for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting that, in the 1980s, "a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to . . . street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to an arm of the contra guerrillas of Nicaragua run by the Central Intelligence Agency" and the "cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America . . ."

The "contra guerrillas," of course, were the Reagan administration CIA-nurtured darlings who sought to overthrow Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government.

The story, obviously, was huge. Too huge, as it turns out, for certain powerful sensibilities. The disinformation machine soon was cranked up full tilt, and shortly after the series' publication, the Big Three in American newspapers—the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post—shamefully dedicated time and column inches attacking the veracity of Webb's assertions instead of pursuing the story. His professional coup de grace was administered by his own editor, Jerry Ceppos, who journalistically ran for cover and left the Pulitzer-winning reporter twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

Webb eventually left the paper and later wrote a book (Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion) expounding on his series, an effort that, naturally, received little mainstream media attention. On December 10, 2004, he was found dead in his home in Carmichael, a community just east of Sacramento.

The Sacramento County Coroner reported Webb committed suicide with a revolver. Though two shots were fired, there is scant doubt it was, in fact, a suicide. (Please see investigative reporter and author Michael C. Ruppert's comments for more details.)

I didn't know Gary Webb, but his story, for me, is a too-real reminder of the sometimes deadly nexus between the American corporate media and our government, and how the Fourth Estate has willingly become a third arm of the very institution it is charged with watching.

Webb did his job while embodying an honorable principle: telling the truth, simply because that's what journalists are supposed to do. Unremittingly, Gary Webb did himself, and real journalists everywhere, proud.

And for that, the powers that be did him in.

Webb's series, besides acting like fly paper for the Big Three's disgraceful, inimical tsk tsks, triggered a 1998 CIA inspector general two-part report ("Volume I: The California Story" and "Volume II: The Contra Story"); a hastily-convened March 1998 House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) hearing at which CIA Inspector General Frederick R. Hitz appeared after the release of Volume I's unclassified version (in January 1998); and a report from the HPSCI in May 2000.

If the suddenness with which Committee Chairman and (then) ex-CIA man Porter Goss (R-FL) called the March '98 hearing was in fact a guise to try to bury the whole seedy affair without further fanfare, it didn't work. First, Hitz skewered the credibility of his own Volume I (which had gone to contorted lengths to try to exonerate the CIA from, specifically, culpability in the crack epidemic, and, generally, connections to narcotics trafficking) by stating:

"Let me be frank. 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."

But the real bombshell, as recounted in the same article from which Hitz's above comments were culled, came when he testified "that under an agreement in 1982 between then-Attorney General William French Smith and the CIA, agency officers were not required to report allegations of drug trafficking involving non-employees, which was defined as meaning paid and non-paid 'assets [meaning agents], pilots who ferried supplies to the contras, as well as contra officials and others.'" (This agreement lasted until August 3, 1995, according to Volume II's "Introduction," paragraph 24.)

Well, how about them rotten apples? Not only had the CIA, in fact, knowingly worked with suspected drug dealers who were "supporting the contra program," but then it had sought, and received, "legal" cover from the U.S. Justice Department from having to report to it, or to Congress—or to anyone, for that matter—such information.

And from what paper was Hitz's confessional testimony gleaned? Lo(wly) and behold: the Washington Post (in a March 1998 piece by Walter Pincus, identified by Martha Honey in her 1998 In These Times article as "a leading critic of the Mercury News series.")

I looked but didn't see an apology to Gary Webb.

The unclassified version of Volume II was released on October 8, 1998. It's truly a fascinating work of spook double-speak as it madly tries to paint the agency with a "Who, us?" brush while at the same time being crammed with I'll-be-damneds. Two examples of the latter:

From "Introduction," paragraph 15: " . . . [Contra] officials agreed to use [Contra] operational facilities in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to facilitate transportation of narcotics . . . After undergoing flight training, the [Contra] pilots . . . would . . . fly narcotics shipments from South America to sites in Costa Rica and Nicaragua for later transport to the United States."

From Volume II's "Pilots, companies, . . .Pilots, companies, . . .," paragraph 1084: "On April 6, 1986, a Memorandum entitled 'Contra Involvement in Drug Trafficking' was prepared by CIA at the request of Vice President [H. W.] Bush. The Memorandum provided . . . information . . . regarding the alleged agreement between Southern Front Contra leader Eden Pastora's associates and Miami-based drug trafficker Jorge Morales. Morales reportedly had offered financial and aircraft support for the Contras in exchange for [Contra] pilots to 'transship' Colombian cocaine to the United States. CIA disseminated this memorandum only to the Vice President."

The follow-up sentence: "The . . . analyst who drafted the Memorandum says that there was no follow-up."

It's time now for yet another corporate media moment as Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn offer their view of how New York Times writer James Risen (whom they call "the Slut of Langley") covers Volume II's revelations on October 10, 1998:

"Probably out of embarrassment Risen postponed till his fourteenth paragraph the information from Hitz's explosive report that should rightly have been the lead to a story that should rightly have been on the front page: 'In September, 1982, as a small group of rebels was being formed from former soldiers in the National Guard of the deposed Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, a CIA informant reported that the leadership of the fledgling group had decided to smuggle drugs to the United States to support its operation.'"

"Thus does Risen put the lie to all past reports on this topic in the New York Times and his own previous story in the Los Angeles Times parroting CIA and Justice Department press releases to the effect that vigorous internal investigations had entirely exonerated the Agency."

I found no apology to Gary Webb from Risen, either.

In May 2000, the HPSCI, which is charged with overlooking—sorry, "overseeing"—CIA activities, released its own "report" (assumedly bedecked with a delicate whitewash-tinged motif).* The theme? Just think "CIA rubber stamp" and you get the general idea. Even so, some of the ink was unmistakably smudged.

David Corn, in a June 2000 piece for The Nation, writes: "The bulk of the report is directed at disputing the crack [epidemic] 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.'"

Corn says later "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 . . ."

Yep, there's nothing quite like interviewing the fox when the chickens go missing. It's the same journalistic "technique" employed by corporate media reporters when Webb's series debuted, about which Webb comments during his January 1999 talk to a Eugene, Oregon, gathering (as reported by ParaScope):

"But the Times and the Post all uncritically reported [the CIA's] claims that the CIA didn't know what was going on, and that it would never permit its hirelings to do anything like that, as unseemly as drug trafficking. You know, assassinations and bombings and that sort of thing, yeah, they'll admit to right up front, but drug dealing, no, no, they don't do that kind of stuff."

Normally, we would discuss here what HPSCI's Volume II hearing revealed. But we can't, since, according to FromtheWilderness.com, it was held in secret on May 25, 1999. I guess we, the peons—er, the people—are not on a "need-to-know" basis. After all, it's only, you know, our government we're talkin' about here.

A Justice Department "investigation" was thrown into the fix mix along the way, too (released in December 1997, followed by an "Epilogue" in July 1998), with a tired refrain: The CIA, even though it knew it was working with drug traffickers, still was responsible in no way shape or form for the crack explosion in L.A. or elsewhere because, yes, even though "It is clear that certain of the individuals discussed in [Webb's] articles . . . were significant drug traffickers who also supported, to some extent, the Contras . . ." and shipped cocaine into the U.S., well, all that coke must have ended up in, uh, we don't exactly know really but most likely Wyoming or Boise or somewhere or maybe, just maybe, it was even just thrown away but it most certainly did not end up as crack in Southern California (of all places!) oh my oh heavens oh of course not, no. (Quote is from the investigation's "Executive Summary, Introduction," paragraph 10.)

Of all the garbage thrown Webb's way, the most outrageous, by far, was that he'd claimed, insinuated, or even hinted that the CIA had conspired to get African-American neighborhoods hooked on crack.

Bull tripe. Here's Webb in Eugene:

"I do not believe—and I have never believed—that the crack cocaine explosion was a conscious CIA conspiracy, or anybody's conspiracy, to decimate black America. I've never believed that South Central Los Angeles was targeted by the U.S. government to become the crack capital of the world. But that isn't to say that the CIA's hands or the U.S. government's hands are clean in this matter. Actually, far from it. After spending three years of my life looking into this, I am more convinced than ever that the U.S. government's responsibility for the drug problems in South Central Los Angeles and other inner cities is greater than I ever wrote in the newspaper."

Webb had simply nailed the story and characteristically possessed the goods to prove it, as he recounts in the book Into the Buzzsaw (edited by Kristina Borjesson): "We had photos, undercover tape recordings, and federal grand jury testimony. In addition, we had interviews with guerrilla leaders, tape-recorded courtroom testimony, confidential FBI and DEA reports, Nicaraguan Supreme Court files, Congressional records, and long-secret documents unearthed during the Iran-Contra investigation."

What did his critics have? Not a damn thing, save for petty professional protectionism (partly) and pipelined propaganda (primarily), comprising a double-bladed guillotine dropped full-force onto a sterling journalistic career and, ultimately, one man's will to live.

At the service, as I listened to grieved and sometimes outraged witness from relatives, friends, and colleagues about a great American journalist shat upon by his own profession for the sin of doing his job, it finally crystallized for me: Those of us who look for the media to report the truth must do it ourselves.

A friend who has published a fine online journal for several years had sent me an email just a couple of days earlier in which she mentions those "who keep asking, 'Why haven't the 'mainstream' media picked up on [fill in the blank]?' or 'When is the 'mainstream' media going to pick up on [fill in the blank]?' I guess we're the chopped liver media, eh?"

Her point echoes my better-late-than-never epiphany at Webb's service: that the so-called mainstream media will never "pick up" on the stuff that really matters. The Woodward and Bernstein era is no longer, and likely saw its last day when Gary Webb lived his. No matter how much we badger the Big Three or smaller rags or TV networks or radio stations, they will never properly investigate and report on 9/11 or phony war justifications, or fixed elections, or poisonous depleted uranium blanketing Iraq or the fourteen permanent U.S. military bases being constructed there, or the Project for the New American Century, or White House-condoned torture, or the Social-Security-is-going-under scam, or government "regulatory" agencies that are just taxpayer-subsidized divisions of the industries they oversee, or the blackout on photos showing what war really does to humans with its spattered brains and char-broiled babies and dog-eaten corpses, or the media's own disingenuous "oh-my-isn't-this-horrible" editorials that only serve to cover their compromised asses while they go about their real business of selling the most advertising possible instead of doing what they should be doing: opening up with all journalistic barrels on the most vile, dangerous, brutal, unprincipled, narcissistic, insane administration in American history.

No, what we get instead is Scott Peterson or Martha Stewart or Virgin Mary cheese sandwiches or other such slop, and sloppily done, at that, a choice, then, between chopped liver media or corporate media, or, as how a frozen-haired, lacquered-smiled anchorman(nequin) would no doubt groaningly frame it, the choppies vs. the sloppies.

A few real journalists still exist (Seymour Hersh comes to mind). I'm sure there are also still some mainstream reporters who have what Webb possessed (in spades): integrity, and an obsessive need to ferret out the truth and then report it. But, as his terrible tale amply demonstrates, anything deemed too hot is going nowhere. At some level, when names are named, the story will be quashed.

American mainstream media as government watchdog is a dead hound. Done and gone. Don't even hold out false hope that somehow it will be revived; this time, Jim, Spock really is dead.

So, it's up to us—all of us—to "be the media." It's us, or nobody. But how do we do it?

Well, our most powerful tool, besides uncovering and speaking the truth, is, of course, the Internet. As so often happens, we're brought full circle here, for it was the Internet that helped fire interest in Webb's articles and, ultimately, lead to his demise.

The CIA-Contra-narcotics connection had actually been reported on, and investigated, years before. In the mid-1980s, Associated Press reporters Robert Parry and Brian Barger wrote articles about "Contra-cocaine evidence" that caught the attention of a freshman senator, John Kerry (D-MA), who launched a Senate investigation. (Click here for Parry's detailed summary of the pieces, and here for "Selections from the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy chaired by Senator John F. Kerry.")

Parry writes, "[The Kerry investigation's] stunning conclusion: 'On the basis of the evidence, it 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.'"

Parry again: "Instead of front-page treatment, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times all wrote brief accounts and stuck them deep inside their papers."

Pre-Internet, it was no sweat for the Big Three to bury a story. But "Dark Alliance" was different because, as Webb tells Borjesson, it was "the first interactive online exposé in the history of American journalism . . . Almost from the moment the series appeared, the Web page was deluged with visitors from all over the world . . . One day we had more than 1.3 million hits."

The Internet had changed the battlefield on which the established media had always fought. They and their government string-pullers needed new tactics to retain their power; hence, the direct frontal assaults on Webb and his credibility. For his destroyers, speaking the truth was never part of the plan.

The mantle of press as government watchdog is ours, and ours alone, to don. If you have a story to tell, tell it. Submit it to online publications, post it to open publishing sites, blog it, whatever; just get it out there on the 'Net.

Uncomfortable moment time: Although we have truth on our side, we must still widely distribute it, or our efforts are for naught. And to do that, nasty old money—lots of it—is needed.

We are woefully outnumbered in the simoleon department. We generated about 300 quadrillion dollars or so for the Democrats, that, in hindsight, because the election was fixed (as I see it), turned out to be a colossal waste of money. With rigged balloting firmly in place, spending mucho dinero (along with time and energy) to promote voting in this current system is like giving CPR to a dead man: It may help you feel like you're being responsible, but it's decidedly pointless. It also serves to perpetuate as a populace controlling mechanism the illusion that voting can actually effect real political change.

New approaches to successfully challenging and changing America's new system of government—fascism—are needed. To formulate, disseminate, and then activate our solutions, we must quickly build and expand our communications network.

So . . . let's pony up.

Donate early and often to the online media outlet(s) of your choice. Contribute content, too, and strongly encourage others to follow suit. If you're new to this, great! You're especially needed; more credible voices is one of the main things we're after. Use reliable sources, cite them, check them, and check them again. Provide links whenever possible.

Dig out stories, the very ones the corporate media won't touch. Consult true experts if need be to verify your information, line up your sources, and then report away.

Bear in mind this is not kids' stuff we're talking about. There will be real casualties; I attended the service of one the other day. But if you believe that the administration and attendant government underlings do not represent your interests, could not care less about your family's well-being, have no intentions of ever relinquishing power, and view the Constitution as only a yappy, nippy dog to be kicked off to the side as they pursue their pestilent agenda, and you can also no longer abide the corporate media's overt or covert complicity in all of this, then you are more than welcome to join us in the battle.

What happens if the government shuts down the Internet to silence us while our work is in progress? Well, that certainly would be a problem, but I doubt it will happen, and here's why: Those in charge are single-mindedly driven in their pursuit of power and money. They are addicts, which means no amount is ever enough and they always gotta have more.

The Internet is an integral part of the greedheads' moneymaking machine and they are constitutionally incapable of doing anything to deliberately stanch the flow of their drug of choice.

It is their Achilles heel, and we can take full advantage of it.

Lest this all sound a tad over-the-top-ish regarding the state of the state and its media minions, I shall leave you with words from a much wiser and vastly more experienced journalist than I:

"Do we have a free press today? Sure we do. It's free to report all the sex scandals it wants, all the stock market news we can handle, every new health fad that comes down the pike, and every celebrity marriage or divorce that happens. But when it comes to the real down and dirty stuff—stories like Tailwind, the October Surprise, the El Mozote massacre, corporate corruption, or CIA involvement in drug trafficking—that's where we begin to see the limits of our freedoms. In today's media environment, sadly, such stories are not even open for discussion."

"Back in 1938, when fascism was sweeping Europe, legendary investigative reporter George Seldes observed (in his book, The Lords of the Press) that 'it is possible to fool all the people all the time—when government and press cooperate.' Unfortunately, we have reached that point."

Those are Gary Webb's words, from Into the Buzzsaw.

Peace to you, Gary Webb. We're going to one day nail the bastards, and when we do, the first one's for you.

* Try as I might, I could not find a link to the actual HPSCI report (entitled "Report on the Central Intelligence Agency's Alleged Involvement in Crack Cocaine Trafficking in the Los Angeles Area" and dated May 11, 2000). Click here for the CIA's subsequent press release, though, in which it bizarrely crows exoneration while simultaneously listing proof of its complicity.

Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.

Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at drolette@comcast.net.







Inspector: CIA Kept Ties With Alleged Traffickers

By Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writer

The CIA did not "expeditiously" cut off relations with alleged drug traffickers who supported contra Nicaraguan rebels in the 1980s, CIA Inspector General Frederick R. Hitz told the House intelligence committee yesterday.

Hitz for the first time said publicly that the CIA was aware of allegations that "dozens of people and a number of companies connected in some fashion to the contra program" were involved in drug trafficking.

"Let me be frank," Hitz added, "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."

Hitz said some of the alleged trafficking involved bringing drugs into the United States. But, he added, investigators "found no evidence . . . of any conspiracy by CIA or its employees to bring drugs into the United States."

The allegations about drug traffickers linked to the CIA and the U.S.-backed anti-Sandinista rebels, as well as the response to the charges by CIA case officers and top officials, will be detailed in a 600-page classified report scheduled to be sent to Congress later this month, Hitz said.

The inspector general also said that under an agreement in 1982 between then-Attorney General William French Smith and the CIA, agency officers were not required to report allegations of drug trafficking involving non-employees, which was defined as meaning paid and non-paid "assets [meaning agents], pilots who ferried supplies to the contras, as well as contra officials and others."

This agreement, which has not previously been revealed, came at a time when there were allegations that the CIA was using drug dealers in its controversial covert operation to bring down the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

According to Hitz, this policy was modified in 1986 when the agency was prohibited from paying U.S. dollars to any individual or company found to be involved in drug dealing.

Where the allegations "were flimsy," he said, agency officers continued operating with the individuals involved and investigations into whether they were dealing in drugs were not done "as expeditiously as they should have been."

Yesterday's hearing was called to review the inspector general's report, which was triggered by a series of articles published in the San Jose Mercury News in August 1996 that alleged a CIA connection to the introduction of crack cocaine into South Central Los Angeles by Nicaraguan drug dealers. Hitz has reported he found "no evidence" to indicate that past or present CIA employees, or agents acting for the agency were associated with the drug dealers mentioned in the newspaper's series.

Yesterday Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said Hitz's initial report "lacks credibility and its conclusions should be dismissed."

Hitz's disclosures led Rep. Norman D. Dicks (Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel, to call for more committee hearings, including possible testimony from former Reagan White House aide Oliver L. North, who coordinated fund-raising for the contras.

Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #70 
http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/9712/
http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/oig/c4rpt/c4toc.htm


USDOJ/OIG Special Report




THE CIA-CONTRA-CRACK COCAINE CONTROVERSY:
A REVIEW OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S
INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS
(December, 1997)



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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #71 
http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/cocaine/report/index.html

Office of Inspector General
Investigations Staff
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION
Allegations of Connections Between CIA
and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking
to the United States
(96-0143-IG)

Volume I: The California Story

January 29, 1998


Note: This is an unclassified version of a Report of Investigation that included information that is classified for national security reasons pursuant to Executive Order 12958 and sensitive law enforcement information. To the fullest extent possible, the text of this unclassified version is the same as that included in the classified version. Where different language has been required for national security or law enforcement purposes, the revised language is as close as possible to the original text.


VOLUME II:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/cocaine/index.html



Central Intelligence Agency
Inspector General
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION

ALLEGATIONS OF CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CIA
AND THE CONTRAS IN COCAINE TRAFFICKING
TO THE UNITED STATES
(96-0143-IG)

Volume II: The Contra Story

October 8, 1998

Errata

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #72 
U.S. Representative Maxine Water's response to the above report:

http://www.house.gov/waters/ciareportwww.htm

(excerpt)

The executive summary states:
"Our investigation found no evidence reflecting either Blandon or Meneses was in fact connected to the CIA." (Ex.Sum., pg11).

Yet Chapter two states:
"It is … believed by the FBI, SF, that Norwin Meneses was and still may be, an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency." (ChIII, Pt2).

The Department of Justice's Report tied the drug ring to the Contras and the CIA. In particular the Report confirmed that:


o Meneses, Blandon and other drug traffickers were part of the Contra movement and tied to Contra leaders;


o drug profits that were laundered by the Meneses-Blandon operation and sent to the Contras;


o Meneses, and Blandon were assets of the CIA; and


o the Meneses-Blandon operation trafficked arms to the Contras and others in Central America.



In short, the DOJ IG's conclusions which distanced the CIA and the Contras from the Meneses-Blandon drug trafficking network were disproved by the Report's own evidence.




(excerpt)

September 19, 1998



The CIA, The Contras & Crack Cocaine:

Investigating the Official Reports


Seeking The Truth


Like many leaders in the African American community, I was stunned, but not surprised, when I read the Dark Alliance series in the San Jose Mercury News by Gary Webb two years ago. I had been to countless meetings throughout South Central Los Angeles during the 1980s and was consistently asked by my constituents "where are all the drugs coming from?" In inner cities and rural towns throughout the nation, we have witnessed the wreckage caused by the drug trade - the ruined lives and lost possibilities of so many who got caught up in selling drugs, went to prison, ended up addicted, dead, or walking zombies from drugs.


As I wrote in Gary Webb's book, when I read the series I asked myself whether it was possible for such a vast amount of drugs to be smuggled into any community under the noses of the police, sheriff's department, FBI, DEA, and other law enforcement agencies. My investigation has led me to an undeniable conclusion - that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies knew about drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles and throughout the U.S. - and they let the dealing go on.


Robert Parry and Brian Barger first broke the shocking story of Contra involvement in drug trafficking in 1985, at the height of the Contra war against Nicaragua. As a result of this story's revelations, Senator John Kerry conducted a two year Senate probe into the allegations and published the sub-committee's devastating findings in an 1,166-page report in 1989. Among its many findings the Kerry Report found,


"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."


Remarkably, the Committee's findings went virtually unreported when they were released.


Then in August 1996 Gary Webb published his explosive series in the San Jose Mercury News. It resulted in a firestorm of anger and outrage in the Black community and throughout the nation. Here was evidence that, while the nation was being told of a national "war on drugs" by the Reagan Administration, our anti-drug intelligence apparatus was actually aiding the drug lords in getting their deadly product into the U.S.

The resulting grassroots outrage put tremendous pressure on the CIA, the Department of Justice and Congress to investigate the matter and report the truth. The Inspectors General of the CIA and Department of Justice were forced to conduct investigations and publish reports on the allegations. The DOJ's Report and Volume I of the CIA's Report published brief executive summaries that concluded that the allegations made in the Mercury News could not be substantiated. However, both Reports, and in particular the DOJ Report, are filled with evidence that contradicts their own conclusions and confirms all of the basic allegations.


Quite unexpectedly, on April 30, 1998, I obtained a secret 1982 Memorandum of Understanding between the CIA and the Department of Justice, that allowed drug trafficking by CIA assets, agents, and contractors to go unreported to federal law enforcement agencies. I also received correspondence between then Attorney General William French Smith and the head of the CIA, William Casey, that spelled out their intent to protect drug traffickers on the CIA payroll from being reported to federal law enforcement.


Then on July 17, 1998 the New York Times ran this amazing front page CIA admission:


"CIA Says It Used Nicaraguan Rebels Accused of Drug Tie."

"[T]he Central Intelligence Agency continued to work with about two dozen Nicaraguan rebels and their supporters during the 1980s despite allegations that 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 [CIA] officials at headquarters in Langley, Va.". (emphasis added)


This front page confirmation of CIA involvement with Contra drug traffickers came from a leak of the still classified CIA Volume II internal review, described by sources as full of devastating revelations of CIA involvement with known Contra drug traffickers.


The CIA had always vehemently denied any connection to drug traffickers and the massive global drug trade, despite over ten years of documented reports. But in a shocking reversal, the CIA finally admitted that it was CIA policy to keep Contra drug traffickers on the CIA payroll.


My investigation of these official reports highlights their damning admissions. You can find a complete set of excerpts from the Department of Justice Report, compiled by Gary Webb, with the assistance of my staff at the end of this Report.


The facts speak for themselves.


Maxine Waters

Member of Congress




A Smoking Gun Document


In February of 1982 the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Casey, and Attorney General William French Smith entered into a secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that allowed CIA assets who were involved in drug smuggling to escape from legal reporting requirements to the federal law enforcement agencies.


This secret agreement detailed a long list of crimes which the CIA was required to disclose to federal law enforcement agencies including homicide, kidnapping, assault, bribery, possession of firearms, as well as illegal immigration, election contributions, and perjury. Amazingly, this MOU did not require the CIA to report drug trafficking or other drug law violations by CIA assets to the Department of Justice.


In other words, CIA assets who were smuggling narcotics, even into the United States, did not have to worry about being reported to the DEA or other federal law enforcement agencies.


The timing of the Memorandum of Understanding was as remarkable as its contents. Prior to 1982, an Executive Order existed which required that drug trafficking and related crimes by CIA assets and agents be reported. Then in late 1981, President Reagan authorized covert aid for the Contras by the CIA. Only two months later, the CIA and the Attorney General carved out an exemption for CIA assets and agents that were dealing drugs in a new Memorandum of Understanding.


The secret MOU was in effect for 13 years - from 1982 until 1995. This covered the entire Contra war in Nicaragua and the era of deep U.S. involvement in counterinsurgency activities in El Salvador and Central America.


The MOU was evidently very successful in protecting these drug traffickers and CIA assets. Based on statements in Michael Bromwich's recently released investigation, the CIA Station Chief for Central America, Alan Fiers, said he recalled of only one instance when the CIA passed Contra and narcotics-related information to the DEA.


The Kerry Committee was baffled by the lack of intelligence reporting of drug trafficking activity. Despite finding widespread trafficking through the war zones of northern Costa Rica, the Kerry Committee was unable to find a single case that was made on the basis of a tip or report by an official of a U.S. intelligence agency.


The reason is now clear. The CIA knew of their drug trafficking, but the MOU protected them from having to report it to law enforcement.


The 1982 MOU that exempted the reporting requirement for drug trafficking was no oversight or misstatement. A remarkable series of letters between the Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence show how conscious and deliberate this exemption was.


On February 11, 1982 Attorney General William French Smith wrote to Director of Central Intelligence William Casey that,


"I have been advised that a question arose regarding the need to add narcotics violations to the list of reportable non-employee crimes ... [N]o formal requirement regarding the reporting of narcotics violations has been included in these procedures."


On March 2, 1982 Casey responded happily,


"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..."


Simply stated, the Attorney General consciously exempted reporting requirements for narcotics violations by CIA agents, assets, and contractors. And the Director of Central Intelligence was pleased because intelligence sources and methods involved in narcotics trafficking could be protected from law enforcement.


The 1982 MOU agreement clearly violated the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949. It also raised the possibility that certain individuals who testified in front of Congressional investigating committees perjured themselves.


The facts detailed in the Department of Justice Report show the significance of the 1982 Memorandum of Understanding. Among others, drug kingpins and Contra members Norwin Meneses and Danilo Blandon, senior Contra political leader Adolfo Calero, and Contra military commander Enrique Bermudez were directly, and explicitly, protected from being reported to federal law enforcement authorities under this MOU because of their formal association with the CIA as assets, agents and/or contractors.


Many questions remain unanswered. However, one thing is clear - the CIA and the Attorney General successfully engineered legal protection for the drug trafficking activities of any of its agents or assets.


(click the link for full document)
http://www.house.gov/waters/ciareportwww.htm







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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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http://www.gao.gov/archive/1999/os99001.pdf
MEXICAN PRESIDENT AND MONEY LAUNDERING--CARLOS SALINAS LATER SERVED ON DOW JONES BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND LIVED IN EXILE IN IRELAND. HIS BROTHER RAUL'S WIFE WAS CAUGHT TRYING TO WITHDRAW A QUARTER-BILLION DOLLARS FROM A SWISS BANK ACCT USING FALSE I.D. RAUL SALINAS IS NOW SERVING A PRISON SENTENCE IN MEXICO.

Raul Salinas, Citibank, and alleged money laundering (.pdf)

This is the html version of the file http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO/OSI-99-1





United States General Accounting Office
GAO
Report to the Ranking Minority Member,
Permanent Subcommittee on
Investigations, Committee on
Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate
October 1998
PRIVATE BANKING
Raul Salinas, Citibank,
and Alleged Money
Laundering
GAO/OSI-99-1



GAO
United States
General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548
Office of Special Investigations
B-281327


October 30, 1998
The Honorable John Glenn
Ranking Minority Member
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate


Dear Senator Glenn:
On February 28, 1998, you expressed concern about reports that Raul
Salinas de Gotari, brother of the former President of Mexico, Carlos
Salinas de Gotari, had allegedly been involved in laundering money out of
Mexico through a U.S. bank, Citibank, to accounts in Citibank affiliates in
Switzerland and the United Kingdom. At that time, you requested that we
determine

how Raul Salinas was able to transfer between $90 million and
$100 million from Mexico into foreign accounts through Citibank and its
affiliates;

what functions and assistance Citibank performed for Mr. Salinas; and

if Citibank’s actions complied with applicable federal laws and
regulations.
In later discussions with your office, we were also requested to provide a
comparison of Citibank’s practices during the Salinas transactions with its
testimony in a 1994 money laundering trial.
1
A summary of the resultant
1996 appeal,
2
which was also requested, appears in appendix I.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office of the U.S.
Attorney, Southern District of New York, is conducting a criminal
investigation of the Salinas/Citibank transactions.
3
Because of the ongoing
investigation, the Department of Justice declined our request for an
interview. Citibank made available knowledgeable officials who provided
details about the Salinas transactions.




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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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Reply with quote  #74 
Website of Retired Federal Agent Celerino Castillo III


powderburns.org



Celerino Castillo III was born in 1949 in South Texas. He came from a family of a long tradition, tracing his heritage back to the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. His father, a decorated disabled veteran of World War II, was his role model and hero. Because of his father's influence, throughout his life, Castillo strove to live the life of a hero, fighting for causes in the interest of the US and its citizens. In 1970, as the only son in the family, he served in the US Army and was sent to Vietnam where he was awarded The Bronze Star for bravery. While in Vietnam he repeatedly saw fellow soldiers lay low from heroin overdoses. This powerful experience convinced him to devote his life to combating the illegal drug trade and its devastating effects on Americans. In 1976, after returning to the US, Castillo earned a Criminal Justice degree (BS) from Pan American University, now University of Texas at Pan Am.

On New Years Eve, 1979, he joined the DEA as one of the few Latino agents. In 1980 he was assigned to New York City as the first Mexican-Americana agent. There he was a key figure in deep undercover investigation that led to the incarceration of drug traffickers connected to major organized crime families.

Cele's career history clearly shows his dedication to his work, his patriotism and his love of the United States, his tireless attempts to fight a true war on drugs and his unwillingness to compromise his beliefs despite pressure from his superiors. While his government shouted "Just Say No!" entire Central and South American nations fell into what are now known as cocaine democracies.

In August 1984, Castillo was assigned to Peru where he engaged in conducting search and destroy mission on clandestine air strips and cocaine laboratories. In the summer of 1985 he helped conduct "Operation Condor", the biggest seizure of a South American cocaine labs valued at 500 million dollars and involving the confiscation of four tons of coca paste.

In October of 1985, Castillo was assigned to Guatemala in Central America. At that time, two (2) agents covered 4 countries in that region. In El Salvador he trained anti-narco terrorist units, working alongside the infamous death-squad leader, torturer and dentist, Dr. Hector Antonio Regalado (the alleged murderer of Archbishop Oscar Romero.)

In Guatemala, Castillo was ordered to conduct his drug raids with the Guatemalan Military Intelligence (G-2), better known as "La Dos", despite the fact that the G-2 runs the death squads that have murdered thousands of people including Americans in that country. In the course of his investigations Castillo discovered that almost every top official in the Guatemalan government (under President Cerezo) was a documented drug trafficker.

Cele was next assigned to represent the DEA in El Salvador at the height of the Contra war. It was there that he began to record intelligence on how known drug traffickers, with multiple DEA files, used hangars four and five at Ilopango airfield to ferry cocaine north and weapons and money south. Hangars four and five were owned and operated by the CIA and the National Security Council. He found out that the traffickers were also being given US visas by the CIA, in spite of their well known activities. Castillo also documented and spoke out about CIA and National Security Agency abuses in a manner utterly consistent with his heritage and the reats of his life.

Then Cele discovered that the Contra flights were under the direct supervision of US Lt. Col. Oliver North (DEA case file GFGD-91-9139) and had the additional protection of Felix Rodriguez (a retired CIA agent) who ran hanger 4 at Ilopango. Castillo was repeatedly warned that the drug profits were being utilized to support the Reagan-Bush backed right-wing "Contras" in Nicaragua and surrounding countries and that he should stop his investigations. Nevertheless, he continued to file DEA 6 reports and telex/cables on these operations. Castillo's reports contain not only the names of traffickers, but their destination, tail numbers, cargo and the date and time of each flight. Some Contra files were reported on DEA case file # TG-87-0003, under the name of Walter "Wally" Grashiem. The other Contra files were reported on GFTG-86-9999, Air Intelligence (El Salvador) and GFTG-86-9145 El Salvador.

Castillo's detailed reports on the cocaine laden planes went unheeded by DEA officials in Washington. Castillo was warned by his boss, Bob Stia and the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, not to interfere with the covert operation because it was protected by the White House.

On September 01, 1986, Castillo's Salvadoran anti-drug unit raided a house in San Salvador and found a huge shipment of US-issued munitions and weapons. Records and equipment belonging to the US embassy were found at the residence. The residence belonged to a US Contra pilot by the name of Wally Grasheim. He was mentioned in DEA, FBI, and US Customs files. The raid was executed after every department in the US Embassy denied that Mr. Grashiem was in no way shape or form associated with them.

In April, 1987, one month before the Iran-Contra hearings, DEA Latin American foreign office chief, John Martch, traveled to Guatemala to investigate Castillo and warned him not to reveal his information about the Contra drug operations. At one point, the DEA ordered Castillo not to close some of the Contra files so that the records would not be unavailable to Senator John Kerry's committee under the Freedom of Information Act. In 1988, Senator John Kerry's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations finished its investigations, having never called Castillo to testify.

In September, 1987, Castillo, along with CIA agent, Randy Capister, and 100 elements from the Guatemala Military G-2, conducted a drug raid in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. In one of the largest drug busts ever, more than 2 1/2 tons of cocaine were seized. Just after the bust, the G-2 agents raped and murdered the two daughters of a Mexican trafficker and killed their father and others they apprehended in the raid. Their bodies were dismembered, stuffed into 55 gallon drums and disposed of by being dropped into the ocean. This was reported on DEA case file # TG-86-0005, Garcia de Paz, Carlos Ramiro (Guatemalan Congressman).

After denial of a US visa (drug trafficking) to Guatemalan Military Lt. Col. Hugo Moran Carranza, head of Interpol, Moran retaliated by ordering Castillo's assassination. The elaborate plot involved ambushing Castillo in El Salvador to divert suspicion from the Guatemalan Colonel. Luckily for Castillo, the plan was taped recorded by an informant and placed into evidence in a Houston DEA file M3-90-0053. Col. Moran was attempting to attend a War College in the US invited by the CIA. Despite the danger, the DEA continued to order Castillo to travel to El Salvador. Because Col. Moran was an asset of the CIA, he was never prosecuted in the US on the attempted capital murder of a US drug agent.

In 1990, Castillo was finally transferred out of Central America because of the assassination plot. He was assigned to the DEA San Francisco office, as the only latino agent generating excessive undercover work.

In 1991, Castillo secretly met with a representative of the Office of Independent Council of Iran Contra where he reported his intelligenceís gathering reference to CIA and NSC's cocaine-contra operations. Castillo's remarks never appeared in Walsh's final report but Castillo's interview notes were found at the National Archives.


In 1992 Castillo received an early retirement from the DEA due to stress and damaged nerves to his arms and hands. Since his retirement he has had numerous TV, radio and newspaper interviews in order to expose what he knows about the CIA and DEA collaboration with drug traffickers and murderers in Central America. His TV appearance include "Current Affair" (1994); a one hour documentary aired in 1994 by the Australian Broadcasting Company exposing Oliver North's drug trafficking activities; ABC's "Prime Time Live" on December 27, 1995 (on the US protection of criminal military officers in Guatemala) and Date-Line (NBC) June 13, 1997.

Foreign news stories aired on both Univision and the CBS-owned Telemundo in 1996 on Guatemala and El Salvador. In April 1997, Cele was interview for a special series on The Discovery Channel "Secret Warriors of the CIA". Castillo has also begun to lecture at universities all over the country and held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC In July, 1996 an Associated Press wire story quoted his comments about a recent US government report on Guatemala and the CIA (The Intelligence Oversight Board) an investigation ordered by President Clinton to ascertain if US agents were involved in atrocities in Central America.

In 1994, Castillo was able to co-author his book "Powderburns" Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War . Which included journal entries with case file numbers and other direct information from his investigation.

In September 23, 1996, Castillo joined Southern Christian Leadership Conference President , Joseph E. Lowery and Activist Dick Gregory with Joe Madison, at a press conference in Washington DC. Also jointing Castillo at the conference was Prof. John Newman, author of the books "Oswald and the CIA" and "JFK and Vietnam". The University of Maryland history professor has been helping to draft the Records Act legislation that would declassify all documents related to the CIA's possible involvement in cocaine trafficking.

Also in September 1996, Castillo joint DEA G/S Rick Horn in his Class Action Complaint against the CIA for violation of 4th Amend. rights.

In 1995, after the lessons he learned in Central America, Castillo made a pilgrimage to the Vietnam Wall where he renounced his Bronze Star pinned to his last combat boots that he wore in Vietnam, Peru, Guatemala and EL Salvador. Attached to the Bronze Star was a letter to President Clinton requesting that he take actions on the atrocities. He did this in protest of the atrocities his government had committed and the massive cover ups.

In March 1998, The US House of Representatives Permanent Select
Committee On Intelligence held a one hour hearing in regards to CIA/Contras involvement in drug trafficking.

During the hearing CIA Special Agent Nitz, of the CIA Inspector General Office, advised the committee that Mr. Celerino Castillo III refused to be interviewed by his office. What Mr. Nitz failed to advise the committee was the reason Castillo rejected the offer. Nitz strongly refused for Castillo to record the interview citing National Security. This would had been the only evidence Castillo would have to proof what statement he did or did not make. Castillo offered to testify before any committee as long that it was an open door hearing.

On March 12, 1998, Castillo received a certified letter from the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This time it was from Norm Dicks, Ranking Democratic Member and CIA Porter J. Goss, Chairman of said committee. Again they requested for Castillo to be interview for the up coming hearings in late June. Castillo contacted Mr. Calvin R. Humphrey at 202-225-7690 and advised him that he would be available for the interview. He advised Castillo that he would get back to him at the end of May. On September 11, 1998, another letter arrived from the committee advising him that the time had come for him to be interview and that someone would contact him for the interview. On January 15, 1999, Castillo was finally interviewed by members of the committee.

Some people have asked Cele why he is coming foreword with his story. Castillo replies that a long time ago he took an oath to protect The Constitution of the United States and its citizens. He has thought about quitting but there was no time limit on that oath. In reality it has cost him so much to become a complete human being, that he lost his family and that there is a possibility that he might be incarcerated for telling the truth.

For all of his work, even a direct protest to the Vice President George Bush about CIA involvement in drug trafficking, Cele Castillo was ignored, nearly assassinated and then forced out of DEA into early and very lean retirement.

Celerino Castillo III has now become a veteran of his third and perhaps most dangerous war - the war against the criminals in his own government.

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #75 
Oliver Twisted

A day in the former life of a would-be senator

By Peter Kornbluh

May/June 1994 Issue
http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/1994/05/kornbluh.html                

Before devoting himself to public service, Ollie North may have to slay the dragons of his past. He's expected to testify at the trial of Richard Secord and Albert Hakim later this year. Uncle Sam's lawsuit against the Iran-Contra bad guys maintains that North helped abscond with more than $16 million in diverted profits from the sale of arms to Iran, which Secord and Hakim dumped into Swiss bank accounts (only $3.8 million was actually diverted to the Contras; the feds want access to the $11-12 million still sitting there). As a public reminder of Ollie's skill at deceit, we present a typical morning during his tenure at the White House--an annotated page from his day-runner on Aug. 6, 1986:

8:00 AM:
At the National Security Council, Ollie gets a call from Israeli intelligence official "Adam," aka Amiram Nir. Subject: Iranian anger at the 600 percent markup on the U.S. missiles and parts they've purchased over the past year, anger that jeopardizes the arms-for-hostages deal--and hostage lives.
8:30 AM:
North appears before the House Select Committee on Intelligence to answer questions about his role in a Contra resupply operation. He lies convincingly: He has "not in any way, at any time violate[d] the principles or legal requirements of the Boland Amendment," which bans federal support for the Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries. Committee chairman Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., pronounces himself satisfied with North's "good faith." When North's superior, John Poindexter, is told of his successful deception of Congress, Poindexter e-mails Ollie: "Well done."
9:30-11:20 AM:
Having just testified that he has nothing to do with the resupply operations, North handles a Contra crisis when retired CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, aka Max, who is managing the Contra airdrops from El Salvador, takes a C-123 resupply plane from Miami without authorization. North calls James Steele, a U.S. Army official involved in the resupply operation in El Salvador; he also meets with Donald Gregg, Vice President Bush's national security adviser, and calls Alan Fiers, the CIA's Central American Task Force director, about the situation with Max.
11:40 AM:
North confers by phone with Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams about "acct. data"--a reference to one of the Swiss bank accounts. Abrams is en route to London to solicit the Sultan of Brunei for $10 million in secret Contra funds and needs more information about the account.
Noon:
Ollie has a 15-minute meeting with Vice President George Bush, who has just returned from Jerusalem, where he was briefed by Nir on the status of the arms-for-hostages deals. North wants Bush to support further weapons transfers to Iran, even though the hostages have not been released as promised. (Five years later, on tour for his book "Under Fire," North tells Ted Koppel on "Nightline" that he has "no reason to believe" that Bush's claim to have been out-of-the-loop on the Iran arms initiative was untrue.)





http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1213-31.htm
Published on Monday, December 13, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
R.I.P. Gary Webb -- Unembedded Reporter
by Jeff Cohen
 

Gary Webb, a courageous investigative journalist who was the target of one of the most ferocious media attacks on any reporter in recent history, was found dead Friday after an apparent suicide.

In August 1996, Webb wrote one of the first pieces of journalism that reached a massive audience thanks to the Internet: an explosive 20,000 word, three-part series documenting links between cocaine traffickers, the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the CIA-organized right-wing Nicaraguan Contra army of that era. The series sparked major interest in the social justice and African-American communities, leading to street protests, constant discussion on black-oriented talk radio and demands by Congressional Black Caucus members for a federal investigation. But weeks later, Webb suffered a furious backlash at the hands of national media unaccustomed to seeing their role as gatekeepers diminished by the emerging medium known as the WorldWideWeb.

Webb's explosive San Jose Mercury News series documented that funders of the Contras included drug traffickers who played a role in the crack epidemic that hit Los Angeles and other cities. Webb's series focused heavily on Oscar Danilo Blandon, a cocaine importer and federal informant, who once testified in federal court that "whatever we were running in L.A., the profit was going to the Contra revolution." Blandon further testified that Colonel Enrique Bermudez, a CIA asset who led the Contra army against Nicaragua's leftwing Sandinista government, knew the funds were from drug running. (Bermudez was a colonel during the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua.)

Webb reported that U.S. law enforcement agents complained that the CIA had squelched drug probes of Blandon and his partner Norwin Meneses in the name of "national security." Blandon's drugs flowed into L.A. and elsewhere thanks to the legendary "Freeway" Ricky Donnell Ross, a supplier of crack to the Crips and Bloods gangs.

While Webb's series could be faulted for some overstatement in presenting its powerful new evidence (a controversial graphic on the Mercury News website superimposed a person smoking crack over the CIA seal), the fresh documentation mightily moved forward the CIA-Contra-cocaine story that national media had been trying to bury for years. Any exaggeration in the Mercury News presentation was dwarfed by a mendacious, triple-barreled attack on Webb that came from the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.

The Post and others criticized Webb for referring to the Contras of the so-called Nicaraguan Democratic Force as "the CIA's army" -- an absurd objection since by all accounts, including those of Contra leaders, the CIA set up the group, selected its leaders and paid their salaries, and directed its day-to-day battlefield strategies.

The Post devoted much ink to exposing what Webb readily acknowledged -- that while he could document Contra links to cocaine importing, he was not able to identify specific CIA officials who knew of the drug flow. The ferocity of the attack on Webb led the Post's ombudsman to note that the three national newspapers "showed more passion for sniffing out the flaws" in the Webb series than for probing the important issue Webb had raised: U.S. government relations with drug smuggling.

The L.A. Times' anti-Webb package was curious for its handling of Freeway Ricky Ross, the dealer Webb had authoritatively linked to Contra-funder Blandon. Two years before Webb's revelations, the Times had reported: "If there was a criminal mastermind behind crack's decade-long reign, if there was one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles' streets with mass-marketed cocaine, his name was Freeway Rick." In a profile of Ross headlined "Deposed King of Crack," the Times went on and on about "South-Central's first millionaire crack lord" and how Ross' "coast to coast conglomerate was selling more than $550,000 rocks a day, a staggering turnover that put the drug within reach of anyone with a few dollars."

But two months after Webb's series linked Ricky Ross to Contra cocaine, the L.A. Times told a totally different story, now seeking to minimize Ross's role in the crack epidemic: Ross was just one of many "interchangeable characters" -- "dwarfed" by other dealers.

The reporter who'd written the 1994 Ross profile was the one called on to write the front-page 1996 critique of Webb; media critic Norman Solomon noted that it "reads like a show-trial recantation."

The hyperbolic reaction against Webb's series can only be understood in the context of years of bias and animosity toward the Contra-cocaine story on the part of many national media. Bob Parry and Brian Barger first reported on Contra-cocaine smuggling for AP in 1985, at a time when President Reagan was hailing the Contras as "the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers." The story got little pickup.

In 1987 the House Narcotics Committee chaired by Charles Rangel probed Contra-drug allegations and found a need for further investigation. After the Washington Post distorted the facts with a headline "Hill Panel Finds No Evidence Linking Contras to Drug Smuggling," the paper refused to run Rangel's letter correcting the record.

That same year, Time magazine correspondent Laurence Zuckerman and a colleague found serious evidence of Contra links to cocaine trafficking, but their story was blocked from publication by top editors. A senior editor admitted privately to Zuckerman: "Time is institutionally behind the Contras. If this story were about the Sandinistas and drugs, you'd have no trouble getting it in the magazine." (The N.Y Times and Washington Post both endorsed aid to the Contra army, despite massive documentation from human rights monitors that they targeted civilians for violence and terror.)

In 1989, when Sen. John Kerry released a report condemning U.S. government complicity with Contra-connected drug traffickers, the Washington Post ran a brief report loaded with GOP criticisms of Kerry, while Newsweek dubbed Kerry a "randy conspiracy buff."

In this weekend's mainstream media reports on Gary Webb's death, it's no surprise that a key point has been overlooked -- that the CIA's internal investigation sparked by the Webb series and resulting furor contained startling admissions. CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz reported in October 1998 that the CIA indeed had knowledge of the allegations linking many Contras and Contra associates to cocaine trafficking, that Contra leaders were arranging drug connections from the beginning and that a CIA informant told the agency about the activity.

When Webb stumbled onto the Contra-cocaine story, he couldn't have imagined the fury with which big-foot reporters from national dailies would come at him -- a barrage that ultimately drove him out of mainstream journalism. But he fought back with courage and dignity, writing a book (Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion) with his side of the story and insisting that facts matter more than established power or ideology. He deserves to be remembered in the proud tradition of muckrakers like Ida Tarbell, George Seldes and I.F. Stone.

In this era of "embedded reporters," an unembedded journalist like Gary Webb will be sorely missed.

Jeff Cohen http://www.jeffcohen.org is the founder of the media watch group FAIR http://www.fair.org. For more background, see http://www.fair.org/issues-news/contra-crack.html and http://www.consortiumnews.com/2004/121304.html




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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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http://www.thenation.com/capitalgames/index.mhtml?bid=3&pid=2296

John Bolton: Ally of CIA-linked Drugrunners
03/30/2005 @ 12:10am


John Bolton is a bad penny. He keeps coming back. As I've written before, there are plenty of reasons why he's a horrible pick to be US ambassador to the United Nations. Even if you believe the UN needs reform, you don't send a pyromaniac to fix a house of sticks. Beyond his UN-bashing, Bolton has not just been extreme in his foreign policy views, he has been wrong and reckless: accusing Cuba of developing biological weapons and Syria of posing a serious WMD threat without proof. (The CIA felt obliged to block him from testifying before Congress on Syria and WMDs.) He also has had his brushes with scandal, receiving money from a political slush fund in Taiwan and advocating for Taiwan in congressional testimony (when he was not in government) without revealing he was paid by a Taiwanese entity to write policy papers for it. (He might have even broken the law by failing to register as a foreign agent.) Recently 59 former US ambassadors signed a letter opposing Bolton's nomination as ambassador to the UN; forty-six of these ambassadors served in Republican administrations. (For a full text of the letter, click here.) Now, an alert reader has uncovered more information critical of Bolton. It just happens to be something I wrote with Jefferson Morley for The Nation sixteen years ago--a column which had totally escaped my aging mind.

Readers over the age of 40 might recall that in the late 1980s, there was a fierce fight pitting the Reagan and Bush I administrations against a few gutsy Democrats in Congress--Senator John Kerry among them--who were trying to investigate allegations that supporters of the Reagan-backed contra rebels in Central America were involved in drugrunning. Rather than cooperate in the search for truth, Reagan and Bush I officials withheld documents from the Democrats. They also badmouthed the investigations and did all they could to marginalize these inquiries as nothing but partisan-driven efforts of conspiracy-minded wingnuts. And, to a degree, the GOP obstructionists succeeded. The Iran-contra committees stayed away from the matter. The report produced by Kerry's subcommittee--which concluded there was evidence that supporters of the CIA-assisted contras were drug smugglers--received little media attention. Yet years later, the CIA's own inspector general released two reports that acknowledged the CIA had knowingly worked with contra supporters suspected of drugrunning. Kerry and the others had been right. But the sly spinners of the Reagan-Bush administrations had succeeded in preventing the contra drug connection from becoming a full-blown scandal.

And who was one of the Reagan/Bush officials who strove to thwart Kerry and other pursuers of this politically inconvenient truth? By now you have guessed it: John Bolton. Read on:

From Meese to the UN; John Bolton, nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs

The Nation, April 17, 1989

By David Corn and Jefferson Morley

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee should take a good look at John Bolton, the nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, a position in which he would, among other things, act as a liaison between the US government and the UN. Currently Assistant AG in the Justice Department's civil division, Bolton was known to be one of Edwin Meese 3rd's most loyal lieutenants. At Justice, Bolton developed a reputation for combativeness. When he attacked the independent counsel law, even a White House spokesman accused him of being intemperate.

Bolton's record as Assistant AG for the Office of Legislative Affairs in 1986 and 1987 merits special scrutiny. He "tried to torpedo" Sen. John Kerry's inquiry into allegations of contra drug smuggling and gunrunning, a committee aide says. When Kerry requested information from the Justice Department, Bolton's office gave it the long stall, a Kerry aide notes. In fact, says another Congressional aide, Bolton's staff worked actively with the Republican senators who opposed Kerry's efforts.

In 1986 this chum of Meese also refused to give Peter Rodino, then chair of he House Judiciary Committee, documents concerning the Iran/contra scandal and Meese's involvement in it, Later, when Congressional investigators were probing charges that the Justice Department had delayed an inquiry into gunrunning to the contras, Bolton was again the spoiler. According to Hayden Gregory, chief counsel of a House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, Bolton blocked an arrangement by which his staff had agreed to let House investigators interview officials of the US Attorney's office in Miami. Bolton refused to speak to us on the subject.

Last year Legal Times reported that Bolton, who earned $330,000 in 1984 as a partner at a blue-blood DC law firm, had contacted several private firms hoping to parlay his government experience into a lucrative lobbying job. None were interested in a tainted Meese disciple. Fortunately for him, George Bush and James Baker are less discriminating.

******

Don't forget about DAVID CORN's BLOG at http://www.davidcorn.com. Read recent postings on Bush's screwed-up budget for homeland defense, an unrequited offer from radical-turned-rightist David Horowitz, and how the fringe-right is right about the Schiavo judges.

*******

That article is a blast from the past. But Bolton's truth-smothering endeavors back then are consistent with his subsequent career. He has been an ideological hatchet man, saying whatever he needs to say (whether it's true or not) to press forward his hawkish agenda. Back in the 1980s, he blocked inquiries into the CIA's involvement with drug runners. Now he complains about corruption at the UN and claims to be a force for truth and reform. As a cynical and partisan situationalist who poses as a frank and blunt idealist, he does indeed represent the Bush administration. But the nation deserves better representation at the UN.

*******************

IT REMAINS RELEVANT, ALAS. SO DON'T FORGET ABOUT DAVID CORN'S BOOK, The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception (Crown Publishers). A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An UPDATED and EXPANDED EDITION is AVAILABLE in PAPERBACK. The Washington Post says, "This is a fierce polemic, but it is based on an immense amount of research.... [I]t does present a serious case for the president's partisans to answer.... Readers can hardly avoid drawing...troubling conclusions from Corn's painstaking indictment." The Los Angeles Times says, "David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush is as hard-hitting an attack as has been leveled against the current president. He compares what Bush said with the known facts of a given situation and ends up making a persuasive case." The Library Journal says, "Corn chronicles to devastating effect the lies, falsehoods, and misrepresentations.... Corn has painstakingly unearthed a bill of particulars against the president that is as damaging as it is thorough." And GEORGE W. BUSH SAYS, "I'd like to tell you I've read [ The Lies of George W. Bush], but that'd be a lie."

For more information and a sample, go to http://www.davidcorn.com. And see his WEBLOG there.

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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http://www.copi.com/articles/darker.html

THE CIA, DRUGS, THE GHETTO — AND THE MEDIA WHITEWASH
by Peter Dale Scott

If you read the May 13 New York Times, it appeared that nine months of controversy over a major Contra-drug story, published last August by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News, had finally been laid to rest. "Expose on Crack Was Flawed, Paper Says," read the dismissive headline. A Times editorial the next day claimed that Webb’s editor, Jerry Ceppos, had admitted in a column that Webb’s articles "had been poorly written." Three weeks later, the Times shifted its focus from the story to Webb himself, claiming that his "bare-knuckles" style and "penchant for self-promotion" had split the Mercury newsroom.

For a confused public, all this may have seemed like the last word. For those who had been following closely, Jerry Ceppos’ column of apology, and the Times’ one-sided oversimplification of it, were only further evidence of a dramatic cover-up, a whitewashing that does not stand up under scrutiny. The cover-up suggests further how frightened the establishment is of the truth behind the story: how U.S. law enforcement was subverted when it came to major drug-traffickers who were also Contra supporters, and how the CIA, by recurringly allying itself with the world’s biggest traffickers, has contributed to the increased flow of drugs into this country.

This fear has been enhanced by the rise of the Internet as a public grapevine, a cottage industry alternative press. Amid all the wild stories one can pick up out there in cyberspace, there is also abundant documentation of the big media’s own role in a CIA-drug cover-up that has been going on for several decades.

In 1986, for example, San Francisco Examiner reporter Seth Rosenfeld broke the story that Contra leaders and supporters had been behind the "Frogman" cocaine shipment seized in San Francisco. The big media ignored this story until after Webb repeated it last August. Instead they reported Reagan’s charge on television, made only a few hours after the Examiner story, "that top Nicaraguan government officials are deeply involved in drug trafficking." (The DEA itself swiftly debunked this suspect allegation, saying that it had no evidence to implicate high-level Sandinista officials.)

But for almost a year the Internet has kept alive the series of stories by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury-News, alleging that a California drug ring supplied the cocaine for crack in Los Angeles’ black neighborhoods, and simultaneously channeled drug profits to the CIA-managed Contra Army in Central America.

The Webb Story and the Efforts to Rebut It

Webb focused on three figures. One was "Freeway Ricky" Ross, a black dealer who introduced L.A. and other cities to crack. A second was Daniel Blandón, a Nicaraguan who not only supplied Ross (and others) with his cocaine, but developed the concept of creating a mass market for crack. The third was Norwin Meneses, the head of the "Frogman" connection importing cocaine for Blandón. Webb charged that both Meneses and Blandón met regularly with Contra leaders, and by supplying them with drug earnings gained protection from law enforcement. (Blandón, by turning in Ross, ended up on the DEA payroll; Ross, the black, ended up with a life sentence. Meneses was eventually convicted for trafficking, but in Nicaragua, never in the United States.)

These allegations have been challenged vigorously by the "responsible" U.S. press: those papers, above all the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, who respond most swiftly to the needs and requests of their CIA sources.

For those who follow such matters, the special connection between these papers and the CIA is no secret. Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein once wrote in Rolling Stone that the CIA’s "relationship with the [New York] Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about 10 CIA officials were provided Times cover...[as] part of a general Times policy ... to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible."

The situation at the Washington Post was hardly different. In 1988, the paper’s owner, Katharine Graham, said in a speech at the CIA’s Headquarters: "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."

Graham’s words came amid six years of extraordinary efforts by the Post to first suppress, and then contain, the explosive Contra-drug story. I was myself a witness in a secret Congressional hearing, of which the Post falsely reported the Chair as saying that "none of the witnesses gave any evidence that would show the Contra leadership was involved in drug smuggling." When the Chair, Congressman Rangel, wrote to complain that this was quite different from what he had said, the Post declined to print his letter. Thus it became possible for the words Rangel never uttered to become embalmed as "fact" in the official Iran-Contra Report from two other Congressional Committees.

In 1989 a subcommittee chaired by Senator John Kerry published a report documenting that the U.S. Government had contracted with known drug traffickers to supply the Contras. This important finding was minimized in the dismissive news stories published by the Post and the Times, while Newsweek, owned by the Post, wrote off Kerry as a "randy conspiracy buff."

The Post’s treatment of the Gary Webb story was in this tradition. The rebuttal of Webb was assigned first to Walter Pincus, a man who admits that he was once sent at CIA expense to two overseas conferences. (The Washington Times [7/31/96] once described Pincus as a journalist "who some in the agency refer to as ‘the CIA’s house reporter.’")

Pincus elaborately rebutted a number of allegations that Webb never made, such as "that the CIA helped start and played a major role in promoting the crack plague," or "that the CIA was behind Blandon" (Danilo Blandón, the Nicaraguan drug dealer in LA who gave drug profits to the Contras). (The issues raised by Webb had been of CIA knowledge and protection of the traffickers, not initiation of the project.)

More deviously, Pincus wrote that "Although Nicaraguans took part in the drug trade of that era, most of the cocaine trade then can be attributed to Colombian and Mexican smugglers… the Nicaraguans accounted for only a small portion of the nation’s cocaine trade....Blandon’s own accounts and law enforcement estimates say Blandon only handled a total of about five tons of cocaine during a decade-long career. That...is a fraction of the nationwide trade of the 1980s, when more than 250 tons of the drug were distributed every year."

Both in detail and overall, these words were skillfully misleading. Although Blandón’s various accounts are confused, it takes a very biased reading of them to come up with an estimate of "a total of five tons" over a decade. Blandón testified that he supplied just one of his many customers, the LA crack king Ricky Ross, with an average of 50 to 100 kilos a week. That alone works out to a total of 2.8 to 5.7 tons a year, not a decade.

The larger deception here is through the implicit assumption (which Webb did not make) that all of the Contra drug supporters were Nicaraguan. As we shall see, some of the biggest were the top Colombian and Mexican smugglers whom Pincus tried to imply were irrelevant.

The debate still rages over the actual importance of Ricky Ross and hence of Blandón) in the rise of the crack market. Jesse Katz of the L.A. Times weighed in with a front-page article saying that Ross was only one of many "interchangeable characters," who was dwarfed by other dealers: "How the crack epidemic reached that extreme, on some level, had nothing to do with Ross."

It is clear that something, or someone, had intervened to help produce this verbal performance. Two years earlier, on 12/20/94, the same Jesse Katz had written a 2400 word article on "Freeway Ricky" Ross as "King of Crack… Key to the Drug’s Spread in L.A." His opening words then were: "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’ streets with mass-marketed cocaine, his name was Freeway Rick." As for crack, "Ross did more than anyone else to democratize it, boosting volume, slashing prices and spreading disease on a scale never before conceived." Katz estimated that Ross’s "coast-to-coast conglomerate was selling more than 500,000 rocks a day." Other journalists, now forgotten in today’s furor over the Webb stories, have written how Ross personally created the crack scene in other cities such as Cincinnati.

The unseen force that induced Katz to make this remarkable recantation has now reached Jerry Ceppos, Webb’s editor at the San Jose Mercury. Last October, in response to the Pincus article in the Post, Ceppos wrote a letter which the Post, once again, did not publish. In it, after making some of the points in my preceding paragraphs, Ceppos went on to point out that: "While there is considerable circumstantial evidence of CIA involvement with the leaders of this drug ring, we never reached or reported any definitive conclusion on CIA involvement....We reported that the men selling cocaine in Los Angeles met with men on the CIA payroll. We reported that they received fund-raising orders from people on the CIA payroll. We reported that the money raised was sent to a CIA-run operation. But we did not go further — and took pains to say that clearly."

Ceppos concluded by repeating the words of a Post editorial on 10/9/96: "For even just a couple of CIA-connected characters to have played even a trivial role in introducing Americans to crack would indicate an unconscionable breach by the CIA. It is essential know whether the agency contributed to this result or failed to exercise diligence to stop it."

That was Ceppos in 1996. In May 1997, sounding like one of Stalin’s victims in the show trials of the 1930s, Ceppos revised his tune even more dramatically than Jesse Katz. "We fell short of my standards," he wrote in the San Jose Mercury. Reversing himself, he now wrote that the original Webb story on crack and the Contras "strongly suggested high-level C.I.A. knowledge of that connection." "I feel that we did not have proof that top C.I.A. officials knew of the relationship," he added, converting his original defense of the article into an attack on it.

Interestingly, however, Ceppos did not, as the Times claimed, admit that the series was "poorly written." He still claimed that it was "important work" that "solidly documented disturbing information...worthy of further investigation;" and had been "right on many important points." The shortcomings he now admitted referred less to content than to the manner of presentation. "If we were to publish today," he said, the series "would state fewer conclusions as certainties."

Even some who endorse the importance of the series have agreed that the ambiguities in the evidence were greater than Webb admitted. Particularly controversial was his estimate that Meneses and Blandón supplied millions in drug profits to the Contras, a claim which remains debatable even though Webb supported it with Blandón’s court testimony and sheriffs’ affidavits. Ceppos now points to the figure of millions as no more than "our best estimates."

Webb strongly disagrees. Since the series appeared, both he and the British network ITV have interviewed Carlos Cabezas, a convicted member of Meneses’ network, who now talks of having delivered Meneses’ drug profits to a CIA agent in the contra logistics network by the name of Ivan Gómez. (Others have confirmed Gómez’ CIA status.) Cabezas told Webb that in 1982 these profits had amounted to between $4 and $5 million, confirming Blandón’s own figures. Webb wrote up the story, but so far Ceppos has declined to publish or even edit it.

At this point we do not know what induced Jerry Ceppos to change direction. (He declined to be interviewed for Tikkun, saying through a representative that he preferred to let his column "speak for itself.") It is however easy to identify one powerful and interested force in the propaganda battle of the last year: the CIA operatives responsible for the Contras.

One technique used by the L.A. Times to rebut the Webb story was simple and straightforward. Citing a "former CIA official" named Vince Cannistraro, the L.A. Times reported that "CIA officials insist they knew nothing about Meneses’ and Blandón’s tainted contributions to [Adolfo] Calero or other contra leaders." In another news story, Cannistraro was even more categorical: "I have personal knowledge that the CIA knew nothing about these guys [Blandón and Meneses]. These charges are completely illogical."

One might have thought that, in a lengthy three-day series, the L.A. Times could have mentioned that Cannistraro had actually been in charge of the CIA Contra operation in the early 1980s (the Meneses-Blandón period), before moving on to supervise the covert program of CIA aid to heroin-trafficking guerrillas in Afghanistan. (Tikkun readers may recall Cannistraro as the former CIA "expert" who, within hours of the Oklahoma City bombing, told a TV audience that the act was obviously the work of Arab terrorists.)

If a journal presents a suspect as a credible source, it is clear that that it is looking for the opinion, "not guilty." (The L.A. Times did not cite Noriega, or for that matter O.J. Simpson, as sources to establish their innocence.) And it would not have taken much research for the L.A. Times to show that, on this point, Cannistraro may have been lying.

One need only go to the lengthy attacks on Webb by Tim Golden in the New York Times. Though in sum Golden was also hostile to Webb’s allegations, his articles specified that DEA had notified the CIA about Meneses’ drug-trafficking activities. Golden referred also to "intelligence reports on Norwin Meneses," his Contra contacts, and his involvement in arms and drug smuggling. "’We knew about him, and he obviously knew some people who were contras,’ one official said." Golden does not identify the agency of this official, but it would have been unusual for intelligence of this nature not to have reached the CIA.

Overall, Golden’s reports in the New York Times are as biased as those of Pincus and Katz. He wrote that "Reports of Mr. Meneses’ links to the Nicaraguan rebels are not new," even though his own article belittling them was the first mention of them ever in the New York Times He wrote of the 1986 account of Meneses by Seth Rosenfeld in the San Francisco Examiner that "the most significant contribution by Mr. Meneses that the newspaper could find was a $5,735 tab he was said to have helped pay at a 1984 dinner" in honor of Adolfo Calero. In fact the core of Rosenfeld’s story concerned $36,020 of drug profits seized from Meneses’ organization, which the U.S. Attorney, in an unusual corroboration of a Contra-drug connection, ordered returned as belonging to the Contras. (Recently the New York Times has conceded that, as Rosenfeld also reported, the organization also sent the Contras a truck and other supplies.)

Finally, with twisted logic, Golden derided Webb’s claim that Blandón and Meneses "met with CIA agents" at the same time they were selling drugs. Golden conceded that Contra leader Adolfo Calero had met "on as many as four visits" with Meneses, and also that Contra military commander Enrique Bermúdez had met with Meneses and Blandón. Ignoring Calero, Golden then wrote that "Although Mr. Bermúdez, like other contra leaders, was often paid by the C.I.A., he was not a C.I.A. agent." This is technically correct. However Calero, about whom Tim Golden is so eloquently silent, was a CIA agent, according to more candid histories of the Contras. (Webb also alleged that Meneses met with other CIA agents as well, such as the drug pilot Marcos Aguado.)

The Bigger Story: Subversion of Law Enforcement to Protect Traffickers

These quibbles should not obscure the most important points made by the Webb stories, which cannot be refuted. Two of these, conceded now for the first time by the "responsible" press, are that earlier press dismissals of the Contra-drug connection had been wrong, and that the CIA had knowledge of this connection. As Walter Pincus conceded in his attack on Webb, "Even CIA personnel testified to Congress they knew that these covert operations involved drug traffickers." (Journalist Robert Parry has pointed out that the use by one Contra faction of cocaine profits to buy a helicopter was noted in a 1985 CIA National Intelligence Estimate.)

An equally important point, ignored in all the attacks on Webb, is that Meneses and Blandón, while they were supporting the Contras, were immune from government prosecution. Jack Blum, former counsel to the Kerry Subcommittee investigating the matter, has focused on this point: "If the question is "Did the CIA sell crack...? the answer is a categorical no. If you ask whether the United States government ignored the drug problem and subverted law enforcement to prevent embarrassment and reward our allies in the contra war, the answer is yes." Referring to his own experience, he recalled how the Justice Department "fought giving us access to essential records and to witnesses in government custody."

Even the Washington Post’s own ombudsman was able to see the issue avoided by Walter Pincus. In an assessment published by the Post, she asked: "Did the U.S. Government play any role in supporting or condoning drug smuggling into the United States?" And she concluded with a rebuke that is hard to disagree with: "A principal responsibility of the press is to protect the people from government excesses. The Post (among others) showed more energy for protecting the CIA from someone else’s journalistic excesses."

And in thus protecting the CIA over the years, one might add, the press helped strengthen the immunity enjoyed by the traffickers themselves. Time after time, it proved impossible for government prosecutors to go after important traffickers, protected by the CIA, of whom the public knew nothing at all.

One can think of many reasons why the "responsible" press should have so risked their credibility in their zeal to rebut Gary Webb. One is to protect their own past record of complicity in covering up the bigger Contra-drug story. Another is a real establishment concern at the anger of black communities and leaders, when they learned that drugs reaching their communities were imported by traffickers who enjoyed protection against arrest. Both the New York Times and the Post tried to discount this as black paranoia, or what the Post called "an inclination, born of bitter history...to accept as fact unsubstantiated reports or rumors about conspiracies targeting blacks."

But in truth the facts should make any citizen angry, angry not only at the Contras and the CIA, but at the "responsible" press for their complicity in covering up an intolerable situation. For Gary Webb, however fallibly, has focused the nation’s attention on a CIA-Contra-drug connection that is bigger, by far, than he and the Mercury ever implied.

DEA reports from the 1980s give us a glimpse of this bigger story: those drug-traffickers supporting the Contras to gain CIA protection included not just Norwin Meneses and Daniel Blandón but some of the DEA’s top targets at the time.

The Real Contra-Drug Connection

In 1982 the DEA prepared a top-level secret intelligence memo, listing twenty Major Cocaine Violators in Colombia and the United States. The memo focused attention on a single four-man consortium which, the DEA believed, accounted for a major share (perhaps a third, perhaps more than half) of all the cocaine moving between the two countries. (M228)

By 1985 the DEA had come to believe that the most important smuggler of the four was a Honduran by the name of Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros, the link between the Colombians and the dominant Guadalajara drug cartel in Mexico. In that year Newsweek published official estimates that Matta alone was responsible for one third of the cocaine reaching the U.S. (5/15/85).

By this time the DEA had another reason to want Matta: it believed that Matta, along with other Guadalajara cartel members, was responsible for the murder in Mexico of its own agent, Enrique Camarena. After 1986 it also knew exactly where Matta was, living comfortably in Honduras, a country almost completely dominated by the United States.

Yet until 1988 Matta remained untouchable. Indeed, as the Kerry Committee documented, when the DEA Office in Honduras began to identify Matta as its principal target, the response of the US Government was to close down that office. Then, in April 1988, Matta was picked up while jogging and quickly flown (some said, "kidnapped") to the United States.

There was no mystery as to what had changed. One month earlier, on March 7, the Christian Science Monitor had noted that the U.S. faced a dilemma, whether to go after Matta (who had many friends in the Honduran military) or to placate Honduran displeasure at the on-going Contra presence in that country. And in that same month U.S. support for the Contra war ended, Congress voted (twice) to suspend military aid, North was indicted, and a truce was declared in Nicaragua.

The two questions, Matta and the Contras, were indeed closely related. Matta was not only one of the world’s leading cocaine traffickers, he was also one of the leading Contra supporters. His airline, SETCO, was used by the CIA and State Department to ship aid to the Contra camps, at the same time that it was listed in Customs and DEA computers for suspected drug-smuggling.

Matta was not alone in buying himself immunity by the simple device of supporting the Contras. So did his Guadalajara associate, Angel Félix Gallardo, who moved to the top of the DEA’s Wanted list after Matta’s arrest. Félix, who was wanted both for Class I trafficking and for Camarena’s murder, escaped arrest for another year, until after the election of a new Mexican President. Witnesses and documents in Félix’s trial alleged that the Guadalajara cartel had supplied the Contras with arms, cash, and even a training camp on a drug ranch near Vera Cruz.

The Honduran military who protected Matta also included some who supported the Contras, and who became involved in drug-trafficking. Two of their drug shipments in late 1987 totaled over 6.7 tons, the largest drug shipments seized up to that time. One Contra-supporting general, José Bueso Rosa, plotted to use cocaine proceeds to finance the assassination of the Honduran President. Although the State Department called this the most significant case of narco-terrorism to date, Bueso Rosa was given lenient treatment because of his Contra support. Oliver North then intervened energetically to reduce his sentence even further.

CIA aid for the Contras in Costa Rica was channeled chiefly through the tightly-controlled Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador, a base where the real power was exercised by a U.S. Colonel responsible for Contra support. The local DEA Agent at the time, Celerino Castillo, has since charged that two hangars there under CIA and Oliver North’s control doubled as depots for major cocaine shipments. Castillo claims that his documented reports on Ilopango to DEA in Washington were never acted on. Certainly a number of known drug traffickers flew regularly in and out of Ilopango, a drug plane given over to the Contras and CIA was stationed there, and Ilopango allegedly served as a base for American drug networks such as the notorious Company, which served the entire United States.

Manuel Noriega was at one time also a Contra supporter, and his initial drug indictment was for shipments with pilots who were at the same time flying aid for Contra camps in Costa Rica. Some of these were Cuban American drug traffickers from Miami, whose airline, listed in DEA computers, also received State Department contracts for flying Contra support. Significantly, the U.S. Government only turned against Noriega in 1987, after he in turn had shifted his attention from the Contras to the incipient Contadora peace process in Central America, named after a Panama island under Noriega’s control.

Finally, to quote from a 1991 Washington Post editorial, "What is one to make of the riveting assertion, made by a convicted Colombian drug kingpin at Manuel Noriega’s Florida drug trial, that the Medellín cartel gave $10 million to the Nicaraguan contras? Carlos Leader is a key prosecution witness; the U.S. government cannot lightly assail his credibility." Another cartel figure, Ramón Milián Rodríguez, also testified under oath that the Medellín cartel had given millions to the Contras.

The overall picture is clear, and devastating. It would appear that, from Colombia through Mexico, all of the major known traffickers at this time doubled as Contra supporters. Indeed, because this drug milieu was still relatively integrated, one could say that the basic Central American drug network simply became a major part of the Contra support network.

The Contra-Drug Story and the Hopes for U.S. Democracy

One can agree with Ceppos’ admission that the Gary Webb articles are not immune to criticism. Nevertheless, as Peter Kornbluh pointed out in the Columbia Journalism Review, the Mercury News managed to "revisit a significant story that had been inexplicably abandoned by the mainstream press, report a new dimension to it, and thus put it back on the national agenda where it belongs." He added that the mainstream press "faces a challenge in the contra-cocaine matter not unlike the government’s: restoring its credibility in the face of public distrust over its perceived role in the handling of these events."

The problem of the "credibility gap" has been an increasing concern of serious politicians since the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War. Much of the concern about the Webb series has focused less on the much-battered image of the CIA, than on the increasing alienation of black civic leaders. Many of these have for some time been convinced that government covert operations have continued since the days of Hoover’s COINTELPRO to target ethnic neighborhoods.

Some of the media rebukes to Webb and the Mercury have implied that that the story would have died, had it not been for what the Post dismissed as black paranoia. Others have pointed to the role of the San Jose Mercury’s website, which because of the story has been "hit" by up to one million viewers a day. More than one critic has contrasted the rationality of the traditional media with the ability of Web surfers to believe anything: even that the CIA had been involved with drug traffickers.

The efforts of the mainstream media to defend the credibility of the CIA may well be successful in the short run. The Webb story, which has now outlasted any previous CIA drug story, is still one which nearly all members of Congress are reluctant to embrace too closely.

In the long run, the press overkill applied to the Webb story may do more to increase alienation than to reduce it. The chief victim may turn out to be the public’s faith, revived by Watergate, frustrated by Iran-Contra, in the ability of the mainstream media to criticize our aging institutions at all.

In psychological warfare, a form of warfare which the CIA takes pride in practicing, the aim is not to persuade one’s opponents. (That is traditional politics). The aim is to neutralize them. TV images of a CIA Director being shouted down in South Los Angeles do more to sustain than threaten the CIA in an increasingly polarized but white-dominated society. Those who wish to de-legitimize the concerns of the Webb story find it convenient to list it among the exotica of the Internet—along with tales of space aliens, fluoridation horrors, and conspiracies to spread the AIDS virus.

What we see threatened here is politics itself. If there ever was an issue worthy of serious political consideration, it is the larger story of tolerated drug-trafficking which Gary Webb began to expose. But Congress is clearly scared of this issue, and scared of the CIA. One can hardly blame them, as long as the responsible media continue to treat the Contra-drug story as a "conspiracy theory" born out of ghetto paranoia.

The result is a national dementia. We continue to marginalize rational discussion of our collective drug crisis, even as drugs, licit and illicit, play a larger and larger role in dividing the different levels of our more and more stratified society.






**************

"....And there was kind of like an embarrassed little silence at the table, and the editor of Newsweek, who was sitting next to me, says - I HOPE partly jokingly but I don't know - he says, "Sometimes we have to do what's good for the country.""

-Former Newsweek and Associated Press journalist Robert Parry
(Parry describes his editor's reaction to Brent Scocroft's suggestion that President Reagan lie about his knowledge of arms sales to Iran)

Fooling America: A talk by Robert Parry
Given in Santa Monica on March 28, 1993
http://www.copi.com/articles/rparry_a.htm

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #78 
http://www.wethepeople.la/indict.htm
http://www.powderburns.org/indictment.html




KINGPIN INDICTMENT OF GEORGE BUSH


The following is adapted from a draft indictment of George Bush prepared by former DEA agent Celerino Castillo and the editors of Executive Intelligence Review. All the evidence contained in this draft indictment has been thoroughly documented. Most of it has been taken either from the Kerry Report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, or the Final Report on Iran-Contra.


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

__________________________________
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

vs.

GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH




INDICTMENT

Racketeering 18 USC § 1961et seq.
Conspiracy to Import Narcotics 21 USC §§ 952 & 963
Continuing Criminal Enterprise 21 USC § 848
Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice 18 USC § 1503
Conspiracy To Obstruct Congress 18 USC § 1505


THE ENTERPRISE

1. At all times relevant to this Indictment, there existed an Enterprise, within the meaning of Title 18, USC, Section 1961 (4), that is, a group of individuals associated in fact which utilized the official positions of defendant GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH in the Government of the United States of American to facilitate the transfer, importation, and distribution of large quantities of illegal narcotics within the United States.

2. The members of the Enterprise consisted of the defendant herein named and others, including international drug traffickers, who utilized the Enterprise and the official positions of GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, DONALD P. GREGG, and OLIVER L. NORTH to facilitate their narcotics and money-laundering operations.


ROLE IN THE ENTERPRISE

1. From January 1981 to January 1989, George Bush was Vice President of the United States, and from January 1989 to January 1993, Bush was President of the United States.

2. Beginning in 1981 and up until 1989, while he was Vice President of the United States, Bush assumed extraordinary power over U.S. intelligence and covert operations. This was done through a series of Executives Orders and National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs) signed by President Ronald Reagan.

3. On Dec. 14, 1981, President Reagan signed NSDD-3 on “Crisis Management,” which designated the Vice President chairman of the Special Situation Group (SSG), responsible for crisis management.

4. On January 12, 1982, President Reagan signed NSDD-2, which reaffirmed the existence of various interagency groups to deal with intelligence and covert operations. Under the interpretation of this document promoted by Bush, the SSG superseded and pre-empted the powers of the National Security Council in areas of “crisis management,” which encompassed covert operations and counter-terrorism.

5. On Jan. 28, 1982, Bush was put in charge of the South Florida Task Force on drugs.

6. On May 14, 1982, a standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG 1 and 2) was established under the SSG. The SSG-CPPG, under Bush, was given responsibility for any area in which a “potential crisis” could emerge, and was charged with developing “preemptive policy options” for dealing with such a potential crisis.

7. On April 10, 1982, NSDD-30, on “Managing Terrorist Incidents,” was issued, giving the Vice President control over the convening of the SSG, and creating the “Terrorist Incident Working Group” (TIWG) to support the SSG.

8. On March 23, 1983, Bush took charge of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS).

9. In July 1985, the Vice President’s Terrorism Task Force was created, headed by Bush.

10. In Feb. 1986, the Terrorism Task Force issued its report, creating the Operations Sub-Group, officially a sub-group of the TIWG, and also creating a permanent counter-terrorism office located in the NSC staff, headed by Oliver North, but ultimately controlled and directed by Bush.

11. In August 1986, Bush became the chief of “Operation Alliance,” an anti-narcotics effort to be conducted in cooperation with Mexico.

Thus from Dec. 1981 to August 1986, Bush had consolidated his control over virtually aspect of U.S. covert operations, as well as every agency dealing with drug interdiction. Never before in peacetime in our country’s history had one man assumed as much power as Bush exercised while Vice President.


PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE OF THE ENTERPRISE

1. In 1982, the first in a series of "Boland Amendments" was passed by the U.S. Congress sharply curtailing the available funding from the U.S. government to the Nicaraguan Contras (hereafter "The Contras"). To make up for this loss of funding, defendant BUSH entered into an agreement with the Columbian drug cartels to exhange guns for drugs. The proceeds of the drug sales in turn were used to secretly fund the Contras. In order to accomplish this, the Enterprise, through its vast connections, made arrangements to make the cocaine it received for guns affordable and readily available to the ghettos across America. This would come in the form of "rock," which is more commonly known as crack cocaine.


OVERT ACTS

1. In the summer of 1981, Norwin Meneses and Oscar Blandon traveled to Honduras to meet with contra leader Enrique Bermudez, and Bermudez instructed Meneses and Blandon to establish a funding mechanism for the Contras on the West Coast of the United States.

2. During 1981, Meneses and Blandon imported and sold over 2000 pounds of cocaine in California.

3. During 1983, Blandon, Meneses, and others began to sell and distribute crack cocaine in Los Angeles, derived from cocaine imported from Colombia via El Salvador and Costa Rica. Much of this cocaine was flown into the U.S. by Marcos Aquado, operating from Ilopango air base in El Salvador.

4. On or about March 6, 1984, George Morales was indicted for drug smuggling. A few weeks after that, Morales met with certain Contra leaders in south Florida, Popo Chomorro and Octaviano Ceasar, whom he identified as CIA agents. They told Morales they would help him with his legal problems if he helped them with weapons and explosives and other items. The Contra leaders agreed to supply Morales with drugs, which he would sell then purchase supplies for the Contras.

5. In March 1984, Barry Seal, who had been rejected as an informant by local agencies, traveled to Washington to the offices of the Vice President’s Task Force on Drugs. The Task Force directed the DEA to retain Seal as an informant and to allow him to keep his property and assets, and to allow him to continue to smuggle drugs from Central America into Louisiana and Arkansas, among other places.

6. During the summer of 1984, Barry Seal met representatives of the Colombian drug cartel in Miami, and traveled with them to Mena, Arkansas, to show them the facilities used by Seal for smuggling narcotics and maintaining and disguising his aircraft.

7. On May 12, 1984, Oliver North wrote in his note book:
“...contract indicates Gustavo is involved w/drugs.”

8. In June 1984, Meneses attended a fund-raising meeting with Calero in San Francisco.

9. In the summer of 1984, North asked Richard Secord to assist Calero in purchasing arms for the Contras.

10. In the summer of 1984, North spoke with his courier, Robert Owen, and asked him to meet regularly with Calero to discuss the Contra’s needs, to deliver intelligence to the Contras, and to supply them with money.

11. On June 26, 1984, North wrote in his notebook:
“Call from Owen—John Hull—protection ...
John now has ‘private army of 75-100’— Cubans involved in drug—up to 100 more Cubans expected.”

12. In or around July of 1984, Morales purchased weapons in Florida and loaded them on an airplane in Florida. The plane returned within a few days with a load of narcotics, which Morales sold and gave the money to the Contras.

13. In or around July of 1984, for the second time, Morales purchased weapons in Florida and loaded them on an airplane in Florida. The plane returned within a few days with a load of narcotics, with Morales sold and gave the money to the Contras.

14. During or around June or July of 1984, Morales placed a telephone call to Gary Betzner and asked him to come to Florida. Morales and Betzner then met in Florida to discuss flying weapons to the Contras and flying drugs back.

15. In or around July 1984, Betzner flew a planeload of weapons, including an M-60 machine gun, M-16 rifles, and C-4 plastic explosives from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to the ranch of John Hull in Costa Rica. At the Hull ranch, the weapons and explosives were unloaded, and then 17 duffel bags of cocaine and 5 or 6 boxes of cocaine were loaded on the plane in the presence of Hull, which Betzner brought back to Lakeland, Florida.

16. About ten days later, Betzner flew a planeload of small arms from Morales’s hanger at Opa-Locka Airport in Florida to Los Llanos, adjacent to the Hull ranch, in Costa Rica. The arms were offloaded in the presence of Hull and then 15 to 17 dufflebags of cocaine, about 500 kilograms, were loaded on the plane for Betzner to take back to Florida.

17. On July 20, 1984, North wrote in his notebook:
“Call from Clarridge:—Alfredo Cesar Re Drugs-Borge/
Owen leave Hull alone [deletions] Los Brasiles Air
Field—Owen off Hull.”

18. In or around July 1984, through January 1986, at the suggestion of Marcos Aguado, Morales trained pilots at Opa-Locka Airport in Florida to fly weapons to the Contras in Central America and to transport drugs back into the United States.

19. Between July 1984 and January 1986, on at least eight occasions, Morales directed pilots to fly to the Hull ranch in Costa Rica to deliver weapons to the Contras, and to bring drugs back into the United States.

20. On July 23, 1984, North wrote in his notebook:
“Call from Rob Owen—call from John Hull.”

21. From late 1984 up through late 1986, John Hull received a payment of $10,000 per month from Adolfo Calero, at the direction of Oliver North.

22. In or around November 1984, Morales purchased more weapons in south Miami and loaded them on an airplane at Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. The plane returned within a few days with a load of narcotics, which Morales sold and gave the money to the Contras.

23. On or about October 1, 1984, Morales transferred a McDonnell-Douglas DC-3 aircraft, also known as a C-47, to Marcos Aguado for the Contras.

24. In late 1984, Morales met with Chammoro and other Contra leaders who discussed the activities of North courier Rob Owen.

25. On or about December 20, 1984, Morales met at a hotel in Costa Rica with Contra leaders Popo Chammoro, Octaviano Cesar, Commandante Tito, and Carlo Prado, to discuss the shipment of illegal narcotics into the United States.

26. In mid-December, 1984, Owen, Hull, Calero, Enrique Bermudez, and others met in Miami at the home of Calero.

27. On or about December 21, 1984, Felix Rodriguez met with Donald Gregg and North and discussed how to provide supplies to the Contras.

28. Shortly after the December 21 meeting, Gregg reported to George Bush that Rodriguez wanted to go to El Salvador, and that Gregg was going to introduce Rodriguez to other U.S. government officials involved with Central America. Bush said “Fine.”

29. On January 14, 1985, North wrote in his notebook:
“Rob Owen—John Hull—no drug connection—Believes.”

30. During Jan. 1985 Rodriguez met with Owen at the Key Bridge Marriot Hotel in Rosslyn, Virginia. Following this meeting, Owen wrote a two-page letter to North, discussing his meeting with Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s projects.

31. On January 22, 1985, Bush, Gregg, and Rodriguez met at Bush’s office in the Old Executive Office Building.

32. Two days later, on January 24, 1985, Rodriguez met with General Adolfo Blandon, the Salvadoran military chief of staff, and on January 30, 1985, Rodriguez met with General Bustillo, commander of the Salvadoran Air Force. Bustillo agreed that Rodriguez could stay at Ilopango Military Air Base outside of San Salvador.

33. On Feb. 15, 1985, Rodriguez met with Ambassador Pickering and Col. James Steele, the commander of the U.S. Military Group in El Salvador.

34. On Feb. 19, 1985, Rodriguez met with Gregg to report on the process of his activities at Ilopango, and then Rodriguez also met with North.

35. In late Feb. or early March of 1985, Owen traveled to Costa Rica at the request of North to meet with Contra groups.

36. In March 1985, Hull states that he has a friend at the National Security Council who puts $10,000 a month in a Miami bank account for him.

37. In mid-March, 1985, Rodriguez relocated to Ilopango air base.

38. On or about April 20, 1985, Rodriguez wrote to Gregg, stating: “Don, I thank you and the Vice President [Bush] for supporting me. Without your help I could not have made it here.”

39. On April 29, 1985, Gregg wrote to Col. Steele thanking Steele for his assistance to Rodriguez.

40. On June 5, 1985, Gregg, Rodriguez, and Steele met at the Key Bridge Marriot Hotel in Rosslyn, Virginia.

41. On or about June 3, 1985, Owen traveled to California with Calero to meet with Meneses.

42. On or about June 7, 1985, Calero and Owen met to conclude purchase of weapons for the Contras, after a telephone call from North.

43. In the summer of 1985, North and other members of the Restricted Interagency Group (RIG - a body established under NSDD-2) met and decided to open up a Southern Front for the Contras in Costa Rica.

44. On June 28, 1985, North, Secord, former CIA officers Thomas Clines and Raphael Quintero, Calero, and Enrique Bermudez met in Miami. North told Calero and Bermudez that they must work with him and Secord to build a viable Southern Front.

45. On July 12, 1985, North wrote in his notebook:
“$14 million to finance came from drugs.”

46. On August 9, 1985, North wrote in his notebook:
“DC-6 which is being used for run out of
New Orleans is probably being used for
drug runs into the U.S.”

47. On August 10, 1985, North wrote in his notebook:
“Southern Front . . . John Hull to arrange for
[deleted] training....”
and also:
“Mtg w/A.C.—name of DEA person in New Orleans
re bust on Mario/DC-6.”

48. In August 1985 Congress appropriated $27 million in “humanitarian” assistance for the Contras, and President Reagan established the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO). In September 1985, North urged Ambassador Robert Duemling, the director of NHAO, to hire North’s courier Owen for the NHAO. Duemling at first refused, but North and the RIG pressured Duemling to hire Owen.

49. On September 10, 1985, North wrote in his notebook:
“1630 Mtg w/ Jim Steele/Don Gregg
Talked to Blandon [...]
Says Bermudez was prepared
to devote a special ops unit
astride FMLN log lines.
Introduced by Wally GresheimbackslashLitton
Calero/Bermudez visit to
Ilopango to estab.
log support./maint. [...]”

50. On Sept. 20, 1985, North wrote a letter to Rodriguez, requesting Rodriguez to become the liaison between the government of El Salvador and the North-Secord Contra resupply operation. At the top of the letter North wrote in capital letters: “AFTER READING THIS PLEASE DESTROY IT.”

51. On October 1, 1985, North wrote in his notebook:
“Don Gregg: Maximo Gomez 27-31-59,”
which was Rodriguez’s telephone number in El Salvador.

52. Also on October 1, 1985, Ambassador Duemling, the director of the NHAO, wrote the following notes:
“(North) can use— Mr. Green said to call— Maximo Gomez
273159 in San Salvador
Will airlift the stuff from Salvador.”

53. On October 17, 1985, Rodriguez and North met in Washington, D.C.

54. In December 1985, North and Alan Friers, the chief of the CIA’s Central American Task Force, traveled to Honduras and El Salvador to convince local officials to permit NHAO shipments to be transshipped from the United States to Ilopango air base in El Salvador, and on to Honduras.

55. Beginning on or about Jan. 9, 1986, and continuing through August 1986, the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO) made the following payments to companies owned and operated by narcotics traffickers:
SETCO, for air transport service— $185,294.25.
DIACSA, for airplane engine parts— $41,120.90.
FRIGORIFICOS DE PUNTARENAS— $261,932.00.
VORTEX— $317,425.17.

56. Vortex was owned by Michael Palmer, a drug-trafficker who became an informant for the DEA, while at the same time making his aircraft available to the NHAO for “humanitarian” shipments to the Contras. Subsequently, an indictment against him for marijuana smuggling was dropped as “not being in the interests of the United States.”

57. In Jan. 1986, Rodriguez met with Richard Gadd, as associate of Secord in Secord’s airlift operation.

58. On or about Jan. 14, 1986, Bush traveled to Guatemala. During a reception at the U.S. Embassy, DEA Agent Celerino Castillo identified himself to Vice President Bush as a DEA agent conducting international narcotics investigations, and told Bush there was something funny going on at Ilopango. Bush refused to listen to Castillo, and walked away.

59. On or about Jan. 19. 1986, at the direction of Bush and Gregg, Bush’s deputy national security advisor Samuel Watson traveled to Ilopango and met with Rodriguez to be briefed on the operations taking place there.

60. On Feb. 4, 1986, Watson wrote a memorandum to Bush, which was channeled through Gregg, reporting on his findings in El Salvador and Honduras. Gregg wrote on the top of Watson’s memorandum: “Good report from Sam.”

61. Gregg underlined a portion of the Feb. 4 Watson memorandum to Bush which discussed the lack of logistical support for the Contras, and wrote in the margin: “Felix agrees with this—It is a major shortcoming.”

62. On Feb. 27, 1986, North wrote in his notebook:
“Mtg w/Lew Tambs—DEA auction A/C seized as
drug runners.—$250-260K fee.”

63. On April 16, 1986, Rodriguez called the Office of the Vice President to request a meeting with Bush. A secretary in Bush’s office wrote: “Felix Rodriguez . . . [t]o brief the Vice President on the status of the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras.”

64. On April 20, 1986, North, Secord, Rodriguez and Contra military commander Enrique Bermudez met at Ilopango air base in El Salvador.

65. On the evening of April 30, Rodriguez and Sam Watson met for drinks at a Washington restaurant.

66. On May 1, 1986, Rodriguez met with Bush, Gregg and Watson in Bush’s office in Washington. During the meeting, North joined the meeting along with Ambassador Edward Corr.

67. On May 6, 1986, Watson sent a memorandum to Bush concerning the Contras, and Gregg wrote a note with it, which stated:
“A sober analysis of the Sandinistas’ hold on power.
The means suggested to counter this hold will not
be enough. The central point is that Contra actions +
internal political opposition need to be coordinated.
Felix says we are doing nothing to direct the Contra
planning.”

68. Following the meeting with Bush, Rodriguez returned to El Salvador and during May 1986 met with Robert Dutton, who had replaced Richard Gadd as the principal supervisor of Secord’s resupply operation. Rodriguez told Dutton that he, Rodriguez, had a very close relationship with Bush and a number of Bush’s people.

69. On or about May 9, 1986, following a meeting with FBI official Oliver “Buck” Revell, North met with FBI agents and asks them to investigate various persons who are raising allegations about drugs and the Contras, including Jack Terrell and Senator John Kerry.

70. On June 3, 1986, North met with FBI agents and demanded to know why no action had been taken against Senator Kerry because of his allegations against North.

71. On July 17, 1986, North drafted a memorandum describing Jack Terrell as a “terrorist threat,” and stating that FBI official Oliver Revell and the Operations Sub-Group/Terrorist Incident Working Group (OSG/TIWG) were meeting to discuss how to deal with Terrell, who was being used as a source for news media stories on the Contras and drug-running.

72. On June 25, 1986, Rodriguez met with North and Robert Dutton in Washington at the Old Executive Office Building. North complained to Rodriguez of security violations. Rodriguez told North: “This could be worse than Watergate. It could destroy the President of the United States.”

73. Immediately after the meeting with North, Rodriguez went to the office of Bush and had a discussion with Watson.

74. On August 8, 1986, Rodriguez met with Gregg in Washington to discuss the activities at Ilopango and accusations that Rodriguez had stolen an airplane.

75. On or about August 8, 1986, Hull wrote a letter to the United States Attorney in Miami, and Senators Richard Lugar and Warren Rudman, accusing Senator Kerry’s staff of engaging in misconduct and bribing witnesses.

76. On August 12, 1986, Gregg called a meeting of various U.S. government officials to discuss the Contra resupply operation. One of the participants, Robert Earl, took notes which include the following:
“Ilopango [classified information withheld from notes]
not 1st choice
Felix claims working w/ VP blessing for CIA.”

77. On October 5, 1986, upon learning that the C-123 plane involved in the resupply effort had been shot down over Nicaragua, Rodriguez placed a telephone call to the office of Bush. Unable to reach Bush or Gregg, Rodriguez then called Gregg’s assistant Sam Watson to warn him about the situation.

78. On October 15 and 24, 1986, North made entries in his notebook which indicated that he was closely monitoring the investigation being conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senator Kerry.

79. On November 21, 1986, North made additional entries in his notebook concerning information regarding Secord provided to Senator Kerry by a private investigator.

80. Throughout 1987 and 1988, William Weld, who had become Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department in the summer of 1986, prevented the Kerry subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations committee from obtaining access to records and witnesses.

81. On or about March 5, 1986, after learning that Jack Terrell, a former associate of the Enterprise, was giving information about the activities of the Enterprise to law enforcement agencies and the news media, Secord assigned a “security officer” to investigate Terrell.

82. On or after March 24, 1986, North improperly obtained an investigative report written by FBI special agent George Kiszynski concerning a Miami investigation of the Contras and drug trafficking.

83. On or about April 7, 1986, Owen wrote a letter to North containing secret and privileged information concerning the investigation of the Contras and drug-trafficking, being conducted by the United States Attorney in the Southern District of Florida.

84. On or about May 5, 1986, following a story on National Public Radio about the Contras and drug-trafficking, North together with FBI official Oliver Revell and others decided to use the Operations Sub-Group of the Terrorist Incident Working Group (OSG/TIWG) to harass and intimidate and root out critics of their activities.

85. On June 1, 1986, a spokesman for the United States Department of Justice falsely stated that the FBI and DEA have “run down each and every one” of the allegations regarding gunrunning, murder plots, drug trafficking, and corruption connected to the Contras, and have found “no credible or substantive evidence warranting prosecution of Contra leaders.” The spokesman further described the allegations as those of “disgruntled people with an ax to grind.”

86. On June 25, 1986, Rodriguez met with North and Robert Dutton in Washington at the Old Executive Office Building. North complained to Rodriguez of security violations. Rodriguez to North: “This could be worse than Watergate. It could destroy the President of the United States.”

87. On November 21, 1986, North and others shredded large numbers of documents in his offices at the National Security Council.

88. Throughout 1987 and 1988, William Weld, who had become Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department in the summer of 1986, prevented the Justice Department, the FBI and the DEA from investigating and prosecuting members of the Enterprise and their associates.

89. Between 1986 and continuing up through at least 1989, Bush and others quashed at least six investigations of drug-trafficking and money-laundering in and around Mena, Arkansas.

90. In December of 1992, President Bush pardoned major figures in the Iran-Contra scandal, thus ensuring that the real crimes of the Enterprise - cocaine trafficking - would never be brought out into the light of day.

A TRUE BILL

_______________________________
Foreman Of The Grand Jury

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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Reply with quote  #79 
       

CIA admits tolerating contra- cocaine trafficking in 1980s

By Robert Parry


In secret congressional testimony, senior CIA officials admitted that the spy agency turned a blind eye to evidence of cocaine trafficking by U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels in the 1980s and generally did not treat drug smuggling through Central America as a high priority during the Reagan administration.

"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."

Still, Snider and other officials sought to minimize the seriousness of the CIA's misconduct – a position echoed by a House Intelligence Committee report released in May and by press coverage it received. In particular, CIA officials insisted that CIA personnel did not order the contras to engage in drug trafficking and did not directly join in the smuggling.

But the CIA testimony to the House Intelligence Committee and the body of the House report confirmed long-standing allegations – dating back to the mid-1980s – that drug traffickers pervaded the contra operation and used it as a cover for smuggling substantial volumes of cocaine into the United States.

Deep in the report, the House committee noted that in some cases, "CIA employees did nothing to verify or disprove drug trafficking information, even when they had the opportunity to do so. In some of these, receipt of a drug allegation appeared to provoke no specific response, and business went on as usual."

Former CIA officer Duane Clarridge, who oversaw covert CIA support for the contras in the early years of their war against Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government, said "counter-narcotics programs in Central America were not a priority of CIA personnel in the early 1980s," according to the House report.

The House committee also reported new details about how a major Nicaraguan drug lord, Norwin Meneses, recruited one of his principal lieutenants, Oscar Danilo Blandon, with promises that much of their drug money would go to the contras. Meneses and Blandon were key figures in a controversial 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News that alleged a "dark alliance" between the CIA and contra traffickers.

That series touched off renewed interest in contra-drug trafficking and its connection to the flood of cocaine that swept through U.S. cities in the 1980s, devastating many communities with addiction and violence. In reaction to the articles by reporter Gary Webb, U.S. government agencies and leading American newspapers rallied to the CIA's defense.

Like those responses, the House Intelligence Committee report attacked Webb's series. It highlighted exculpatory information about the CIA and buried admissions of wrongdoing deep in the text where only a careful reading would find them. The report's seven "findings" – accepted by the majority Republicans as well as the minority Democrats – absolved the CIA of any serious offenses, sometimes using convoluted phrasing that obscured the facts.

For instance, one key finding stated that "the CIA as an institution did not approve of connections between contras and drug traffickers, and, indeed, contras were discouraged from involvement with traffickers." The phrasing is tricky, however. The use of the phrase "as an institution" obscures the report's clear evidence that many CIA officials ignored the contra-cocaine smuggling and continued doing business with suspected drug traffickers.

The finding's second sentence said, "CIA officials, on occasion, notified law enforcement entities when they became aware of allegations concerning the identities or activities of drug traffickers." Stressing that CIA officials "on occasion" alerted law enforcement about contra drug traffickers glossed over the reality that many CIA officials withheld evidence of illegal drug smuggling and undermined investigations of those crimes.

Normally in investigations, it is the wrongdoing that is noteworthy, not the fact that some did not participate in the wrongdoing.

A close reading of the House report reveals a different story from the "findings." On page 38, for instance, the House committee observed that the second volume of the CIA's inspector general's study of the contra-drug controversy disclosed numerous instances of contra-drug operations and CIA knowledge of the problem.

"The first question is what CIA knew," the House report said. "Volume II of the CIA IG report explains in detail the knowledge the CIA had that some contras had been, were alleged to be or were in fact involved or somehow associated with drug trafficking or drug traffickers. The reporting of possible connections between drug trafficking and the Southern Front contra organizations is particularly extensive.

"The second question is what the CIA reported to DOJ [Department of Justice]. The Committee was concerned about the CIA's record in reporting and following up on allegations of drug activity during this period. … In many cases, it is clear the information was reported from the field, but it is less clear what happened to the information after it arrived at CIA headquarters."

In other words, the internal government investigations found that CIA officers in Central America were informing CIA headquarters at Langley, Va., about the contra-drug problem, but the evidence went no farther. It was kept from law enforcement agencies, from Congress and from the American public. Beyond withholding the evidence, the Reagan administration mounted public relations attacks on members of Congress, journalists and witnesses who were exposing the crimes in the 1980s.

In a sense, those attacks continue to this day, with reporter Gary Webb excoriated for alleged overstatements in the Mercury News stories. As a result of those attacks, Webb was forced to resign from the Mercury News and leave daily journalism. No member of the Reagan administration has received any punishment or even public rebuke for concealing evidence of contra-cocaine trafficking. [For details on the CIA's internal report, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]

Besides confirming the CIA's internal admissions about contra-drug trafficking and the CIA's spotty record of taking action to stop it, the House committee included in its report the Reagan administration's rationale for blacking out the contra-cocaine evidence in the 1980s.

"The committee interviewed several individuals who served in Latin America as [CIA] chiefs of station during the 1980s," the report said. "They all personally deplored the use and trafficking of drugs, but indicated that in the 1980s the counter-narcotics mission did not have as high a priority as the missions of reporting on and fighting against communist insurrections and supporting struggling democratic movements.

"Indeed, most of those interviewed indicated that they were, effectively speaking, operating in a war zone and were totally engaged in keeping U.S. allies from being overwhelmed. In this environment, what reporting the CIA did do on narcotics was often based on one of two considerations: either a general understanding that the CIA should report on criminal activities so that law enforcement agencies could follow up on them, or, in case of the contras, an effort to monitor allegations of trafficking that, if true, could undermine the legitimacy of the contras cause."

In other words, the CIA station chiefs admitted to the House committee that they gave the contras a walk on drug trafficking. "In case of the contras," only monitoring was in order, as the CIA worried that disclosure of contra-drug smuggling would be a public relations problem that "could undermine the legitimacy of the contra cause."

The House report followed this CIA admission with a jarring – and seemingly contradictory – conclusion. "The committee found no evidence of an attempt to 'cover up' such information," the report said.

Yet, that "no cover-up" conclusion flew in the face of both the CIA inspector general's report and the report by the Justice Department's inspector general. Both detailed case after case in which CIA and senior Reagan administration officials intervened to frustrate investigations on contra-connected drug trafficking, either by blocking the work of investigators or by withholding timely evidence.

In one case, a CIA lawyer persuaded a federal prosecutor in San Francisco to forego a 1984 trip to Costa Rica because the CIA feared the investigation might expose a contra-cocaine tie-in. In others, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators in Central America complained about obstacles put in their path by CIA officers and U.S. embassy officials. [For more details, see Lost History.]

In classified testimony to the House committee, CIA Inspector General Snider acknowledged that the CIA's handling of the contra-cocaine evidence was "mixed" and "inconsistent." He said, "While we found no evidence that any CIA employees involved in the contra program had participated in drug-related activities or had conspired with others in such activities, we found that the agency did not deal with contra-related drug trafficking allegations and information in a consistent, reasoned or justifiable manner."

Even in this limited admission, Snider's words conflicted with evidence published in the CIA inspector general's report in October 1998. That report, prepared by Snider's predecessor Frederick Hitz, showed that some CIA personnel working with the contras indeed were implicated in drug trafficking. The tricky word in Snider's testimony was "employees," that is, regular full-time CIA officers.

Both the CIA report and the House report acknowledged that a CIA "contractor" known by the pseudonym Ivan Gomez was involved in drug trafficking. In the early 1980s, the CIA sent Gomez to Costa Rica to oversee the contra operation. Later, Gomez admitted in a CIA polygraph that he participated in his brother's drug business in Florida.

In separate testimony, Nicaraguan drug smuggler Carlos Cabezas fingered Gomez as the CIA's man in Costa Rica who made sure that drug money went into the contra coffers.

Despite the seeming corroboration of Cabezas's allegation about Ivan Gomez's role in drug smuggling, the House committee split hairs again. It attacked Cabezas's credibility and argued that the Gomez drug money could not be connected definitively to the contras. "No evidence suggests that the drug trafficking and money laundering operations in which Gomez claimed involvement were in any way related to CIA or the contra movement," the House report said.

What the report leaves out is that one reason for this lack of proof was that the CIA prevented a thorough investigation of Ivan Gomez's drug activities by withholding the polygraph admission from the Justice Department and the U.S. Congress in the late 1980s. In effect, the House committee now is rewarding the CIA for torpedoing those investigations.

In one surprise disclosure, the House committee uncovered new details about the involvement of Nicaraguan drug smuggler Oscar Danilo Blandon in trafficking intended to support the contras financially. Blandon, a central figure in the Mercury News series, said he was drawn into the drug business because he understood profits were going to the contra war.

In a deposition to the House committee, Blandon described a meeting with Nicaraguan drug kingpin Norwin Meneses at the Los Angeles airport in 1981. "It was during this encounter, according to Blandon, that Meneses encouraged Blandon to become involved with the drug business in order to assist the contras," the House report stated.

"We spoke a lot of things about the contra revolution, about the movement, because then he took me to the drug business, speaking to me about the drug business that we had to raise money with drugs," said Blandon. "And he explained to me, you don't know, but I am going to teach you. And, you know, I am going to tell you how you will do it. You see, you keep some of the profit for you, and some of the profit we will help the contra revolution, you see. … Meneses was trying to convince me with the contra revolution to get me involved in drugs. Give a piece of the apple to the contras and a piece of the apple to him."

Blandon accepted Meneses's proposal and "assumed the money he had given Meneses was being sent by Meneses to the contra movement. However, Blandon stated that he had no firsthand knowledge that this was actually occurring," the House report said.

Though Blandon claimed ignorance about the regular delivery of cocaine cash to the contras, other witnesses confirmed that substantial sums went from Meneses and other drug rings to the contras. A Justice Department investigation discovered several informants who corroborated the flow of money.

One confidential informant, identified in the Justice report only as "DEA CI-1," said Meneses, Blandon and another cohort, Ivan Torres, contributed drug profits to the contras.

Renato Pena, a money-and-drug courier for Meneses, also described sharing drug profits with the contras, while acting as their northern California representative. Pena quoted a Colombian contact called "Carlos" as saying "We're helping your cause with this drug thing. … We're helping your organization a lot."

The Justice report noted, too, that Meneses's nephew, Jairo, told the DEA in the 1980s that he had asked Pena to help transport drug money to the contras and that his uncle, Norwin Meneses, dealt directly with contra military commander Enrique Bermudez.

The Justice report found that Julio Zavala and Carlos Cabezas ran a parallel contra-drug network. Cabezas said cocaine from Peru was packed into hollow reeds which were woven into tourist baskets and smuggled to the United States. After arriving in San Francisco, the baskets went to Zavala who arranged sale of the cocaine for contra operatives, Horacio Pereira and Troilo Sanchez. Cabezas estimated that he gave them between $1 million and $1.5 million between December 1981 and December 1982.

Another U.S. informant, designated "FBI Source 1," backed up much of Cabezas's story. Source 1 said Cabezas and Zavala were helping the contras with proceeds from two drug-trafficking operations, one smuggling Colombian cocaine and the other shipping cocaine through Honduras. Source 1 said the traffickers had to agree to give 50 percent of their profits to the contras.

The House report made no note of this corroborating evidence published in the DOJ report.

The broader contra-cocaine picture was ignored, too. The evidence now available from government investigations over the past 15 years makes clear that many major cocaine smuggling networks used the contra operation, either relying on direct contra assistance or exploiting the relationship to gain protection from U.S. law enforcement.

Sworn testimony before an investigation by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, in the late 1980s disclosed that the contra-drug link dated back to the origins of the movement in 1980. Then, Bolivian drug lord Roberto Suarez invested $30 million in several Argentine-run paramilitary operations, according to Argentine intelligence officer Leonardo Sanchez-Reisse.

The Suarez money financed the so-called Cocaine Coup that ousted Bolivia's elected government in 1980 and then was used by Argentine intelligence to start the contra war against Nicaragua's leftist government. In 1981, President Reagan ordered the CIA to work with the Argentines in building up the contra army.

According to Volume Two of the CIA report, the spy agency learned about the contra-cocaine connection almost immediately, secretly reporting that contra operatives were smuggling cocaine into South Florida.

By the early 1980s, the Bolivian connection had drawn in the fledgling Colombian Medellin cartel. Top cartel figures picked up on the value of interlocking their operations with the contras. Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans played a key matchmaker role, especially by working with contras based in Costa Rica.

U.S. agencies secretly reported on the work of Frank Castro and other Cuban-American contra supporters who were seen as Medellin operatives. With the Reagan administration battling Congress to keep CIA money flowing to the contras, there were no high-profile crackdowns that might embarrass the contras and undermine public support for their war.

No evidence was deigned good enough to justify sullying the contras' reputation. In 1986, for example, Reagan's Justice Department rejected the eyewitness account of an FBI informant named Wanda Palacio. She testified that she saw Jorge Ochoa's Colombian organization loading cocaine onto planes belonging to Southern Air Transport, a former CIA-owned airline that secretly was flying supplies to the contras. Despite documentary corroboration, her account was dismissed as not believable.

Another contra-cocaine connection ran through Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega, who was recruited by the Reagan administration to assist the contras despite Noriega's drug-trafficking reputation. The CIA worked closely, too, with corrupt military officers in Honduras and El Salvador who were known to moonlight as cocaine traffickers and money-launderers.

In Honduras, the contra operation tied into the huge cocaine-smuggling network of Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros. His airline, SETCO, was hired by the Reagan administration to ferry supplies to the contras. U.S. government reports also disclosed that contra spokesman Frank Arana worked closely with lieutenants in the Matta Ballesteros network.

Though based in Honduras, the Matta Ballesteros network was regarded as a leading Mexican smuggling ring and was implicated in the torture-murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena.

The CIA knew, too, that the contra-cocaine taint had spread into President Reagan's National Security Council and into the CIA through Cuban-American anti-communists who were working for two drug-connected seafood companies, Ocean Hunter of Miami and Frigorificos de Puntarenas in Costa Rica. One of these Cuban-Americans, Moises Nunez, worked directly for the NSC.

In 1987, the CIA asked Nunez about allegations tying him to the drug trade. "Nunez revealed that since 1985, he had engaged in a clandestine relationship with the National Security Council," the CIA contra-drug report said. "Nunez refused to elaborate on the nature of these actions, but indicated it was difficult to answer questions relating to his involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he had performed at the direction of the NSC."

The CIA had its own link to the Frigorificos/Ocean Hunter operation through Felipe Vidal, a Cuban-American with a criminal record as a narcotics trafficker. Despite that record, the CIA hired Vidal as a logistics coordinator for the contras, the CIA report said. When Sen. Kerry sought the CIA's file on Vidal, the CIA withheld the data about Vidal's drug arrest and kept him on the payroll until 1990.

These specific cases were not mentioned in the House report. They also have gone unreported in the major news media of the United States.

Now, with the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committees joining with their Republican counterparts, the official verdict on the sordid contra-drug history has been delivered – a near full acquittal of the Reagan administration and the CIA. The verdict is justified as long as no one reads what's in the government's own reports.


Copyright © 1999 Consortium For Independent Journalism.
All rights reserved.
Republisheded with the permission of the
Consortium For Independent Journalism




New evidence links George Bush to Los Angeles drug operation

by Edward Spannaus © Executive Intelligence Review (LaRouche)

On Oct. 27, 1986, federal and local law enforcement officials executed search warrants on more than a dozen locations connected to a major cocaine-trafficking ring in southern California centered around Danilo Blandon.. One of the locations raided was the home of a former Laguna Beach police officer by the name of Ronald Lister.

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department detectives reported that when they raided Lister's house, they found ``films of military operations in Central America, technical manuals, information on assorted military hardware and communications, and numerous documents indicating that drug money was being used to purchase military equipment for Central America.'' Documents were also found which diagrammed ``the route of drug money out of the United States, back into the United States purchasing weaponry for the Contras.''

An official report by one of the detectives from the 1986 raid stated: ``Mr. Lister ... told me he had dealings in South America and worked with the CIA and added that his friends in Washington weren't going to like what was going on. I told Mr. Lister that we were not interested in his business in South America. Mr. Lister replied that he would call Mr. Weekly of the CIA and report me.''

New evidence has now surfaced showing who some of Lister's ``friends in Washington'' were, and we shall see that these ``friends'' ran all the way up to the Office of the Vice President, at that time George Bush.

Mark Richard's tell-tale notes

Around the same time as the October 1986 drug raid, ``Mr. Weekly,'' whose full name is David Scott Weekly, became the subject of a federal investigation opened for the purpose of prosecuting him on federal explosives charges. According to later testimony, this investigation was under way for some time before Weekly himself first learned about it, which was on Dec. 21-22, 1986.

But ten days before Weekly learned that he was being targetted, Bill Price, the U.S. Attorney in Oklahoma City handling Weekly's case, had a telephone conversation with a top official at Justice Department headquarters about some of the stickier aspects of the investigation. The official to whom Price talked was Mark Richard, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division, and the career Justice Department official who served as the Department's liaison to the intelligence agencies.

The question arises: What might have triggered this conversation between Mark Richard--the DOJ's point of contact for the NSC, CIA, and military intelligence agencies--and the Oklahoma prosecutor?

First of all, on Oct. 5, 1986, a C-123 cargo plane, flying from El Salvador's Ilopango military air base, had been shot down over Nicaragua. Three crewmen were killed, and the fourth, Eugene Hasenfus, was captured by the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. This was the beginning of the public unravelling of what became known as the ``Iran-Contra'' affair.

Then came the Oct. 27 raid in Los Angeles, after which the Los Angeles FBI office communicated to FBI headquarters what had transpired, including Lister's claims of involvement in arming the Contras, and his citation of ``Mr. Weekly'' as being ``CIA'' and a ``DIA subcontractor''--referring to the Defense Intelligence Agency. (The FBI had already interviewed a businessman to whom Lister had bragged, on Aug. 1, that he was involved in arming the Contras, and that his arms deals were ``CIA approved.'')

On Nov. 10, 1986, the FBI sent a teletype to various sections of the CIA, inquiring about Lister, Blandon, Weekly, and some others. The inquiry, over the name of the FBI Director, asked diplomatically if any of these individuals were ``of operational interest'' to the CIA.

FBI documents also show that a teletype was sent to FBI headquarters on Dec. 9, followed up by a phone conversation with an FBI supervisor on Dec. 11--the same day that Mark Richard spoke to the prosecutor in Oklahoma City--who was at the time secretly preparing his case against Scott Weekly.

In August 1987--less than a year later--Mark Richard was required to give testimony in the Congressional Iran-Contra investigation. While being interrogated about various matters in which there were allegations of Justice Department interference in Contra-related cases, Richard was specifically questioned about handwritten notes he had made during his Dec. 11 conversation with prosecutor Bill Price. Richard said that Bill Hendricks of the DOJ's Public Integrity Section, which was dealing with a lot of the Iran-Contra matters, had previously been in touch with Price. After examining his own notes, Richard said that the conversation pertained to ``an individual who had been arrested and his possible involvement in some CIA/Contra-related activities.'' (In fact, Scott Weekly was out of the country on Dec. 11, and had not yet been arrested.)

Richard was asked about the portion of the notes which read: ``Weekly posts on tape that he's tied into CIA and Hasenfus. Said he reports to people reporting to Bush.'' Richard disclaimed any knowledge of what this meant, and said that the matter had been referred to the Independent Counsel. He said that in his notes, ``There is a suggestion of a relationship to the CIA and the exportation of explosives to the--countries.''

Richard was then asked: ``And he's alleging or indicating to someone that he's connected with the CIA and he is reporting to people who report to Bush?'' Richard answers: ``That's what he's asserting.''

Richard's notes, printed in Appendix B, Volume 23 of the Congressional Iran-Contra Report, also reference Weekly's toll calls to ``Col. Nestor Pino, Spec Asst to Undersecretary for Security Assistance,'' apparently made in September-October 1986, and also ``Phone calls from Weekly to Alex, Va.--Tom Harvey of NSC,'' apparently on Oct. 30, 1986.

Richard's reference to Tom Harvey is most significant. {EIR'}s investigations have shown that Harvey was operating out of George Bush's office, and was definitely one of the ``people who report to Bush.'' Nestor Pino was likewise deeply involved in the drug-ridden Contra supply operation, which was being run out of Bush's office though Felix Rodriguez, as well as by Oliver North, under the direct supervision of Bush's national security adviser Donald Gregg.

What has misled many investigators--and has continued to confuse the issue--is that many of these operatives, even Bush himself, at one point or another worked for the CIA. But the Contra-drug operation was not a ``CIA'' operation: It was run at a level {higher} than the CIA, primarily through military and private networks deployed out of the National Security Council, which in turn was operating in these matters under the direction of Vice President Bush.

The case at hand--of Ron Lister, Scott Weekly, and Tom Harvey--is a very good example of how such things actually worked, in contrast to popular fairy tales about the ``CIA.''

Who is Ron Lister?

Before discussing Lister's ``friends,'' a few salient facts about Lister himself.

The investigation of the Blandon drug ring--the Contra-linked cocaine-smuggling operation featured in the controversial {San Jose Mercury News} series last Fall--appears to have begun in late 1984, with a probe into a Colombian money-laundering operation in the city of Bell, California, near southeast Los Angeles. The police officer who initiated the investigation, which was done at the request of agents from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Customs Service, identified former Laguna Beach police officer Ronald Lister as transporting large amounts of cocaine and ``millions of dollars'' for Danilo.

During interviews with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department last year, as part of their internal investigation of the {San Jose Mercury News} series, Lister acknowledged that he and Blandon were in the drug business, and he told Sheriff's investigators that ``he had moved $50-60 million for Blandon.'' Lister also admitted that he himself had been a user of cocaine from 1985 to 1989.

In a well-researched article in the May 22 issue of the {Los Angeles Weekly}, investigative reporter Nick Schou has documented some of Lister's ties to former CIA officials. A San Diego weapons dealer, Timothy LaFrance (mentioned in Mark Richard's notes), told Schou that Lister's company, Pyramid International Security Consultants, was a ``private vendor that the CIA used'' to do things that the agency itself couldn't do. LaFrance said he had made a number of trips to Central America with Lister, providing weapons to the Contras. Another employee of Pyramid was Paul Wilker, a former CIA officer who, after leaving the CIA, had worked for a company called ``Intersect'' in Orange County, California. One of the founders of Intersect was still another former CIA officer, John Vandewerker. Vanderwerker told reporter Schou that he had met Lister through Wilker, his former employee. Vanderwerker also said that either Lister or Wilker had helped him apply for a job at Fluor Corporation, the large construction firm, with Bill Nelson, then Fluor's vice president for security and administration. Nelson was a well-known figure, having been the CIA Deputy Director for Operations in the 1973-76 period. According to Schou, Nelson, Wilker, and Vanderwerker all retired from the agency around 1976, when they set up Intersect. (This was prior to the late 1970s purge of the CIA's Operations Directorate under Adm. Stansfield Turner; the Turner housecleaning spun off many of the privatized ``asteroid'' operations, which then played such an important role during the 1980s.)

To round out the picture of Lister's associates, we note that in ten pages of notes seized from Lister's house in the 1986 raid, is a list of six names, which starts with Bill Nelson, and ends with Roberto D'Aubuisson, the military strongman of El Salvador in that period.

Also in the list is Scott Weekly. Elsewhere in Lister's ten paes of notes, he had written: ``I had regular meeting with DIA Subcontractor Scott Weekly. Scott had worked in El Salvador for us. Meeting concerned my relationship with the Contra grp. in Cent. Am.''

Ron Lister's `friends in Washington'

Recall, that among the names mentioned in Mark Richard's notes were those of Nestor Pino and Tom Harvey.

Nestor Pino, an Army colonel, worked with one William Bode; both Pino and bode were designated as special assistants to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance. Pino was posted to the State Department from the Pentagon's Defense Security Assistance Agency. Both Bode and Pino were deeply involved in the then-secret program supplying arms and supplies to the Contras. This program is often described as ``guns down, drugs back.'' It is not surprising, therefore, that Pino and Bode were also both closely tied to Felix Rodriguez, one of the top drug-runners in the Contra operation, who was directly deployed out of Bush's office through Bush's national security adviser Donald Gregg--another former CIA official.

It was William Bode who introduced Felix Rodriguez to Oliver North in December 1984, as Rodriguez was on his way to meet with Gregg. (A few weeks after this, Gregg introduced Rodriguez personally to Bush, in the Vice Presidents's office.)

In his book {Shadow Warrior}, Rodriguez describes Pino as a close buddy of his from the days of the Bay of Pigs ``2506 Brigade.'' Rodriguez says that at the ``2506'' training camp in Guatemala, he became friends with both Nestor Pino, and with Jose Basulto--more recently known for his provocative actions as part of the ``Brothers to the Rescue'' operation.

Scott Weekly's involvement with Bode and Pino came about in the following way. In August 1986, Bode contacted Col. James ``Bo'' Gritz, the retired, highly decorated special forces commander, and asked him to come to Washington to discuss a training program for Afghanistan mujahideen general-staff officers--another of the clandestine operations being run by the intelligence community simultaneously with the Contra operation. Gritz meet with Bode and Pino at the State Department twice in early August, and then, with his longtime associate Scott Weekly, launched a training program in unconventional warfare for the Afghanis, conducted on federal land in Nevada.

The training program, as Gritz later testified, was financed by $50,000, paid through Albert Hakim's Stanford Technology Group--one of the companies used by Oliver North, Richard Secord, et al. for shipping arms to Iran and to the Contras. The Stanford group was found by Iran-Contra Independent Counsel prosecutor Lawrence Walsh to have been at the heart of what he called ``The Enterprise.''

Now, there is no evidence whatsoever that Gritz had any knowledge of Weekly's ties to the drug-dealer and money-launderer Ron Lister, much less any involvement in it. Indeed, Gritz is well-known for his opposition to drug trafficking; he was prosecuted by the federal government in the late 1980s after exposing the role of certain Reagan-Bush government officials in drug smuggling in Southeast Asia--as we shall see below.

Scott Weekly was a weapons specialist, working as part of a team created by Gritz, after Gritz had been requested in 1979 by the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency to officially resign from the U.S. Army, and carry out a private intelligence operation in Southeast Asia. Gritz's team carried out a number of U.S. government-backed missions into Thailand, Laos, and Burma between 1982 and 1986, to determine whether America POWs were still alive in Southeast Asia.

In his 1991 book {Called To Serve,} Gritz described how he formed a ``private'' team with the assistance of the DIA, CIA, and the Army's Intelligence Support Activity (ISA). The ISA was a secret Army special operations unit, involved in counter-terrorist activity, and also in support for the Nicaraguan Contras in Central America. Sworn evidence exists showing that, during most of the 1980s, Gritz was reporting to military intelligence officials through an intermediary known as a ``cut-out.''

To return to our narrative: In late October 1986, as the first round of the Afghan training program was being completed, and just before the Los Angeles Sheriff's raid on the Blandon drug ring, Gritz was contacted by an NSC staff officer, Lt. Col. Thomas Harvey. (The misnamed ``NSC staff'' is not a staff for the National Security Council, but it serves the President--and in this case the vice president--on national security matters.)

Colonel Harvey told Gritz that information had recently been given to Vice President Bush indicating that Burmese drug lord Khun Sa had information on U.S. prisoners of war still being detained in Southeast Asia. Harvey asked Gritz if he could go to the Golden Triangle area of Southeast Asia to attempt to verify this report. He could, Gritz said, but he told Harvey that he would need special documents for such a mission.

A few days later, Harvey told Gritz to come to Washington. On Oct. 29, 1986, Gritz and Scott Weekly flew there, and met Harvey near the White House. Harvey provided them with two letters, one for Gritz on White House letterhead, and one for Weekly on National Security Council letterhead, stating that Gritz and Weekly were cooperating with the U.S. government.

The letter given to Weekly states:

  • ``The bearer and undersigned of the only original of this document is David Scott Weekly. Mr. Weekly is cooperating in determining the authenticity of reported U.S. prisoner of war sightings....

    ``Mr. Weekly is an operational agent cooperating with this office....''

This was Oct. 29. Mark Richard's notes also indicate a toll call by Weekly to Tom Harvey the next day.

`CIA' was the cover story

As to the claims by Lister, Weekly, and others that Weekly was working for the CIA, Gritz has more recently had a number of highly pertinent things to say.

In his {Center for Action} newsletter, Dec. 5, 1996, while discussing the FBI's confusion over whom Weekly worked for when he was working for Gritz, Gritz wrote:

  • ``The FBI never knew exactly who I was working for.''

Gritz indicates that he was working for ISA--the Army's Intelligence Support Activity, and explains:

  • ``The truth is that the initials `ISA' were above Top Secret to the point where CIA was our cover. ISA worked directly for the National Security Council.''

Gritz then says that he initially worked for DIA, and was then transferred to J-5 (Strategic Plans and Policy) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when his POW operations went into the field.

  • ``Toward the end it was ISA that picked up the effort.''

He describes how he was called into the White House by Adm. Bobby Inman, then deputy director of the CIA, just before the POW mission was taken away from ISA and given back to DIA.

Gritz continues:

  • ``It is no wonder the FBI had no idea who was actually carrying the ball! Scott Weekly never worked for DIA--he worked for me.''

When Gritz was reached by {EIR}, he confirmed and elaborated what he had written in his newsletter. Gritz disavowed any knowledge of a link between Weekly and Ron Lister, and said that Weekly only had a few contacts with the CIA, and that those were through Gritz. Gritz confirmed that he himself was actually working for the ISA.

  • ``It was identified, incorrectly, as a low-level Army intelligence effort,''

Gritz explained,

  • ``but it really worked directly for the National Security Council. Otherwise, how in the hell could we have been doing all the weird things we were doing? And we used the CIA as a cover, when you had to get messages, and this kind of stuff.''

    ``When I came on board,''

Gritz continued,

  • ``I was carefully briefed: `We are not under the CIA, we are not under Defense Intelligence; we work for the National Security Council.'|''

He also said that ISA coordinated with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which provided the ``muscle'' for ISA, using Delta Force special operations forces.

Tom Harvey, Bush, and `the families'

Now, to the matter of Col. Thomas Harvey.

Thomas Nelson Harvey graduated from West Point in the early 1970s, and was posted to a SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) support group position. In 1975, he trained as a Foreign Area Specialist in Yugoslav studies. Harvey was later assigned to the headquarters of the Ninth Army Division (which has responsibilities throughout the Pacific), and in 1983 attended the Command and General Staff College, thus becoming eligible to serve with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Informed sources indicate that Harvey is a proteage of Richard Armitage, who was Assistant Secretary of State for International Affairs. Armitage is a notorious intelligence community ``Asia hand'' whose career has been colored with allegations of gun running, drug smuggling, and privateering on a grand scale. During Gritz's mission to Khun Sa in 1986, Khun Sa identified Armitage as playing a central role in ``Golden Triangle'' drug trafficking--which has some bearing on Harvey's behavior after Gritz returned from his 1986 mission.

From 1983 until his retirement in 1991, Harvey was usually listed in Pentagon directories as located in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army; he was, among other things, a speechwriter responsible for space, arms control, and low-intensity operations. According to his own testimony, he held numerous sensitive intelligence positions during that time. Among these, were his serving as a military assistant to the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he worked closely with Senators Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) and John Warner (R-Va.).

Asked about Tom Harvey, Gritz told this reporter that Harvey was actually working out of George Bush's office.

  • ``Harvey was the military adviser to Sen. John Warner, and he was also, of course, in the NSC, working in the Vice President's Office--George Bush at the time,''

Gritz said.

  • ``Harvey was the Ollie North look-alike for George Bush.''

It was apparently while Harvey was at the NSC in 1985-86, that he was instrumental in the creation of a bizarre ``private'' paramilitary unit in Loudoun County, Virginia, called ``ARGUS'' (Armored Response Group U.S.). ARGUS's ostensible purpose was to provide surplus armored military equipment for use in ``anti-terrorist'' and other crisis situations by local law enforcement agencies in the mid-Atlantic region. Among its acquisitions were a C-130 military aircraft, an armored personnel carrier, and an armored forklift.

One of the few times that ARGUS equipment was actually deployed, to be on standby, was during the Oct. 6-7, 1986 raid, by federal, state, and local agents, on the offices of organizations associated with Lyndon LaRouche in Leesburg, Virginia. That raid was officially run by the FBI, but it was later learned that planning for the raid included the ``focal point'' office of the J-3 Special Operations Division of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff. Two truckloads of seized documents were taken to highly secure U.S. Marine Corps facilities at Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, where they were presumably culled over by intelligence specialists, before being reviewed by state and federal prosecutors.

ARGUS was a project of the oligarchal families based in the Loudoun County ``Hunt Country'' (see article, p.|64). Magalen Ohrstrom Bryant and John W. Hanes were both officials and funders of ARGUS; at the same time, Bryant and Hanes were both funding Oliver North's secret Contra operations as well.

In 1988, by which time Harvey was posted to Senator Warner's staff, he was able to set up ARGUS's training base at the Army's Cameron Station base in Alexandria, Virginia. ARGUS also housed some of its specialized armored vehicles at Cameron Station. iven that ARGUS was supposedly a completely private operation, this was rather extraordinary--except that ARGUS was obviously {not} ``private;'' it was rather part of the {privatized} military-intelligence operations which flourished under the authority of Executive Order 12333 and Bush's ``secret government'' apparatus.

After his retirement from active military service in 1991, Harvey continued to work for these same intelligence-related ``family'' networks. He became the chairman and CEO of the Global Environmental & Technology Foundation. On Global's Board of Directors, naturally, is Maggie Bryant, also listed as chairperson of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. It is reported that Harvey was personally selected for this role by Maggie Bryant, who has called him one of her most trusted operatives. Among Global's projects is what is called the ``Defense and Environmental Initiative,'' which, in their words, involves ``integrating environmental considerations into America's national and international security mission.''

`Erase and forget'

Now, back to Gritz's dealings with Tom Harvey in 1986-87.

Gritz and his team, including Scott Weekly, did go to Burma, where they met with Khun Sa. Khun Sa told Gritz that he did not have any American POWs, but he proposed a deal with the United States: that he would stop all drug flows out of the Golden Triangle, in return for recognition of his Shan State. He would guarantee the eradication of opium production in the Golden Triangle, which was the major source of heroin coming into the United States--although it was rapidly being supplanted by drugs from the ``Golden Crescent'' of Afghanistan and Pakistan as a by-product of the arms and money flowing into the Afghan War. The parallels between the Bush ``secret government'' clandestine operations in Central American and those in Afghanistan are striking: The net result of both was a massive increase in drugs coming from those areas into the United States. Guns and drugs, like love and marriage, go together like the proverbial horse and carriage. (The Afghan operation gave us something else: the world-wide British-controlled terrorist network known today as the ``Afghansi.'')

The other thing which Khun Sa offered--even more explosive--was that he would name the names of U.S. government officials involved in illegal arms and drug trafficking.

Gritz and his team returned just before Christmas, 1986. In his book, Gritz reports that he submitted his after-action report to Harvey; a few days later, Harvey called. When Gritz asked Harvey about the reaction to Khun Sa's proposal to stop the drug trade, Harvey told Gritz:

  • ``Bo, there's no one around here who supports that.''

Gritz's account continues:

  • ``I reminded him that Vice President George H.W. Bush was appointed by his boss, the President of the United States, as the `Number-One Cop' for stopping drugs before they got to the United States. Reagan had declared war on drugs, and Bush was his so-called `Czar.'"

Harvey reiterated, this time in a more forcible tone,

  • {`Bo, what can I tell you? There's no interest in doing that.'}

    ``I knew then that we were treading on some very sensitive toes,'' Gritz writes, ``but I didn't know whose.''

Almost immediately, Scott Weekly was charged with illegal shipments of explosives (the C4 used in the Afghani training program) and he was induced to plead guilty without a trial, and even without a lawyer.

In May 1987, Gritz was told in no uncertain terms to cease and desist all of his activities related to the Golden Triangle and drugs. He was contacted by Joseph Felter, his close friend and the former head of Wedtech, the scandalized defense contractor. Felter told Gritz that he was conveying a message from Tom Harvey and a State Department official named William Davis: that Gritz was to ``erase and forget'' everything about his trip to the Golden Triangle. Felter told Gritz that Harvey and Davis said that ``if you don't stop everything you're doing ... you're gonna serve 15 years in prison as a felon!'' (Felter later confirmed the thrust of his remarks, and that he was acting on behalf of Harvey, in a sworn affidavit.)

Gritz was at the time about to be charged with using a false passport, for travelling to Southeast Asia on a passport in a different name which had in fact been provided to him by the U.S. government, through the NSC-run ISA. Gritz was also threatened with charges for neutrality violations, for the Afghan training operation. Gritz says that when he was finally indicted in 1989, Tom Harvey showed up, and told him privately:

  • ``Bo, we're so angry with you! Your focus is supposed to be prisoners of war. Why do you insist on getting involved in this government drug operation?''

The coverup continues to this day. The attacks on Bo Gritz to prevent exposure of the U.S. government complicity in the Golden Triangle drug trade, and the frantic efforts in late 1986-87 to suppress any exposure of the Contra drugs-for-guns dealings--as shows up in the Lister-Weekly case--were clearly one and the same.

And in both cases, we see that the trail leads directly to the same place: George Bush.

1. For a more thorough description and documentation of this structure, which operated under the authority of Executive Order 12333 and various National Security Decision Directives, see the two {EIR Special Reports}: ``Would a President Bob Dole Prosecute Drug Super-Kingpin George Bush?'' September 1996; and ``George Bush and the 12333 Serial Murder Ring,'' October 1996.



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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Vol. 10 No. 34 Apr. 29 - May 5, 2005

Dr. Death Revisited
In French TV documentary, ex-CIA official admits ties to CIA-cocaine scandal character

by NICK SCHOU


Weekly, minus fake beard

                                       


In August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News published a three-part series in which reporter Gary Webb—who committed suicide last December—connected the CIA to California’s crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. One of the key players in Webb’s “Dark Alliance” was ex-Laguna Beach cop Ron Lister, whose Mission Viejo home was raided by police in October 1986 as part of a massive operation targeting Southern California crack-cocaine sales. Lister, who besides smuggling cocaine pitched security contracts to the military in El Salvador and sold weapons to the Nicaraguan contras, famously told police that the CIA wouldn’t be happy about the raid. Then he threatened to contact his agency handler, Scott Weekly.

The CIA swore in court it had no tie to Lister and has always denied ever employing Scott Weekly. A 1998 CIA Inspector General report found “no evidence” linking Weekly, a Vietnam War veteran and right-wing mercenary, to the agency. But in a just-aired Canal Plus documentary on the French television show 90 Minutes, Milton Bearden, who supervised the CIA’s covert war in Afghanistan, says otherwise. While not mentioning Weekly by name, Bearden confirmed that the CIA was behind a bizarre training operation for Afghan mujahedin fighters in the Nevada desert in early 1986. Besides violating the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, the top-secret training resulted in Weekly’s later conviction for smuggling plastic explosives onto commercial jetliners.

As the Weekly first reported in December 1996, the San Diego resident was a three-year Naval Academy classmate of a more well-known Iran-Contra figure: Oliver North. Although various newspaper articles attacking “Dark Alliance” refer to Weekly not as a CIA operative but as a former Navy SEAL, an organization that monitors such claims, Veri-SEAL, says that can’t be verified.

After serving in Vietnam, where he reportedly won two Bronze Stars, Weekly became a soldier of fortune who accompanied Bo Gritz, an illustrious highly determined ex-Green Beret, to Laos on the latter’s ill-fated 1982 hunt for U.S. prisoners of war. When the pair returned from Laos empty-handed, both men were briefly jailed by Thai authorities for illegally possessing high-tech radio equipment. A United Press International story from that time described Weekly as “a steely-eyed weapons wizard who goes by the nickname ‘Dr. Death.’”

During their search of Lister’s home, police found Weekly’s name at the bottom of a list that included Bill Nelson, the CIA’s ex-deputy director of operations, and Roberto D’Aubuisson, the founder of El Salvador’s right-wing death squads. In his notes, Lister identified Weekly as a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) “subcontractor” and scribbled, “Scott had worked in El Salvador for us.”

After Webb wrote about the raid on Lister’s home in his “Dark Alliance” series—highlighting Lister’s claim of a CIA connection—the LA County Sheriff’s Department interviewed Weekly about Lister’s notes. Weekly refused to elaborate. “Let me put it this way,” he told investigators. “There is not one ounce of love lost between the DIA and me. It is even more aggressive than that . . . It’s a non-subject—that’s as much as I’m going to say about it. As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t piss on them if their face was on fire.”

Weekly’s anger may stem from his 1986 conviction in an Oklahoma City federal courthouse for smuggling C-4 explosives aboard two civilian airliners bound to Las Vegas. After turning himself in to federal agents, he pleaded guilty but refused to give authorities the names of anyone else involved. But after Weekly served 14 months of a five-year prison sentence, the court granted him a new hearing that focused on new evidence about the explosives.

As the Weekly first reported in December 1996, courtroom records show the explosives were used in a covert operation aimed at uniting the leaders of various Afghan rebel factions by providing them with lessons in explosives. At Weekly’s re-sentencing hearing, he and Gritz testified they carried out the operation in the Nevada desert and had the permission of a U.S. Army colonel named Nestor Piño, a Bay of Pigs veteran who then worked with Oliver North’s National Security Council. Gritz and Weekly also said they were paid by Osman Kalderim, who worked for Stanford Technology, a private company established by two of North’s Iran-Contra associates, Richard Secord and Albert Hakim, to help arm the contras.

Following that testimony, a federal judge released Weekly from custody and sentenced him to time served. “The CIA could have been involved in that Bo Gritz thing,” Bearden says in the French documentary that aired April 25. He was apparently unaware that he was acknowledging agency involvement in an illegal covert operation. “If we did some romantic training in the Nevada desert with a few Afghans . . . I’m aware of that. I know about that. There’s something like that. But it doesn’t matter.”

Bearden’s statement was the first confirmation that Weekly was an agency operative. And it runs contrary to the CIA’s oft-repeated assertion that it had no ties whatsoever to Weekly.

According to the show’s producer, French reporter Paul Moreira, Bearden made those comments during a late 2001 interview, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “He was very surprised that I even knew about the existence of Bo Gritz,” Moreira said. “In France, we call people like Gritz and Weekly ‘barbouzes’ or fake beards because they are a bunch of illegal guys who get used from time to time by government agencies when some action is not strictly legal. You cannot wage a war without these type of guys.”

NSCHOU@OCWEEKLY.COM

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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Vol. 10 No. 24 February 18 - 24, 2005

Dead End
Feds deny connection between CIA and ex-Laguna Beach cop and drug dealer. So why are his files secret?

by NICK SCHOU


Smuggler's blues: Lister in
1988 booking photo
Courtesy Costa Mesa Police Dept.

                                       

The San Jose Mercury News published a three-part series in August 1996 in which reporter Gary Webb connected the CIA to California’s crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. Several months later, Webb’s editors published a retraction of his Dark Alliance stories. Webb quit the paper soon thereafter. Last December, he committed suicide.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ Dec. 12 obituary, “Major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, wrote reports discrediting elements of Webb’s reporting.”

End of story? Well, if so, why is the FBI still citing concerns over U.S. national security in its refusal to hand over documents from its 1985 investigation of a key player in the drug ring Webb wrote about: convicted drug dealer, international arms dealer and ex-Laguna Beach cop Ronald Lister?

A Jan. 31, 2005, letter from Richard Huff, co-director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy, to the Weekly’s law firm, Davis, Wright & Tremaine, states that “some of the information responsive to your client’s request is classified.” Huff affirmed the FBI’s refusal to release uncensored copies of its files on Lister but said the decision would be referred to the agency’s Department Review Committee “so that it may determine if this information should remain classified.”

In his Dark Alliance series, Webb reported that Lister claimed to work for the CIA when cops raided his home for drugs in October 1986, a statement the mainstream media dismissed as a desperate attempt by a “con artist” to escape punishment for his drug dealing. But during that raid, cops uncovered a heap of documents supporting Lister’s claim. Among them were a 1982 proposal by Lister’s Newport Beach-based security firm to provide security to El Salvador’s Ministry of Defense and a list of business contacts that included Salvadoran death-squad founder Roberto D’Aubuisson and Bill Nelson, then-vice president of security for the Irvine-based construction giant Fluor Corp.

According to a 1998 U.S. Justice Department Office of the Inspector General report, the FBI investigated Lister five times in the mid-1980s. One probe involved the alleged sale of missiles to Iran. Another centered on the illegal transfer of weapons between Saudi Arabia and El Salvador. In a third investigation, Lister testified for the FBI about a covert-arms pipeline allegedly directed by Iran-contra co-conspirators Richard Secord and Oliver North. The FBI claims it dropped those investigations because it could find no evidence Lister ever worked for North or the CIA (see “Crack Cop,” July 13, 2001).

Eight years ago, the Weekly requested documents from both the FBI and CIA concerning Lister’s relationship to Nelson, whose previous job was deputy director of operations for the CIA. Nelson had retired from the agency in 1976 amid a congressional investigation into the CIA’s controversial forays into Chile and Angola—clandestine operations Nelson supervised from his office at the CIA’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters. The CIA responded by saying it could locate no records responsive to that request.

But in 2001, the FBI handed over several pages of heavily censored records from its 1985 investigation of Lister’s activities in El Salvador. They showed that Nelson met Lister in 1978, just two years after Nelson left the CIA and while Lister was still a Laguna Beach police detective. How they met is unclear, thanks to government censors. But the documents revealed Nelson and Lister did business together for the next eight years, a period when Lister was both smuggling cocaine into the U.S. and running down to El Salvador to meet with the likes of D’Aubuisson.

In a 1996 interview with Webb, Christopher Moore, an employee of Lister’s, said Lister had “a big CIA contact” at an Orange County company who would help protect Lister and his employees in El Salvador. “I can’t remember his name, but Ron was always running off to a meeting with him, supposedly,” Moore told Webb. “Ron said the guy was the former deputy director of operations or something, real high up there. All I know is that this supposed contact of his was working at the Fluor Corp. because I had to call Ron out there a couple of times.”

During that time, FBI agents investigated Lister’s possible involvement in drug trafficking when the bureau learned Lister had purchased his Mission Viejo home for $374,000—in cash. Simultaneously, the heavily censored memos released to the Weekly show the FBI was interviewing Lister about his Central American arms deals—an investigation that led straight to Nelson. The memos reveal that while Lister was testifying to a federal grand jury about that activity, Nelson was coaching him about what to say.

“He [Lister] then told of his meeting with the FBI and that he had been subpoenaed before the grand jury in San Francisco,” one of the memos states. “He told Nelson he was terrified. Nelson said go. . . . [Lister] admitted being stupid and that he had done a dumb thing. Nelson said [Lister] left and then called back after his grand-jury appearance and said he really did well.”

Citing U.S. national security, the FBI censored the next three lines of Nelson’s statement. But strikingly—given the CIA’s repeated assertion that Lister had absolutely no ties to the agency—the FBI memo reveals that, in an effort to aid Lister, Nelson telephoned at least one other former CIA agent. “Nelson told [Lister] he had discussed his problem with another retired CIA agent and that no one could help him until he cleared himself with the FBI. Nelson said he told [Lister] he no longer cared to continue their relationship, and he has not heard from him since.”

Nelson died of natural causes in 1995. Lister’s current whereabouts are unknown, but he has refused repeated offers to share his story with the press. When interrogated by LA County sheriff’s detectives about Webb’s story in 1996, Lister denied ever working for the CIA, then he said he wouldn’t admit to such a relationship if he did have one. According to the detectives who interviewed him, “Lister did display some knowledge of the U.S. intelligence community during our interview.”

NSCOU@OCWEEKLY.COM

       



http://www.ocweekly.com/ink/05/24/news-schou.php

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Vol. 10 No. 33 April 22 - 28, 2005

Ink-Stained Wretchedness

                                       
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, PART 1
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.

So now that Webb’s dead, the job of distorting him and his legacy is appropriately being taken over by right-wing ideologues like Chris Reed, columns editor for The Orange County Register’s opinion pages. On March 20, Reed published an “Unspin” column calling Webb a “new hero for the advocates of ‘fake but accurate’ news.” But contrary to its title, Reed’s 345-word column contains nothing but spin.

“The fact is that while Webb did establish CIA links with drug figures in his ‘Dark Alliance’ series for the San Jose Mercury News, plenty of honest journalists looked hard at his evidence of a CIA-crack conspiracy, and just about all of them found . . . nothing,” Reed wrote. “How did Webb respond? A responsible reporter would have gone back and done more digging. Instead, he allied himself with the Maxine Waters paranoids, who claim blacks are the target of government genocide.”

Rather than provide evidence, Reed spends the rest of his column comparing Webb’s defenders to supporters of disgraced CBS columnist Dan Rather. But if Reed had done his homework, he’d know that Webb never allied himself with the paranoids who used his reporting to claim the CIA deliberately put crack in the inner cities. The fact that Webb agreed to be interviewed by conspiracy theorists who distorted his reporting is no more relevant than the fact that he agreed to be interviewed by centrist blowhards like Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball.

In reality, Webb’s Dark Alliance series had nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Rather, it alleged that “Freeway” Ricky Ross, whom the LA Times had labeled the kingpin of crack, got his cocaine from Nicaraguan contra fund-raisers who had ties to the CIA. Webb wrote that the agency turned a blind eye to this activity and therefore was at least partly responsible for the crack epidemic.

After the mainstream media “debunked” Webb’s stories, an internal CIA report acknowledged for the first time that it had a secret “memo of understanding” with the Drug Enforcement Administration not to report drug dealing by CIA operatives, including the contras. And contrary to Reed’s assertion, Webb did a lot of additional digging after his series was attacked, and his cowardly editors refused to publish his findings, which totaled several thousand words of new reporting.

In fact, Webb included that information in his 1998 book, which also drew from the mainstream media’s response as well as the Justice Department and CIA reports of that same year, which actually bolstered Webb’s thesis. I also did a lot of digging and am still receiving declassified reports from the FBI about one of the drug dealers Webb exposed, an ex-Laguna Beach cop and weapons dealer named Ron Lister. (These stories can be read in our Dark Alliance archive).

Of course, the conspiracy nuts who distorted—and continue to distort—Webb’s “Dark Alliance” to further their own agenda can be forgiven because, by definition, they’re nuts. Supposedly sober journalists, as well as posthumously inclined hatchet men like Reed, should be ashamed of themselves. (Nick Schou)

NSCHOU@OCWEEKLY.COM

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Britain
       
                                                               
                                                               
                       
                        May 07, 2005                        
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1601272,00.html

MI5 is linked to death of drugs baron 'Popeye'
                                               
                Customs demand answers over smuggler whose exploits cost life of heroic agent
                                                               
                                                                                                       
WHEN the millionaire drugs baron known as “Popeye” absconded from prison, the criminal underworld was sure that his friends in the British security services had helped Roddy McLean to escape.

The life and crimes of 60-year-old McLean were always coloured by lurid claims of how he had been allowed to build up his empire in exchange for betraying rival drug gangs to the police and intelligence services.



His last will and testament to his family about how MI5 agents had helped him to flee from jail has triggered a feud between rival wings of Britain’s security apparatus.

Customs officers are demanding to know why MI5 apparently assisted the man they blame for the death of one of their colleagues.

McLean’s version of events is that he was given a fake identity by his handlers, then sent to Ireland to infiltrate Britain’s biggest heroin gang. Nine weeks later he was found dead in a scruffy benefits hostel in South London after, it is said, double-crossing MI5 and just hours before he was due to escape for a new life beyond the reach of British justice.

A new book, Cut-Throat, written by McLean’s nephew, Wayne Thallon, uses the crime boss’s own diaries and documents to detail his life as an informer.

The fear is that any public investigation into McLean’s links with police, Customs and the intelligence services could deeply embarrass Whitehall.

Customs agents have told The Times that they are appalled at allegations that MI5 organised the disappearance of McLean only five years into his 21-year sentence for a drug-smuggling operation in which Alistair Soutar, a much-decorated undercover agent, died.

Mr Soutar, 47, was among the team who ambushed McLean’s boat off the coast of Scotland in July 1996, and was crushed to death as he attempted to board the vessel while the crime boss tried to destroy the three tonnes of cannabis on board.

His fellow agents are also angry at the apparent reluctance of their own officers to demand a full, public investigation. The Prison Service has yet to fully explain why McLean, a category-A convict, was moved so quickly to Leyhill open prison in south Gloucestershire, which has the worst record in Britain for absconders.

He lied to the authorities about wanting a transfer to be closer to his wife, who had just bought a home in Edinburgh. On a Saturday in November 2003 McLean was allowed out of prison for a day release.

A van-load of MI5 agents are alleged to have been waiting for him. They are said to have given him a fresh set of clothes. a new identity and fake documents and slipped him on to a ferry to Ireland.

McLean travelled on to Wexford on the southeast coast to make contact with fellow smugglers, who would help him to get in touch with a notorious London-based crime family.

The authorities were desperate to discover the heroin- smuggling routes that the Turkish-Cypriot crime clan were using.

Within 24 hours of his escape, McLean, who gained the nickname “Popeye” because of his love of the sea, was sailing for a rendezvous with a Spanish fishing boat to pick up a consignment of cannabis.

Britain
       
                                                                                                                                               
                                Page 1 || Page 2
                                                       
                                                                                                                               
After four of the trips, McLean is said to have driven to London, shadowed by his MI5 handlers, to fix up a meeting with the crime family, who were a top target for Customs and police.

His nephew, who is a criminology student, claims that the intelligence agents did not know that McLean was making his own secret deal with the Turkish crime family to help him to make a new life in northern Cyprus, where even if he were discovered there is no extradition agreement with Britain. He was also plotting to stage his own drug runs to finance his exile.



When news of his escape finally leaked out, the millionaire drug lord sought refuge in a run-down hostel in Streatham while he waited for his new crime partners to smuggle him out of the country. He even applied for the job of caretaker as a cover story for his stay.

On the eve of his disappearance in January 2004, he was found dead in bed by hotel staff.

It would be four weeks before the police announced his death, claiming that a post-mortem examination showed that McLean had died from natural causes, thought to be a massive heart attack.

Some of his close associates refuse to believe this, claiming that one of his many enemies killed him. They do not say whom they blame.

There were no toxicology tests taken, and his body was cremated, so further investigation is impossible.

The Scottish National Party and the Conservatives have backed Mr Soutar’s family in demanding a public inquiry to unravel the facts from the fantasy of McLean’s ruthless career.

They also want an investigation into where he stashed the millions that he had accumulated, with rumours of properties in Africa and Europe.

The Assets Recovery Agency, set up by the Government to seize the assets of criminals, has not been asked to investigate McLean’s finances, saying that no law enforcement agency has asked it to.

Mr Soutar’s son, Justin, said: “For the sake of my father’s memory, this cover-up should stop now.”

                                                       

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #84 
BIO SKETCH
VSG0006301652
UPDATED: 270105Z JUL 2003

NAME: WEEKLY, DAVID SCOTT
AKA WEEKLY, SCOTT
AKA "DOCTOR DEATH"
SSN: [FILE]
DOB: APPROX 56 YOA
NATIONALITY: U.S.
DM/C: UNK
BOP INMATE REGISTER #: 09958-064
RELEASE DATE: 15 JUL 1988
LOC: POSSIBLY NEVADA US
POSSIBLY IDAHO US
POSSIBLY SAN DIEGO CA US
EMPL: http://www.BOGRITZ.COM
FALSE SOF CLAIM(S): US NAVY SEAL
PHOTO NOT AVAILABLE

CRIMINAL RECORD:

FEDERAL CONVICTION(S):

  • BANK FRAUD
  • EXPLOSIVES VIOLATIONS

NARR/ 1. IN OCTOBER 1986, THE LOS ANGELES SHERIFF'S OFFICE, ALONG WITH FEDERAL AGENTS, EXECUTED SEARCH WARRANTS AT MULTIPLE LOCATIONS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CONNECTED TO A MAJOR NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING OPERATION. AT THE HOME OF RONALD LISTER, AGENTS DISCOVERED A CACHE OF MILITARY-RELATED MATERIALS ALONG WITH DOCUMENTS SUGGESTING THE PROCEEDS OF DRUG SALES WERE BEING USED TO PURCHASE WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT DESTINED FOR USE IN CENTRAL AMERICA. UPON HIS ARREST, LISTER REPORTEDLY INFORMED A LOS ANGELES SHERIFF'S DETECTIVE THAT HE [LISTER] WORKED FOR CIA AND INTENDED TO "REPORT" THE DETECTIVE TO "MR. WEEKLY" AT CIA.

2. AT THE SAME TIME, "MR. WEEKLY", ALLEGEDLY OF CIA, WAS UNAWARE THAT HE WAS THE SUBJECT OF A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION BY THE US ATTORNEY IN OKLAHOMA CITY INTO EXPLOSIVES VIOLATIONS. APPARENTLY WEEKLY HAD SHIPPED AN AMOUNT OF C-4 (MILITARY PLASTIC EXPLOSIVE) FROM OKLAHOMA TO NEVADA BY COMMERCIAL AIR CARRIER -- A STUNT THE BATF FOUND CONSIDERABLY LESS THAN BRILLIANT, AND SLIGHTLY MORE THAN ILLEGAL.

3. "MR. WEEKLY" WAS ACTUALLY DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY, A CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF FORMER US ARMY COLONEL JAMES "BO" GRITZ. WEEKLY WAS RECRUITED BY GRITZ POSSIBLY AS EARLY AS 1979 AND HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH GRITZ EVER SINCE.

4. ACCORDING TO GRITZ, HE [GRITZ] WAS TASKED TO CONDUCT OPERATIONS IN SE-ASIA BETWEEN 1982 AND 1986 IN ORDER TO DEVELOP INTELLIGENCE PERTAINING TO THE PRESENCE OF USMIL POW/MIA PERSONNEL POSSIBLY REMAINING IN VIETNAM, CAMBODIA AND LAOS. ONE MEMBER OF GRITZ'S "TEAM" WAS AN ALLEGED NAVY SEAL NAMED DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY. GRITZ CLAIMS HE FORMED THIS "TEAM" WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF CIA, DIA, AND THE US ARMY INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT ACTIVITY (ISA). IF THAT WERE TRUE, QUESTIONS ARISE AS TO HOW GRITZ, A FORMER SPECIAL FORCES LT. COLONEL, COULD HAVE FAILED TO CONFIRM WEEKLY'S ALLEGED SEAL BACKGROUND. IN EFFECT, GRITZ RECRUITED A "WEAPONS SPECIALIST" NAMED DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY BASED ON FICTITIOUS CREDENTIALS. SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES COULD BE DESCRIBED AS NOTHING SHORT OF AN UNPROFESSIONAL OPERATION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. IF GRITZ, WITH THE ALLEGED ASSISTANCE OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, WAS INCAPABLE OF RECRUITING LEGITIMATE PERSONNEL, MORE QUESTIONS ARE INEVITABLY RAISED ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF THESE ALLEGED "OPERATIONS" PURPORTEDLY UNDERTAKEN AT THE BEHEST OF, AND WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF, THE US GOVERNMENT.

5. LATER, IN AUGUST 1986, GRITZ CLAIMS HE WAS ASKED TO CONDUCT CLASSIFIED TRAINING OF AFGHAN MUJAHIDEEN PERSONNEL. GRITZ AND CO. -- INCLUDING WEEKLY -- ALLEGEDLY CONDUCTED THIS TRAINING AT A FEDERAL RESERVATION IN NEVADA, THE ENTIRE "OPERATION" ALLEGEDLY FUNDED BY ALBERT HAKIM'S STANFORD TECHNOLOGY GROUP.

6. IT WAS ONLY TWO MONTHS LATER THAT FEDERAL AGENTS CONDUCTED THE NARCOTICS RAIDS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, ARRESTING LISTER AND DISCOVERING LISTER'S CONNECTION TO DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY.

7. WEEKLY WAS CHARGED IN THE C-4 INCIDENT AND QUESTIONED BY PROSECUTORS. IT WAS AT THAT TIME, DURING TAPED INTERVIEWS WITH INVESTIGATORS, THAT WEEKLY ALLUDED TO CIA CONNECTIONS AND A CONNECTION TO GENE HASENFUS, A CIA CONTRACTOR WHOSE CARGO AIRCRAFT HAD BEEN SHOT DOWN OVER NICARAGUA IN OCTOBER 1986 WHILE COVERTLY SUPPLYING THE CONTRAS.

8. ACCORDING TO AT LEAST TWO FORMER CIA DIRECTORATE OF OPERATIONS (DO) OFFICERS WITH EXTENSIVE COVERT OPERATIONS INVOLVEMENT IN CENTRAL AMERICA THROUGHOUT THE 1980s, INCLUDING THE CENTRAL AMERICAN TASK FORCE (CATF), ANY ACTIVITIES MR. WEEKLY MAY HAVE UNDERTAKEN WITH MR. GRITZ -- IF, INDEED, THERE WERE ANY AT ALL -- WERE "IN NO WAY CONNECTED TO ANY US GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS IN LATIN AMERICA, 'UNOFFICIAL' OR OTHERWISE".

9. AS FOR THE NARCOTICS ACTIVITY, GRITZ ASSERTS THAT HE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT WEEKLY'S CONNECTION TO RONALD LISTER OR DRUG TRAFFICKING. BASED ON GRITZ'S PRIOR IGNORANCE OF WEEKLY'S FICTITIOUS SEAL BACKGROUND, GRITZ MAY BE TELLING THE TRUTH IN THS REGARD.

10. WEEKLY WAIVED HIS RIGHT TO TRIAL AND PLED GUILTY TO FEDERAL EXPLOSIVES VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THE "MUJAHIDEEN TRAINING" IN NEVADA. NO CHARGES WERE FILED AGAINST WEEKLY RELATED TO THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NARCOTICS ARRESTS.

11. WEEKLY WAS RECRUITED BY GRITZ AND GRITZ ALONE. DESPITE CLAIMS ON GRITZ'S WEBSITE, WHERE HE OFFERS SPECIAL OPERATIONS "ADVENTURES" AND "TRAINING" MATERIALS TO UNWARY BUYERS, DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY WAS NOT A US NAVY SEAL.

12. MOREOVER, IN LATE 2001, GRITZ WAS APPROACHED BY A VERISEAL REPRESENTATIVE AT A GUN SHOW IN OKLAHOMA AND ASKED WHY HE PERSISTED IN THE PROMOTION AND SALE OF "TRAINING" MATERIALS FEATURING "FORMER NAVY SEAL DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY" ON HIS WEBSITE, DESPITE THE FACT THAT GRITZ HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY ADVISED THAT WEEKLY'S "SEAL" CREDENTIALS ARE BOGUS. GRITZ DECLINED TO DISCUSS THE MATTER AND HAS FAILED TO RESPOND TO SUBSEQUENT REQUESTS FOR AN EXPLANATION OF THE CONTINUING GRITZ-WEEKLY AFFILIATION.

13. AS OF JUNE 2002 GRITZ CONTINUED TO OFFER HIS "SPIKE" TRAINING TAPES, FEATURING FAKE SEAL "DOCTOR DEATH" DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY, ON THE BOGRITZ.COM WEBSITE//


REFS/1.US Dept of Justice on DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY.

2. CIA on DAVID SCOTT WEEKLY//

http://sec-global.com/services/ctp/vsg/profiles/weeklyds/vsg0006301652.html


****It Should be noted that in 1996, the first reporter investigating Webb's allegations contacted the Veteran's Admin with Weekly's name, record number and MOS.  The VA initially DID verify his status as a SEAL.  Suddenly, the person said "WHOAAA, I wasn't supposed to say that. You'll have to call back"  and then hung up.  All inquiries after that were met with denials.  There is apparently a notation on the file at the VA to deny his service record.

Ran accross this on Richard Armitage's background while researching Weekly on the same site:

http://sec-global.com/services/ctp/vsg/news/021001.html

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #85 
Read the 60 minutes transcripts here:
http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/ven/davila.script.html
http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/ven/60m.html
up to 20,000 kilos alleged, agents fired (probably rehired as contarct labor):
http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/ven/980327.html
http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/961122.venez.html



Miami Jury Indicts CIA Assets In a Cocaine-Sex Scandal Involving 20,000 Kilos!
Reported in the Wall Street Journal (22 November 1996) and sent to me by Joe Horman.
Now let me get this straight. A couple days before this indictment is reported CIA director Deutch is swearing up and down he has seen no evidence of CIA drug connections. Yet the indictment gets very little coverage in the mainstream press. See also "New Dirt on CIA Drug Operations": Why was the recent Miami trial of Venezuelan CIA assets and DEA agents ignored in the mainstream press coverage of the Webb story? Also see "The CIA: An Unfunny Joke" by Larry Taylor.
November 22, 1996-

In an ongoing scandal ballooning by the day, the Wall Street Journal
reported today that a CIA asset in Venezuela has been indicted by a
Miami federal grand jury on charges of smuggling more than 20,000 kilos
of pure cocaine into the United States.

So far one CIA agent was forced to resign, a second disciplined and the
careers of two Drug Enforcement Administration officers effectively
ended in the plot.

An internal investigation grew more complicated with the discovery that
the male CIA agent and the two Venezuelan men had sexual relationships
with the two female DEA agents. The case involves the same program under
which the agency created a Haitian intelligence service whose officers
became involved in drug trafficking and acts of political terror. Its
exposure comes amidst Justice Department and CIA investigations into
allegations the CIA helped finance the Contra war in the 1980s with
profits from cocaine smuggled into the United States by members of its
Contra army.

In the mid-1980's, under orders from President Ronald Reagan, the
agency began to set up anti-drug programs in the major cocaine-producing
and trafficking capitals of Central and South America. In Venezuela it
worked with the country's National Guard, a paramilitary force that
controls the highways and borders. Government officials said that the
joint CIA-Venezuelan force was headed by Gen. Ramon Guillen Davila who
was indicted today, and that the ranking CIA officer was Mark McFarlin,
who had worked with anti-guerrilla forces in El Salvador in the 1980's.

Guillen worked for Venezuelan drug organizations, and he worked for
Colombian drug organizations a source said. In late 1990, police
tipped the DEA that Guillen's men were guarding a cocaine shipment
instead of seizing it. The DEA investigated and informed the CIA. The
CIA allowed the cocaine deals to continue, CIA agent McFarlin said, in
order to keep information channels with Guillen open.

In an interview from his modest home in Caracas, Guillen told the Wall
Street Journal his Venezuelan National Guard anti-narcotics unit sent
about 4,100 pounds of cocaine to the United States with the knowledge of
the CIA and the DEA to help U.S. officials snare drug traffickers.
But law-enforcement officials familiar with the case told the newspaper
Guillen's unit shipped as much as 22 tons of cocaine into the United
States during the period when he headed it, between 1987 and 1991.

22 tons of cocaine, the equivalent of 20,000 kilos, would have a street
value in the United States of $4 billion dollars if sold in powder
form. When formulated into crack cocaine the street value is estimated
at more than $7 billion dollars.










opyright 1995 Burrelle's Information Services
CBS News Transcripts
SHOW: 60 MINUTES (7:00 PM ET)
September 03, 1995, Sunday
TYPE: Profile
LENGTH: 2600 words
HEADLINE: THE CIA'S COCAINE; USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY FOR CIA INVOLVEMENT IN DRUG
TRAFFICKING AND DRUG SMUGGLING
ANCHORS: MIKE WALLACE
BODY:
THE CIA'S COCAINE
MIKE WALLACE, co-host:


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

A ton of cocaine, pure cocaine worth hundreds of millions of dollars,
smuggled into the United States. Sound familiar? Not the way this ton of
cocaine got here, according to the former head of the Drug Enforcement
Administration. This drug shipment got here courtesy of what he called drug
trafficking by the CIA in partnership with the Venezuelan national guard. When
we first broadcast this report two years ago, rumors of CIA involvement in drug
trafficking had been circulating for years, but no one in the US government had
ever before publicly charged the CIA with doing it. For it's surely not the
kind of accusation anyone in the US government would make without thinking long
and hard.
(Footage of Judge Robert Bonner)
WALLACE: Let me understand what you're saying. A ton of cocaine was smuggled
into the United States of America by the Venezuelan national guard...
Judge ROBERT BONNER (Former Head, Drug Enforcement Administration): Well,
they...
WALLACE: ...in cooperation with the CIA?


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

Judge BONNER: That's what--that's exactly what appears to have happened.
(Footage of Wallace and Bonner walking)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Until last month, Judge Robert Bonner was the head of
the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA. And Judge Bonner explained to us
that only the head of the DEA is authorized to approve the transportation of any
illegal narcotics, like cocaine, into this country, even if the CIA is bringing
it in.
Judge BONNER: Let me put it this way, Mike. If this has not been approved by
DEA or an appropriate law-enforcement authority in the United States, then it's
illegal. It's called drug trafficking. It's called drug smuggling.
WALLACE: So what you're saying, in effect, is the CIA broke the law, simple
as that.
Judge BONNER: I don't think there's any other way you can rationalize around
it, assuming, as I think we can, that there was some knowledge on the part of
CIA. At least some participation in approving or condoning this to be done.


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

(Footage of Wallace and Bonner; the CIA seal)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Judge Bonner says he came to that conclusion after a
two-year secret investigation conducted by the DEA's Office of Professional
Responsibility, in cooperation with the CIA's own inspector general. And what
reason did the CIA have for promoting this drug smuggling?
Judge BONNER: Well, the only rationale that's ever been offered is that
that--this would lead to some valuable drug intelligence about the Colombian
cartels.
(Footage of a drug inspection; a ship; trucks; a building; General Ramon
Guillen Davila)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Over half of the Colombian drug cartel's cocaine crosses
the border with Venezuela on its way to the United States and Europe. Back in
the 1980s, the CIA was mandated by then-President Reagan to develop intelligence
on the Colombian drug cartels. And so the CIA, with Venezuela's guardia
nacional, or national guard, set up an undercover operation, a drug-smuggling
operation in Venezuela that could handle the trans-shipment of the Colombian
cartel's cocaine on its way to market. The plan was to infiltrate the cartel,


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

and it worked, for the CIA-national guard undercover operation quickly
accumulated this cocaine, over a ton and a half that was smuggled from Colombia
into Venezuela inside these trucks and then was stored here at the CIA-financed
Counternarcotics Intelligence Center in Caracas. The center's commander and the
CIA's man in Venezuela was national guard General Ramon Guillen Davila.
Ms. ANNABELLE GRIMM (Drug Enforcement Agency): I tried to work together with
them. I was always aware that they were not telling me everything they were
doing.
(Footage of Grimm; a building; Mark McFarlin; a plane taking off)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Annabelle Grimm was a DEA agent with 18 years'
experience when she was made agent-in-charge in Caracas. And she says that the
CIA station chief, James Campbell, and this man, Mark McFarlin, the CIA officer
in charge at the center, told her that to keep the undercover smuggling
operation credible, they had to keep the cartel happy, and the way to do that
was simple: deliver their dope, untouched by US law enforcement, to the cartel's
distributors, their dope dealers in the United States.


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

Ms. GRIMM: The CIA and the guardia nacional wanted to let cocaine go on into
the traffic without doing anything. They wanted to let it come up to the United
States, no surveillance, no nothing.
WALLACE: In other words, you weren't going to stop them in Miami or Houston
or wherever. These drugs were simply going to go to the United States and then
go into the traffic and eventually rich--reach the streets.
Ms. GRIMM: That's what they wanted to do, yes. And we had very, very
lengthy discussions where I told them what the US law was and the fact that we
could not do this.
WALLACE: So here you've got Jim Campbell, chief of station, who knows about
this; Mark McFarlin, CIA officer, knows about this and are stimulating
this--this business of sending what are uncontrolled deliveries of
drugs--smuggling drugs into the United States, right?
Ms. GRIMM: Right.
WALLACE: Why in the world would they want to do that?


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

Ms. GRIMM: As they explained to me, that--this would enable them to gain the
traffickers' confidence, keep their informant cool and it would result in future
seizures of larger quantities of drugs. And also, they hoped to--I guess they
thought they were going to get Pablo Escobar at the scene of the crime or
something, which I found personally ludicrous.
WALLACE: But if Annabelle Grimm thought this was ludicrous, the CIA station
chief, James Campbell, did not. He enlisted the assistance of CIA headquarters
in Washington to get approval for the drug shipments. And his bosses at the CIA
in Washington went over Annabelle Grimm's head, directly to her bosses at DEA
headquarters in Washington.
Judge BONNER: They made this proposal and we said, 'No, no way. We will not
permit this. It should not go forward.' And then, apparently, it went forward
anyway.
(Footage of Wallace and Bonner; a guardia national truck; inspectors)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) The joint DEA-CIA investigation we mentioned earlier
confirmed that over a ton of cocaine made its way from the Counternarcotics
Center in Caracas to the streets of the United States. And they discovered


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

that at one point, General Guillen's national guard tried to ship 1,500 kilos
at once.
Ms. GRIMM: They were not successful in that because apparently the package
they had put together was too large. It wouldn't fit on the plane.
(Footage of Guillen)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) General Guillen admits to the bungled operation.
General RAMON GUILLEN DAVILA (Venezuelan Guardia Nacional): (Through
Translator) It was too big for the airplane door because the plane was a 707.
WALLACE: The box was too big to get into the airplane, $ 30 million worth of
cargo, drugs? All these officials--the Venezuelans, the Americans,
the--the--the Colombians--all so stupid that they don't have a box that's small
enough to fit inside their own airplane?
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) The traffickers made a mistake with the
plane.


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

(Footage of Guillen)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Is it possible that General Guillen was doing this on
his own, without the knowledge of the CIA?
Ms. GRIMM: I would find it very difficult, for several reasons, to believe
that they did not know what was going on. They built, they ran, they controlled
that center. General Guillen and his officers didn't go to the bathroom
without telling Mark McFarlin or the CIA what they were going to do.
(Footage of traffic; a Colombia road sign; an airplane landing)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) The drug-smuggling operation finally unraveled nearly a
year after Annabelle Grimm says she told the CIA and General Guillen that it
was illegal to send drugs uncontrolled into the US. Then a shipment arrived at
Miami's International Airport and was seized, coincidentally, by US Customs.
Customs traced those drugs back to the Venezuelan national guard, but General
Guillen told us that operation had been approved by US authorities.
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) Look, what I see here is that there is
a problem between the CIA and the DEA, and perhaps they are trying to find a


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

fall guy, who is General Guillen. If I had anything to do with illegal drug
trafficking, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you.
(Footage of Guillen; a document)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) General Guillen is right about one thing. He could
travel to New York to talk to us about Judge Bonner's charges only because he
had already been granted immunity from prosecution in that DEA-CIA inspector
general's investigation. So we confronted the general with this document, a
report from that investigation that reads like his confession.
(Reading) 'Guillen lost his composure, and when directly confronted
concerning his involvement in the unauthorized and illegal shipment of cocaine
to the US, confesses.'
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) Look, I say that that confession is not
true. In that report, there are a lot of lies. It's useless. I have not
confessed anywhere.
WALLACE: So you're clean?


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) Clean until the last day God has for
me.
(Footage of Guillen; buildings; a document; McFarlin in a truck; a
photograph of James Campbell; the CIA logo)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) So far there has been no legal action against General
Guillen. As for the CIA officers? Well, Judge Bonner may believe that
someone at the agency must have known, but the CIA and the US Department of
Justice say they have discovered, quote, "No evidence of criminal wrongdoing."
However, the CIA did acknowledge to us that the investigation, quote, "Did
reveal instances of poor judgment and management, leading to disciplinary
actions for several CIA officers." Mark McFarlin, the CIA officer in charge of
the Counternarcotics Center, resigned from the agency last year. We tried to
talk to him, but he told us the CIA would take legal action against him if he
violated his secrecy agreement with the agency. As for James Campbell, the CIA
station chief, we learned he was brought back to the US and promoted, but then
he retired. Campbell did tell us, quote, "I've devoted my life to my country
and feel like a victim in this thing. This happened without our knowledge. We
were there to prevent it." While CIA headquarters declined to answer our
questions on camera, off camera a CIA official involved in the Venezuelan


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

cocaine operation did.
We talked to some people at CIA. They say, 'The DEA does the same thing all
the time. They let drugs walk. They let drugs into the traffic, and look the
other way to further a more important goal.'
Judge BONNER: It's absolutely untrue. And frankly, maybe it--it--it displays
the kind of ignorance that makes the CIA dangerous in this area. It is wrong for
an agency of the US government to facilitate and participate in allowing drugs
to reach the streets. And apparently--you know, if the--if the CIA doesn't
understand that, then I--I would be concerned that this kind of incident could
be repeated.
(Footage of Wallace and Dennis DeConcini)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) The CIA advised us they had recently briefed the
chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dennis DeConcini, and
they urged us to talk with him, apparently believing he would defend the
operation.


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

Senator DENNIS DeCONCINI (Senate Intelligence Committee): Here we--it was an
operation that I don't think they should have been involved in.
WALLACE: No question, the drugs got in?
Sen. DeCONCINI: I don't doubt that the drugs got in here.
WALLACE: You'd think that maybe the agency would want to say, 'OK, we made a
mistake.'
Sen. DeCONCINI: I think they made a mistake.
WALLACE: Yeah.
Sen. DeCONCINI: And I--you know, you hope when these mistakes are made that,
hell, not too many more of them are, particularly when the mistake is a large
quantity of substance like this that can kill people, and probably did.
(Footage of Wallace and DeConcini)


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

WALLACE: (Voiceover) We asked the senator why no one in the CIA has been
prosecuted for bringing in the drugs.
Sen. DeCONCINI: It--you would seem to think there would be a good case
there.
WALLACE: A case against?
Sen. DeCONCINI: Against an American who knew anything about it. But, you
know, I've been a prosecutor, Mike, and you have to look at the case, convince
a--a jury or a judge not to throw the case out. The Justice Department reviewed
that and they decided not to prosecute these individuals from the agency.
(Footage of the Venezuelan intelligence agency)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) And what about the vaunted intelligence gathered from
the whole CIA, anti-drug caper in Venezuela?
Judge BONNER: Well, let me tell you, I--first of all, I don't know of any.
Because from what I know, no valuable intelligence of any kind was produced from
this operation.


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

WALLACE: What intelligence was generated by the shipment of this 1,000 to
1,500 kilos, controlled or uncontrolled?
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) It was very positive.
WALLACE: Really? Who--who--who did you finger? What did you find out?
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) Right now, a truck driver and the truck
that were trafficking drugs into Venezuela are under arrest. There was another
truck and two similar van types were also caught.
WALLACE: So what you're saying is that you captured three or four or five
truck drivers. I'm asking about intelligence in the United States that was
generated by the actual shipment of these kilos into the United States.
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through Translator) Now whether or not here in the United
States they arrested anyone or the intelligence gathered was useless, that is
the responsibility of the Americans.
WALLACE: After speaking to us, General Guillen traveled to Miami, where
federal agents found him and served him with a subpoena to appear before a


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

newly revived grand jury investigation into the CIA's cocaine. But the word out
of Venezuela is that the government there will not permit him to testify.
Ms. GRIMM: I look at that 1,000 kilos, at least that 1,000 kilos. I look at
the fact--I mean, Mike, you're a taxpayer and that was US taxpayer money that
built that center, that funded it, that maintained it. And I really take great
exception to the fact that that 1,000 kilos came in funded by US taxpayer money
and it hit the streets of the United States. I found that particularly
appalling when you look at all the damaged lives that 1,000 kilos represents.
WALLACE: After that broadcast two years ago, and following our interview,
Venezuela's General Guillen was served with a subpoena to appear before a
federal grand jury in Miami that was investigating the CIA cocaine episode. But
he decided to skip that appearance and he returned to Venezuela where he
promptly retired, and received a blanket pardon for any drug crimes he might
have committed, while he was head of his country's anti-narcotics effort.
Meantime, sources in the US drug enforcement community tell us now the CIA
has changed its ways. For instance, the CIA provided major assistance that led
to the recent arrests of the high command of the Cali drug cartel in Colombia.
And the CIA, under its new director, John Deutch, has made working with law


CBS News Transcripts, September 03, 1995, Sunday

enforcement to stem the tide of illegal drugs into the United States its highest
priority.


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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #86 
Terrorist and contra-drug smuggler Enrique POSADA sneaks into the USA after escaping into Honduras on a fake U.S. Passport.  The saga continues...and where is Dept. of Homeland Security?,  probably harassing people who have never killed civillians or smuggled drugs for the contras......




http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200505/s1364932.htm

Last Update: Wednesday, May 11, 2005. 12:00pm (AEST)        

CIA files throw light on accused terrorist in US


Declassified US files have revealed an anti-communist Cuban, who has applied for asylum in the United States but is wanted by Venezuela for the bombing of a Cuban airliner 29 years ago, spent years on the CIA payroll.

CIA and FBI files, published by George Washington University's National Security Archive, revealed US investigators believed Luis Posada Carriles was involved in the 1976 bombing plot in Venezuela of the Cubana Airlines jet in which 73 passengers died, including teenage members of a Cuban fencing team.

Posada's application for asylum has presented the US Government with a dilemma of how to reconcile its traditional sympathy for politically powerful Cuban exiles, and its firm stand after September 11, 2001, against terrorism suspects.

Venezuela, now a close ally of communist Cuba, plans to ask for his extradition and Cuban President Fidel Castro has used his presence in Miami to hammer away at what he calls US hypocrisy in the war on terrorism.

"We going to step up our demands for extradition," Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel told reporters last week.

"I hope Mr Bush will take note of his own anti-terrorism policies and hand over Posada Carriles."

Cuba also blames Posada for a wave of bomb blasts at Cuban hotels that killed an Italian businessman in 1997.

Posada was arrested by Venezuela after the Cubana jet came down off the coast of Barbados but was not convicted before escaping from prison in 1985 disguised as a priest.

He was arrested again in Panama in 2000 and jailed in connection with a plot to blow up Mr Castro during a summit and then pardoned last year by outgoing President Mireya Moscoso.

Posada, now 77, disappeared after the pardon but his lawyers said he arrived in Miami about a month ago after slipping into the United States illegally.

He has not been seen in public but applied for asylum through a lawyer, galvanising the Cuban American community in Miami, where anti-Castro militants are often feted as heroes but also sparking an uncomfortable debate about terrorism.

In an FBI report a day after the Cubana bombing, the agency said a source "all but admitted that Posada and [Miami doctor Orlando] Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline".

Another FBI report cited a confidential source as saying that Posada was one of several people who met at least twice at the Anauco Hilton in Caracas to plot the attack.

The CIA reports acknowledged that Posada was a "former agent" in the 1960s and early 1970s and remained an informant until mid-1976.

He was paid $300 a month, one document said.

His lawyer, Eduardo Soto, has said his client has never been convicted of a terrorist act.

US officials say they have no evidence that Posada is in the country and would deal with any asylum application from him as they would with any other.

Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project, said Posada's presence posed a direct challenge to President George W Bush.

"The declassified record leaves no doubt that Posada has been one of the world's most unremitting purveyors of terrorist violence," Mr Kornbluh said in a statement.

In addition to linking Posada to the airline bombing, the documents showed he went to El Salvador after his escape from Venezuela and joined the covert US effort, directed by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, to resupply the anti-communist Contra guerrillas with weapons.

The documents also connected him to a plot to overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1965 and said he handed over weapons, including a flame thrower and six gallons of napalm, to a US customs agent when the plan was uncovered.

Others described a plan to place limpet mines on Cuban or Soviet freighters in the Mexican port of Veracruz.

-Reuters




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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #87 
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB153/index.htm
Retired DEA agent Celerino Castillo III documented this man smuggling coke for Ollie North.   http://www.powderburns.org


Press Coverage
"Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist"
by Tim Weiner
New York Times
May 9, 2005
"Papers connect exile to bomb plot"
by Oscar Corral
Miami Herald
May 10, 2005
"Documentos vinculan a Posada con ataque"
por Oscar Corral
Miami Herald via elnuevoherald.com
May 10, 2005

LUIS POSADA CARRILES
THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD

CIA and FBI Documents Detail Career in International Terrorism; Connection to U.S.

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 153

For more information contact
Peter Kornbluh - 202/994-7116

May 10, 2005

 

 

Washington D.C. May 10, 2005 - Declassified CIA and FBI records posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University identify Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, who is apparently in Florida seeking asylum, as a former CIA agent and as one of the "engineer[s]" of the 1976 terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73 passengers.

The documents include a November 1976 FBI report on the bombing cited in yesterday's New York Times article "Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist," CIA trace reports covering the Agency's recruitment of Posada in the 1960s, as well as the FBI intelligence reporting on the downing of the plane. The Archive also posted a second FBI report, dated one day after the bombing, in which a confidential source "all but admitted that Posada and [Orlando] Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline." In addition, the posting includes several documents relating to Bosch and his suspected role in the downing of the jetliner on October 6, 1976.

Using a false passport, Posada apparently snuck into the United States in late March and remains in hiding. His lawyer announced that Posada is asking the Bush administration for asylum because of the work he had done for the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s. The documents posted today include CIA records confirming that Posada was an agent in the 1960s and early 1970s, and remained an informant in regular contact with CIA officials at least until June 1976.

In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela where he had been incarcerated after the plane bombing and remains a fugitive from justice. He went directly to El Salvador, where he worked, using the alias "Ramon Medina," on the illegal contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Reagan National Security Council. In 1998 he was interviewed by Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times at a secret location in Aruba, and claimed responsibility for a string of hotel bombings in Havana during which eleven people were injured and one Italian businessman was killed. Most recently he was imprisoned in Panama for trying to assassinate Fidel Castro in December 2000 with 33 pounds of C-4 explosives. In September 2004, he and three co-conspirators were suddenly pardoned, and Posada went to Honduras. Venezuela is now preparing to submit an official extradition request to the United States for his return.

According to Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive's Cuba Documentation Project, Posada's presence in the United States "poses a direct challenge to the Bush administration's terrorism policy. The declassified record," he said, "leaves no doubt that Posada has been one of the world's most unremitting purveyors of terrorist violence." President Bush has repeatedly stated that no nation should harbor terrorists, and all nations should work to bring individuals who advocate and employ the use of terror tactics to justice. During the Presidential campaign last year Bush stated that "I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world." Although Posada has reportedly been in the Miami area for more than six weeks, the FBI has indicated it is not actively searching for him.


Documents
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

THE CIA CONNECTION

Luis Posada Carriles had a long relationship with the CIA. In February 1961, he joined the CIA's Brigade 2506 to invade Cuba, although the ship to which he was assigned never landed at the Bay of Pigs. While in the U.S. military between 1963 and 1965 the CIA recruited him and trained him in demolitions; he subsequently became a trainer of other paramilitary exile forces in the mid 1960s. CIA documents posted below reveal that he was terminated as an asset in July 1967, but then reinstated four months later and apparently remained an asset until 1974. The documents also show that he remained in contact with the Agency until June 1976, only three months before the plane bombing.

Document 1: CIA, October 13, 1976, Report, "Traces on Persons Involved in 6 Oct 1976 Cubana Crash."

In the aftermath of the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the CIA ran a file check on all names associated with the terror attack. In a report to the FBI the Agency stated that it had no association with the two Venezuelans who were arrested. A section on Luis Posada Carriles was heavily redacted when the document was declassified. But the FBI retransmitted the report three days later and that version was released uncensored revealing Posada's relations with the CIA.

Document 2: FBI, October 16, 1976, Retransmission of CIA Trace Report

In this uncensored version of the CIA trace report, the Agency admits that it "had a relationship with one person whose name has been mentioned in connection with the reported bombing," Luis Posada Carriles. The CIA file check shows that Posada was "a former agent of CIA." Although it doesn't say when his employment began, it indicates he was terminated briefly in the summer of 1967 but then reinstated in the fall and continued as an asset while a high level official in the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, until 1974. Even then, "occasional contact with him" continued until June 1976.

Document 3: CIA, June 1966, File search on Luis "Pozada"

In this file search the CIA states that Posada has "been of operational interest to this Agency since April 1965," the likely date when he first became a paid CIA agent.

Document 4: FBI, July 18, 1966, "Cuba"

An informant reports to the FBI that Posada is a CIA agent and is "receiving approximately $300.00 per month from CIA."

Document 5: CIA, April 17, 1972, Personal Record Questionnaire on Posada

This "PRQ" was compiled in 1972 at a time Posada was a high level official at the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, in charge of demolitions. The CIA was beginning to have some concerns about him, based on reports that he had taken CIA explosives equipment to Venezuela, and that he had ties to a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal. The PRQ spells out Posada's personal background and includes his travel to various countries between 1956 and 1971. It also confirms that one of his many aliases was "Bambi Carriles."

EARLY TERRORIST PLOTTING

During the time that Posada was on the CIA payroll in the mid-1960s, he participated in a number of plots that involved sabotage and explosives. FBI reporting recorded some of Posada's earliest activities, including his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, who would later become head of the powerful anti-Castro lobby, the Cuban American National Foundation.

Document 6: FBI, July 7, 1965, "Luis Posada Carriles"

The FBI transmits information obtained from the CIA's Mexico station titled "Intention of Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) to Blow up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico." The document summarizes intelligence on a payment that Jorge Mas Canosa, then the head of RECE, has made to Luis Posada to finance a sabotage operation against ships in Mexico. Posada reportedly has "100 pounds of C-4 explosives and detonators" and limpet mines to use in the operation.

Document 7: FBI, July 13, 1965, "Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE)"

A FBI cable reports on intelligence obtained from "MM T-1" (a code reference to the CIA) on a number of RECE terrorist operations, including the bombing of the Soviet library in Mexico City. The document contains information on payments from Jorge Mas Canosa to Luis Posada for an operation to bomb ships in the port of Veracruz, as well as a description of Posada and a statement he gave to the FBI in June of 1964.

Document 8: FBI, May 17, 1965, "Roberto Alejos Arzu; Luis Sierra Lopez, Neutrality Matters, Internal Security-Guatemala"

The FBI links Posada to a major plot to overthrow the government of Guatemala. U.S. Customs agents force Posada and other co-conspirators to turn over a cache of weapons that are listed in this document. The weapons include napalm, 80 pounds of C-4 explosives, and 28 pounds of C-3 explosives.

BOMBING OF CUBANA FLIGHT 455

Document 9: FBI, October 7, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report, "Suspected Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados"

In one of the very first reports on the October 6, 1976, downing of Cubana Flight 455, the FBI Venezuelan bureau cables that a confidential source has identified Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch as responsible for the bombing. "The source all but admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline," according to the report. The report appears to indicate that the Venezuelan secret police, DISIP, were arranging for Bosch and Posada to leave Caracas, although this section of the document has been censored.

In the report, the FBI identifies two Venezuelan suspects arrested in Barbados: Freddy Lugo and Jose Vazquez Garcia. Vazquez Garcia is an alias for Hernan Ricardo Lozano. Both Ricardo and Lugo worked for Luis Posada's private security firm in Caracas at the time of the bombing.

Document 10: FBI, November 2, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report "Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976"

The FBI receives information from a source who has spoken with Ricardo Morales Navarrete, a Cuban exile informant working for DISIP in Caracas. Known as "Monkey" Morales, he tells the FBI source of two meetings during which plotting for the plane bombing took place: one in the Hotel Anauco Hilton in Caracas, and another in Morales room at the Hilton. Both meetings were attended by Posada Carriles. A key passage of the report quotes Morales as stating that "some people in the Venezuelan government are involved in this airplane bombing, and that if Posada Carriles talks, then Morales Navarrete and others in the Venezuelan government will 'go down the tube.' He said that if people start talking 'we'll have our own Watergate.'" Morales also states that after the plane went down, one of the men who placed the bomb aboard the jet called Orlando Bosch and reported: "A bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed."

Document 11: FBI, November 3, 1976, Cable, "Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976"

The FBI reports on arrest warrants issued by a Venezuelan judge for Posada, Bosch, Freddy Lugo and Ricardo Lozano.

ORLANDO BOSCH AND ANTI-CASTRO TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS

Document 12: FBI, January 24, 1977, Secret Report, "Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU) Neutrality Matters - Cuba - (Anti-Castro)"

The FBI reports on a plot to carry out terrorist attacks that will divert attention from the prosecution of Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada in Caracas. Orders for the attacks are attributed to Orlando Garcia Vazquez, a Cuban exile who was then head of the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP. (Garcia Vazquez currently lives in Miami.) The report also provides some details on CORU.

Document 13: FBI, August 16, 1978, Secret Report, "Coordinacion de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations) (CORU), Neutrality Matters - Cuba - (Anti-Castro)"

This FBI report provides a comprehensive overview of CORU which the FBI describes as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization" headed by Orlando Bosch. The report records how CORU was created at a secret meeting in Santo Domingo on June 11, 1976, during which a series of bombing attacks were planned, including the bombing of a Cubana airliner. On page 6, the report relates in great detail how Orlando Bosch was met in Caracas on September 8, 1976, by Luis Posada and other anti-Castro exiles and a deal was struck as to what kind of activities he could organize on Venezuelan soil. The document also contains substantive details on behind-the-scene efforts in Caracas to obtain the early release of Bosch and Posada from prison.

IRAN-CONTRA AND POSADA (A.K.A. RAMON MEDINA)

Document 14: September 2, 1986, Contra re-supply document, [Distribution of Warehoused Contra Weapons and Equipment - in Spanish with English translation]

After bribing his way out of prison in Venezuela in September 1985, Posada went directly to El Salvador to work on the illicit contra resupply operations being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North. Posada assumed the name "Ramon Medina," and worked as a deputy to another anti-Castro Cuban exile, Felix Rodriguez, who was in charge of a small airlift of arms and supplies to the contras in Southern Nicaragua. Rodriguez used the code name, Max Gomez. This document, released during the Congressional investigation into the Iran-Contra operations, records both Posada and Rodriguez obtaining supplies for contra troops from a warehouse at Illopango airbase in San Salvador.





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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #88 
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB113/

From United States v. Oliver L. North, Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC) Papers, National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

The Oliver North File:
His Diaries, E-Mail, and Memos on
the Kerry Report, Contras and Drugs

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 113

February 26, 2004

For further information Contact
Peter Kornbluh: 202/994-7116

Washington D.C., 26 February 2004 - Diaries, e-mail, and memos of Iran-contra figure Oliver North, posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive, directly contradict his criticisms yesterday of Sen. John Kerry's 1988 Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee report on the ways that covert support for the Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s undermined the U.S. war on drugs.

Mr. North claimed to talk show hosts Hannity & Colmes that the Kerry report was "wrong," that Sen. Kerry "makes this stuff up and then he can't justify it," and that "The fact is nobody in the government of the United States, going all the way back to the earliest days of this under Jimmy Carter, ever had anything to do with running drugs to support the Nicaraguan resistance. Nobody in the government of the United States. I will stand on that to my grave."

The Kerry subcommittee did not report that U.S. government officials ran drugs, but rather, that Mr. North, then on the National Security Council staff at the White House, and other senior officials created a privatized contra network that attracted drug traffickers looking for cover for their operations, then turned a blind eye to repeated reports of drug smuggling related to the contras, and actively worked with known drug smugglers such as Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to assist the contras. The report cited former Drug Enforcement Administration head John Lawn testifying that Mr. North himself had prematurely leaked a DEA undercover operation, jeopardizing agents' lives, for political advantage in an upcoming Congressional vote on aid to the contras (p.121).

Among the documents posted today are:

  • Mr. North's diary entries, from the reporter's notebooks he kept in those years, noting multiple reports of drug smuggling among the contras. A Washington Post investigation published on 22 October 1994 found no evidence he had relayed these reports to the DEA or other law enforcement authorities.
  • Memos from North aide Robert Owen to Mr. North recounting drug-running "indiscretions" among the contras, warning that a known drug-smuggling airplane was delivering taxpayer-funded "humanitarian aid" overseen by Mr. North.
  • Mr. North's White House e-mails recounting his efforts to spring from prison a Honduran general who could "spill the beans" on the secret contra war, even though the Justice Department termed the Honduran a "narcoterrorist" for his involvement in cocaine smuggling and an assassination plot.

Also in the posting is Peter Kornbluh's detailed critique - the January/February 1997 cover story in the Columbia Journalism Review - of news coverage of the contra-drug allegations, including the controversial San Jose Mercury News series.


Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

Read the Documents

Documentation of Official U.S. Knowledge of Drug Trafficking and the Contras

Evidence that NSC Staff Supported Using Drug Money to Fund the Contras

U.S. Officials and Major Traffickers

Kerry Report - Iran/Contra North Notebook Citation Bibliography

Documentation of Official U.S. Knowledge of Drug Trafficking and the Contras

The National Security Archive obtained the hand-written notebooks of Oliver North, the National Security Council aide who helped run the contra war and other Reagan administration covert operations, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 1989 with Public Citizen Litigation Group. The notebooks, as well as declassified memos sent to North, record that North was repeatedly informed of contra ties to drug trafficking.

Document 1
In his entry for August 9, 1985, North summarizes a meeting with Robert Owen ("Rob"), his liaison with the contras. They discuss a plane used by Mario Calero, brother of Adolfo Calero, head of the FDN, to transport supplies from New Orleans to contras in Honduras. North writes: "Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S." As Lorraine Adams reported in the October 22, 1994 Washington Post, there are no records that corroborate North's later assertion that he passed this intelligence on drug trafficking to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Document 2
In a July 12, 1985 entry, North noted a call from retired Air Force general Richard Secord in which the two discussed a Honduran arms warehouse from which the contras planned to purchase weapons. (The contras did eventually buy the arms, using money the Reagan administration secretly raised from Saudi Arabia.) According to the notebook, Secord told North that "14 M to finance [the arms in the warehouse] came from drugs."

Document 3
An April 1, 1985 memo from Robert Owen (code-name: "T.C." for "The Courier") to Oliver North (code-name: "The Hammer") describes contra operations on the Southern Front. Owen tells North that FDN leader Adolfo Calero (code-name: "Sparkplug") has picked a new Southern Front commander, one of the former captains to Eden Pastora who has been paid to defect to the FDN. Owen reports that the officials in the new Southern Front FDN units include "people who are questionable because of past indiscretions," such as José Robelo, who is believed to have "potential involvement with drug running" and Sebastian Gonzalez, who is "now involved in drug running out of Panama."

Document 4
On February 10, 1986, Owen ("TC") wrote North (this time as "BG," for "Blood and Guts") regarding a plane being used to carry "humanitarian aid" to the contras that was previously used to transport drugs. The plane belongs to the Miami-based company Vortex, which is run by Michael Palmer, one of the largest marijuana traffickers in the United States. Despite Palmer's long history of drug smuggling, which would soon lead to a Michigan indictment on drug charges, Palmer receives over $300,000.00 from the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Aid Office (NHAO) -- an office overseen by Oliver North, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Elliott Abrams, and CIA officer Alan Fiers -- to ferry supplies to the contras.

Document 5a and Document 5b
State Department contracts from February 1986 detail Palmer's work to transport material to the contras on behalf of the NHAO.


Evidence that NSC Staff Supported Using Drug Money to Fund the Contras

In 1987, the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations, led by Senator John Kerry, launched an investigation of allegations arising from reports of contra-drug links. One of the incidents examined by the "Kerry Committee" was an effort to divert drug money from a counternarcotics operation to the contra war.

On July 28, 1988, two DEA agents testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime regarding a sting operation conducted against the Medellin Cartel. The two agents said that in 1985 Oliver North had wanted to take $1.5 million in Cartel bribe money that was carried by a DEA informant and give it to the contras. DEA officials rejected the idea.

Document 6 [90 pp. / 9.47 MB - For best results, Right click and select "Save Target As..."]
Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, A Report Prepared by the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations of the Committtee on Foreign Relations, 100th Congress, 2d Session
The Kerry Committee report concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding problems." (See page 41)

U.S. Officials and Major Traffickers

Manuel Noriega

In June, 1986, the New York Times published articles detailing years of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega's collaboration with Colombian drug traffickers. Reporter Seymour Hersh wrote that Noriega "is extensively involved in illicit money laundering and drug activities," and that an unnamed White House official "said the most significant drug running in Panama was being directed by General Noriega." In August, Noriega, a long-standing U.S. intelligence asset, sent an emissary to Washington to seek assistance from the Reagan administration in rehabilitating his drug-stained reputation.

Document 7
Oliver North, who met with Noriega's representative, described the meeting in an August 23, 1986 e-mail message to Reagan national security advisor John Poindexter. "You will recall that over the years Manuel Noriega in Panama and I have developed a fairly good relationship," North writes before explaining Noriega's proposal. If U.S. officials can "help clean up his image" and lift the ban on arms sales to the Panamanian Defense Force, Noriega will "'take care of' the Sandinista leadership for us."

North tells Poindexter that Noriega can assist with sabotage against the Sandinistas, and suggests paying Noriega a million dollars -- from "Project Democracy" funds raised from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran -- for the Panamanian leader's help in destroying Nicaraguan economic installations.

Document 8
The same day Poindexter responds with an e-mail message authorizing North to meet secretly with Noriega. "I have nothing against him other than his illegal activities," Poindexter writes.

Document 9
On the following day, August 24, North's notebook records a meeting with CIA official Duane "Dewey" Clarridge on Noriega's overture. They decided, according to this entry, to "send word back to Noriega to meet in Europe or Israel."

Document 10
The CIA's Alan Fiers later recalls North's involvement with the Noriega sabotage proposal. In testimony at the 1992 trial of former CIA official Clair George, Fiers describes North's plan as it was discussed at a meeting of the Reagan administration's Restricted Interagency Group: "[North] made a very strong suggestion that . . . there needed to be a resistance presence in the western part of Nicaragua, where the resistance did not operate. And he said, 'I can arrange to have General Noriega execute some insurgent -- some operations there -- sabotage operations in that area. It will cost us about $1 million. Do we want to do it?' And there was significant silence at the table. And then I recall I said, 'No. We don't want to do that.'"

Document 11
Senior officials ignored Fiers' opinion. On September 20, North informed Poindexter via e-mail that "Noriega wants to meet me in London" and that both Elliott Abrams and Secretary of State George Shultz support the initiative. Two days later, Poindexter authorized the North/Noriega meeting.

Document 12
North's notebook lists details of his meeting with Noriega, which took place in a London hotel on September 22. According to the notes, the two discussed developing a commando training program in Panama, with Israeli support, for the contras and Afghani rebels. They also spoke of sabotaging major economic targets in the Managua area, including an airport, an oil refinery, and electric and telephone systems. (These plans were apparently aborted when the Iran-Contra scandal broke in November 1986.)

José Bueso Rosa

Reagan administration officials interceded on behalf of José Bueso Rosa, a Honduran general who was heavily involved with the CIA's contra operations and faced trial for his role in a massive drug shipment to the United States. In 1984 Bueso and co-conspirators hatched a plan to assassinate Honduran President Roberto Suazo Córdoba; the plot was to be financed with a $40 million cocaine shipment to the United States, which the FBI intercepted in Florida.

Document 13
Declassified e-mail messages indicate that Oliver North led the behind-the-scenes effort to seek leniency for Bueso . The messages record the efforts of U.S. officials to "cabal quietly" to get Bueso off the hook, be it by "pardon, clemency, deportation, [or] reduced sentence." Eventually they succeeded in getting Bueso a short sentence in "Club Fed," a white collar prison in Florida.

Document 14 (See page 76 of Document 6, the Kerry Report)
The Kerry Committee report reviewed the case, and noted that the man Reagan officials aided was involved in a conspiracy that the Justice Department deemed the "most significant case of narco-terrorism yet discovered."


Kerry Report - Iran/Contra North Notebook Citation Bibliography

The text below is taken from page 146 of the Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy report prepared by the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations ("Kerry Committee"). Click on the links to view the relevant passages from Oliver North's notebooks.

Case Study: The Drug-Related Entries
...

Among the entries in the North Notebooks which discernably concern narcotics or terrorism are:
May 12, 1984…contract indicates that Gustavo is involved w/ drugs. (Q0266)
June 26, 1984. DEA- (followed by two blocks of text deleted by North) (Q0349)
June 27, 1984. Drug Case - DEA program on controlling cocaine- Ether cutoff- Colombians readjusting- possible negotiations to move on refining effort to Nicaragua- Pablo Escobar-Colombian drug czar- Informant (Pilot) is indicted criminal- Carlos Ledher- Freddy Vaughn (Q0354)
July 9, 1984. [NOTE: Portions transcribed in Kerry Report but deleted from declassified version] Call from Clarridge- Call Michel re Narco Issue- RIG at 1000 Tomorrow (Q0384)- DEA Miami- Pilot went talked to Vaughn- wanted A/C to go to Bolivia to p/u paste- want A/C to p/u 1500 kilos- Bud to meet w/ Group (Q0385)
July 12, 1984. [NOTE: Portions transcribed in Kerry Report but deleted from declassified version] Gen. Gorman-*Include Drug Case (Q0400) Call from Johnstone- (White House deletion) leak on Drug (0402)
July 17, 1984. Call to Frank M- Bud Mullins Re- leak on DEA piece- Carlton Turner (Q0418) Call from Johnstone- McManus, LA Times-says/NSC source claims W.H. has pictures of Borge loading cocaine in Nic. (Q0416)
July 20, 1984. Call from Clarridge:-Alfredo Cesar Re Drugs-Borge/Owen leave Hull alone (Deletions)/Los Brasiles Air Field-Owen off Hull (Q0426)
July 27, 1984. Clarridge:-(Block of White House deleted text follows)-Arturo Cruz, Jr.-Get Alfredo Cesar on Drugs (Q0450)
July 31, 1984. -Finance: Libya- Cuba/Bloc Countries-Drugs. . . Pablo Escobar/Federic Vaughn (Q0460)
July 31, 1984. [NOTE: Portions transcribed in Kerry Report but deleted from declassified version] Staff queries re (White House deletion) role in DEA operations in Nicaragua (Q0461)
December 21, 1984. Call from Clarridge: Ferch (White House deletion)- Tambs- Costa Rica- Felix Rodriguez close to (White House deletion)- not assoc. W/Villoldo- Bay of Pigs- No drugs (Q0922)
January 14, 1985. $14 million to finance came from drugs (Q1039)
July 12, 1985. $14 million to finance came from drugs
August 10, 1985. Mtg w/ A.C.- name of DEA person in New Orleans re Bust on Mario/ DC-6 (Q1140)
February 27, 1986. Mtg w/ Lew Tambs- DEA Auction A/C seized as drug runners.- $250-260K fee (Q2027)

Numerous other entries contain references to individuals or events whoch Subcommittee staff has determined have relevance to narcotics, terrorism, or international operations, but whose ambiguities cannot be resolved without the production of the deleted materials by North and his attorneys.







http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 2

The Contras, Cocaine,
and Covert Operations


An August, 1996, series in the San Jose Mercury News by reporter Gary Webb linked the origins of crack cocaine in California to the contras, a guerrilla force backed by the Reagan administration that attacked Nicaragua's Sandinista government during the 1980s. Webb's series, "The Dark Alliance," has been the subject of intense media debate, and has focused attention on a foreign policy drug scandal that leaves many questions unanswered.

This electronic briefing book is compiled from declassified documents obtained by the National Security Archive, including the notebooks kept by NSC aide and Iran-contra figure Oliver North, electronic mail messages written by high-ranking Reagan administration officials, memos detailing the contra war effort, and FBI and DEA reports. The documents demonstrate official knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers. Court and hearing transcripts are also included.

Special thanks to the Arca Foundation, the Ruth Mott Fund, the Samuel Rubin Foundation, and the Fund for Constitutional Government for their support.

Contents:


Click on the document icon next to each description to view the document.

Documentation of Official U.S. Knowledge of
Drug Trafficking and the Contras


The National Security Archive obtained the hand-written notebooks of Oliver North, the National Security Council aide who helped run the contra war and other Reagan administration covert operations, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 1989. The notebooks, as well as declassified memos sent to North, record that North was repeatedly informed of contra ties to drug trafficking.

In his entry for August 9, 1985, North summarizes a meeting with Robert Owen ("Rob"), his liaison with the contras. They discuss a plane used by Mario Calero, brother of Adolfo Calero, head of the FDN, to transport supplies from New Orleans to contras in Honduras. North writes: "Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S." As Lorraine Adams reported in the October 22, 1994 Washington Post, there are no records that corroborate North's later assertion that he passed this intelligence on drug trafficking to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

In a July 12, 1985 entry, North noted a call from retired Air Force general Richard Secord in which the two discussed a Honduran arms warehouse from which the contras planned to purchase weapons. (The contras did eventually buy the arms, using money the Reagan administration secretly raised from Saudi Arabia.) According to the notebook, Secord told North that "14 M to finance [the arms in the warehouse] came from drugs."

An April 1, 1985 memo from Robert Owen (code-name: "T.C." for "The Courier") to Oliver North (code-name: "The Hammer") describes contra operations on the Southern Front. Owen tells North that FDN leader Adolfo Calero (code-name: "Sparkplug") has picked a new Southern Front commander, one of the former captains to Eden Pastora who has been paid to defect to the FDN. Owen reports that the officials in the new Southern Front FDN units include "people who are questionable because of past indiscretions," such as José Robelo, who is believed to have "potential involvement with drug running" and Sebastian Gonzalez, who is "now involved in drug running out of Panama."

On February 10, 1986, Owen ("TC") wrote North (this time as "BG," for "Blood and Guts") regarding a plane being used to carry "humanitarian aid" to the contras that was previously used to transport drugs. The plane belongs to the Miami-based company Vortex, which is run by Michael Palmer, one of the largest marijuana traffickers in the United States. Despite Palmer's long history of drug smuggling, which would soon lead to a Michigan indictment on drug charges, Palmer receives over $300,000.00 from the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Aid Office (NHAO) -- an office overseen by Oliver North, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Elliott Abrams, and CIA officer Alan Fiers -- to ferry supplies to the contras.

State Department contracts from February 1986 detail Palmer's work to transport material to the contras on behalf of the NHAO.

Evidence that NSC Staff Supported Using Drug Money to Fund the Contras


In 1987, the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations, led by Senator John Kerry, launched an investigation of allegations arising from reports, more than a decade ago, of contra-drug links. One of the incidents examined by the "Kerry Committee" was an effort to divert drug money from a counternarcotics operation to the contra war.

On July 28, 1988, two DEA agents testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime regarding a sting operation conducted against the Medellin Cartel. The two agents said that in 1985 Oliver North had wanted to take $1.5 million in Cartel bribe money that was carried by a DEA informant and give it to the contras. DEA officials rejected the idea.

The Kerry Committee report concluded that "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras' funding problems."

U.S. Officials and Major Traffickers


Manuel Noriega

In June, 1986, the New York Times published articles detailing years of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega's collaboration with Colombian drug traffickers. Reporter Seymour Hersh wrote that Noriega "is extensively involved in illicit money laundering and drug activities," and that an unnamed White House official "said the most significant drug running in Panama was being directed by General Noriega." In August, Noriega, a long-standing U.S. intelligence asset, sent an emissary to Washington to seek assistance from the Reagan administration in rehabilitating his drug-stained reputation.

Oliver North, who met with Noriega's representative, described the meeting in an August 23, 1986 e-mail message to Reagan national security advisor John Poindexter. "You will recall that over the years Manuel Noriega in Panama and I have developed a fairly good relationship," North writes before explaining Noriega's proposal. If U.S. officials can "help clean up his image" and lift the ban on arms sales to the Panamanian Defense Force, Noriega will "'take care of' the Sandinista leadership for us."

North tells Poindexter that Noriega can assist with sabotage against the Sandinistas, and suggests paying Noriega a million dollars -- from "Project Democracy" funds raised from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran -- for the Panamanian leader's help in destroying Nicaraguan economic installations.

The same day Poindexter responds with an e-mail message authorizing North to meet secretly with Noriega. "I have nothing against him other than his illegal activities," Poindexter writes.

On the following day, August 24, North's notebook records a meeting with CIA official Duane "Dewey" Clarridge on Noriega's overture. They decided, according to this entry, to "send word back to Noriega to meet in Europe or Israel."

The CIA's Alan Fiers later recalls North's involvement with the Noriega sabotage proposal. In testimony at the 1992 trial of former CIA official Clair George, Fiers describes North's plan as it was discussed at a meeting of the Reagan administration's Restricted Interagency Group: "[North] made a very strong suggestion that . . . there needed to be a resistance presence in the western part of Nicaragua, where the resistance did not operate. And he said, 'I can arrange to have General Noriega execute some insurgent -- some operations there -- sabotage operations in that area. It will cost us about $1 million. Do we want to do it?' And there was significant silence at the table. And then I recall I said, 'No. We don't want to do that.'"

Senior officials ignored Fiers' opinion. On September 20, North informed Poindexter via e-mail that "Noriega wants to meet me in London" and that both Elliott Abrams and Secretary of State George Shultz support the initiative. Two days later, Poindexter authorized the North/Noriega meeting.

North's notebook lists details of his meeting with Noriega, which took place in a London hotel on September 22. According to the notes, the two discussed developing a commando training program in Panama, with Israeli support, for the contras and Afghani rebels. They also spoke of sabotaging major economic targets in the Managua area, including an airport, an oil refinery, and electric and telephone systems. (These plans were apparently aborted when the Iran-Contra scandal broke in November 1986.)


José Bueso Rosa

Reagan administration officials interceded on behalf of José Bueso Rosa, a Honduran general who was heavily involved with the CIA's contra operations and faced trial for his role in a massive drug shipment to the United States. In 1984 Bueso and co-conspirators hatched a plan to assassinate Honduran President Roberto Suazo Córdoba; the plot was to be financed with a $40 million cocaine shipment to the United States, which the FBI intercepted in Florida.

Declassified e-mail messages indicate that Oliver North led the behind-the-scenes effort to seek leniency for Bueso . The messages record the efforts of U.S. officials to "cabal quietly" to get Bueso off the hook, be it by "pardon, clemency, deportation, [or] reduced sentence." Eventually they succeeded in getting Bueso a short sentence in "Club Fed," a white collar prison in Florida.

The Kerry Committee report reviewed the case, and noted that the man Reagan officials aided was involved in a conspiracy that the Justice Department deemed the "most significant case of narco-terrorism yet discovered."

FBI/DEA Documentation


In February 1987 a contra sympathizer in California told the FBI he believed FDN officials were involved in the drug trade. Dennis Ainsworth, a Berkeley-based conservative activist who had supported the contra cause for years, gave a lengthy description of his suspicions to FBI agents. The bureau's debriefing says that Ainsworth agreed to be interviewed because "he has certain information in which he believes the Nicaraguan 'Contra' organization known as FDN (Frente Democrático Nacional) has become more involved in selling arms and cocaine for personal gain than in a military effort to overthrow the current Nicaraguan Sandinista Government." Ainsworth informed the FBI of his extensive contacts with various contra leaders and backers, and explained the basis for his belief that members of the FDN were trafficking in drugs.

A DEA report of February 6, 1984 indicates that a central figure in the San Jose Mercury News series was being tracked by U.S. law enforcement officials as early as 1976, when a DEA agent "identified Norwin MENESES-Canterero as a cocaine source of supply in Managua, Nicaragua." Meneses, an associate of dictator Anastasio Somoza who moved to California after the Nicaraguan revolution in 1979, was an FDN backer and large-scale cocaine trafficker.

Testimony of Fabio Ernesto Carrasco, 6 April 1990


On October 31, 1996, the Washington Post ran a follow up story to the San Jose Mercury News series titled "CIA, Contras and Drugs: Questions on Links Linger." The story drew on court testimony in 1990 of Fabio Ernesto Carrasco, a pilot for a major Columbian drug smuggler named George Morales. As a witness in a drug trial, Carrasco testified that in 1984 and 1985, he piloted planes loaded with weapons for contras operating in Costa Rica. The weapons were offloaded, and then drugs stored in military bags were put on the planes which flew to the United States. "I participated in two [flights] which involved weapons and cocaine at the same time," he told the court.

Carrasco also testified that Morales provided "several million dollars" to Octaviano Cesar and Adolfo "Popo" Chamorro, two rebel leaders working with the head of the contras' southern front, Eden Pastora. The Washington Post reported that Chamorro said he had called his CIA control officer to ask if the contras could accept money and arms from Morales, who was at the time under indictment for cocaine smuggling. "They said [Morales] was fine," Chamorro told the Post.

National Security Archive Analysis and Publications


Peter Kornbluh's Testimony at California Congressional Inquiry (19 October 1996)

"Crack, Contras, and the CIA: The Storm Over 'Dark Alliance,'" from Columbia Journalism Review (January/February 1997)

"CIA's Challenge in South Central," from the Los Angeles Times (15 November 1996)

"The Paper Trail to the Top," from the Baltimore Sun (17 November 1996)

White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Computer Messages the Reagan/Bush White House Tried to Destroy

The Iran-Contra Scandal: the Declassified History

The National Security Archive,
The Gelman Library, George Washington University
2130 H Street, NW, Suite 701, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202-994-7000 / Fax: 202-994-7005
Internet: nsarchiv@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu




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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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nothing will ever happen to POSADA. He will spill his guts and start talking about all the dirty deeds he did on behalf of the CIA..........


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/05/20/MNGSTCS1ST1.DTL

U.S. charges Cuban exile with entering the country illegally
Venezuela seeks ex-CIA operative on terror allegation

John Mintz, Washington Post

Friday, May 20, 2005

                                                                       
 
                                                                                               
Luis Posada Carriles was detained Tuesday in Miami after ...
       
                               
                                                               
                               
                                                               

Washington -- The U.S. government charged aging Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles on Thursday with entering the United States illegally, as the Justice Department mulls whether to deport the former CIA-trained operative to Venezuela, which wants to try him on terrorism charges.

The case presents a dilemma for American officials, because Posada, 77, an anti-Castro Cuban, has been charged by Venezuela with blowing up a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people. But Caracas is no friend to U.S. officials, who see in Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez a close friend to Washington's historic adversary Fidel Castro.

U.S. officials detained Posada on Tuesday in Miami after he publicly surfaced for interviews with local reporters. He was whisked away by Black Hawk helicopter to an Air Force base south of Miami, and then to a secure immigration facility in El Paso, Texas, where he faces a June 13 hearing before an immigration judge.

On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified Posada, who has acknowledged slipping into this country by way of Mexico in March, that he is in the United States illegally, and that it plans to hold him without bond. Posada can contest his detention and the no-bond order in a proceeding before the June hearing.

Posada's lawyer, Eduardo Soto, had filed an asylum request with the U.S. government earlier this year and then withdrew it around the time Posada resurfaced. Soto could refile the request on the grounds that Posada would face persecution if he were deported.

This raises the prospect of three separate legal proceedings in the case, each of which might involve legal wrangling that could last months or even years: the administrative immigration charge filed Thursday, the extradition request by Venezuela and the asylum request.

"This is only the beginning of a lot of litigation that could last a long, long time," said a U.S. official involved in the process. "There's no end to this in sight anytime soon."

The Posada case could raise questions about the U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism, international affairs experts said. The Bush administration has said the war on terrorism is its highest priority.

But cracking down on Posada could be complicated because elements of the U.S. government worked closely for years with him and his allies in planning opposition to Castro and anti-American rebels in Central America. Moreover, he is admired by many politically potent Cuban Americans in South Florida.

Posada has denied involvement in the terrorist attack on the Cubana airline jet that blew up over Barbados. Most of the 73 passengers and crew members were Cuban and Venezuelan. He was acquitted after two trials in Venezuela, and then escaped from a jail there in 1985 while he waited for an appeal by prosecutors. He also has been accused of involvement in a series of 1997 bombings in Cuba, one of which killed an Italian citizen.

"We can't pick and choose which terrorist to punish, or else the credibility of policy goes down the toilet," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA and State Department counterterrorism official, who said Washington cannot allow Posada to avoid prosecution on the bombing charges. "We need to have a consistent stand on terrorism."

"This is a dilemma for U.S. officials of their own making," said Wayne Smith, a longtime critic of U.S. policy toward Havana and a former U.S. diplomat.                                

Page A - 3




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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #90 
USG protects terrorist drug dealer POSADA

http://www.onlinejournal.com/Commentary/052405Crumpacker/052405crumpacker.html

Analysis

Beating around the Bush

By Tom Crumpacker
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Download a .pdf file for printing.
Adobe Acrobat Reader required.
Click here to download a free copy.

May 24, 2005—The Bush administration has done an excellent job of confusing the public about its plans regarding Luis Posada Carriles, former CIA operative who blew up a civilian Cubana airliner on October 6, 1976, killing 73 innocent civilians. He resurfaced in the US a couple of months ago and is now being held in El Paso Texas on a minor illegal entry charge brought against him by Homeland Security.

Numerous reporters from several newspapers and magazines have talked to unnamed administration officials and quote them as saying the US has decided Posada will not be deported or extradited to Venezuela, because it has a policy not to do so to a country which "acts on behalf of Cuba."

Indeed, Homeland has stated it does have such a policy and Venezuela is such a country. If such a policy exists, this is the first time Homeland has implemented it or made it public. In any event, it's Homeland's policy, has no relevance to extradition, and there is no official statement by the State Department that it has such a policy or that it would prevent extradition to Venezuela.

If the US honors its laws, Constitution and treaty obligations (as its president in January took an oath to do), it has to extradite Posada to Venezuela. Venezuela has an 83-year old extradition treaty with the US which has always been honored by both countries. For years Venezuela has had a standing request under this treaty to extradite Posada for trial in the Cubana Airlines Flight 455 bombing. He apparently has visited Miami occasionally in the past.

Venezuela renewed its demand two weeks ago. The crime started in Caracas, where Posada and his partner Orlando Bosch made the bomb, their two agents then got on the Cubana flight with it in Trinidad, at the Barbados stop they put it in the plane restroom and got off the plane, and the plane exploded after take off. The agents caught a flight back to Caracas which stopped in Trinidad where they were apprehended. One of them, Posada's employee, later confessed Posada made the bomb and he planted it at Posada's direction.

An immigration case is something entirely different from extradition. In immigration proceedings (handled by Homeland Security under supervision of its director and the president), the question is the right to emigrate and where an immigrant should be sent to live (usually his home country) when he is removed for illegal entry or deported for certain conduct in the US. Extradition (handled by the State Department under supervision of the secretary of state and the president) concerns the question where an alleged criminal should be tried for his crime, regardless of his immigration status. Venezuela is the only place where Posada could legally be tried for this crime, because of his Venezuelan citizenship and the fact that his crime was committed there. In fact he was being tried there when in 1985 he was allowed to escape and go to Nicaragua to work under Col. Oliver North in the Contra supply operation.

Posada also has Cuban citizenship since he was born there. Once Cubans set foot in the US, whether the entry is illegal or legal, they have the right to stay here and work and apply for US permanent residency after a year. This is under the Cuban Adjustment Act and the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy. They do not need to file asylum cases, and usually don't.

Homeland has charged Posada only with not reporting immediately to them on entry. This would normally not be worth filing, in any event it's a simple matter which could be determined within a few minutes and a small fine. However it's been set for hearing on June 13 and Posada's Miami lawyers are talking about filing motions to move the case to Miami, filing asylum petitions and other technical maneuvers. From Secretary of State Rice's statement Saturday, one could surmise that the Homeland's case will go on for many months. Reportedly Posada is very ill and may not be around much longer.

Our CIA and State Department were at least very aware of the plans for the Cubana bombing, and neither (or anyone in our government) gave Cuba or prospective passengers any warning of the coming attack. Posada had been trained in the 1960s by the CIA in explosives. He was on the CIA payroll for many years up until about four months before the Cubana bombing. He went back on when he was sent to Nicaragua. Recently released CIA and State Department reports indicate that a few months beforehand they were aware that Posada and Bosch were planning to bomb a Cuban civilian airliner, and just a few weeks beforehand, in June 1976, the pair had plans to bomb a Cubana flight traveling from Panama to Havana. CIA also had beforehand reports about the planning meetings in Caracas and Santo Domingo involving Posada and Bosch. None of these reports were made available to the Venezuelan officials who were prosecuting them in the '80s. It would be interesting to learn if the CIA director informed President Ford of the impending attack on innocent Cuban civilians.

George Bush Sr. was the CIA director at the time of the bombing. He was vice present at the time when Posada was allowed to escape during his trial in Venezuela and report to Oliver North in Nicaragua. He was president when he pardoned Bosch, allowing him to stay in the US against the recommendation of his Justice Department.

There's no valid reason why Posada should not be extradited to Venezuela now. There's no necessity to wait while lawyers mess around with Homeland's insignificant illegal entry claim or any asylum claim. The case should be promptly submitted to the extradition judge.

It seems like the administration is using these immigration cases, with Posada's cooperation, to try to delay decision on the extradition request in hope of avoiding evidence of the CIA's involvement in the bombing from becoming public in a Venezuelan proceeding. Part of its plan seems to be to make reporters and the public think the US can't extradite until the immigration proceedings are ended and they have some policy preventing extradition. Neither of which is so.

Tom Crumpacker is a retired lawyer now working with the Miami Coalition to End the US Embargo of Cuba.




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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #91 

http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=3874

 

From AJR,   April/May 2005

June/July Preview:
The Sad Saga of Gary Webb   

The hard-charging investigative reporter's career imploded in the wake of his much-criticized “Dark Alliance” series about the CIA and crack cocaine. But while Webb overreached, some key findings in “Dark Alliance” were on target--and important. Last December Webb committed suicide.

Related reading:   Sorting It Out
  I Don’t Want to Talk About It
  The CIA and Drug Trafficking

By Susan Paterno
Susan Paterno is an AJR senior writer.     

Gary Webb never remembered the unruly Polish name of his hard-boiled colleague at Cleveland's Plain Dealer who called editors unprintable expletives and declared "It's The Big One!" every time he picked up the phone. But he never forgot what the guy taught him: "The Big One was the reporter's Holy Grail, the tip that led you from the daily morass of press conferences and of cop calls and on to the trail of The Biggest Story You'd Ever Write, the one that would turn the rest of your career into an anticlimax." The Big One, Webb remembered, "would be like a bullet with your name on it. You'd never hear it coming."

Webb's bullet came out of nowhere, a phone call from a seductive young Cuban woman in high heels, a short skirt and a daring décolletage, with a drug-dealer boyfriend. She left a number, no message. Webb could have ignored her call, but that would have been uncharacteristic. He phoned her back, and she introduced him to the unfamiliar world of espionage and drug dealing that he exposed in "Dark Alliance," a 1996 San Jose Mercury News series accusing the "CIA's army" of peddling crack in South Central Los Angeles to support the Reagan administration's efforts to overthrow a socialist government in Nicaragua.

Unfortunately for Webb, he made a few too many errors. The Mercury News posted the series on the paper's Web site, using the power of the nascent alternative media to fan the flames of indignation among African Americans. They, in turn, accused the nation's most powerful newspapers--the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times--of laziness at best, and of genocide at worst. The papers fought back, discrediting Webb and his reporting: The Los Angeles Times, for example, assigned two dozen reporters and published a page-one series of almost 20,000 words, painting the CIA "as law-abiding and conscientious," as one critic put it. But none of the papers adequately investigated the CIA's connection to Central American drug dealers, a relationship the agency confirmed in 1998, two years after Webb's series ran, and a year after he was exiled from journalism.

That revelation barely registered on the radar of the mainstream media, consumed as they were by Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and the ensuing impeachment battle. Webb, meanwhile, became radioactive, unable to find work at a daily newspaper, shunned and isolated from the world of journalism he loved.

In the final analysis, "Dark Alliance" was a series in search of competent editing; the remarkable lack of editorial oversight produced what became one of the most notorious sagas in American journalism. Much of what Webb wrote was accurate: The drug traffickers he profiled were sending money to help the CIA-backed contras in the war in Nicaragua. But his editors allowed him to push the story's thesis far beyond what the facts could support, suggesting drug-dealing contras caused America's crack epidemic with the CIA's knowledge. The story included no CIA response; Webb said his editors never asked for one. Though Webb compiled an impressive circumstantial case, the editors failed to hold the story to what he could substantiate, letting him make leaps in reasoning that would earn failing marks in freshman logic.

"If Gary had had a decent editor, the key mistakes that ended up costing him so dearly would have been caught and dealt with," says Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst with George Washington University's National Security Archive, an expert on the contra war and an early critic of "Dark Alliance." "He became quite unfairly the victim of piling on in one of the most extraordinary episodes of piling on by the mainstream press ever."

In the aftermath, the Mercury News "did a mea culpa, [the] editors got promoted, and Gary bore the burden of the damage," says Scott Herhold, a Mercury News editor in the late '80s and a columnist there now. The editors who directed the series saw their careers flourish: David Yarnold was promoted to executive editor (he later became editorial page editor and recently left the paper to become an executive with an environmental organization); Paul Van Slambrouck became executive editor of the Christian Science Monitor (he is now a senior editor); Jerry Ceppos is vice president for news at Knight Ridder; and Dawn Garcia is deputy director of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford University. All four declined to be interviewed for this article.

Webb never got over it, never acknowledged his serious mistakes and never stopped trying to prove he was right. "Gary was very stubborn," recalls New York Times investigative reporter Walt Bogdanich, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who worked with Webb at Cleveland's Plain Dealer. "He was brilliant; he knew more about public records than anybody I've ever known. But he was sometimes too unwilling to entertain the possibility that there could be another view," Bogdanich remembers. "He could be an intimidating force when you [were] around him. It's hard to disagree with people like that." But, he adds, Webb did "a tremendous amount of good work. And you don't want that lost in the tragedy and controversy."

Always challenging authority, Webb was "a balls-to-the-wall kind of guy," remembers friend and colleague Tom Dresslar, now a press deputy for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. He liked to shoot guns, drive a cherry red sports coupe, rebuild motorcycles, lay wood floors, play hockey, smoke Marlboros and help out friends. He was a "guy's guy," Dresslar says, "the kind of guy you'd go to a bar with, sit down, have some beers, engage in guy talk, sports, hockey, that kind of thing." But they rarely discussed "Dark Alliance."

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how he felt," Dresslar says. "For him to get chewed up by the powers that be in mainstream American journalism, to get shuffled out, exiled and made to eventually quit: You know how the guy feels."

As Webb's identity slipped away, so did his mental stability. Last December 9, he sat alone inside the home he'd carefully crafted and later sold to support his family, knowing the next day movers would put the last of his old life into storage and he'd move into his mother's house, where he'd have to begin again. How did it come to this? He picked up one of his guns, aimed for his temple and squeezed the trigger. His death, says Kornbluh, "was a very sad day" in the history of journalism.

Like so many journalists who came of age during Watergate, Webb followed a familiar path into the ranks of reporting. He studied journalism at a state university and landed his first job at a small daily, the Kentucky Post. He was striking in a rugged sort of way; he wore his hair in a '70s shag much of his adult life, a reaction to his Marine dad's Saturday morning dictate to get his head shaved at the base barber shop. At the Mercury News, colleagues say he moved through life with a macho swagger, leaving everyone except those closest to him with the impression he was impervious to criticism, confident to the point of arrogant, "fearless," remembers Mercury News colleague and investigative reporter Pete Carey. "He was never the guy who'd wake up in the middle of the night saying to himself, 'Oh Jesus, did I spell that guy's name right?' There was none of that, not in Gary. He'd be like, 'Oh well, shit. So what?' He was something, I can tell you, something right out of the Wild West."

Those who knew him best describe Webb much differently, noting his polite Midwestern manner, his sardonic wit, intelligence and passionate idealism. He was his son's hockey coach, the dad who baked a cake from scratch for his daughter's birthday, the sentimentalist who kept memories of his life carefully wrapped and lovingly preserved, the fix-it man friends frequently called for answers about car engines, computers and household repair, a working-class guy who loved blaring heavy-metal music and reading The Nation and the Village Voice, a reporter known for sleeping little and working 80-hour weeks. He had a tight circle that included almost no one from the Mercury News, says his former wife, Susan Bell, and a sensitive side he rarely showed outside the bounds of his close friends and family.

From the outset of his career, Webb distinguished himself by uncovering official malfeasance, winning national recognition for exposing organized crime in Kentucky coal mines in the late '70s, moving to the Plain Dealer in the '80s, where he earned the sobriquet "The Carpenter" for nailing down facts. While Webb diligently and methodically uncovered local government misdeeds in Cleveland, he closely followed President Reagan's diligent and methodical attempts to overthrow Nicaragua's socialist government.

Throughout the decade, the Reagan administration had tolerated drug smugglers who were helping the contras, a Senate subcommittee reported in 1988. But few in the media took the findings seriously, says Jack Blum, then special counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Unknown to Congress or the committee, the CIA had a secret agreement with then-Attorney General William French Smith that absolved the agency of its legal requirement to report crimes committed by people acting on its behalf. The deal gave the CIA plausible deniability and allowed the administration to launch "a huge campaign to cover up what they were doing, running a war that was off the books," recalls Blum, now a Washington attorney. "The appalling tragedy," he adds, is that "while all this was being investigated, the press was being spun and told all this garbage by the administration."

Blum and the committee's members "were personally trashed. The Reagan administration and some people in Congress tried to make us look like crazies. And to some degree, it worked." Newsweek called Kerry a "randy conspiracy buff," few news organizations carried stories about the committee's findings, and Blum remembers reporters being outright hostile. "The press treated it like, 'These people are wackos!'"

Fast-forward to a steamy Sacramento summer, July 1995, when Webb received a call from Coral Baca, a twenty-something woman he once described as all "cleavage and jewelry." Baca, a strange, shadowy character in the novel of Webb's life with alleged ties to a Colombian drug cartel, wanted Webb to investigate how "a guy who used to work with the CIA selling drugs" had framed her drug-dealing boyfriend. Webb was uninterested in the boyfriend but intrigued by the CIA.

He used Baca as a tour guide through the world of West Coast drug trafficking, racking his brain to remember the details of what had happened in Nicaragua a decade earlier while he was covering state government in Ohio. He called his editor at the Mercury News, Dawn Garcia, and read her the grand jury testimony of Oscar Danilo Blandón, a contra supporter somehow connected to cocaine dealing in South Central Los Angeles. Garcia told him to find out more.

Webb did what he did best: He dug and dug and dug, scribbling notes from indictments, detention-hearing transcripts, docket sheets, U.S. Attorney motions. He returned to Sacramento and spent a week sitting in the California State Library in front of a microfiche copier, a roll of dimes on the table next to him, "growing more astounded each day," he said, sifting through Congressional records, U.S. Customs and FBI reports, internal Justice Department memos, many showing "direct links between the drug dealers and the contras... It almost knocked me off my chair." Back in his office, Webb called Jack Blum. "Why can I barely remember this? I read the papers every day," Webb asked. "It wasn't in the papers, for the most part," Blum said. "The big papers stayed as far away from this as they could... It was like they didn't want to know."

Intrigued, Webb kept digging. Pretty soon he connected Nicaraguan cocaine supplier Blandón to a Los Angeles drug dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross, aka "Freeway" Ricky Ross. From there, he quickly found a Los Angeles Times article about Ross, written by Jesse Katz, with the headline: "Deposed King of Crack." The Times called Ross a "master marketer," the "key to the drug's spread in L.A...the outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles streets with mass-marketed cocaine." Ka-ching. Pay dirt.

By December 1995, Webb had enough information to formally pitch his project in a four-page memo to Garcia. "While there has long been solid--if largely ignored--evidence of a CIA-contra-cocaine connection, no one has ever asked the question: Where did the cocaine go once it got here? Now we know." Webb was nearing the end of his memo, passionately pounding the computer keys, when an e-mail arrived from a friend at the Los Angeles Times asking what he was working on. Webb told his friend he had "no idea what this fucking government is capable of," according to Esquire magazine. He had entered a "netherworld 99 percent of the American public would never believe existed."

In typical Webb fashion, he charged forward with abandon.

Webb was born into a conservative Catholic military family in 1955 in Corona, California, moving from base to base during his childhood with his housewife mother, his younger brother and his father, a former Marine frogman. The elder Webb reminded one of Webb's boyhood friends of a character out of the "Wild, Wild West" TV show. "He was aggressive, cocky, self-assured," disillusioned with the government, and, "like a lot of middle-aged guys, coming to the end of his run, dissatisfied," recalls Greg Wolf, now an Indianapolis attorney. His father's sense of duty and the Marines' tendency to view the world as good versus evil, "that good will out," helped shaped Webb's worldview, remembers another childhood friend, Bruce Colville.

Webb's father retired from the Marines when Webb was in junior high, found a job as a security guard, and the family settled into a working-class neighborhood in Indianapolis.

In high school, Webb started rebelling, challenging authority in typical teenage ways, questioning his father's orders, writing parodies about the high school drill team, creating a Christmas crossword puzzle in the school paper that spelled out "penis" if done correctly, flouting the rules he thought pointless, smoking "a lot of pot," says Wolf, staging a mock coup of the Third World country he represented at a Model United Nations conference. He was brave, brilliant, funny, adventurous and "always in trouble," says Wolf. "He didn't have any boundaries."

It was the '60s. Webb and his friends were reading radical writers, talking endlessly about politics, embracing the humor and irony of the era. "At a young age, he was always interested in searching. He caught that passion for idealism, for the possibilities, for the romanticism," remembers Colville, who works in theater in New York City. Webb pursued journalism, a field where he could "keep that passion growing. That was our time. We had all been told a Donna Reed version of reality, but what we were told and what we saw were two different things. So we rebelled. We were right at the end of a generation that was going to change the world."

In his early 20s, Webb married his high school sweetheart, Susan Bell, in a Unitarian service where Webb, at the time "a belligerent atheist," allowed no mention of Jesus, says Wolf, who remembers a late-night discussion in which Webb announced he had no fear, not even of death. In his mid-20s, working at the Kentucky Post, Webb challenged and beat two of the state's most powerful officials in a battle to obtain public documents that revealed conflict of interest in the energy office, filing Freedom of Information Act requests and his own appeal when Kentucky's attorney general initially denied access to the information Webb felt the paper was entitled to see.

Not long after, in 1983, he moved to the Plain Dealer, where he fought secretive government officials to make records public, so relentlessly attacking corruption, cronyism, contract fixing and other abuses of power he prompted a television reporter to ask on air, "Why is a Cleveland newspaper investigating our mayor?" He required the strongest editor in the building, with skills and experience that matched his, someone who could challenge him the way he challenged government officials. With Mary Anne Sharkey, the Statehouse bureau chief for the Plain Dealer, he had what he needed, and the partnership produced some of his best work. Together, they exposed corruption and incompetence in state government, prompting indictments and changes in Ohio state law. He decorated his office with heavy-metal posters and floor-to-ceiling stacks of documents, blaring AC/DC, ZZ Top and Mott the Hoople as he pounded out stories, says Sharkey, who remembers him cutting a dashing figure in the newsroom.

Like a lot of maverick reporters, Webb lived on the edge, and it sometimes got him into trouble. In Cleveland, two Grand Prix promoters Webb wrote about sued the Plain Dealer for libel, and a jury awarded them $13.6 million; the Plain Dealer settled another suit involving an Ohio Supreme Court judge for an undisclosed sum, says Sharkey, adding "reporters who are involved in high-wire acts tend to get into lawsuits."

The suits failed to stop the Mercury News from hiring Webb in 1988. By then, he had joined the rarefied and clubby world of the nation's investigative reporters, winning dozens of journalism awards over the years, clearly on his way to a Pulitzer, maybe a few. He had "all the qualities you'd want in a reporter: curious, dogged, a very high sense of wanting to expose wrongdoing and to hold private and public officials accountable," recalls Jonathan Krim, long considered one of the Mercury News' best editors and now a reporter for the Washington Post.

Back then, Webb "was a couple of notches down from cocksure," remembers colleague Herhold, "but he emanated a lot of self-confidence." Though the Plain Dealer was larger, the Mercury News intrigued Webb. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the paper benefited from the region's booming economy, providing the sort of financial strength that gave editors power and independence uncommon in the industry. No topic was taboo and there were no sacred cows, Webb remembered being told; the editors "convinced me that they ran one of the few newspapers in the country with that kind of courage."

The paper hired Webb to work in the Sacramento bureau, about 100 miles from San Jose. Webb moved his wife and two young children to a suburb and continued a tradition he had started in Cleveland, restoring their small house with the help of how-to books, installing wainscoting and custom tile, new cabinets and gardens, while putting in overtime at the paper. Unlike the old-world Plain Dealer newsroom, the Mercury News was the future, all high-tech and steel, striving to take its place among the nation's top tier of metropolitan dailies. One of Webb's first page-one stories accused the Mercury News and other businesses of using government job-training funds unethically. In another series, Webb alienated colleagues by questioning the ethics of Capitol reporters who were moonlighting for agencies they covered.

He spent the next few years exposing incompetence in state government, helping the paper win a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for covering the Loma Prieta earthquake, writing stories investigating faulty construction in highway bridges that collapsed. "That's Gary," remembers friend Colville. "The story you always see is the melodrama. Gary would never focus on 'Oh, isn't this sad.' He's going: 'Why did the fuckin' bridge fall down?' He was always sticking his finger into something and saying, 'This doesn't smell right.'"

In the early '90s, Bell had a third child, leaving Webb overwhelmed by the emotional and financial pressures of being the family's sole wage earner in a demanding job. Diagnosed with depression, he was prescribed medication; he continued to bury himself in his family and work. He loved the stories but never connected with the Mercury News reporters and editors the way he had with colleagues at the Plain Dealer, never felt the same camaraderie, stuck in a small bureau far away from the newsroom with people who by many accounts resented him at worst and tolerated him at best. It is perhaps why so many at the Mercury News describe Webb as a lone wolf, while reporters and editors in Cleveland remember him as a social magnet, "so dazzling and so cool we all wanted to be around him," says former Plain Dealer Statehouse reporter Mary Beth Lane, now a regional reporter for the Columbus Dispatch.

Inspired by Woodward and Bernstein, Webb got on the ice of reporting and "played with fierceness," says Herhold. "Occasionally, he'd drop the gloves and go after officials. And sometimes, he'd go after editors." In attack mode, Webb made editors at the Mercury News "cower, mostly," Herhold recalls, treating those he deemed incompetent contemptuously, answering their calls with a curt, "What do you want?"

In 1994, after Tandem Computers bought a two-page advertisement attacking Webb's series that insinuated the company was somehow responsible for failures to modernize the state's Department of Motor Vehicles computer system, editors assigned reporter Lee Gomes to investigate.

Gomes did, and wrote a memo to his editors stating one of the stories in Webb's series was "in all its major elements incorrect." The editors read it, says Gomes, now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, "and said, 'Thank you.' The fact that a big-name reporter could get a big series wrong – that idea had not occurred to them." Responding to Gomes' findings, Webb replied: "Lee Gomes was covering Tandem while its much ballyhooed DMV project was collapsing, yet somehow managed to miss the story entirely."

 

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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Though hard to manage, Webb continued to bring recognition to the Mercury News, winning the 1994 H.L. Mencken Award for his exposé of corruption in California's drug asset forfeiture program. It was the government's practice of seizing assets from alleged criminals that brought Coral Baca--and the "Dark Alliance" story--to Webb in the first place.

A CIA agent's testimony against Baca's boyfriend had allowed the government to take everything he owned, leaving him penniless, Baca told Webb. Webb was unimpressed. "Oh, the CIA," he told her. "I don't run across them too often here in Sacramento. See, I mostly cover state government." He thought she was crazy. But her cache of documents changed his mind. For nearly six months, Webb talked to his editor, Dawn Garcia, daily, says Susan Bell. Webb liked Garcia, probably because he could "roll her over," says a friend and former Mercury News reporter. She ran interference with the other editors so well, Webb said, even he was unsure if anyone knew what he was doing.

"The story was handled in a silo," recalls then-Projects Editor Jonathan Krim. "Few people in the paper knew what it was about, what it involved," himself included.

"It was like this secret project," says reporter Pete Carey. Webb and the editors "were afraid the L.A. Times would pick it up and scoop them."

In December 1995, Webb met with Garcia and Managing Editor David Yarnold and told them what he knew: L.A. drug dealer Ross paid cash to Nicaraguan Blandón for cocaine. Blandón funneled the cash to the contras, who used it to buy weapons to fight the socialist Sandinistas who were running Nicaragua. "I recounted for my editors the sorry history of how the contra-cocaine story had been ridiculed and marginalized by the Washington press corps in the '80s, and that we could expect similar reactions to this series," Webb said. To circumvent the mainstream media, Webb proposed posting the series on the Web, putting the Mercury News in the vanguard of American journalism at the time, making the stories "all the more difficult to dismiss." The editors agreed, Webb said, and set him loose.

He went full bore, engendering resentment among his Mercury News colleagues, says a Capitol press corps member who heard the griping about "how much time Gary was spending on the project." But Webb didn't care. He traveled to Nicaragua and into the shadowy underworld of the contras and the CIA, chasing Blandón from San Francisco to Miami and back, following the cocaine supply route through the gritty, trash-littered backstreets of South Central Los Angeles. In mid-April, Webb sent a four-part series to editors Garcia and Yarnold, "with no clue as to how it would be received" and no idea it would take four months to edit. Garcia called with the verdict: "They loved it!" he said she told him, calling it "groundbreaking reporting" with one exception: It was too long.

They argued about length for weeks, Webb recalled, until Yarnold decreed the series would be three parts or nothing. Throughout the spring of '96, Garcia cut, Webb restored, they argued, cutting, pasting, reassembling, going from four parts to three parts to four parts again. Webb wrote a feature lead; Garcia wanted hard news. They argued some more, with Garcia blaming "the editors." "I'm just telling you what they told me," Webb recalled her saying. She urged Webb to harden the lead; fuming, he pounded out in a few minutes what largely became the controversial opening paragraph and sent it to Garcia. "This is perfect!" Webb recalled her saying. "This is exactly what they wanted." They finished editing on July 26, scheduling the first story to run on August 18. Webb closed on a new house, booked a family vacation and got ready to leave for three weeks in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Indiana.

Then Garcia called with a new wrinkle. Yarnold had suddenly left the paper to take a job with Knight Ridder, the Mercury News' corporate parent. Jerry Ceppos, the paper's executive editor, assigned Paul Van Slambrouck to handle the final editing on the series. Webb said Van Slambrouck told him his work was terrific, asked him to put more CIA in the lead, and ordered him to cut 65 inches.

Under protest, he rewrote the series in a beach house on North Carolina's Outer Banks, in a motel room and in the basement of his in-laws' house in Indiana. "It was horrible," he said. "Five or six different versions were flying around... I had no way of knowing what was being cut, what was being put back, or what was being rewritten," prompting him to doubt his editors' competence. "Don't these people know what they're dealing with here? Don't they realize the import of what they're printing? I eventually realized that for the most part they did not, which may have been the reason the series got into the paper in the first place." Ceppos, preoccupied with searching for a managing editor to replace Yarnold, only read parts of the series before it was published.

Webb was in Indiana when the Mercury News published the first installment on August 18, 1996. At a friend's party, he logged onto the paper's Web site, saw the image of a crack smoker superimposed on the CIA seal, and began reading what he'd written: A San Francisco drug ring sold tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs, funneling millions in profits to CIA-run guerrilla armies in Latin America. Before the "CIA's army" started bringing cocaine into South Central, Webb asserted, it was "virtually unobtainable in black neighborhoods" but quickly spread nationwide.

After that, the story gets complicated and hard to follow; it features a cast of characters large enough for a Russian novel, with events spanning a decade in a chronology so confusing it demands rereading, rereading and rereading again. To his credit, Webb provided links to the documents he cited, but by the fourth page of the online version of "Dark Alliance," you feel as though you've dropped down Alice's rabbit hole, with the story shifting, changing and contradicting itself as each new fact is added to the litany that came before.

The government and the national news media at first greeted the series' publication with "a deafening silence," as one national journal noted. But the Mercury News' online staff, presciently recognizing the power of the Internet, created a dazzling "Dark Alliance" Web site with color, animated maps, documents and audio clips. They sent e-mails to alert newsgroups of the coming series, attracting "attention and readers from all over the world," Microsoft's Encarta Encyclopedia reported. While internally, the Mercury News reporters and editors argued bitterly about the series' validity, the story spun into the world and out of the paper's control. With hundreds of thousands of hits on the site daily, millions were finding out about "Dark Alliance" even as the mainstream media ignored it.

"The feedback on the Web and on the radio talk shows fed each other," Slate reported, "with anger at the mainstream media overwhelming anger at the government." Protesters demonstrated at CIA headquarters. The Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and comedian and activist Dick Gregory demanded an explanation from the CIA, whose spokesman declared the idea of the agency condoning drug operations "ludicrous."

Webb became a celebrity, entertaining six-figure book and movie deals, going on radio shows and Internet chat rooms nationwide, while the national news media fretted. The L.A. Times scrambled to double back on a story it apparently had missed in its own backyard. In the middle of September, a Times editor called Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus, inquiring: "What's this all about? What should we do?" The paper assigned a team to investigate.

Meanwhile, Webb basked in the adulation and embraced his newfound power. He called editors and producers "chickenshit" for ignoring "Dark Alliance" and suggested in an online discussion, "Now we know what CIA stands for--Crack in America," the L.A. Times quoted Webb as saying. He felt emboldened. "It was remarkable to think journalism could have this kind of effect on people," he said, "that people were out marching in the streets because of something you'd written."

At the same time came "the temptations," says friend Greg Wolf. "A movie and book deal, 'The Tonight Show,' all of a sudden he's got literary groupies." His wife urged him to leave the Mercury News and take the deals offered him, but he refused, telling her the paper "had stuck by me this whole time, they really like me, and I owe it to them to finish this story."

Then came the blowback. The national media assaulted the series, slowly at first, then with increasing virulence. None of the attacks had the intensity of the coming fusillade, however. On October 4, the Washington Post launched its first salvo. While Webb had "provided what appears to be the first account of Nicaraguans with links to contras selling drugs in American cities," reported Walter Pincus and Roberto Suro, there was no evidence to support the notion of a CIA-backed contra plot to spread crack cocaine in the inner city, they wrote, a claim the series never made explicitly but led readers to believe. By referring to members of the drug ring as "the CIA's army" and "the army's financiers," the Mercury News left the impression that the CIA was behind the plot, giving the series' critics ample ammunition to attack.

Even so, Ceppos felt the Post story mischaracterized the series, and he sent a letter in protest. The Post refused to publish it. The ridicule worsened when the Los Angeles Times and New York Times assailed "Dark Alliance" a few weeks later.

The L.A. Times' three-day series reported the paper had conducted more than "100 interviews in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington and Managua" and declared "the available evidence.. fails to support any of [Webb's] allegations." But the L.A. Times' "rebuttals were filled with the same types of errors that Gary had made, except on the side of exonerating the CIA," says the National Security Archives' Kornbluh. "They quoted these CIA guys who had a tremendous amount of stuff to hide as though they were telling the truth." It remains baffling to Kornbluh how the L.A. Times "could be so gullible. I remain astounded by the editorial decisions they made, on their gullibility, on the support they offered the CIA..as well as getting a bunch of their facts wrong." McManus says the Times had an obligation to report the CIA's response. "We weighed the evidence we had based on its reliability as we could assess it."

Some members of the Mercury News staff were gleeful enough about the attacks on Webb to prompt Ceppos to write a memo reprimanding them for "gloating," "backbiting" and "whispering." Though Webb refused to admit it, "he was a dead man walking," Esquire magazine correctly predicted.

The media, engaged in a "high level, bicoastal broadsheet newspaper war," as Newsday put it, took the focus off the CIA and put it squarely on Webb. "The fact that the media didn't fully report on this scandal was a major failure," says Kornbluh. "There were parts of Gary's story that needed to be corrected. But more important than correcting those parts was to use that space to advance the story. They didn't have to use all that space to trash him."

Despite the ongoing assault against the Mercury News, Ceppos continued to support Webb: He hammered the paper's critics and arrived at the newspaper's in-house awards in a combat helmet, a joke meant to poke fun at the paper's battering. A few brave and respected allies publicly backed Webb, but they did little to quell the national media's outrage. "The Mercury News asked for it," Newsweek said. Webb was obsessive and a bit conspiratorial; he had editors who "weren't paying attention."

Webb responded arrogantly: "[N]othing in their stories says there is anything wrong with what I wrote. In fact, they have confirmed every element of it."

The government was getting worried. While the CIA publicly disavowed Webb's findings--the director appeared in Watts to denounce the Mercury News and dispute any CIA connection to drug trafficking--by November an explosion of grassroots outrage had prompted three federal probes, two by the CIA and one by the Justice Department.

With the Mercury News staff divided, Webb became more and more isolated. He launched a counteroffensive: He found an article the Post's Pincus had written about attending a youth conference in Ghana in the summer of 1960 on a CIA subsidy. He analyzed the L.A. Times coverage in the '80s and discovered McManus had written a 1987 story quoting drug enforcement officials rebutting allegations that the contras had trafficked in cocaine. At a strategy meeting with Mercury News editors, Webb proposed writing "a story about Walter Pincus' CIA connections. Let's write about how the L.A. Times has been booting this story since 1987." But Ceppos disagreed, Webb said, telling him he wanted to avoid a war.

The Mercury News editors "were behind him 100 percent," Susan Bell remembers Webb telling her, prompting Webb to relentlessly and publicly defend his work, producing follow-up stories, spending his vacation time and money, flying to Florida where he found more connections between drug traffickers and the CIA.

When he returned, he said, "just like that, it was over."

At every turn, Webb had stubbornly refused to back down. And that was, perhaps, his fatal flaw, suggests former Mercury News editor Jonathan Krim. "A lot of the story was accurate and important. There was a drug operation. No question it had links to people in intelligence services. It was dirty as hell," Krim says. But Webb made "an anthropological leap," when he called the drug operation "the genesis of the crack epidemic in America. That assertion.. didn't hold up under further scrutiny. The tragedy of Gary was that when presented with that information, he simply couldn't accept it and let go of his work. But," he adds, "the willingness to print the story with that assertion was an institutional failure. Somewhere, somebody along the line, someone should have said: 'Are we sure about this? Can we say that?' You cannot simply blame everything on the reporter."

On March 25, 1997, Ceppos called Webb and told him the paper was going to publish a retraction admitting the series' mistakes, enumerating those errors: Webb had omitted testimony that suggested the Nicaraguans kept crack profits for themselves after 1982 rather than funneling them to the contras. He had oversimplified the crack epidemic's genesis in the United States. And with insufficient evidence, he had claimed top CIA officials knew about contra drug trafficking. Finally, the series lacked--and needed--a response from the CIA.

The next day, Webb drove two hours to San Jose, preparing his rebuttal. He'd put the blame where he thought it belonged--squarely on the editors--and demand they publish his version next to their retraction. As far as he was concerned, it was Garcia and company who cut the series from four parts to three, eliminating the evidence that would have provided the proof they were now saying the stories lacked. It was Van Slambrouck who wanted greater emphasis placed on the CIA's involvement. It was Ceppos who was ignoring the follow-up stories that would prove "the entire series is 100 percent accurate."

The meeting left everyone bloodied. Ceppos called Webb's rebuttal too personal; he had no intention of publishing it or the follow-up stories. Webb exploded, predicting his attackers would celebrate Ceppos' retraction as their vindication, accusing the paper of crawling "into bed with the rest of the apologists who wanted the CIA drug story put back in its grave once and for all."

The national news media (and AJR Editor Rem Rieder) applauded Ceppos' column with front-page stories and editorials commending him for repudiating the series. The New York Times called it "a courageous gesture" to correct "an inflammatory and inadequately substantiated series of articles" that had been "poorly written and edited and misleadingly packaged." A CIA spokesman praised the media for taking "an objective look at how this story was constructed and reported." The Society of Professional Journalists gave Ceppos the 1997 National Ethics in Journalism Award.

At the Mercury News, staff members "openly delighted in seeing Webb..tarnished after scoring what first seemed like the biggest journalistic achievement of his career," the New York Times reported. Ambitious young reporters hoping to climb out of the regional backwaters and "move on to bigger papers are the most upset with Mr. Webb," the Times wrote, quoting staff members demanding to know if he or the editors "would be disciplined." Garcia, Yarnold and Van Slambrouck remained publicly silent; Ceppos made his column his coda.

"The damage done to the Mercury News was palpable," recalls a former Mercury News editor, who requested anonymity because he fears retaliation. "I fault the editors, not the reporter. The job of an investigative reporter is to dig and dig and dig and push the envelope as hard as he can push. The job of an investigative editor is to demand [the story is] bulletproof." The Mercury News editors "never fully took responsibility," he adds. "Gary Webb bore plenty responsibility. But when the shit hit the fan, the editors backpedaled as fast as they could."

Undaunted, Webb launched an all-out defense of his work in newspapers, on television, on the radio and on the Internet, accusing the mainstream media of ignoring the story because they were too close to intelligence agencies. "The press had gone from being a watchdog to being a guard dog," he said on a radio show. On another show, the host urged listeners to call Ceppos and demand he publish Webb's follow-ups, the stories "he [was] suppressing."

Webb had crossed a threshold. Ceppos accused him of aligning himself with "one side of the issue."

"Which side?" Webb shot back. "The side that wants the truth to come out?"

Ceppos demanded Webb come to San Jose to discuss his future. At the meeting, Ceppos read from a prepared statement. Webb had a choice: Work in the San Jose office or move to the Cupertino bureau, "the newspaper's version of Siberia," in Webb's view. He took Cupertino, 120 miles from Sacramento, "because he didn't want to be with those guys in San Jose," recalls Bell. He cried the day he left. The children were little, "they were so upset, and they didn't want their daddy to go. And he didn't want to go; he didn't want to leave his family. He felt betrayed," she says. He should have listened to her, he told her. He should have taken the movie and book deals and moved on. "He took it very personally."

Throughout the summer of 1997, Webb kept his byline off his stories, mundane matters having to do with a police horse, a clothing drive for flood victims, summer school computer classes. He fought the transfer through the Newspaper Guild, believing "every day I showed up would be an act of defiance." He told Esquire, "This is what I did, this was me. I was a reporter. This was a calling; it was not something you do eight to five."

Meanwhile, in San Jose, the paper promoted Van Slambrouck to deputy managing editor; Knight Ridder, the Mercury News' corporate parent, defended Ceppos against a conservative columnist's call to have him fired "for a gross act of journalistic malpractice." On the contrary, Clark Hoyt, then Knight Ridder's vice president for news, told the Washington Post, "he's handled it superbly. I'm very proud of him."

The burden took its toll on Webb. By the end of the summer of 1997, 25 publishers had turned down his book proposal. Depression set in with a vengeance, remembers Bell, as Webb faced the future. Even if he won arbitration, he had no desire to stay at the Mercury News. But if he couldn't be a reporter, he had no idea what to do. He decided to settle with the paper, even though it meant resigning. It took him a month to sign the letter. "I saw it as a surrender," he told Bell, "like signing my death certificate." On December 10, 1997, Webb resigned, took a job as an investigator for the state Legislature and began working on a book for a small publisher, sometimes staying up all night writing, telling Bell when she fretted, "You can sleep when you're dead."

By January 1998, obsessed with the affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the media had forgotten about Webb and "Dark Alliance."

But little by little, with virtually no media attention, federal reports on the episode became public, producing "concrete evidence disproving, once and for all," the CIA's long-standing assertion that it had nothing to do with drug trafficking to benefit the contra war, Kornbluh says. While the investigations found no evidence that the CIA had supplied or sold drugs in Los Angeles, they did find the agency had withheld information about contra crimes from the Justice Department and Congress, and had recruited drug traffickers to run an undeclared war that took precedence over law enforcement (see "The CIA and Drug Trafficking,"). The CIA had one overriding priority: to oust the Sandinista government, the agency's inspector general reported. The government findings indicated "the CIA turned a blind eye at best to information that suggests drug trafficking by contra operatives," Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) said at a congressional hearing in 1998.

Though hardly a vindication of Webb, the report marked one of the most extensive internal probes the CIA had ever launched, and it strengthened Webb's resolve to win the war his series had unleashed. In the tragic arc of Webb's life, this was a crucial turning point: the instincts, idealism and stubbornness that had served him so well as an investigative reporter clouded his ability to clearly assess himself. A cowboy to the end, he walked alone into the third and final act of his life.

He fantasized about starting over. He threw himself into his job with the state, growing distant from his family, eventually leaving Bell for another woman, a friend recalls, a relationship that ended badly. He worked feverishly in his job and on his book, which was published in the fall of 1998. The Washington Post gave "Dark Alliance" a mixed review, criticizing Webb for botching parts of the story but praising him for "pushing a sleazy piece of the CIA's past into the public light. The gang at Langley is still resisting coming clean, and these unholy alliances remain in the dark." The Los Angeles Times dismissed it as old news; the New York Times chastised Webb, the San Jose Mercury News editors and the book's publisher for their "relaxed approaches" to reporting the facts of such "a serious subject."

Webb continued to work for the Legislature, investigating state government with the same fervor he had as a reporter, pairing up on several projects with Tom Dresslar, an old Capitol press corps colleague who'd also left to work for the state. Dresslar knew Webb mostly from what he had heard from Mercury News reporters, so he was skeptical about their partnership. "Any skepticism was quickly dashed," Dresslar recalls. "He worked his ass off." Sometimes he and Webb stayed up until two or three in the morning preparing for hearings the next day. A report Webb wrote on the California Highway Patrol's racial profiling--it served as the basis for his 1999 Esquire piece "Driving While Black"--prompted the Assembly speaker to denounce his work and the ACLU to file and win a class-action lawsuit on behalf of minority motorists.

As the capital's political alliances shifted, so did its priorities, leaving Webb in a job with a mandate to get politicians reelected. "Most of the time," says Dresslar, "his talents were wasted." In February 2004, Webb and a few others were laid off. He called Bell--discouraged, scared, crying--on what would have been their 25th wedding anniversary. He said he'd never find another job in daily journalism; she disagreed and urged him to try. With his daughter's help, they assembled 50 packets--clips, résumés, letters--and sent them off. Nothing happened. He called everyone he knew in newspapers. No offers. "It was crushing," recalls a friend.

He tried and failed at a new relationship. His children, now older and more independent, had less time for him. At every turn, he found failure; even so, he kept trying, refusing to ask for help--"he wasn't that type of person," says Bell--and hiding the pain from those he loved most. In May, about to lose his health insurance, he stopped taking his anti-depressants, he told Greg Wolf. "That was the last I heard from him." Bell encouraged him to see a therapist. "Thank you for your concern," he e-mailed her. "But I can't afford it."

When a screenwriter suggested they write a miniseries that summer, he threw himself into the work, but the project fizzled. He took a job with the weekly Sacramento News and Review, earning half what he had at a daily. He wrote five stories between September and November, all the while looking back to where he had been before "Dark Alliance" catapulted him into the world he now inhabited, living alone, financial pressures mounting. "It seems being a reporter all my life doesn't qualify me for much of anything else aside from flackery, and I'd rather starve than do that," he said in an e-mail to a friend. "The job's OK, but it's hard to really enjoy it."

He was getting reckless, driving too fast, making excuses when friends called to go out for beers; he stopped playing hockey and showing up for his daughter's soccer games, pulled away from his motorcycle buddies, worried about his ability to support his family. Friend Bruce Colville tried to contact him by e-mail and phone, hoping to arrange a visit in the fall. But Webb never responded. In Webb's mind he had become what the media had dubbed him: a failure, discredited, damaged, an unworthy role model for his children. Staring down 50, unable to afford even a cell phone, he saw no hope. Life "was a crapshoot and he wasn't willing to play the game anymore," says a friend. "He didn't have the energy to keep trying. It was just too painful."

Instead, he started planning for his death, secretly signing over his possessions and bank accounts to his family, purchasing a cremation certificate, selling his Carmichael house for more than $300,000. In December, as the anniversary of his Mercury News resignation loomed, he took unpaid leave from his job to pack his remaining life into boxes, spending more time with his children, working for hours with son Eric on a family history project for school. The next day, he asked Bell if he could stay with her after he moved. "I can't be alone," he told her. "I've been alone for too long." She suggested he stay with his mother. In retrospect, Bell believes, "he wanted to be stopped, there's no doubt in my mind. He did not want to die. If on the last day of his life someone called him up and offered him a job at a newspaper, he'd be here today."

But that didn't happen. On the day he died, his motorcycle broke down. A man who appeared to be in his early 20s offered him a ride. Webb took it and gave him $20 for his trouble. By the time Webb returned to the parking lot where he'd left the motorcycle, it was gone, stolen by the same man, according to a detective with the Sacramento sheriff's department. "Gary was too trusting," Bell says. "He'd try to help people all the time. He trusted this kid, he trusted hitchhikers, he trusted Jerry [Ceppos] when he said, 'I'll stick by you 100 percent.'" The last betrayal and the loss of his motorcycle, she says, were "the final signs that he should carry out his plan."

His mother drove him home that day, where he continued packing up the house he had restored with a craftsman's precision. He noticed a framed poster he'd carted around with him since his days at the Kentucky Post, a paean to the paper's readers that promised "no fetters on our reporters, nor must they bow to sacred cows"; to never "tamper with the truth"; to "give light [so] the people will find their own way." He chucked it in the trash.

He put his favorite movie--"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"--in the DVD player and his favorite album--"Ian Hunter Live"--on the turntable, stacked the remaining boxes neatly in the corners of his living room, leaving his Social Security card, cremation certificate and car keys on the kitchen counter. He mailed four letters to his family, wrote an ominous note and taped it to the front door. He repaired to the bedroom, pulled out a revolver, and sent a bullet through his cheek. The second time he tried, he hit a major artery. "There's no way [to know] if he died suddenly," says Ed Smith, assistant Sacramento County coroner, "or if he bled to death."

The movers arrived the next day, December 10, the anniversary of his resignation from the Mercury News. They saw the note on the door: "Please do not enter. Call 9-1-1 for assistance. Thank you."

When Bell sorted through what he'd left behind, she found the movie in the DVD player, the album on the turntable and the Kentucky Post poster in the trash. She fished the poster out of the garbage, repaired the broken glass and hung it in the office in her small suburban Sacramento house, a shrine to Webb so his children can remember the man he was: the awards on the walls, the editorial cartoons lambasting the media's treatment of him, his books neatly arranged on the shelves, his research meticulously tabbed to where he had left it. In his letter to Bell, he tried to explain his profound regrets about her and the children, but he had no answers. "All I want to do is write, and if I can't do what I love, then what's the sense of going on?" she says he wrote, adding, in case anyone asks, "tell them I never regretted anything I wrote."

After his death, hundreds of friends and family members packed into a small room at the Sacramento Doubletree Hotel for his memorial service, filling the chairs, standing in every corner, spilling into the hall. No one from the Mercury News sent regrets, says Bell, "not even a card. He wrote a lot of good stories for them. No matter how they felt about 'Dark Alliance,' they should have had respect for what he'd written before."

At the service, the family showed videos, the friends gave eulogies. "That boy couldn't stop worth a damn," remembered a hockey buddy. "Gary couldn't stop himself when he had his sights on something, whether he was chasing [a] puck or pursuing [a] story." When Bell stood to convey one of Webb's last wishes, sent to his son Eric in a suicide note, no one stirred. "If I had one dream for you," he wrote, "it was that you would go into journalism and carry on the kind of work I did, fighting with all your might and talent the oppression and bigotry and stupidity and greed that surrounds us. No matter what you do, try to do that in some way."


Unless otherwise noted in the story, Gary Webb's quotes and recollections about the editing process of the San Jose Mercury News series "Dark Alliance" come from his book, "Dark Alliance," an essay he wrote for "Into the Buzzsaw" or a first-person account titled "Dark Defiance."


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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #93 

Venezuela seeks extradition of bomber with CIA ties

By ED O'KEEFE
May 24, 2005

The May 18 arrest of Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles on charges of entering the United States illegally could lead to his deportation.

Venezuela filed a formal extradition request for Posada and hopes to try him on charges related to the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines jet.

Posada, 77, is being held without bond pending a hearing before an immigration judge on June 13. He slipped into the United States via Mexico in March in hopes of gaining political asylum, surfacing at a press conference in Miami May 17. He was arrested later that day.

Venezuela's extradition request stems from Posada's alleged involvement in planning the 1976 bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455. Seventy-three people died when the plane exploded over Barbados after departing Caracas, Venezuela en route to Havana. Posada would likely face charges similar to the ones he faced when he escaped Venezuela in 1985.

Posada worked with the CIA beginning in the 1960s, according to recently declassified CIA documents. Also linked to the 1997 bombing of a Havana hotel that killed one Italian tourist, he was arrested in Panama in 2000 after an assassination attempt on Cuban President Fidel Castro. The outgoing Panamanian president pardoned Posada and his accomplices in 2004.

Brian Becker, national coordinator of A.N.S.W.E.R., an anti-war coalition established after 9/11, stated at a May 13 press conference that the Bush Administration would be committing "obvious and apparent hypocrisy" if it did not arrest and then extradite Posada.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com)

 

 

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/Issues/2005-05-26/news/metro2.html

 

 

How I Missed the Posada Story
By Kirk Nielsen

Published: Thursday, May 26, 2005


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Feature
Excess Hollywood
Some interesting horror flicks, a couple of relationship movies, and plenty of action save summer from sequels

Letters
Letters from the Issue of May 26, 2005
Best this, best that, and bad newspapers

Metro
To Serve and Protect and Intimidate
A school teacher is beaten senseless by Miami Beach police, then his life is allegedly threatened, now he's gone

The Bitch
The Bitch
28 Days Later

Kulchur
The D Word
Say anything you want, but just don't call them Democrats


Well, it just so happened I was gearing up for a vacation when Luis Posada Carriles decided to announce he had sneaked into the United States, putting the Bush administration on the spot and setting the stage for a huge public-relations triumph for his nemesis Fidel Castro. That was in mid-April.

Is a serious journalist really expected to cancel a bonefishing excursion to a tranquil corner of the Bahamas and instead try to track down this decomposing geezer for yet another duplicitous interview? I don't think so. Besides, in our post-9/11 world, what were the chances a mere reporter could find Posada before high-tech Homeland Security agents swooped in and snatched him? After all, the man is a convicted terrorist. (Last year a Panamanian court found him guilty of "endangering public security" in a plot to murder Castro using C4 explosives.)

But even if I had secretly trailed Posada's hotheaded Miami host and financial patron, Santiago Alvarez, to the hiding place, and even if I'd been received with open arms, what new would the fanatical "man of action" have to say? More important, why would anyone believe it?

He once told the New York Times he had organized the lethal Havana hotel bombings of 1997, and revealed that Cuban American National Foundation founder Jorge Mas Canosa had financed them. But after the remarks were published, Posada recanted them.

In 2001 we exchanged correspondence as he sat in a Panamanian jail cell. In a letter he explained his mention of Mas Canosa was a "tactical error." He also claimed his mission in Panama had been to help the chief of Cuba's intelligence service defect -- not to detonate C4 in Fidel's face. He "repudiated terrorism" but still considered a "military solution" to be "viable" and "abundantly justified." All of this mumbo jumbo was dutifully reported in my story "Fidel Made Them Do It" (August 9, 2001).

So I went fishing.

When I returned to work this past May 16, I was shocked to discover Posada had successfully eluded the feds and (supposedly) was still at large somewhere in Miami. I also learned the editor of this paper was prepared to offer a $500 reward for information leading to Posada's whereabouts. So I sprang into action and called Santiago Alvarez, hoping he would slip me a lead.

"WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT I WOULD WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN?" Alvarez yelled at me over the phone. "What makes you think that -- you write something like that -- I want to talk to you again?" His chief complaint: In the 2001 article I had referred to his office in a Hialeah strip mall as a "war room." The image was more than a metaphor, especially for someone like Posada, who champions violent struggle against the Cuban government and, as he wrote to me in 2001, considers the death of 32-year-old Fabio Di Celmo in one of the Havana hotel bombings "a sacrifice."

Alvarez: "I was very candid and I was very frank with you, and you come up with stuff like that? And you expect for me to talk to you again?"

I protested. My article, I reminded him, had provided the most complete account (4000 words!) of what Posada said he was up to in Panama.

Alvarez: "If you want me to talk to you again, you apologize to me in print, in your paper, and then you talk to me again!"

The belligerence continued the next day at a secret news conference in a Hialeah warehouse, which Alvarez hadn't bothered to mention to me. ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman asked -- frankly and candidly -- a question about the 1997 Havana bombings. Alvarez shouted him down. Queries about that topic were not allowed.

New York Times correspondent Abby Goodnough reported she refused to attend the news conference "because of the terms, which included being driven by Mr. Posada's associates to an undisclosed location and agreeing to ask only certain questions." Good for her. Buying into that kind of deal would be like going to a Homeland Security press briefing and agreeing not to ask why it took U.S. authorities more than two months to arrest Posada.


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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #94 
May 17, 2005
Retired DEA Agent comments on POSADA case.
Posada is a documented drug trafficker and terrorist in government files. According to Castillo, Luis Posada, Felix Rodriguez, Oliver North and Walter Grasheim all have multiple files in the DEA database. Cele Castillo personally witnessed and documented their activities in El Salvador during the 1980's Contra war in the book "Powderburns".  Castillo was tipped off to investigate Ilopango airbase by fellow agent Bobby Nieves.  Nieves told Castillo that large scale drug trafficking was occuring at Ilopango as part of the contra resupply effort and that he (Castillo) should investigate it.  Bobby Nieves now works for Guardian technologies, Oliver North's company.  He now denies any link between the contras and drugs.

For over a century, our government has made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that we have done to other people in third world countries, especially in Latin America.  With the creation of the School of the Americas, a breeding ground for assassins, and the death squads, we have become the greatest human rights violators in the world.

We have become the most hated country in the world, not because we practice democracy or value our freedom.   We are hated because our government denies these basic principles to these people. The hate has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism, AND as they say, once again, “the chickens have come home to roost with our own home grown American made terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles.

When I was posted in Central America, as a DEA agent, I still remember seeing Luis Posada and Felix Rodriguez, another American terrorist, at Illopango airport base in El Salvador.  Joining them was a CIA asset Venezuelan advisor Victor Rivera.  They had become part of what was known as a CIA apparatus that did not have to answer to no one.  They were involved from drug trafficking, kidnapping, and the training of the death squads.  It was also at the height of the Iran-Contra investigation where I had documented these atrocities to my government.  I could not understand how our government had assisted in having Posada escaped from a Venezuela prison, and then placing him at Illopango airport as a CIA asset under the new name of Ramon Medina. He was now working hand in hand with then U. S. Lt. Col. Oliver North. When I question Posada’s presence at Illopango, I was once again told that it was a covert operation being run by the White House.  I started to learn real fast that just about every time I question illegal events, I was told that it was “a covert operation being run by the White House”.  And as we found out later, my allegations became facts, especially with President Bush Sr. 1990 pardoning of another American made terrorist and partners in crime with Posada, Orlando Bosch.  Now you have a clear observation of why we had 9/11 and possibly more to come.  We have exported death and violence to the four corners of the Earth with individuals like Posada and Bosch.

    Posada admitted to a New York Times reporter, that he organized a wave of bombings in Cuba in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist and injured others.  However, he is best know as the prime suspect in the bombing of a Cuban Airlines flight in Barbados in October 1976.  All 73 crewmembers and passengers including teenaged members of Cuba’s national fencing team were killed.

    In 2002, he was convicted of conspiracy to assassinate Fidel Castro in Panama.  Once again, with an allied of the United State, he was pardon.
 
    Our credibility has been eroded these past few weeks since Posada's arrival into our U. S. soil, with a bogus American passport.  According to Posada’s attorney, he has filed for an asylum claim.  This should be a free ticket to any other immigrant that is applying for asylum.  If an American made terrorist can get asylum, then it should be easy for an immigrant who is honest and hard working individual to get asylum.

    The FBI and the CIA has just released their Top Secret memos, of course they are now declassified, on Posada’s involvement with terrorist acts against humanity.

 Other American made terrorists are Mario Alarcon - Sandoval godfather of the death squads in Central America, Felix Rodriguez, and a Cuban exile who murdered Che Guevara, Major Roberto D’Aubuisson who led the death squads in El Salvador.  They all had American’s blessing in assassinations. This will affirm that the U. S. government is considers itself to be the vehicles of higher morality and truth and has yet, continue to operate in violation of law. 

Even though I’m known as a tranquil individual at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for a country that has a double standard of terrorism.  Where is the Border Patrol, Immigration, or Homeland Security when you need them?  Posada entered this country illegally, and most devastating, has admitted to bombing where civilians were killed. The FBI claims that they don’t have an arrest warrant for him, as the reason they are not looking for him. Wait, just off the wire, Homeland Security has just picked up Posada. Will he be extradited to Venezuela?  I don’t think so. He will probably be given a couple of million dollars, and will live in a secluded island for the remainder of his golden years. What reward to be an assassin for the United States government.

This world has become a very dangerous place to live, not just because of the evil people that control it, but also because of the individuals who do absolutely nothing to make it a better place to live.

For years, I have advocated that this country has become the worst human rights violator, and Posada and his Cuban criminals are proof that we are who we are.  Let’s not forget our human rights violations in Iraq, and just recently in Colombia, the assassination of Colombian Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado, Luis Eduardo Guerra. I’ve witnessed, time and time again, as an American Diplomat in Latin America, this atrocities that our government has committed. My biggest enemy was not the drug cartels but the CIA and the criminals they hired.  It is because of that, that I have now remained capable of feeling deeply in my blood when an injustice is being committed.

Celerino “Cele” Castillo, 3rd
Ex-DEA Agent
2709 North 28 ½ Street
McAllen, Texas 78501
956-345-5770
Powderburns.org
e-mail: powderburns@prodigy.net






From: pete katz <gatos@ccms.net>
To: "pedro gatos" <gatos@ccms.net>
Subject: Be close to a radio ............
Sent: Sunday, May 29, 2005 7:15 PM
Friends,

Good evening friends of truth and justice.

For the next few weeks please note that in addition to hosting ........"Bringing Light into Darkness".

 I will be substitute host for the KOOP Monday News from 5:30-6pm which will be followed by "Bringing Light into Darkness" from 6:00pm-6:30pm CST. Therefore please tune in beginning at 5:30pm to 91.7 FM, or on the web (webstreaming @ http://www.koop.org)  . 

Therefore, Don't Be Late! Tune in Tomorrow night, Monday 5/30/05 at 5:30pm - 6:30pm. We will have news and and a dialogue with a special guest from 5:30-6:30pm Central Standard Time. Celebrate Memorial Day by doing your 1 hour history homework assignment by tuning in!!!!!

Our guest will be retired DEA Agent Celerino "Cele" Castillo III, who after serving in Viet Nam and being awarded the bronze star, became employed and served for 12 years in the Drug Enforcement Administration. He served predominantly in South and Central America.

The eerie climax of agent Castillo's career with the DEA took place in El Salvador. One day, he received a cable from a fellow agent. He was told to investigate possible drug smuggling by Nicaraguan Contras operating from the Ilopango Air Force Base, El Salvador.

Mr. Castillo quickly discovered that the Contra pilots were, indeed, smuggling narcotics back into the United States - using the same pilots, planes and hangers that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, under the direction of Lt. Col. Oliver North, used to maintain their covert supply operation to the Contras.

Please join us for a dialogue with Mr. Castillo, on the day our nation celebrates Memorial Day for all fallen soldiers of war. Mr Castillo will reflect on our U.S. Foreign Policy regarding the War on Drugs and share his personal insights regarding the real motives he believes drives our policies and the experiences he has had that helped shape those beliefs.

Please forward comments, questions and ideas to gatos@ccms.net. Please pass the word and enlarge our concerns.

thanks for your interests and concerns,

respectfully and siempre fieles,

pedro gatos

PS. You can also send comments to the station both positive or negative to promote your feelings about the show and our community radio station at koop@yahoo.com



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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #95 
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000086&sid=aE0jrmFFPn_w&refer=latin_america

Venezuela presses for extradition of terrorist/contra cocaine dealer POSADA

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

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the 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


"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."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... 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. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #96 
Hola Cele,
 
I have just read your article on the web about Posada and Bosch.  I send along a composition of my own that you may find of interest.  Best Regards,  John

Making war on Cuban families

It was October 6, 1976, and the message read, "A bus with 73 dogs on board went off a cliff and all got killed." The message had been relayed to Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada in Venezuela from their two employees who had recently arrived in Barbados. Except, it wasn't a bus, it was an airplane -- Cubana flight 455 from Caracas, Venezuela to Barbados-Jamaica-Cuba.

Ten minutes out of Barbados, on the second leg of the flight, the first bomb went off. Fire, chaos, and terror were now on board. Inside, toxic black smoke filled the cabin. Miraculously, the plane was still airborne. After announcing the bomb to the tower in Barbados, the Cuban pilot headed back and could be heard desperately ordering the cockpit door closed in an attempt to maintain visibility for a hoped emergency landing. Five minutes went by -- and there was growing optimism, the old DC 8 was holding together. She was on a long, sloping descent in line with the runway. Then the second bomb went off in the rear toilet. That was it. Cubana 455 was going down. She crashed into blue Carribbean waters west of Barbados.

There weren't any dogs on board. There were mostly teenagers, and their chaperones. It was a team of yo