In The News

US Surgeon General Backs Medical Marijuana

“…The nation’s top doctor on Wednesday suggested an openness to wider use of medical marijuana, saying the drug might offer some medical benefits. “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told “CBS This Morning.”

http://thehill.com/regulation/administration/231717-surgeon-general-backs-medical-marijuana

US Drug Czar Approves DC Legalization

“…U.S. drug czar Michael Botticelli, though banned from supporting marijuana legalization due to federal law, says that the nation’s capital should be able to implement its own laws using its own funds, even if that does indeed mean legalizing marijuana…”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/06/michael-botticelli-marijuana_n_6633638.html

Justice Department Goes After Marijuana Mafia in Oakland

“…Lawyers for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag appeared in court Tuesday in an effort to shut down a medical marijuana collective in Oakland, California, despite federal guidance discouraging U.S. prosecutors from going after state-legal cannabis operations…”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/03/harborside-melinda-haag-appeal_n_6608768.html

Marijuana Proven To Be Effective Against Depression

“..Research has suggested that cannabis may be a promising treatment option for a number of different physical and mental health conditions, from post-traumatic stress disorder to chronic pain. A study released this week suggests that depression can be added to that list…”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/06/marijauna-depression_n_6622126.html

Cannabis Advocate: Ohio Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough

“…The leader of an Ohio families’ group that has been campaigning to get medical marijuana for sick children said Thursday a bill introduced this week in the state House does not go far enough to provide relief to the ailing…” 

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/02/05/cannabis-advocate-ohio-bill-go-far-enough/22940019/

Santa Ana Lottery

“…Thursday afternoon’s lottery was a result of the city-backed, voter-approved measure that says dispensaries can operate only in two industrial areas…”

http://www.latimes.com/local/orangecounty/la-me-0206-pot-shop-lottery-20150206-story.html

Cypress Hill Rapper Wins Marijuana Lottery

“…. Hip-hop group Cypress Hill gained fame in the 1990s with marijuana-themed songs like “Dr. Greenthumb.” Now one of its members might become a real Dr. Greenthumb after he and 19 other applicants won a city lottery Thursday to put them on a path to legally distribute medical marijuana in Santa Ana….” 

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-650380-marijuana-lottery.html

800 Plants Seized in Washington

“…Detectives in Washington state busted a massive, illegal marijuana grow-house that was cultivating pot next-door to a day care center, and helping to undercut the state’s legal marijuana market…”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/wash-deputies-find-800-pot-plants-day-care-article-1.2105478

Republicans Must Fold on Marijuana To Stay Relevant

“…those who want to see a Republican in the White House should take note – millennials could be the deciding vote in 2016, and marijuana law reform could be a key issue….”

http://www.newsday.com/opinion/oped/marijuana-legalization-could-unlock-millennial-votes-for-gop-in-2016-steven-moore-1.9912281

 

 

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Required Reading: The Blacklist

 

CIA

The following is a list of links of US Military, CIA and DEA (BNDD) operations from the Vietnam War to the Invasion of Panama that allowed for the global control of narcotics by US intelligence agencies in the 20th century. We have also included two video documentaries called ‘The Mena Connection’ and ‘Who Is The American Connection’, special thanks to Kevin Saunders & friends for providing this viewing material to our audience.

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Operation 40 & Operation JM-Wave (1959-1963)

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s; French-Corsican and Sicilian heroin traffic into the United States was largely facilitated through the nation of Cuba. Monies made from domestic heroin sales by organized crime were laundered back into Cuban banks to be converted to gold and stored in Havana. When Fidel Castro organized the communist revolution of Cuba, these mob monies were seized. Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, the founders of the Consortium organized Operation 40 along with the help of then Vice President Richard Nixon. A group of Cuban Exiles were trained by the CIA to carry out assassinations and terrorism within Cuba to overthrow the government, reclaim the mafia gold holdings and re-establish the French Connection heroin flows. Operation 40 was largely sponsored by Zapata Oil, who held large offshore Cuban oil interests and was owned directly by the Bush family.  Operation 40 would be the precursor to Operation J/M-Wave & the Bay of Pigs in which the CIA operation was sabotaged by President Kennedy to prevent the reacquisition of mob monies and make a severe financial strike against the Anglo-America Consortium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_40

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKoperation40.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbinger_Group (Zapata Oil)

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKjmwave.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JMWAVE

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/11/26/required-reading-the-bay-of-pigs-operation-jm-wave-part-1/

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/11/27/the-bay-of-pigs-operation-jm-wave-part-2/

 

The Phoenix Program (1965-1972)

During the Vietnam War, a large covert operation called the Phoenix Program was enacted by CIA Director William Colby to reopen heroin trafficking routes out of the Golden Triangle in Laos, Cambodia, Southern China and Burma which had largely been stopped by VietCong operations during the early 1960’s. The program was described to the American public as an assassination, terrorism and torture program against the VietCong but what wasn’t revealed was the large scale heroin trafficking of China White Heroin through the caskets of dead soldiers, from the Golden Triangle to the California ports of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego. Many Phoenix Program operatives involved in the CIA heroin smuggling operations would be recruited into the DEA for opening up cocaine trafficking routes in South America during Operation Condor in the 1970’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Program

http://spartacus-educational.com/SScolby.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Laos

http://legaciesofwar.org/about-laos/secret-war-laos/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vang_Pao

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laotian_Civil_War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Secord

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_K._Singlaub

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nugan_Hand_Bank

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Operation Intercept (1969)

Operation Intercept was an anti-drug measure announced by President Nixon at 2:30pm on Sunday, September 21, 1969, resulting in a near shutdown of border crossings between Mexico and the United States. The initiative was intended to reduce the entry of Mexican marijuana into the United States at a time that was considered to be the prime harvest season.” This was the first attempt by the Consortium to manipulate domestic marijuana prices within the United States as part of the beginning of Nixon’s War on Drugs. The price shock crushed many small and mid-level domestic marijuana suppliers who could not afford the dramatic price increase caused by the Nixon market blockade leading to Consortium control over the domestic US marijuana market for the first time. Nixon’s goal was to crush domestic marijuana production and make the US marijuana supply dependent on foreign imports which were largely controlled by Consortium assets (The Cartels). Nixon also used Operation Intercept as a tool of economic blackmail towards the Mexican government to make them compliant and cooperative with the impending Operation Condor which would establish continental narco-trafficking routes from South and Central America into Mexico and ultimately the US domestic market. Operation Intercept was largely an extension of domestic counterintelligence programs to suppress the Middle and Working Class populations during the Vietnam War, these programs were known as COINTELPRO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Intercept

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO

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Operation Condor (1969-1976)

Condor was a mass-scale terror and regime change operation conducted by the CIA and DEA in Central America to establish complete control over the South American narcotics trades. Operation Condor was largely mirrored after previous pro-right wing coups in Europe aided by the CIA in Italy, Spain and Greece and was largely intended to reestablish the international drug trafficking network after the end of the Vietnam War. The end of the Vietnam War, the French Connection and the Nixon Administration through the Watergate Scandal signaled the need for a new ‘Mexican-Colombian Connection’ largely based on the more profitable Cocaine The School of the Americas was created by the CIA and DEA to train cadres of high ranking military officials within the South American nations to stage coup d’etat’s, secret police, counterintelligence, counter surveillance and narco-trafficking operations within their own nations in return for ruling power. The School of the Americas was largely modeled on Operation 40 and Operation J/M-Wave training programs of Cuban Exiles and many of the former exiles were recruited back into the CIA to be utilized as experienced foreign operatives for the missions of Operation Condor. Operation Condor began with the reign of terror in Argentina known as the Argentinian Dirty War and the assassination of Salvador Allende in Chile with by the coup of General Augusto Pinochet. The Argentinian and Chilean Secret Police, SIDE and DINA respectively, served as CIA/DEA intelligence assets to further expand the cocaine narco-trade throughout South America and assist in the toppling of democratic South American governments in favor of cocaine friendly military juntas. Operation Condor was noted for its overthrow of governments in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor#The_.22French_connection.22

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKcondor.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_intervention_in_Chile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Chilean_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Hemisphere_Institute_for_Security_Cooperation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusto_Pinochet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Colombo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Colombia#Post-National_Front_years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alianza_Americana_Anticomunista

 

Operation Charly (1977-1986)

Operation Charly was a follow-up operation to Operation Condor to establish the Colombian and Central American cocaine supply routes for the Consortium from South America to Mexico by the CIA and the DEA using Argentinian, Cuban and Chilean paramilitary operatives previously used in Operation Condor. Condor agents were initially used to suppress Sandinista resistance to the cocaine trafficking regime of Anastasio Somoza. After the fall of Somoza during the Nicaraguan Revolution CIA/DEA activities increased with Condor Agents training the Nicaraguan Contra’s to transport Colombian, Peruvian and Chilean cocaine for CIA weapons (later known as Iran-Contra). The CIA would then transport the cocaine to the United States to be sold in the US domestic market to raise illicit non-congressionally approved monies for their global operations, especially the continued support of heroin smuggling in Iran and Afghanistan. To avoid the spread of communist insurgency from Nicaragua, Condor operatives expanded the School of The Americas training program to the militaries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to ensure the continued flows of cocaine traffic in Central America. Resistance against these Condor trained military regimes would lead to the notoriously brutal El Salvador and Guatemalan civil wars which resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Charly

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_American_crisis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemalan_Civil_War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvadoran_Civil_War

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaraguan_Revolution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Reorganization_Process

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Honduras

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_activities_in_Nicaragua

 

The Iran-Contra Affair (1985-1987)

Iran-Contra was an international Drug-For-Arms network created by high ranking members of the Consortium, among them former members of Operation Jedburgh, OSS China, Operation 40, Operation J/M-Wave, The Phoenix Program, Operation Condor, Operation Charly and military intelligence operatives that participated in the Iranian Revolution. The network was masterminded by General Richard V. Secord, Vice President George HW Bush, General John K. Singlaub, Colonel Oliver North, and Manuel Noriega with the assistance of Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger and National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane. The network consisted of cocaine supplied by Colombian Drug Cartels to former paramilitary operators from Operation Charly transported to the Nicaraguan Contras to be traded with the CIA for heavy arms during the Nicaraguan Civil War. The CIA would then transport the cocaine into Mexico, where it would be transported from the Yucatan Peninsula to be flown to Mena, Arkansas to be sold on the US streets, primarily in Florida and Georgia. The CIA would also use the cocaine to create and manufacture crack cocaine in Nicaragua and Mexico, which would be then transported to the streets of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, New York, Detroit and Philadelphia. The monies raised by these operations were used to conduct illegal arms sales to Iran through Lebanon and Israel, through the Iranian terror groups Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in exchange for high quality and high priced Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan heroin which was made inaccessible due to the Iranian Civil War, the Iran-Iraq War and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/11/24/required-reading/

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/12/07/required-viewing/

http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/9712/

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_affair

http://spartacus-educational.com/USAirancontra.htm

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_and_Contras_cocaine_trafficking_in_the_US

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Anti-Communist_League

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_V._Secord

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKsecordR.htm

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlaub

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKsinglaub.htm

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_North

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Freeway%22_Rick_Ross

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Poindexter

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrections_Corporation_of_America

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contras

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegations_of_CIA_drug_trafficking

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKowenR.htm

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKbosch.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War

 

Invasion of Panama (1989)

The Invasion of Panama was a military operation ordered by the leader of the Consortium President George H.W. Bush to silence rogue Consortium agent General Manuel Noriega of Panama who had been instrumental in the transportation of cocaine from Colombia into Central America during Operation Charly and the Iran-Contra Affair. Noriega had been a CIA operative since Operation 40 and had threatened to divert cocaine traffic away from the United States after his role in the Iran-Contra Scandal had been revealed. In 1988, the DEA indicted him on federal drug charges and the White House, under George Bush, began a propaganda campaign to label Panama’s government a ‘narco-kleptocracy’. In an attempt to blackmail President Bush, Noriega threatened to reveal his involvement Consortium activities which included narco-trafficking with the DEA, laundering drug money and exposing his special relationship with the CIA if he was not allowed to retain power. Bush responded by ordering a full scale invasion of Panama in 1989, on the pretext of protecting the Panamanian people and the Panama Canal while putting an end to the ‘narco-dictatorship’ of Manuel Noriega. US forces successfully deposed Noriega from power and arrested him. Noriega was put on trial in 1992 and convicted, with evidence from his trial largely censored by the CIA as classified material to prevent Noriega from speaking on his long history of being involved in Consortium activities. Noriega upon his release in 1999 was extradited to France to stand trial for a money laundering charge and was reconvicted in 2010. He was then extradited to Panama in 2011 where he suffered a ‘brain hemorrhage’.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_drug_trade_in_Panama

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Noriega

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama

http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKbushG.htm

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/11/30/required-reading-a-brief-history-of-the-cias-involvement-with-drug-smuggling-part-2/

 

VIDEO DOCUMENTARIES

Who The American Connection (Part 1 & 2) – Featuring former DEA agents Pat Saunders & Jerry Laveroni (1975)

Part 1

Part 2

The Mena Connection (1995)

 

 The Green Chazzan

 

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AbNORML: The Paraquat Panic of 1978

Stroup's Paraquat Propaganda

*EDITOR: From the archives of friends.

Paraquat

By Michael Chance (1978)

Paraquat is everywhere. One encounters it at parties, on street corners, it’s in the media every day. The only place it doesn’t seem to be turning up in abundance is marijuana, where, allegedly, it is poisoning the potheads of America. As a hoax, a story which has no basis in fact but instead feeds off the fears and unknowns in the public mind, the Paraquat Plot was a stone success, encountering no rivals in recent historical media hype. Not even the fearsome tales of LSD causing sun blindness, the 1973 oil cut-off or the swine flu tricked so many people so quickly. And as for deeper ramifications of the paraquat story, the people who perpetrated the lie for personal glory and political power, should have dues to pay.

Paraquat-exposure-head-injuries-triple-risk-for-Parkinsons-disease

Now that the smoke has somewhat cleared on the issue, and those people reported to be on their paraquat deathbeds have risen from the grave to rejoin the living, it is time to ponder the significance of this great [charade]. What it means to people who smoke marijuana and what it says about the pro-marijuana organizations charged with providing a touchstone for reality, a responsibility completely abdicated in favor of personal ego trips.

The story first broke in early 1977 with little fanfare. What began as a 10-inch sidebar in an a High Times Magazine article on Operation Condor, the Mexican government’s war against marijuana farmers in small region in the state of Sinaloa, soon mushroomed into a rolling bandwagon that attracted pro-marijuana lobbyists, the right-wing media, politicos and an army of opportunists. By the time the story had reached its peak there were terrified people in hospitals in a half-dozen states who believed they were dying of paraquat poisoning, in part because of the general inclination of doctors [to take advantage of the situation] and partly because the pothead generation is of a particularly suggestible consciousness. Commercial carpetbaggers offering paraquat identifiers and emulsifiers abounded. Indeed, so many testing kits hit the market that a sub-school of knowledge developed on the various merits of the kits themselves. Everywhere, people lived in fear of poisoned weed.

high_times_september_78

The Paraquat Issue (Top Caption)

At the height of the great Paraquat Panic people turned to “Recognized Laboratories”, as the DEA termed them, to shed light. It just proved to affirm Mark Twain’s observation that “figure’s don’t lie, but liars figure”. One is reminded of the mid-60’s scare stories that appeared in the media claiming scores of acid dazed people were staring at the sun until they burned out their retinas. It was a good scare tactic and stopped a lot of people from dropping acid. Two years later, it turned out the story was a hoax perpetrated by the good Samaritans at a Pennsylvania school for the blind in hopes of ‘saving the youth of America’.

In the case of Paraquat, the media crime of the century, the ‘Recognized Laboratory’ that collaborated with the law enforcement and foreign policy powers was Searle Laboratories in Chicago. Searle Labs benevolently offered to test marijuana for frightened marijuana users. The lab would soon issue a report that became the bible for cops, media sensationalists and NORML spokespeople. The report, sent to the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office, said their analysis of 40 randomly contributed samples of Mexican marijuana yielded paraquat contamination on all but one sample, 39 out of 40. And they claimed to have found that 30% of all ‘exotic pots’ – Hawaiian, Colombian, Thai etc etc. were also tainted with Paraquat.

paraquat-a-potent-weedkiller-is-killing-people-1983-science-digest-7-638

Let us consider this for a moment, first with the figures for Mexican marijuana. The mathematical possibility of the minuscule amount of marijuana acreage sprayed in Mexico, logarithmically calculated by the amount that was then allegedly harvested in its death throes by the Mexicans in the 214 hours they would have had to harvest and cure the bud – because you cannot pack or ship fresh weed until it is dried or it will turn into compost – calculated against the amount that would have made it by the highly scrutinizing eyes of wholesale buyers (if they were stupid enough once, to miss the mulched and grungy paraquat pot in the world of drug dealing barracudas) would never have another chance to make the same mistake [let alone] wind up on the streets of Chicago to mix at a 95% ratio with the megatons of marijuana there were not touched with Paraquat. The improbability was dimmer than those who unhesitatingly accepted the figures, among them Time Magazine, the national news outlets as well as Frank Fiormonti of New York NORML who used Searle’s figures in a televised editorial. As for the conclusion by Searle that 30% of all ‘exotic pots’ were toxic with Paraquat, that is not simply hyperbolic – but the traditional Big Lie. Paraquat has been used on marijuana only in Mexico. Any marijuana other than Mexican that turned up sprayed would have to have been sprayed by the sender, if paraquat was to be found at all.

searle

If figures provided by Searle weren’t suspect enough, one must always approach with caution as possible propaganda any statements pertaining to law enforcement matters that are issued from Chicago. Chicago is to law enforcement culture as Detroit is to the car and Hollywood to movies; a political, cultural, and media capital for the powerbrokers in these single-industry towns. The Chicago Tribune for instance is the unofficial national FBI leak source. Whenever the FBI wants to float a trial story, an alibi or a hoax, they plant it in The Tribune and other media across the country can pick it up from there. A classic example was provided by the FBI during the 1976 presidential elections, when a mystery story appeared purporting that a group of American radicals and Cuban Exiles were threatening to kill Gerald Ford. A few days later the so-called ‘plot’ was busted, and the FBI promptly pointed to the media coverage which had sprouted from the planted story as evidence that the people they captured were [dangerous] characters. In the news trade, this tactic is called ‘the Tomorrow Machine’, a sophisticated form of psychological propaganda warfare that originated in Nazi Germany.

paraquat-a-potent-weedkiller-is-killing-people-1983-science-digest-1-638

But this concept is secondary, it is a given that cops and scientists are going to fabricate stories about marijuana. They are the hardware and software of capitalism and its laws, pledged and paid to destroy threats to the medical and investment oligarchy that stand to lose the most with the legalization of marijuana. People who accept and digest such information run the danger of becoming an unwitting asset of the propaganda and its creators. We, however, cannot hold the police, scientists, and media to blame; for it was the pro-marijuana groups, particularly NORML, who pursued the myth the furthest. One of the earliest to fall for the story was High Times Magazine. Aureliano Segundo, Associate Editor in charge of the High Times News Department originally broke the story and tried to keep it from getting out of hand when he realized its political dangers. But, as he claimed, the clamor by the ruling elite of High Times for a sensationalist approach overpowered the voice for a more cautious and factual approach:

We had known for some time that they were spraying herbicides on the pot, and had wondered if it just killed the pot and dried it, leaving it dead but saleable. For a while there were rumors from our Mexican street sources that Agent Orange left over from Vietnam was being used. I called Craig Pyes, our stringer in that area, and asked him for the poop. He reported back that it was definitely not Agent Orange, but 2,4-D, a similar but less ominous variation.

A few days later – this all happened in the first few weeks of January 1977 – I ran across an editorial in a New Orleans newspaper, the Times Picayune I believe, taking the State Department to task for wasting a fortune in taxpayer money by sending it to the Mexican government to be used against pot. The editorial was based on what they called a secret government report by an Agriculture Department biochemist, Dr. Walter Gentner. Genter had been sent to assess the worth of the Operation Condor, as it was termed. He reported that there was enormous waste, particularly in the prices paid by the government for the herbicides paraquat and 2,4-D. Then, almost as an afterthought, the report mentioned that paraquat could be harmful should it be inadvertently consumed. I called Craig Pyes again and asked him about paraquat. Craig Pyes then contacted Dr. Walter Genter and asked him about the herbicides. He said that he believed they were using Agent Orange because he saw the empty barrels, but it turned out to be 2,4-D; but even then he said the paraquat being used on the marijuana was potentially dangerous. His report said that paraquat had caused more deaths, both intentional and unintentional, than any herbicide I know”

Segundo incorporated this information into a story for the ‘Highwitness News’ section for the June issue of High Times. It mentioned the Gentner Report’s gloomy prediction that paraquat could be dangerous but it ignored the fact that Gentner had meant the danger was to the workers, not the smokers. This was the first link in a chain of deceptions that has enslaved the minds of over 15 million marijuana smokers. Segundo himself has confessed that his actions were based on sensationalist appeal.

You have to realize the country is obsessed with ‘self’ right now. In times of peace people turn inward, so you have the self-awareness movements, the health movements, the anti-cancer and anti-smoking crusades, all the egotistical and self-centered highlights of the lifestyle that Tom Wolfe calls the Me Generation. I mean, look at the Red Dye Number Two and aerosol spray can scares. This stuff sells magazines!”

paranoia

Because of High Times four-month lead time, the story went out on the magazine’s news service in January. Scores of underground newspapers ran the story and politicians started climbing aboard the bandwagon as it gained momentum. One of the first was Illinois Republican Senator Charles Percy, who shot off letters to Washington asking if the charges in the underground press were true and what was being done about it. He was told by a State Department official that it was none of his concern. Peter Bourne also got into the act, asking the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to conduct a study of paraquat’s effects on marijuana.

Sen. Charles Percy

Sen. Charles Percy

For the next few months nothing happened. It being the summer period when most media people busy themselves with rewrites. In October, the story once again took off, owing in large part to High Times revolving news editor A. Craig Copetas, who wrote the story for the New York Daily News, America’s largest selling paper. Later that month the first of two government studies came in. The NIDA study stated that not much paraquat pot could be found coming into the country. Of several shipments generously donated to them by the DEA, they found several ‘partially contaminated’ bales. The study said it was doubtful that paraquat would be harmful if smoked, but that it could be harmful if ingested. They illustrated the point by stating that it would take 32 pounds of contaminated paraquat pot brownies eaten in one sitting to be fatal. Respectable marijuana dealers who worked the Sinaloa region denied that paraquat pot had ever come through their hands. The buyers were testing for it and nobody in Mexico could find any, it was only turning up once it reached stateside.

NIDA

Regardless of the government figures, it was at this point that the pro-marijuana lobbies should have gotten suspicious. Instead they gobbled up the figures and screamed for more. NORML held a press conference in which the first fifteen pages were verbatim reprints of NIDA and Department of Health shock statements that read like a 50’s movie script about killer weed. High Times Magazine held a press conference in New York saying that not only was the paraquat pot everywhere in America, but that it was a particular danger to school children who could not afford the higher priced Colombian and had to take their chances with Mexican marijuana. Segundo explained:

I tried to get the owner of the magazine to cancel the press conference, but he insisted that since it was going to be such a big story that we had better be the ones spreading the bad news”

NORML

At least two groups, the Yippies and the Confederation, an underground organization of pound and ton dealers who occasionally appeared at marijuana confabs to debate on major topics, quickly branded the Paraquat Panic a red herring. Part of the reason NORML went off the deep end in their acceptance of the government propaganda was because they arrived late on the issue, missing it in the first High Times articles and in the underground press until it was brought to their attention by NIDA and Peter Bourne. The embarrassment at their belated arrival on the biggest marijuana issue since the Marijuana Tax Act was so acute that they tried to make up for it by making outrageous claims. They easily outshined the police in their paranoid descriptions of paraquat pot at a press conference in Washington DC in March of that year.

Dr. Peter Bourne

Dr. Peter Bourne

Keith Stroup declared to a group of skeptical reporters that not only was the US brimming with poison marijuana, but that even the smallest amount would bring about an agonizing death. No matter that marijuana had been sprayed for the past three years without a single person ever sneezing from its effects. Stroup then called for a boycott of all Mexican marijuana, a position applauded by law enforcement agencies and mafiosos looking for higher prices. Stroup became the darling of the right-wing press, quoted more often than not to go cold turkey on marijuana than for advocacy of decriminalization, and he so loved the limelight that he continued to peddle the outrageous fraud long after it was debunked. He went on, at the press conference, to say that no one was safe, not even the rich; the finest Colombian Gold could actually be the tainted Mexican paraquat pot because they looked exactly alike! Even the press corps laughed at this claim, refusing to defame themselves by quoting him in their articles.

Keith Stroup

Keith Stroup

If there was a shred of doubt that NORML saw paraquat as a wagon to hitch their star to, it deteriorated when the New York Health Department came up with a cheap and easy method to detect paraquat at home. Sensing that such a test could defuse the paraquat issue and destroy their limelight, NORML blasted the tests as unreliable, although several recognized laboratories affirmed they worked. Why NORML chose to disregard labs like Searle in this case while previously touting their fabricated figures is obvious: sensationalism sell and controversy created cash.

1302627357

At last it seems that the paraquat scare is ebbing. A recent Time Magazine article quoted Searle Lab scientists as saying that there seemed to be more ‘style than substance’ to the Paraquat Panic. The New York Times, which prides itself on not getting taken by the day-to-day ruses headlined a story titled “Mexico Says Marijuana Poison Scare Is Propaganda”. The Mexican government contended, correctly, that “the whole campaign has been orchestrated by groups favoring the legalization of marijuana” in reference to NORML. Mexico’s Deputy Attorney General scoffed at the scare stories: “The traffickers aren’t stupid. They can tell the difference between yellow marijuana and the dark green, unsprayed kind. We’ve found loads of sprayed marijuana dumped by roadsides because the sellers couldn’t find buyers for it.”

He also pointed out that paraquat was not as harmful as suggested, that it was routinely sprayed on vegetables in 23 states, and used in 90 countries to protect sugar cane, tomatoes, cotton and citrus products. He stated that it was used widely in Florida, the Southwest and allowed to be on the citrus and sugar cane that American’s ate daily. Whether or not any of these facts will deter the stampede brought on by special interest groups and sensational journalists remains to be seen. Like the dangers of LSD and swine flu, there are some people who will always believe these theories, who need the Big Lie to substitute for true analysis, who need leaders because they cannot think for themselves, who need the writers, the politicians and NORML. YIP.

Top Headline Again

Top Headline Again

– The Green Chazzan 

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When The Grinch Stole Christmas: How NORML Sabotaged Marijuana Legalization in 1978

EDITORS NOTE: This is the true story, as told by its witnesses, of how NORML intentionally sabotaged marijuana legalization during the Jimmy Carter Administration. NORML’s leader, Keith Stroup, always claimed that he set up President Carter because of his administration’s use of Paraquat on the marijuana fields of Mexico during the late 70’s but as this story will reveal Stroup had far more sinister motivations. President Carter had in fact been using Paraquat to end the Mexican Cartel’s domination of the marijuana industry to create both a pathway and an economic advantage for a domestic marijuana industry within the United States. Stroup, at the behest of the Mexican Cartel’s and his need to maintain a paycheck, sabotaged marijuana reform leading to thousands of growers, vendors and patients incarcerations under the Reagan Administration of the 1980’s. This is the sad but true tale of how the leadership within NORML prevented marijuana’s legalization to save their own jobs and should be remembered by every pro-marijuana American before making a donation to their organization.

Excerpt from The Jimmy Carter Coke Scandal

by Mike Chance and Dana Beal (1978)

Keith Stroup - Traitor to The Marijuana Movement

Keith Stroup – Head of NORML and Traitor to The Marijuana Movement

The Peter Bourne Affair was the direct fruit of continued associations with cocaine among closely knit Carter insiders who had successfully diverted the 1976 U.S. Grand Jury investigation of cocaine dealing at a recording company headed by key Carter fundraiser Phil Walden. Bourne’s ouster not only blew the lid off their two-year cover-up of drugs and the Carter White House, but signaled Carter’s capitulation to DEA hardliners, as evidenced by his defense of the Paraquat spraying campaign despite the health threat to U.S. [marijuana] smokers. The second act of the Carter cocaine drama began casually enough, with a doctored prescription for Quaaludes for a woman on Peter Bourne’s staff. Suddenly one of Jimmy Carter’s key aides and top troubleshooters found himself front-page around the nation, the subject of another drug scandal.

Dr. Peter Bourne (Left) with President Jimmy Carter

Dr. Peter Bourne (Left) with President Jimmy Carter

Before the ink was dry on the Quaalude [scandal], follow-up stories had Bourne sniffing cocaine at a chic Georgetown gathering. Worse, the Georgetown bash in question was sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) as part of their annual conference – where, according to Gary Cohen of Jack Anderson’s office, Bourne partook of a rock of cocaine “the size of a prune”. In attendance were numerous minor officials of the Carter White House team as well as most of Washington’s ‘hip’ media people, one of whom later characterized it as “the social event of the year”. But while the gossip columnists and social pontificators [balked] at Bourne’s nasal habits; investigators at [the original] High Times, took another look at Bourne’s past. [They had previously published] evidence that a cover-up had occurred during the original Macon Grand jury investigation [known as Waldengate].

NORML

Bourne had been director of Georgia’s drug abuse program under, then governor, Jimmy Carter. He not only knew most professionals and prosecutors on the Atlanta/Macon axis, but was one of the earliest Carter Campaign Directors. During the time of [the 1976 election] Bourne was identified as Carter’s chief hatchet man for special campaign problems. Unlike Nixon’s unwieldy corporate-style campaign in 1972, only a handful of ‘Georgia Mafia’ (as Carter insiders were called) knew of the delicate negotiations going on, and perhaps only Ham Jordan was as well suited to talk to prosecutors and separate the wheat from the chaff as to whether Gregg Allman [of the Allman Brothers], Scooter Herring or Phil Walden would face the [court].

Phil Walden

Phil Walden

For 4 years, Bourne was Governor Jimmy Carter’s chief drug advisor, as he was to be later at the White House. Instrumental in liberalizing Georgia drug laws and enhancing Georgia’s image as the semi-hip center of the ‘New South’ in the early 1970’s. Bourne was also the nation’s foremost advocate of methadone programs for junkies. To add to his credentials as a middleman with the Grand Jury, Bourne had even, at the peak of Nixon’s War on Drugs been advisor to the White House Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention.

At the same time, Bourne was propelled by his wife Mary King, a liberal feminist, into the ‘hip’ new Southerner crowd of rock musicians, anti-war activists, leftists and local Atlanta glitterati. He was no stranger to Phil Walden, attending many of the famed Capricorn Records parties that Walden [hosted], which featured silver trays heaped with lines of cocaine. Carter’s election in November of 1976 seem to prove his born-again image was impervious to rumors about drugs. At the annual December NORML conference, Bourne gave the keynote address and even took a few discreet puffs without a murmur from liberal reporters present, hoping themselves for drug law reform from the new administration.

Dr. Peter Bourne

Dr. Peter Bourne

During Carter’s first year, a honeymoon atmosphere existed between the administration and the pro-marijuana bloc that had delivered votes in return for promises to decriminalize marijuana. Peter Bourne, Ham Jordan, Jody Powell and others around Carter got to know some of the pro-marijuana leaders personally. NORML head, Keith Stroup, spoke of his closeness to Chip Carter and presented himself as a sensible, controlled lobbyist who could push a sensitive issue like decriminalization without alienating too many of Carter’s crucial moderate supporters. Stroup in fact wrote Carter’s message on drugs, delivered in the summer of 1977, as a call for federal decriminalization.

But after a summer that saw 15,000 people engaged in civil disobedience on the 4th of July, defiantly smoking marijuana across from the White House [at the Annual DC Smoke-In] – the December 1977 National NORML Conference (the party where Bourne snorted cocaine) was marked by considerable infighting. Carter was intensifying use of the deadly herbicide Paraquat in Mexico [to wipe out Mexican Cartel grows]. Radicals [within NORML] defeated a bid to gain NORML endorsement, based on a decriminalization provision, of the represented criminal code revision once known as “S-1”.

Keith Stroup, head of NORML

Keith Stroup, head of NORML

Keith Stroup feared a power play by some NORML staffers and the White House to get rid of him [for his radical views and Cartel collaboration]. These staffers, in charge of the day-to-day administration at NORML’s DC offices, were the primary organizers of the National Conference. Stroup, in a ploy to change the flow of the convention, worked with infamous prankster Aron Kay to hit Joe Nellis, chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, with a pie as he gave his keynote address. “Keith paid me for the pie,” Aron recalls. “I only had a quarter, and he gave me $4 dollars. I got a lemon meringue pie.”

Stroup downplayed the plan after Kay let the word get around. But the next afternoon, as Aron sat with the pie, Nellis asserted that international law, in the form of the UN Single Convention Against Marijuana, superseded the US Constitution. Aron, seeing red, ran up to the speaker and let fly with the lemon meringue. In the resulting uproar, the conference coordinator Marc Kurzman took the microphone and denounced Stroup as the provocateur. A few days later, a Bourne aide who had been sitting next to Nellis fired off an indignant letter on White House stationary to stress the severity of the issue. Bob Angarola, general counsel to the Office of Drug Abuse Policy stated clearly that he was “upset…at the unfortunate pie incident”.

'Crazy' Aron Kay

‘Crazy’ Aron Kay

“I think they wanted Marc Kurzman to run NORML” stated a bitter Keith Stroup later in New Times Magazine “I told Bourne aides to pass on to their boss, a threat” that was as dangerous to Bourne as Kurzman’s had been to Stroup. He implied that he knew about the recreational drug preferences of certain senior White House aides. He also suggested that those preferences could end up in the newspapers so that the threat could “hit home”.

Stroup then took the offensive, launching the great ‘Paraquat Panic of 1978’, a publicity assault depicting a government resolved to poison those it could no longer afford to imprison. The tide finally turned when Stroup leaked to the press knowledge of Bourne’s drug habits. Bourne was first busted falsifying the Quaalude prescription, then the Washington Post broke the story on July 19 of 1978 that Dr. Peter Bourne was under investigation in Prince William County, Virginia, setting off a number of political mines.

Paraquat Paranoia

Paraquat Paranoia

Stroup's Paraquat Propaganda

Stroup’s Paraquat Propaganda

Bourne had been informed of the script investigation a week earlier and took a leave of absence from the White House, with pay, the morning after the news hit the papers. He was determined to stay on, convinced, along with his White House superiors, that he could weather the storm. He probably could have considering the Quaaludes were not for himself nor for monetary gain. It was embarrassing for the head of the nation’s drug abuse office but it wasn’t akin to Burt Lance’s ‘sticky-fingered’ loan [embezzlement]. Supportive stories appeared within hours, quoting doctors who said the writing of pseudonymous prescriptions was a frequent practice, especially among the rich and influential. The investigation came to a close and it appeared that Bourne would survive.

Consortium and OSS China Agent - Jack Anderson

Consortium and OSS China Agent – Jack Anderson

But that night everything changed with the almost simultaneous publication by [former OSS China Agent] Jack Anderson and the Washington Post of charges that Bourne had been seen by a number of people at a NORML party the previous December; snorting cocaine and toking marijuana. The stories that Stroup had planted months earlier with his allies in the media now blossomed in the summer heat. Bourne and the White House were besieged by questions from reporters: How much dope was there in the White House? Did President Carter get dope from Bourne? How were Gregg Allman and Phil Walden Involved? The New York Daily News, which had run the Quaalude investigation on page 3, now ran the new story on the front page with a 3-inch headline: “Pot, Coke, Tied to Carter Aides”.

president-jimmy-carter

The next morning, Bourne resigned – not because of his naïve script mistake, but because of the massive paranoia paralyzing Carter partisans, who assumed the nation would be outraged that a presidential advisor was using cocaine and marijuana. Drugs for pleasure by one who was supposed to be above such things. Worse still, Bourne, in the classic pattern of the exposed individual, turned himself and other aides in, for marijuana and cocaine use. Keith Stroup would receive retribution a few weeks later when NORML chapters across the country voted against his leadership for snitching on a fellow marijuana user, even if that person happened to be Peter Bourne.

Peter Bensinger and the advocates for a total marijuana crackdown were gloriously triumphant; the office of the White House drug advisor itself was simply abolished to make way for total DEA control. The message was clear; elected officials and their appointees were too corruptible to be trusted with drugs, their power was to be given to the keepers of the sacred flame of Law Enforcement.

Peter Bensinger in 1980

Peter Bensinger in 1980

As was universally recognized at the time, Carter’s actual concession to hardliners lay in sacking marijuana decriminalization completely. After all, official concern with the fate of one fun loving physician paled in comparison to the bureaucratic interests of the DEA’s 80% appropriations increase for enforcing marijuana prohibition. The outcome of the Bourne Affair resulted in even more serious implications for Stroup: the question of how a Virginia Pharmaceutical Inspector, later found to be a DEA agent, happened to be at the small suburban drugstore to intercept Bourne’s forged Quaalude prescription.

Keith Stroup  - DEA Turncoat?

Keith Stroup – DEA Turncoat?

Bourne and the White House had successfully stonewalled the press about Walden in 1976 but the expose by Stroup with Jack Anderson’s help seemed to threaten a firestorm of further charges. The intent of the exposing the drug czar’s involvement in the Quaalude incident became very clear to the press, the charges that Phil Walden used cocaine to fund Carter’s 1976 campaign, previously dismissed as incompatible with a ‘born-again Christian’ presidency, instantly became credible. The story was immediately reopened for investigation by a series of Michael Novak articles in the New York Post.

The threat of exposure by the original campaign finance scandal, originally only known to a small inner circle and the DEA, suddenly became real. With the appointment in December of Phil Walden to the advisory board of NORML, the organization completed its transformation from a marijuana lobby to a campaign committee dedicated to marijuana liberalization through a second Carter term. Unfortunately it was too little too late and Stroup’s damage was done. Dr. Bourne, whose tenure had largely become identified with the abolition of marijuana prohibition, was replaced overnight by DEA hardliner Peter Bensinger, who was already noteworthy for proposing stiffer penalties for marijuana than PCP.

Anti-Marijuana Activist Peter Bensinger

Peter Bensinger

A backlash of recriminations about the ethics of continuing to probe the personal use of drugs, which many reporters had used themselves, stopped the flow of leaks before it spread from the toppling of [the drug czar] to calling into question the [legitimacy] of Carter’s 1976 victory. Bourne’s regrettable involvement with [cocaine] did not turn out to be the last time the Carter camp would be involved in a cocaine scandal. As the first shock of from the discovery of the falsified Quaalude prescription was about to hit the White House on June 28 of 1976, Ham Jordan was being recorded doing lines at Studio 54. He would become the next major player in the unfolding cocaine scandal.

Carterfucked

**EDITOR**

The Jimmy Carter Cocaine Scandals, triggered by NORML and Keith Stroup, would lead to a series of other scandals of the Democratic Party throughout the late 70’s and early 1980’s perpetrated by the FBI and DEA called ABSCAM. This scandal, along with the Iranian Hostage Crisis and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan would ultimately lead to the fall of the Carter Presidency and the election of Ronald Reagan by the Christian Coalition in 1980. Ronald Reagan and the Republicans would lead the largest Anti-Marijuana campaign in the country’s history, going far beyond Harry Anslinger and Richard Nixon’s anti-marijuana programs with arrests for drug offenses rising 126% after 1980.

Reagan

Reagan

Current Vice President and lead politician for the national police union, Joe Biden, would help Reagan with the introduction of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, creating mandatory minimum sentencing, civil asset forfeiture for drug related crimes, and increased federal penalties for the cultivation, possession or transfer of marijuana leading to the arrests and incarcerations of millions of American citizens for marijuana possession. Biden is still considered “the head of the police union” in Washington DC and despite appearances, shares little trust with President Barack Obama, a silent advocate of marijuana decriminalization.

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

US Incarceration Rate

US Incarceration Rate

Keith Stroup would go on to create the ‘defend-and-abandon’ model for marijuana crimes as executive director of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), defrauding the helpless growers through intentionally inadequate legal representation. Stroup would later retake power over the NORML Board of Directors in 1994, and would force the resignation of Executive Director Richard Cowan in 1995. Stroup would ‘retire’ in January 2005, citing the need for ‘new blood’ alluding to a transfer of power from himself to other organizations like Americans For Safe Access and the NORML Legal Counsel to continue his legacy of fraud and manipulation over the national marijuana movement.

NORML

Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukkah!

  • The Green Chazzan
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Required Reading – The Origin of the DEA – Part 3

Excerpt from A New Heroin Conspiracy?

by Dana Beal (1982)

Bayer Heroin

Bayer Heroin

In a development that is scarcely surprising to veteran observers of the U.S. drug scene, DEA Director Director Peter Bensinger has concurred in an internal evaluation report [that very few] big heroin busts were performed by its Northeastern Office during 1980. Arrest figures for the Northeast Region, which is headquartered in New York but stretches from Maine to Delaware and include such main heroin centers as Newark, Boston, and Philly, have been lagging suspiciously behind the national trend-especially for heroin arrests-despite a ‘disproportionate’ commitment of resources and ‘inordinately high’ operating expenses.

 

For DEA critics, who predicted a big upsurge of heroin and other hard drugs when the DEA commenced its crackdown on marijuana two years ago, these statistics have significance far beyond confirmation of the critics claim that every time enforcement is diverted into a ‘War on Marijuana’, there is a heroin epidemic. The way gross statistical analysis showed a suspicious drop in heroin seizures specifically during an ‘epidemic’ has fueled suspicions concerning preliminary reports that New York Regional DEA Director John W. Fallon is also being investigated by the FBI on charges that he arranged to “expedite the entry of numerous private citizens into the country through JFK airport”. Are those the first hints of another high-level heroin conspiracy on the order of the classic Arnold Rothstein-Custom Service scandal of 1927? Of course nothing ever happens the same way twice, but once again New York finds itself inundated with smack.

Smack Scandals of 1927

high_society_heroin_in_a_jar_and_prohibition_poster

To get beyond banalities about today’s ‘heroin epidemic’ it might be enlightening to consider what happened (and happened many times again) in the 1920’s, the decade heroin was prohibited.

The 20’s is more commonly thought of as the decade of Alcohal Prohibition, but most people don’t realize that Prohibition-just as it hand unintended effects of glamorizing booze and promoting organized crime-made it possible for one man to monopolize smack during those years, and for a small group of officials in the Treasury Department to become rich.

Arnold Rothstein - The original Mr. Big

Arnold Rothstein – The original Mr. Big

Today, Arnold Rothstein is remembered as “the man who fixed the 1919 World Series” and inspired Meyer Lansky, but his real claim to fame is that with the help of insiders in the Treasury Department, he protected a monopoly controlling 85% of all smack in the U.S. by skillfully diverting enforcement efforts into Alcohal Prohibition. Trunk-loads of pure heroin were forwarded to Rothstein by cooperative Customs Officials under the protection of the higher ups from Washington, while machine gun wielding G-men routinely executed ‘wets’ apprehending beer brewers in their basements. The whistle was eventually blown, not in D.C., but when a U.S. Grand Jury in New York became suspicious and Arnold Rothstein was shot before he could testify. Before the uproar died down, the papers found out Rothstein had retained a lawyer (to defend himself against Income Tax Evasion) who happened to be the nephew of Colonel McNutt, Chief of Narcotic and Prohibition Enforcement for the Northeastern Region.

Harry J Anslinger

Harry J Anslinger

The resulting furor, as ordinary people realized that the Common Man’s booze was being persecuted to protect dope fiends, marked the turning point in attitudes towards Prohibition. But more immediately, it caused the breakup of the Treasury’s enforcement operations into separate alcohol and narcotics divisions, and the elevation of the son-in-law of then Treasury Secretary Mellon, Harry J. Anslinger, from bureaucratic obscurity to new U.S. Chief Narc. With these ‘reforms’ and the end of Alcohol Prohibition, you might expect that concentrated enforcement would’ve finished off heroin in America. But Anslinger’s particular contribution was to push for marijuana prohibition, and by criminalizing each and every instance of the use of marijuana, instead of just manufacture or sales, to insure that marijuana prohibition would be so labor intensive that it absorbed the energies of all 3,000 agents slated for layoff with the Repeal of Alcohal Prohibition.

Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky

As for barring further extra-curricular profits by Treasury Department higher-ups who had collaborated with Rothstein, the U.S. Grand Jury in New York was left to complain in 1929 that none of their recommendations had been implemented, and none of the agents who they had suggested be transferred or dismissed were actually dismissed. Rothstein’s scam was soon taken over by a couple of young [upstarts] named Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. Control of U.S. heroin-and following 1947, International Heroin-stayed in their hands or their successor’s hands up to this day, with inestimable historical effect.

 Reign of the French Connection

French-Connection (1)

The “War on Drugs” is a revamped strategy for calculated right wing rule of America involving:

  • Creation of a massive, Right Wing political cadre;
  • Virtual control over the policies of a federal police agency;
  • A coherent attack utilizing a gap in public regard for civil liberties to apply secret police-like terror to a scapegoat groups sufficiently large enough to have a chilling effect on society as a whole.

Only in the past few months has it become clear that the “War on Drugs” was deliberately fabricated in conjunction with top level Nixon-era Narcs and an ex-Nazi heroin and arms smuggling network stretching from Miami and Central Europe to La Paz and Bangkok.

birch_4

Heroin Fascism [Narcostatism], though less well-known than the Nazi Phalangist or Italian varieties, is a definite historical variant first explored in the book The Politics of Heroin in South East Asia. This study, published in 1972 by Alfred McCoy, suggests that fascism, despite 40 years of ups and downs in France, failed to crystalize into the classic mass totalitarian movement of Spain, Italy or Germany, precisely because of the role of heroin. The Corsican underworld that dealt it, acted as shock troops of reaction in place of the black shirted Fascists and storm troopers. Not only did the gangster taint keep the Fascists from winning elections, the shock troops were dependent upon the bourgeoisie politicians for power and racket protection. If [Narcostatism] precluded the emergence of Nazi-style Phalange, at the cross roads of fascism in Southern France, its less specialized, more traditional, gangster style enabled it to survive 1945 to continue its “anti-communist” work with the post-war sponsorship of the CIA.

The Marseilles Syndicate

The Marseilles Syndicate

For during the war, operatives of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA, had worked successfully with heroin kingpin Lucky Luciano in the invasion of Sicily. Not all Corsican mobsters aided the Gestapo, a significant group had emerged on the side of the French Resistance and the Socialists. It was the Socialists and the ex-Fascists with their gangland connections that the CIA turned to in 1947 to break the Communist unions in Marseilles. It was with the Mafia customers, international CIA sponsorship and political protection, first from the Socialists and then the Gaullists that the ‘French Connection’ came to control heroin manufacture and traffic until the late 1960’s. Then Vietnam and the ascension of Richard Nixon produced, according to McCoy, a revolution in International Heroin, although he and others like EJ Epstein (Agency of Fear) left us unsatisfactorily in the dark as to who came out on top for the rest of the 1970s. Late last year, a freelance Danish journalist named Henrik Kruger published The Great Heroin Coup and largely filled in the blanks.

Conein

Conein

What Kruger found was that the far right’s return to power was facilitated by the CIA in alignment with the Mafia:

The alliance was comprised of the China Lobby, OSS China Hands, ex-Jedbergh Team Members, Cuban Exiles, the Lanksy Syndicate, and CIA hawks pushing for all out involvement in Indochina and against Castro’s Cuba. It coalesced between 1961 and 1963, and its members had three things in common: a right wing political outlook, an interest in Asian opium, and thirst for political power. This last factor led to a common denominator in which the alliance invested heavily: Richard Nixon”

OSS China

OSS China

The instrument of the great heroin coup was Nixon’s creation, the DEA; but it was this larger coalescence of right wingers who already dominated poppy growing and stateside sales that considered further Corsican control over the traffic intolerable. Whether it was nationalist Cubans, Chinese or Italian Mafiosi veterans of the late 1940’s with vendettas against Sicilian Communists, they collectively viewed the politics of the Corsicans as unforgivably soft on Communism, especially with Castro.

Chiang Kai-Shek

Chiang Kai-Shek

Starting with money from the Chinese Nationalist Party (The Kuomintang) In Taiwan, gleaned from enforcing a heroin “cure” on 20 million Chinese opium addicts before Mao’s takeover, the group formed the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) in 1966 as a counter-force to Castro Tri-Continental Congress on Third World revolutionaries. Later that same year Aginter Press was created in Lisbon as a front for Portuguese and Spanish secret police, the CIA, and the anti-Gaullist French OAS (Organization Armee Secrete). Together, they redoubled efforts to wipe out whole infrastructure of French Intelligence and the Corsican gangsters who ran the heroin trade. For full satisfaction, the World Anti-Communist League, and its subgroups had to wait until DeGaulle was out and Nixon was in. Kruger implied that Pompidou never would have traded off his Corsican capabilities for better relations with the U.S. if he’d known how much it would curtail the capacity of French Espionage to swap guns and drugs for information without it appearing in the budget. The fall of the French Connection was utter and complete by 1973. Kruger’s accomplishment is to have documented its replacement in every operational theater of Europe, Asia, and South America by ex-Right Wingers connected to the World Anti-Communist League.

World Anti Communist League

World Anti Communist League

What he omits is the importance of the Iranian SAVAK and the War on Marijuana in diverting heat from Cuban/CIA heroin dealing nexus – operating in areas where the French Connection never operated or in aspects completely lost to European investigators. Far more crucial in his insights, is that the individuals who took over the heroin trade were not just anti-communist but ideologically Right Wing. The inevitable trends in the business of heroin, the ultimate neo-colonial commodity, has been to generate outright police state consciousness. The DEA soldiers of fortune that Nixon left in power, the Cuban smugglers carefully crafting their web of couriers, both had come to see the wisdom of eliminating all political risk of being shut down. But it had to be sanitized. To operate politically, they would need special organizations to mobilize the right wing base.

The International Right Wing Web

Nixon

Nixon

The CIA had been acutely embarrassed by the discovery that good portion of those being arrested in Operation Eagle in 1970 (the last real Justice Department operation against the International Heroin Network) were all Bay of Pigs veterans. Indeed keeping enforcement focused on marijuana from 1978 has provided a magic margin of safety for the smack dealings of Mitch Werbell’s protégés. Werbell being the former #3 Narc under Nixon. From the standpoint of building up mass right-wing cadre in this country capable of shifting and directing events, development of the War on Drugs organization solved a number of problems presented by earlier Corsican [Narcostatism].

  1. Compartmentalization – Having to use actual gangsters to battle it out with Leftists (ie. Marseilles in the 1930’s) means a constant threat that exposure of their racketeering will compromise the right-wing leadership among the very middle class they seek to attract. [Narcostatism] requires that political [groups] managing the liquidation of the Pro-Marijuana counterculture be buffered from contact with operating levels [to prevent public disillusionment].
  2. Keeping the Cuban Exile drugs-for-guns network distinct from the War On Drugs decision makers (via ex-CIA and ex-military) means that the Federal agencies, including DEA) can respond to the dominant public pressure group without having to risk political embarrassment.
  3. Growth of a right-wing [Pro-Prohibition] cadre gives the right-wing a highly disciplined group of shock troops with basic right wing attitudes already conditioned and reinforced by their ‘pogrom’ against ‘potheads’ and their collaboration with federal agencies like the DEA. These cadres are designed to recruit Klansmen, right-wing brawlers, street punks, criminals and radicals.
Otto Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny

[The Consortium] is the outgrowth of many years of planning in Madrid by the late ex-Nazi Col. Otto Skorzeny, who worked for the CIA in his fifties. It’s membership consists of former SS agents, OAS terrorists, Argentine and Italian right-winger’s, Cuban exiles, French and British intelligence and organized crime, and both current and former CIA agents, especially with experience in Operation 40 and the coups in Guatemala, Brazil and Argentina. Col. Skorzeny, formerly of the Nazi SS, was leader of the Paladin Mercenary Group until his death in 1975. Dr. Gerhard Hartmut von Schubert, formerly of Joseph Goebbel’s propaganda ministry, was Paladin’s operating manager. The Group was headquartered in Albufera, Spain; using import-export officers owned by Skorzeny, Spanish Intelligence under Col. Eduardo Blanco and the CIA as cover. The relationship between Spanish right-wing operatives with US and Spanish intelligence is highlighted by Spain’s purchase of silenced M10 machine pistols from Mitch Werbell in 1975, soon after the same M10 turned up in the hands of Spanish and Italian right-wing terrorists. It was rumored that Skorzeny effectively controlled Spanish intelligence for many years.

The Consortium

The Consortium

[The Consortium] was crucial towards fulfilling the dreams of not only Skorzeny, but other Madrid exiles like Jose Lopez Rega, Juan Peron’s right hand, and Prince Justo Valerio Borghese, the Italian ex-Fascist money man who been rescued from execution in Italy by OSS agent James Angleton. They, and other right-wing powers throughout North America, Europe and Latin America, envisioned a new world order built on the drug and arms trade.

1978: Genesis of a Heroin Epidemic

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

The U.S. drug policy hardliners, who in the 40 years since, have never been able to shutdown Mob heroin operations, have instead protected their bureaucratic turf by obscuring the central truth about heroin: like a cold virus, it is always present in the body politic. Someone is always trying to bring it in, because it’s so profitable. This is why the history of [heroin] busts are full of police or intelligence agents caught red-handed dealing it themselves. A heroin epidemic occurs when society’s immune-system – enforcement – is weakened or diverted from the heroin virus (by, say, a frivolous witch hunt against “Wets” or marijuana connoisseurs). Unchecked the virus multiplies in the cellular protoplasm (profits) until the growth medium itself is used up or destroyed…or the body politic reacts in time, and manufactures fresh antibodies.

images (1)

People get sick of smack and its effects. Early in the Carter Administration, a general reassessment seemed to offer possibilities of abandoning [marijuana prohibition] and producing an even more rational treatment of heroin based on the British model. Presidential Drug Advisor Dr. Peter Bourne felt cocaine could be controlled by making it “too expensive for the Middle Class”. But by December of 1977, the conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) – even before the loss of influence by Dr. Bourne and the NORML liberals – it became clear that a hardline Washington consensus was shaping up against smoking in general. Tough-talking HEW Secretary Califano decided that further marijuana liberalization was inconsistent with efforts to tighten up tobacco regulation, and the way was opened for Peter Bensinger and the DEA hardliners to crack down on Weed. ‘Bournegate’ in 1978 ended the liberals cozy arrangement with the centrist ‘drug rehab professionals’ (hired by the government to get kids off of marijuana and on to Thorazine) had the unforeseen result of strengthening right wing elements that NORML erroneously dismissed as ‘lunatic fringe’ even as they shared with Bourne the coke that lost him his job.

Nixon w/Shah of Iran

Nixon w/Shah of Iran

The ‘War on Drugs’ front organization, soon to be launched by the US Labor Party with cooperation from Black Muslim groups, was blessed by a singular international development which was to make them partners with US Drug Enforcement for reasons of state. The overthrow of the Shah of Iran in January of 1979, besides affecting oil supplies, completely disrupted business as usual in heroin. As authority disintegrated in Iran, the one guarantee against turbulence for the peasants was to plant some poppies. During the waning months of 1978, while the Shah teetered, another better-heeled class frantically converted their wealth into easily portable opiates.

In the U.S., where no less than the New York Post had described the Shah’s sister, Princess Ashraf, as the ‘Dragon Lady’ of doge. She ran a large network outside of Iran of her secret police, the SAVAK, who were already in place to peddle millions of dollars’ worth of smack necessary to reinstate the Peacock Throne. Cheap, pure stuff flooded New York, overdose death’s skyrocketed. Marijuana was out, coke was passe. The New Wave was infatuated in Soho Salons, lines of pure Persian replaced lines of Peruvian flake. Meanwhile, unregenerate U.S. ruling class interests of the Kissinger/Rockefellar stripe moved to confer legitimacy to an anti-marijuana hysteria deliberately designed to divert attention from SAVAK’s fund raising efforts. In June of 1979, facilities at NYU were made available to “prestigious medical conferences” on “new findings about the health hazards of marijuana”. The cream of anti-marijuana pseudoscience gathered with DEA sponsorship to hear reports on half-baked experiments and research, much of it 10 years old and previously discredited.

war-on-drugs

Figures released by HEW show that for the first time, marijuana use is down slightly among high school students; news reports about the “health hazards of marijuana” were cited as the reason by students who decided to quit. But alas for HEW, use of cocaine, was up among the same students, perhaps in sympathy with the more liberal views on the health hazards of white powders established under Carter.

  • The Green Chazzan
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Required Reading: The Origin of the DEA – Part 2

Excerpts from The Great Heroin Coup

by Henrik Kruger (1981)

Drugs Intelligence & International Fascism

Santo Trafficante

Santo Trafficante

Quote from The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia:

Heroin Kingpin Santo Trafficante Jr. boarded a jet in the summer of 1968 to seek his new fortune. Trafficante liked what he saw in his Southeast Asian tour. With enough trained chemists, his Mob could be supplied with heroin at fraction of what was then paying out to the Corsicans. But first the smuggling networks had to be worked out and the Corsicans had to be eliminated. That was a job for President Nixon and his White House staff, the BNDD, a White House death squad, and the Central Intelligence Agency.”

The Role of Nixon

Nixon

Nixon

Control of this effort was placed in the hands of a relative unknown, a young and inexperienced Egil Krogh, a newcomer. Krogh was less than satisfied with existing narcotics efforts, especially those of the CIA, whose intelligence reports, according to Federal Narcotics head Ingersoll, were decisive for the work of the BNDD (Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs). Krogh wanted the White House instead to handle the BNDD’s intelligence work. Nixon’s staff would then decide which drug traffickers to pursue. Krogh’s dissatisfaction was expressed to E. Howard Hunt, who immediately proposed an Office of National Narcotics Intelligence (ONNI) where all narcotics intelligence reports would be analyzed and follow up actions decided.

Conein in Vietnam

Conein in Vietnam

Hunt told Krogh he could enlist for the office experienced CIA figures, starting with Lucien Conein as its head. Nixon, however, chose William C. Sullivan instead. Once second to J. Edgar Hoover in the FBI, Sullivan had managed Division 5, which investigated espionage, sabotage and subversion. He also directed Operation CoIntelPro, the bureau’s vendetta against dissident political and cultural groups like the Black Panthers, and had been Nixon’s choice to direct the Huston Plan’s elaborate surveillance of U.S. citizens. Hunt nevertheless found a niche for his friend. Conein was assigned to the BNDD as a “strategic intelligence officer” and came to control overseas narcotics intelligence, originally the domain of ONNI, while Sullivan concentrated on domestic affairs.

The White House now controlled narcotics intelligence at home and abroad, but that still wasn’t enough. Nixon’s staff also sought to control enforcement itself, and that required effective strike forces. In January 1972, the White House set up the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) according to a plan conceived by G. Gordon Liddy. It became the domestic strike force under Mile Ambrose – whose government career ended with news of his pleasure trip to the ranch of a Texan indicted for narcotics and gun running. ODALE soon became notorious for its record illegal raids, no-knock entries into private homes and beatings of innocent people. Many called them the American Gestapo.

G Gordan Liddy

G Gordan Liddy

U.S. Narcs proceeded to wipe out the Corsican’s Turkey-Marseilles-U.S.A. pipeline, especially in South America ignoring Southeast Asia completely. In Vietnam, meanwhile from 1969 to 1970, pot sniffing dogs banished grass from the barracks and 90% pure heroin suddenly became available. 14-year old girls stuffed it in GI’s pockets for peanuts. By 1971, Congress found that 15% of all GI’s returning from Vietnam were addicted. Thus, when agents of French Intelligence were compromised bringing in loads welded into Mercedes bodies, and New York’s finest bragged of bagging the French Connection. The only heroin shortage came from there being 4 times more junkies on Election Day of 1971 than when Nixon was inaugurated.

That Nixon might have been involved is lent credence by the following quote from Dan Moldea:  “a former Nixon aide, not privy to the Haig investigation, says that one his associates in the White House mentioned to him sometime during the impeachment summer, that someone high up, maybe General Alexander Haig, was interested in Nixon’s possible ‘organized crime involvements’. That conversation involved a massive payoff from those in the Army Service Club scandals in Vietnam during 1969 and 1970, The aide says that the service club scandal ripoffs involved the Mafia and millions of dollars and that the main focus of ‘someone high up’ in the White House was on whether ‘the top mafia guy’ who ran ‘all these things in Southeast Asia’ had made payoffs to Nixon. The crime figure, he says, was ‘the one who was apparently known as the so-called mastermind or architect of the Southeast Asian drug trade, and was a very powerful and very well known as a mob leader. According to the government narcotics experts, the central figure in the Indochina Golden Triangle narcotics traffic was Santo Trafficante.”

Chief of OSS China - Paul Helliwell

Chief of OSS China – Paul Helliwell

In my opinion, the central manipulator in the whole narcotics scheme was the CIA or rather a faction within it. It is erroneous to treat the Agency as a monolith. Various lobby groups have their own agents in the company, generating internal power struggles that reflect political polarizations external to the CIA. Equally certain is the fact that one should take the agency’s new benign face with a grain of salt. Within the agency there remains powerful groups promoting continued support of ‘old friends’ in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The China/Cuba Lobby has traditionally been one of the most influential within the CIA and there is little reason to believe the situation has seriously changed. In addition to the CIA’s new official policy there is also an unofficial one. It manifests itself in such matters as the manipulation of the DEA to perform what previously had been CIA dirty work, and in toleration, if not encouragement of a large, apparently independent army of Cuban exile terrorists, available for action in Latin America at the request of the presiding dictators.

The evidence suggests that the forces behind the unofficial policy were able to place many of their loyal CIA agents in the DEA, and in such private intelligence agency covers as Intertel and Wackenhut, where they continue their tasks while letting the agency wash its hands. Intelligence is still gathered by the CIA, but some of the dirtiest operations are now performed by ‘former’ agents. We cannot of course, discount the possibility that the unofficial policy is in fact executed by former agents who had either been purged from the agency or left in protest against its new moderate political line. However that implies that a renegade CIA faction now runs an independent service, aided by lobby interests ie. Not Intertel but as an even more powerful third force. If that is so, I can come up with only one lobby group with the relevant motives as well as the power to back them – The World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The League can mobilize CIA agents closely associated with the China/Cuba/Chile Lobby, especially the large contingent of former agents from the Nazi Gehlen organization, Hitler’s intelligence agency which became the BND, the West German equivalent of the CIA.

 CIA ‘Old Boys’ Work DEA Scam

E Howard Hunt

E Howard Hunt

E Howard Hunt and Lucien Conein pulled off the great heroin coup. Hunt secured Cuban exiles including Barker and Manuel Artime to kidnap and assassinate the independent French Narcotics-for-guns traffickers in Paraguay and the rest of South America, while Conein focused White House attentions exclusively on the Corsicans, with whom he had previous experience as a member of Operation Jedbergh.

Creation of the DEA was intended not consolidate but to obfuscate. To quote Customs Official Ron Rosenbaum:

BNDD and Customs are finally getting somewhere, they break up the French Connection, and they’re getting big conspiracy cases. Suddenly they [the White House] step in and there is this big shake up, and by the time people get back to work the Mexican Connection is set up, protected and doing big business. What does this say to you?”

The Mexican Connection

The Mexican Connection

Mexican heroin included not just the brown mud locally produced to provide cheap stuff for new users in the States; it included regular transshipments of No. 4 China White from Southeast Asia for the veins of the most discriminating users. The emergence of the DEA was the next to last phase, Hunt and Conein’s CIA agents moved into DEA intelligence and operations. Conein located 12 Latino CIA agents in his Special Operations Group alone. His forces were directed mostly against small time independents, the biggest Cuban network led by Santo Trafficante remained untouched.

That brings us to the last, political phase of the heroin coup, which began with the DEA’s 1974 takeover of the CIA’s Latin American torture apparatus and ended with the formation of CORU, a terrorist army. The brutalities financed by the heroin coup continue. The DEA protects major narcotics dealers. The latter support – financially through gun running – anti-Communist paramilitary groups which work hand in hand with Latin American police and military forces, whose death squads and torturers are supervised by agents of the DEA. There is reason to believe that there are 2 ‘wings’ of the DEA – one of them ‘clean’ and out to bust the other, crooked one – and the split is dated right from the formation of the Agency under Nixon.

Final Consolidation of the DEA

DEA

DEA

In July of 1973, Nixon’s narcotics forces were essentially consolidated according to Reorganization Plan No. 2 worked out by former CIA agent Walter Minnick and Egil Krogh. The DEA formed from the ranks of BNDD, ODALE, ONNI and Customs Intelligence. 4,000 operatives including 50 CIA agents (among them Cubans from the ODALE hardcore), 500 customs agents and most of the BNDD staff made the DEA a powerful new agency. No bureau has been as plagued by scandal as the DEA has in 7 years of existence. The exposes and charges run the gamut from trafficking in drugs, teamwork with the Mob, and protection of major traffickers, to thievery, gunrunning, torture and assassination of drug traffickers.

When Lucien Conein became the head of the DEA’s Special Operations Branch he allegedly carried out an assassination program after setting up the DEA’s Special Operations Group (DEASOG) under cover of the B. R. Fox Company housed on Connecticut Avenue in Washington DC. DEASOG shared its Washington office with an old friend and colleague of Hunt and Conein’s from OSS China, the weapons dealing soldier of fortune and specialist in assassination, Mitch Werbel III. Werbell had been a business partner of Conein’s as late as 1974 and they had worked together on providing the DEA with assassination devices. Among Werbell’s other associates were Frank Sturgis, the leaders of the Cuban Exile and Robert Vesco, who, like Werbell, has been charged with bankrolling narcotics smuggling.

Mitch Werbell III

Mitch Werbell III

Assassination, it can be argued became a modus operandi under Richard Nixon. The CIA carried out extermination campaigns in Vietnam, Guatemala, Argentina and Brazil – aided in Latin America by local military death squads. The White House appears to have sponsored a secret assassination program under the cover of drug enforcement. It was continued by the DEA, which seemingly overlapped with the CIA in the political arena. Until 1974 the training of torturers and members of Latin American death squads came under the auspices of the CIA and USAID’s Office of Public Safety. Some 100,000 Brazilian policemen, for example, were trained and 523 of them were chosen for courses in the USA. They were trained at the International Police Academy in Georgetown and at a secret CIA center in the same city on R street, under cover of International Police Services Inc. When school was out the prize pupils returned home to moonlight with the death squads.

After Tupemaros guerillas kidnapped and killed the U.S. police advisor Dan Mitrione in Uruguay, Washington’s schools for foreign police came into the limelight and Congress cut off their funding. Nonetheless, training programs and direct assurance through supervision continued. A 1976 investigation authorized by Senator James Abourezk revealed that the U.S. torture academies had not been in fact completely closed down. According to Jack Anderson, Abourezk found such a school had been in operation since 1974 in Los Fresnos, Texas at the site of a former bomb school. Another journalist, William Hoffman, later confirmed the existence of the school for torture at the same site and that it had since moved to Georgia, where it was known as the Law Enforcement Training Center. Interestingly, Conein’s friend Werbell runs his own large training center in Georgia called The Farm. It’s used for, among other things, the training of law enforcement officials.

Lopez Rega

Lopez Rega

Much of the old police support apparatus was simply transferred to AID’s International Narcotics Control Program (INC) which was controlled by the DEA. In 1974, the DEA utilized 400 agents in Latin America or roughly the number of advisors recalled from the OPS program. INC’s budget for technical equipment abroad jumped from $2.2 million in 1973 to $12.4 million in 1974.The politics of the new drug effort was exposed in 1974 when the man behind Argentina’s notorious death squad, the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance (AAA), Social Minister Lopez Rega, appeared on TV with U.S. Ambassador Robert C. Hill to publicize the two nation’s anti-narcotics collaboration with the words “The Guerillas are the main users of drugs in Argentina. Therefore the anti-drug campaign will automatically be an anti-guerilla campaign as well”.

It’s striking how close the various extermination and repression campaigns have been to the narcotics traffic. The Meo Army deployed by the CIA in Laos smuggled large quantities of opium. Lopez Rega and his Argentine AAA henchmen were eventually exposed as keys to a cocaine ring. One of the chief AAA hatchet men, Francois Chiappe, was a lieutenant in the Ricord-David heroin network. He had excellent connections in Peronist circles. A former OAS Commando Delta member in Algeria, he remained in touch with other OAS figures assembled in the Paladin Group, a fascist terrorist combine founded in Spain by the Nazi war criminal Col. Otto Skorzeny. It was among the organizations to which Juan Peron’s grey eminence. Jose Lopez Rega, formed the dreaded AAA terror death squad.

Otto Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny

When the Peronist Hector Campora became President of Argentina in May 1973, Chiappe was released and immediately recruited back into the AAA. When Peron himself returned a month later from 18 years of exile in Spain, an enormous crowd gathered at Ezeisa airport on June 20 to greet him. Among them was a large contingent of Monteneros and other Leftists, security police were well aware of their presence. Police and AAA terrorists led by Col. Jorge Osinde attacked the demonstrators with machine guns and hand grenades. 100 were killed and 300 were badly wounded. The AAA’s prisoners were dragged to the airport parking lot and tortured. Two of the more zealous hatchet men were Chiappe and former OAS Colonel Jean Gardes.

Many of the Corsicans booted from SAC fled to Spain to join the Paladin Group where they learned to work side by side with former OAS agents. Paraguay’s most ruthless officers were exposed as heroin profiteers, and finally as we go to press we learn that dictator, Pinochet, assumed control of Chile’s cocaine trade, then turned it over to his secret police, the DINA, who work with the Cuban Exile group operating under the DEA.

Mitch Werbell and The Mexican Connection

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo

Alberto Sicilia Falcone, “The Mexican Connection” who was not even Mexican but a Cuban Bay of Pigs veteran, turned up in Mexico in 1973 at the hub of a gigantic heroin and marijuana establishment. He was arrested when it was discovered that he was trading China White for guns to destabilize the Mexican government under Echevarria. On July 2 1975 Sicilia-Falcone was arrested. Under heavy interrogation he claimed to be an agent of the CIA and that the drug ring had been set up on orders from and with the support of the agency. Part of his profits were to go toward the purchase of weapons and ammunition for distribution throughout Central America for the destabilization of ‘undesirable governments’. If true, the U.S. heroin addicts were again footing the bill for clandestine paramilitary operations and Anti-Communist terror campaigns. Sicilia-Falcone and his Syndicate associates were not short of funds, police found two Swiss bank account books in his possession to the tune of $260 million. In the Sicilia-Falcone case the CIA and DEA struggled bitterly against one another. It was sympathetic of the split within the DEA’s own ranks, a split rooted in the effective control of its narcotics division by transplanted agents of the CIA. Since the DEA’s emergence, many agents have resigned in disgust.

Mitch Werbell, as former Number 3 White House Narc under E. Howard Hunt, Conein and Nixon was permitted to operate with impunity. In August of 1976 Lucien Conein’s chum Mitch Werbell (whose BR Fox Company served as cover for Conein’s Special Operations Group) was brought before a Miami federal court on charges of conspiracy to smuggle 50,000 pounds of marijuana a month from Colombia to the United States. Werbell was found innocent and released, just like the Thai opium smuggler and CIA agent, Puttaporn Khramkhruan before him in 1973. He went home to Georgia to pursue his weapons business and law enforcement training camp. According to writer, Hank Messick, 1978 he was involved in Far Right politics with the likes of Major General John K. Singlaub (who was relieved of command after outspoken criticism of President Carter) and members of the American Security Council – the key US link to the Far Right’s national umbrella organization, the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). As reported recently in the New York Times, the beneficiaries of his anti-terrorist training have included members of the Far Right and Anti-Semitic U.S. Labor Party.

General John K. Singlaub

General John K. Singlaub

Werbell owns 8 companies, most of them dealing in firearms used by law enforcement and intelligence units. One of the firms, Studies in the Operational Negation of Insurgents and Counter-Subversion (SIONICS), specializes in the production of M10 and M11 silenced machine pistols. The latter 2 weapons, designed by Gordon Ingram and Werbell, are about the ultimate weapons for terror and extermination. Their sales agent was Werbell’s Military Armament Corporation. Together with the Anti-Castro Cuban arms dealers Anselmo Allegro and the mercenary, Gerry Hemming, Werbell founded the Parabellum Corporation in 1971 in Miami. Parabellum was licensed by the government to sell arms to South America. It was also the firm from which Frank Sturgis planned to obtain weapons for Cuban Exiles who were going to disrupt the Miami 1972 conventions.

In 1974 Werbell – according to a motion filed by his own lawyer when Werbell, his son and his company Defense Services Inc. were charged with illicit weapons sales – was involved ‘in a conspiracy among the CIA, Robert Vesco, and various corporations to finance clandestine guerilla activities in Latin America.” Vesco wanted to purchase Werbell’s stock of 2,000 silenced M10 machine pistols. When Werbell failed to secure an export license, he devised a plan to smuggle the weapons to Vesco. The two later negotiated the construction of a factory in Costa Rica which would be licensed to fabricate pistols. Intriguingly in the same period someone was negotiating with a U.S. firm for rights to fabricate in Mexico, fully automatic weapons for clandestine activities in Latin America. That individual was Mexico’s Cuban Exile Heroin Czar, Alberto Sicilia-Falcon, and among the weapons he purchased were the Ingram M10 and 9mm Parabellum.

Although the M10 and M11 could be acquired through special US permission, large numbers of silenced M10’s turned up in the hands of European right wing terrorists from 1975 to 1977. Pierluigi Concutelli, leader of the Italian terrorist group Ordine Nuovo, was arrested in Rome in 1977, police found a silenced M10 in his apartment, which he had used to murder the Roman magistrate Vittorio Occorsio. The magistrate had been shot on the streets of Rome in July 1976 after announcing he would expose the close collaboration between Right Wing groups and the Mafia. However, it was among Spanish terrorists in particular that Werbell’s machine pistols appeared in quantity. Most notably, a sizeable consignment of M10’s sent to Spain under license from US authorities had been purchased by the Spanish Intelligence Agency DGS, who had allegedly coordinated the terrorist attacks.

Robert Vesco

Robert Vesco

The fugitive billionaire Vesco employed a large contingent of trained Cubans to run his Costa Rican operation. His weapons negotiations coincided with the efforts of the fanatic Anti-Castro leader Orlando Bosch who assembled many of the Cuban cells into the terror group CORU, that would later carry out wet work assassinations for several Latin American regimes. During Bosch’s 1975 drive, a wave of murder struck Miami’s Cuban exile haven. Most victims were opposed to Bosch, and with them removed CORU was firmly established in June of 1976.

Vesco also once employed narcotics agents, in 1972 two bugging specialists from BNDD flew from Los Angeles to New Jersey to sweep Vesco’s house and office of surveillance devices. The sweeping tour had been arranged by an admitted friend of Vesco’s who had also been involved in supplying the fugitive with 2,000 machine guns and helping him establish a weapons factory in Costa Rica.

Heroin and The Strategy of Tension

Mussolini

Mussolini

The great innovative leap beyond the Corsican’s they displaced is that they are fully prepared to utilize the heroin traffic, not just to make money but to promote a strategy of tension. The ‘strategy of tension’ was a concept invented by Benito Mussolini as a way of turning around the Marxist idea of class struggle. Mussolini preached collaboration between workers and capitalists, but in capturing power he welcomed class struggle because the strategy of tension would exploit turmoil and chaos to win over weary middle elements who just wanted peace. When his black shirted Fascisti attacked the communists, it only created more demand for severe law and order measures from the police that he controlled.

It took Mussolini about 6 years to come to power. In his final days of government consolidation he turned against liberal newspapers and other voices of dissent. Locking them up became a moderate alternative to the continued violence of the extreme Fascisti whom Mussolini claimed he had to pacify. This would not be politically possible today, yet by maintaining the plausible deniability of complicity between the three working parts of the War on Drugs politicians (The Big 5 Bloc: Tobacco, Alcohal, Prisons, CIA/Police and Pharma), narcotics agencies and drug cartels, today’s far right wing rising to power on a tide of violence. The beauty of it is while 85% of drug busts continue to be for weed, none of the heat for diverting enforcement from heroin backfire on the narcotics agencies.

WaronDrugs

All 3 levels exploit the air current together. The top – War on Drugs Bloc – (**Editor: The Consortium**) directs the next level down – DEA and Narcotics Officials – against petty groups, individuals and non-conformist states, while keeping outside factors like the press from focusing on the bottom level, which was formed with the trained commando groups – Cuban Exiles, Ex-Iranian and South American intelligence assets, and trained members of various crime syndicates to distribute the heroin and influence the entertainment and media world.

war-on-drugs

Instead of compromising right wing reputations or upsetting their strategy, the very smack traffic they’re protecting fosters the street crime which new right wing politicians can, in turn, use to get elected or re-elected, by calling for more police, more prisons, more foreign operations and more law & order.

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

Heroin Fascism (**aka Narcostatism**), which was supposed to be far away or ‘over there’, confined to Iran, Afghanistan or the Golden Triangle of Burma, has come home to New York’s Lower East Side with a sense of vengeful economic super exploitation and increasingly cavalier repression of the populace. Not only does it eliminate non-conformists and undesirables, the whole combine sets up sympathetic vibes in widely separated scenes, so that normal people with common sense who wouldn’t listen to the War on Drugs Bloc, and maybe even disparage the DEA, end up being conditioned into surprisingly right wing attitudes in order to ‘get ahead’ within the system.

bush-salute

 

When we look at the flood of heroin now coming in from the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan Golden Crescent, it is said to be ten times more than the early ‘70s flow from the Golden Triangle, and a hundred times more than the Corsican flow from Turkey. The situation has passed its breaking point, how long can the great heroin scandals of 1981 continue to be obfuscated and covered up depends on the sincerity of the investigator and reporters who are supposed to print the truth.

Activists Ptotest Crackdown On Medical Marijuana In San Francisco

 

– The Green Chazzan

 

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Required Viewing

Lord of The Golden Triangle (8 min each)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

The CIA’s Secret War in Laos (1960-1970) Best Film Archives

The Secret Government (Bill Moyers PBS 1987)

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Required Reading: The Origin of the DEA – Part 1

*EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article was written during the beginning of the Church Committee investigating illegal activities by the CIA. This article contains Col. Lucien Conein’s statements to members of that investigation committee.

Excerpt From “DEA Shopped For Assassination Gear” by AJ Weberman (1978)

Images of Conein Are Rare

Images of Conein Are Rare

…Lucien Conein at age 17 fled his hometown in Kansas to join the French Foreign Legion during World War II. He would be recruited into the OSS in France where he lived and fought with the Corsican Mafia as part of The Resistance. The Corsican Brotherhood is an underworld organization deeply involved in the international drug trade which proved to be sometimes more dangerous than their Sicilian counterparts.

After the liberation, Conein parachuted into Vietnam to join the OSS Team fighting the Japanese alongside Ho Chi Minh and General Giap. In 1954, he was back in Vietnam fighting his old allies as one of General Edward Lansdale’s Special Forces Team. He helped President Diem consolidate power in Vietnam, but in 1963  he was Henry Cabot Lodges’ liaison at the US Embassy along with the cabal of generals who murdered him. Although Conein married a Vietnamese woman, and was on intimate terms with most of the Vietnamese high command, he was sent back to Washington as most in the CIA considered him ‘unstable’.

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg

He soon returned to Vietnam as part of an elite counterinsurgency team which included Daniel Ellsberg. It was this association which brought him to the attention of E. Howard Hunt at the Nixon White House, who knew Conein from OSS and Operation Jedburgh. Hunt consulted with Conein regarding forged telegrams he had produced implicating that Kennedy had ordered the assassination of Diem. For his complicity, Conein was rewarded with a high ranking position at the Drug Enforcement Agency as its liaison to the CIA. He would eventually be promoted to Head of Special Operations of the Strategic Intelligence Section of the DEA.

Conein, when questioned about his activities, was called upon a remark made about the BR Fox Catalog of military assassination equipment indicating that the company was owned by Mitch Werbell…Conein went on to claim that BR Fox was legally licensed and doing work for the US government. In reality, BR Fox was part of the government, an appendage of CIA agent Bernard Spindel, who had worked closely with Jimmy Hoffa. In 1974, the BR Fox Company shared an office with Mitch Werbell in the La Salle Building on Connecticut Avenue in Washington DC. This was during the period that Werbell was negotiating an arms deal with Robert Vesco, a fugitive in Costa Rica. Werbell sold Vesco 2,000 silenced machine pistols but was unable to secure an export license, instead agreeing to build an arms factory in Costa Rica. Werbell reportedly transferred the arms shipment to 12 CIA agents who were used by Conein to conduct paramilitary operations against ‘drug smugglers’.

Mitch Werbell III

Mitch Werbell III

Conein denied attempting to appropriate assassination equipment from Werbell despite being a known CIA/DEA assassin in South America. Peer da Silva, former Saigon Station Chief commented: “You have to start out with the premise that Lou Conein is crazy. He worked with me in Vietnam, if work is the word, in CIA we have all kinds of villains and rogues involved as well as heroes, and within reason if you keep them all under control, then people like him can do things that other people cannot do and that is how they survive”. Conein once told journalist George Crile III that the DEA “had no cover as far as breaking laws  and after the damn Church Committee we will have even less. You can’t do it because 12 or 13 years later you might have to stand up there with your balls exposed.”

Document #1

MEMORANDUM: PETE KINSEY (SEN. WEICKER)
SUBJECT: INTERVIEW WITH COL. LUCIEN CONEIN

On January 21, 1975 Senator Weicker and I interviewed Col. Lucien Conein who is currently the head of special operations of the strategic intelligence section of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Conein said that he retired from the CIA in 1968. In 1969, he went to South Vietnam on his own where he tried to make some money through his connections. Being ‘unsuccessful’ he returned to the US in early 1971. He went to France with his wife for six weeks and returned in April of 1971. Upon his return, he was contacted by the White House regarding his knowledge of opium in Southeast Asia. Egil Krogh was the first person to talk to Conein about this, he asked him about the drug situation and what he would do if he had the responsibility to run counter-operations. Conein prepared a paper in response, outlining his actions and ideas to Krogh.

Krogh asked Conein to set up a drug intelligence organization, explaining that while the White House was receiving input from Customs and the Bureau of Narcotics (BNDD) that he wanted an outsider. Conein wrote a second brief stating that trafficking organizations had to be penetrated using the same clandestine means employed by the CIA in Southeast Asia. Conein then received a call to discuss issues further with E. Howard Hunt in early July of 1971. Hunt guaranteed that Conein’s orders would come directly from the President and be under the legal protection of Executive Privilege. Hunt interviewed Conein at the White House and asked him about Daniel Ellsberg who had worked with him in Vietnam was creating a stir with the Pentagon Papers. Conein said that Ellsberg was thought very highly of, so much so, that he was recruited into Ambassador Porter’s staff.

Conein said that he was surprised when camera crews arrived at his house following the release of the Pentagon Papers. Conein said Bill Gill of ABC handed him a copy of the New York Times and had underlined Conein’s name in numerous places. Conein told Gill that he could not speak with him because of the security requirements placed upon him by the CIA. Gill then told Conein that he would contact the CIA to obtain permission for Conein to talk. The CIA told Gill that Conein’s information was classified.

Conein denied direct contact with Kissinger although he admitted to frequent contact with his aides. He said that he knew Haig from Vietnam and knew John Lehman as well but that others ‘he couldn’t remember or recall’. Conein admitted that Hunt called to verify the conversation with the press and that the CIA had arranged to meet him for debriefing at a local bowling alley. Conein alleged that he was given an envelope with $500 inside with $20 denominations. He scoffed at the amount and reportedly mailed back the envelope with the money to Langley signed ‘Luigi’.

Conein claimed he was contacted by the media again for an NBC white paper being developed on the Diem coup. Conein was told by the White House that they were interested in seeing him interviewed, in particular to relay the prepared information by Hunt as to how they wanted to put Diem’s death on Kennedy. Conein refused, stating that his only interest in the story was to illustrate what the CIA had done to prevent the assassination and that he believed that his interview in December of 1971 did not come out the way he thought it should have.

Conein stated that he was invited to the White House by Krogh in January of 1972, to receive an offer for paid intelligence work. It involved papers and advisement relating to international drug trafficking. Krogh told him after the work was concluded that he could not be kept at the White House but could be transferred into Customs or BNDD. He became a consultant for BNDD Intelligence in June of 1972 until he received a permanent position in December of that year. Conein denied meeting Charles Colson or John Scalin. He said he had learned of Colson posing as ‘Fred Charles’ as a result of the Watergate testimony.

Conein never denied seeing the forged cables produced by Hunt that implicated Kennedy. He said that all cables had been classified Top Secret and could not read all of them because of his security clearance. Conein saw the rest of the cables when approached by them with Steve Lambert from Life Magazine. He said after reading those cables he ‘realized he had been played for a patsy by Henry Cabot Lodge’. Conein said that after he saw that he went home and called Colby at CIA on a secure phone, told him about the cables and what they implied. Colby said that he had never seen the cables either. Conein said the cable showed complicity of the White House in instructions to Lodge to have Diem assassinated but that they may not have been ordered by the President; Conein cited that Lodge’s communique at 6 am was unlikely as Lodge was never awake at 6 am.

Conein said that the BNDD-CIA agreement was terminated in July of 1973 and that he never met Ehrlichman. He stated that after Nixon’s big meeting on narcotics in 1972, the CIA formed a narcotics unit to coordinate intelligence activities. He said that, for example, the CIA in Laos in 1971 were not concerned about drug trafficking and that action was required when Nixon stepped up efforts on international trafficking. Coordination was required so that the President’s initiatives wouldn’t catch the CIA off guard. Krogh was the coordinator at the White House and chaired the oversight committee responsible for overseeing the operations.

At BNDD (now DEA) Conein worked in strategic intelligence. His job was to start assembling the necessary information to develop patterns for drug trafficking organizations. At DEA he now heads up the special operations section which involves training individuals to go into a country to gather intelligence on drug trafficking operations. Conein said the DEA man will establish the operation, the host country will approve and that they will go in-country to train the host countries authorities. Conein said that this involves recruiting in-country nationals and supplying and training them in the use of advanced weapons, electronic bugging and surveillance equipment. Conein specified that he had three men on his staff and 14 individuals in various stages of training.

When Sen. Weicker showed Conein the BR Fox Company catalogue, Conein made an outright comment about Mitch Werbell. He mentioned using bugging devices from Werbell overseas. He stated that Mike Morrissey of BR Fox made such equipment and that he often showed Conein his surveillance and assassination equipment for sale. Conein denied knowing Bernard Spindel but admitted to knowing his wife, he denied ever purchasing anything from Spindel or Werbell. Weicker stated that he believed Morrissey was making the equipment directly for Conein, of which Conein denied and said he would swear under oath. Conein denied ordering the ASTRO series from Werbell, Morrissey or Spindel but that in April of 1974, he ordered bugging and surveillance equipment for use overseas, including 6 modified telephones. He claimed that he never used any of the equipment despite its purchase. He admitted that he first met Morrissey in 1973 and that Morrissey wanted to sell weapons to the Justice Department, Conein stated he was more interested in surveillance equipment. He denied meeting Morrissey on more than four or five occasions. He said that DEA ordered the equipment for him but that they did not use Werbell after that because delivery had been late.

 

Conein admitted that he knew Mitch Werbell previously from working together at OSS China. He said that Werbell was an arms manufacturer and that he had been to his training camps in Georgia. He said Werbell was a big ‘wheeler dealer’ and had wanted Conein to go to London to discuss importing ‘scrap’ from Vietnam. Conein said Werbell had thousands of weapons and that he specialized in making silencers for various machine guns. Conein then denied that Morrissey had showed him the assassination equipment, implying Werbell and that the equipment was superior because it was electronic. Conein commented that Werbell was ‘once CIA, always CIA’.

Conein then explained to Senator Weicker that he should ask for an FBI investigation and he would voluntarily take a polygraph. He said that Werbell’s company wanted to sell him the equipment because they thought he was still deeply tied into the CIA. Weicker then asked Conein why he did not launch an inquiry after seeing the assassination equipment; Conein replied that BR Fox was legally licensed and doing work for the government. Conein said the only agency that would be interested in the ASTRO line was the CIA. Conein said that he warned Werbell to not allow the equipment to be sold to organized crime as ‘they would have a field day’. Conein also mentioned that Frank Searle from DEA had attended the meeting.

I called Frank at his office at DEA and asked him to join us for a meeting. Searle gave the same story as Conein, stating that he had taken an ‘academic interest’ in the equipment simply because he had never seen anything like it. He said that the ASTRO equipment was demonstrated out of professional pride and that he ‘could not recall’ whether or not Morrissey had sold weapons to Conein or any agency, but he did confirm suspicions that BR Fox was under the CIA. He stated that DEA never approved the operation in which the equipment was intended for use and that as a result of recent Supreme Court decisions on wiretapping that the wiretaps could not be used overseas….”

 

 

 

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REQUIRED READING – A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CIA’S INVOLVEMENT WITH DRUG SMUGGLING – PART 2

The CIA’s Involvement with Drug Smuggling

by Dark Politics (Post 2008) – Part 2 

Map_of_Communist_Base_Areas,_as_used_in_Operation_Menu

The Pegasus Program

The Pegasus program, initiated by President Harry Truman to spy on other CIA units, revealed numerous illegal activities within the agency. Since the time of its inception, the role of Pegasus substantially changed. Pegasus became an integral part of a drug trafficking operation.

Gene “Chip” Tatum was initially recruited as a member of the top secret Pegasus unit during the Vietnam War. He and 13 others were assigned to Operation Rock, a covert action to secretly enter Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 1971. The unit received its briefings from various CIA operatives as well as from General Alexander Haig and CIA Saigon Chief William Colby. The objective of Pegasus was to destabilize the Cambodian government by sabotaging the city’s airport. They captured and murdered some unarmed North Vietnamese military personnel. Tatum claimed that he and the other 13 members of Operation Red Rock were also to be killed by Montagnard tribesmen under orders of the CIA. Then their bodies were to be “disappeared.” Thus, American involvement in Cambodia could be denied. However, this CIA plot was not carried out, and the members of Operation Red Rock survived.

CIA Director William Colby

CIA Director William Colby

A copy of the “Pegasus files” was given to Congressman Larry McDonald, a member of the Joint Armed Services Committee between 1976 and 1982. McDonald stated that he would reveal startling evidence about the CIA, but ironically, he was killed when KAL 007 was shot down over the Sakhalin Islands.Tatum continued to serve as a CIA operative for the next 20 years. He continued as a member of Pegasus, becoming a deep-cover CIA pilot involved in covert operations, trafficking cocaine during the contra war. Between the early 1980s and 1990 Tatum became directly involved in the drugs-for-arms scam. He claimed that the marked-up arms, which were sold to Iran, were traded for cocaine which was flown back to American bases, especially to Arkansas, Ohio and Colorado.

As a CIA pilot, he was told that he would be contacted by “a man called North.” Col.  Oliver North, who covertly helped to arm the Contras as well as being one of the principle conduits for drug trafficking. Tatum claimed that North’s operation not only involved the Colombian cartels, but it also involved the shipments of cocaine into the United States. In 1985 Tatum flew out of Palmerola Air Base in Honduras. On one flight in February, he was instructed to contact Felix Rodriguez who was a pivotal player in Iran-Contra. Rodriguez informed Tatum that he was to support covert Pegasus missions.

Col Oliver North

Col Oliver North

When Tatum returned to his home base, he contacted North to advise him of the cocaine. North replied that it was “a trophy of war” and that it was not the Contras — but the “Sandinistas … selling it to fund the military.” North added by stating that “the cocaine was bound for the world courts as evidence” against the Sandinistas. Two years earlier, Tatum had flown similar containers, which were labeled “Medical Supplies,” into Little Rock Air Force Base, and the crates were picked up by Dan Lasater, a close friend of the Governor Clinton. Tatum admitted that he flew several missions out of the American base in Honduras and picked up cocaine containers regularly, sometimes violating Nicaraguan airspace. At this time Tatum began to document all Pegasus trips on the back of his flight logs.

Not long after his association with North, Tatum was transferred to New York to set up a money-laundering operation for funds from the Iran-Contra cocaine pipeline. He was named president of three proprietary construction companies: American National Home Builders, American Constructors, and American Homes.In addition to North and Rodriguez, Tatum was to take orders from Amiram Nir, a former Mossad agent and advisor to Vice President Bush. Tatum was ordered to fly a 200 pound sealed cooler, marked “Vaccine,” to a Contra camp on the Honduran border. When the cooler was being transferred to an Air Force C-130 transport plane, it accidentally broke and 100 bags of cocaine were exposed. Not surprised by this discovery, Tatum stated that he had suspected that the CIA was involved in trafficking cocaine two years earlier.

George Bush Sr.

George Bush Sr.

Pegasus also involved the “neutralizing” of pivotal government leaders during the Contra war. For example, a struggle for power emerged among some Contra leaders. The United States supported Adolfo Calero, while Enrique Bermudez also sought a prominent position in the Contra hierarchy. When Bermudez threatened to expose the role of Vice President Bush in drug trafficking, Tatum claimed that Bush ordered Bermudez assassinated. Another assassination was carried out by Pegasus against Honduran General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. When Alvarez demanded a bigger split of the cocaine profits, he was murdered in 1989. Tatum also admitted his involvement in the assassination of Amiram Nir, a former Israeli Mossad agent. After Nir was called to testify before a Senate subcommittee, his plane was shot down by missiles from Tatum’s helicopter.

Chamorro

Chamorro

Another Pegasus operation occurred soon after the 1990 Nicaraguan elections. President Bush hand-picked Violetta Chamorro to be the new “president,” and it took a 15 party coalition and $12 million from the Bush administration to defeat Sandinista president Daniel Ortega. After Chamorro’s victory, Tatum stated that another Contra leader, whom he would not name, requested that Bush give him a key position in the new government. By refusing to place him in the Chamorro government, Bush put himself in a vulnerable position. This Contra leader could expose Bush’s involvement in drug trafficking. Thus, a Pegasus unit was assigned to disgrace him in early 1990. Pegasus used the odorless and tasteless drug scopolaphine, which would prevents one from recalling anything which occurred while under its spell. Tatum stated that the former Contra leader was invited to a luxury hotel as a guest of Bush. After the CIA administered the drug, the Contra leader was introduced to an attractive “blonde,” and the two went into a bedroom where a hidden video camera recorded their sexual activity. It turned out that the “blonde” was a male prostitute from New York, and he was later killed that evening. According to Tatum, the scopolaphine worked. Weeks later, the Contra leader was given a copy of the video tape which revealed his homosexual acts.

Tatum claimed that in 1992 Bush instructed him to “neutralize,” presidential contender Ross Perot, but he refused to do so. Tatum turned over a copy of an incriminating tape to Bush, explaining that it would not be publicized as long as the plot was not carried out. As recently as 1994, Tatum was contacted by North, Felix Rodriquez, and CIA director William Colby and was told to surrender all documents and tapes. Tatum refused to do so. Tatum had turned whistle blower. The next year, he was charged with treason. At his trial his attorney refused to call even one of the 80 witnesses Tatum had requested. Later, the attorney admitted that he had been pressured by the Department of Defense. The charge of treason was subsequently changed to that of fraud. Tatum was found guilty and was sentenced to serve a 15 month sentence. In March 1996, an additional charge – conspiring to embezzle – was brought against him. Found guilty once again, Tatum was sentenced to a 27 month concurrent sentence.

THE CIA-CONTRA COCAINE TRAIN

CIA Chief Ted Shackley

CIA Chief Ted Shackley

After George Bush succeeded William Colby as the head of the CIA under President Ford, Bush appointed Shackley to be his “Chief of Covert Operations Worldwide.” As the Vietnam War was ending Shackley left Southeast Asia in 1972 to head CIA activities in the Western Hemisphere. One of Shackley’s first assignments was to sent Ed Wilson and Manuel Artime to meet with right-wing dictator Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua. However, Somoza’s totalitarian regime lasted only another seven years before being overthrown by the Sandinistas.

Guatemala Narco Routes

Guatemala Narco Routes

In the 1980s, 150 tons of cocaine a year were flowing through Latin America. That generated a business of $29 billion a year and was 12 to 13 times more than America’s largest corporations. Prior to the creation of the Contra drug pipeline, the first to profit from drug trafficking were Bolivia’s “cocaine coup” government of 1980-82. They werte followed by the Medellin cartel, the Panamanian government, the Honduran military and Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans. Two months after Reagan’s inauguration in 1981 the CIA launched its secret war in an attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government. Soon thereafter, the arms-drug caper began. The drug of choice in the 1960s and 1970s was heroin — imported from Southeast Asia. Then in the 1980s, the primary addicting drug became cocaine, and its source was Latin America, the new hub of CIA activities.

Richard Armitage - Bush Crony

Richard Armitage – Bush Crony

In December 1981, Vice President Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the White House. They discussed and approved a $19 million expenditure to Argentina for the creation of a 500 man anti-Sandinista Contra force. In April 1982, Bush met with Australian Labor leader Hayden to discuss the CIA’s involvement with the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia. Nugan Hand was a money-laundering machine for the Southeast Asia heroin operation that began during the Vietnam War. Defense Department spokesman Richard Armitage acted as bagman, carrying cash from Bangkok, Thailand, to Australia.

The first publicly known case of contra cocaine shipments appeared in government files in an October 22, 1982 cable from the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. The cable passed on word that American law enforcement agencies were aware of “links between (a United States religious organization) and two Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary groups (which) involve an exchange in (the United States) of narcotics for arms.” The material in parentheses was inserted by the CIA as part of its declassification of the cable. The name of the religious group remained secret. Over the next several years of the Reagan administration, the CIA learned of other suspected links between the Contras and drug trafficking. Ironically, “the war on drugs” became an important part of Reagan’s domestic agenda. While the United States sent military aid southward to its surrogates fighting the Sandinista government, the rate of cocaine being transported northward into the states quickly escalated. The CIA was involved in a variety of ways — by air, land, and sea — in bringing cocaine into the United States.

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

CIA operative Gunther Russbacher, who was highly opposed to drug capers, stated that he was at high level meetings which involved drug dealers in Colombia. Russbacher stated that drug kingpins divided their territory into two large groups, the Cali and Medellin cartels. Operation Snow Cone was the CIA’s primary trafficking operation in Latin America. Under this umbrella, Operation Watch Tower was formed. This consisted of low frequency radio beacons which allowed aircraft, loaded with cocaine, to navigate undetected at low altitudes between Colombia and Panama. The CIA used both Boeing 727s and C-130s which were flown by CIA or commercial pilots. According to Russbacher, two captains from United Airlines and one Pan American pilot supplemented their base salaries by flying drugs into the United States.

In 1984, CIA Inspector General Richard Hitz reported that the CIA even intervened with the Justice Department to block a criminal investigation into a suspected Contra role in a San Francisco-based drug ring. In December 1985, Robert Parry and Brian Barger wrote the first news article disclosing that virtually every Nicaraguan contra group had links to drug trafficking. In that Associated Press dispatch they noted that the CIA knew of at least one case of cocaine profits filtering into the Contra war effort, but that DEA officials in Washington claimed they had never been told of any Contra tie-in. After the AP story was released, the Reagan administration attacked it as unfounded and the article was largely ignored by the rest of the Washington press corps. However, it did help spark an investigation by Kerry. Years later in 1995 the Clinton administration quietly rescinded Casey’s narcotics exemption.

THE CONGRESSIONAL SELECT COMMITTEES.

kerry

In 1987, a year after the Iran-Contra scandal broke, two committees convened on Capitol Hill. In February John Kerry of Massachusetts persuaded the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he was a member, to launch an official investigation under the auspices of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations which came to be known as the Kerry committee. Kerry also was able to expand the probe to include the possible role of foreign governments in drug trafficking.

In addition the Senate Select Committee, chaired by Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, also investigated alleged illegalities during the Contra War. The committee called very few witnesses, and those who were called were usually asked superficial questions. American military personnel, business people, and mercenaries kept the Contras supplied while the Boland Amendment forbade military assistance after 1984. However, many of these important players never testified before the Iran-Contra committee. According to Florida federal public defender John Mattes, who investigated the resupply network, the Iran-Contra committee made a mistake in questioning only the high officials and did not talk to the lower echelon personnel who aided in the resupply effort. Mattes said that the Congressional committees went to the conspirators North and Poindexter and merely asked if they did anything wrong or if they were guilty of a crime. They never interviewed any mercenaries to question them whom they worked for.

THE COSTA RICA CONNECTION

Sandanistas

Sandanistas

The arms-for-drugs operation also thrived in Costa Rica. When the Southern Front against the Sandinista government was established in 1983, Costa Rica was ill equipped to deal with the threat posed by the Colombian drug cartels. Costa Rica had no military and its law enforcement remained limited. Its radar system was so poor that contra planes could fly in and out undetected. The government of Costa Rica only employed civil guards who were underpaid and easily bought. By 1985, Associated Press was running stories which stated that the CIA and contras were involved in drug trafficking. Two years later in 1987, CIA chief for Central America, Alan Fiers, testified that numerous people were involved in drug trafficking. Fiers was largely responsible for cutting off CIA aid to Eden Pastora in 1984 when it appeared impossible that he would fall in with the rest of the contras. Fiers testified before a Congressional committee in 1991 that other higher up military and White House personnel were well aware of drug trafficking by the Contras. Fiers testified: “With respect to (drug trafficking) by the Resistance Forces. … It is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people.”

Costa Rica Narco Routes

Costa Rica Narco Routes

The 144-page report included a litany of drug operations out of various Latin American countries. Most of the narcotic traffic was directed by Contra and CIA officials. Morales testified before the Kerry committee that Gary Betzner, his best pilot, flew arms to the Contras from the Fort Lauderdale Airport to Costa Rica. Morales stated that his planes returned frequently loaded with “about 400 or so kilograms of cocaine.” Morales rewarded the Contras with $400,000 in cash and checks in October 1984. By the end of 1985, he swore that cash contributions to the Contras were $4 million to $5 million. When Kerry asked about the origin of the cash, Morales said that “about 100 percent” was drug money. The Kerry report concluded: “There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through war zones on the part of the Contras, Contra suppliers, Contra pilots, mercenaries who worked for the Contras, and Contra supporters throughout the region.”

El Salvador Civil War

El Salvador Civil War

A number of Costa Ricans also became drug traffickers for the Contras. Jaime “Pillique” Guerra owned a crop dusting service as well as an aircraft business in northern Costa Rica. He refueled and repaired planes which originated in Panama and were carrying weapons to the El Salvador regime in its civil war against the FMLN. These planes carried narcotics as well as weapons. Werner Lotz, one of the pilots, was subsequently convicted of drug smuggling. He explained that the drug traffickers were competing over their share of the profits. He stated that the government guards could be easily bought off. Another Costa Rican pilot was Gerardo Duran, who flew a number of missions for the Contras’ Southern Front. However, the United States eventually severed ties with him after he was indicted for narcotics trafficking. In 1987 he was convicted and imprisoned in Costa Rica.

At a 1986 Costa Rican drug trial, CBS News reported that the United States government presented wiretapped telephone conversations with contra leader Huachen Gonzalez. He discussed the large amounts of cocaine which the contras were sending from Costa Rica to the United States. Also in 1986 the Costa Rican government arrested a Cuban exile carrying 204 kilograms of cocaine from an airstrip. He denied any role in these operations but stated that the Contras had asked him to smuggle in arms.

THE JOHN HULL CONNECTION

Contra War - 1980s

Contra War – 1980s

Hull’s 8,000 acre ranch, located in northern Costa Rica and just south of the Nicaraguan border, was a refueling and storing place for cocaine which originated from the Medellin and Cali cartels in Colombia. Hull was given a $375,000 “loan” to a build a lumber mill on his ranch. He owned six airstrips which served as a base for the shipment of narcotics. He kept the Contras fed and housed. He also claimed that he could account for the Contra money which was handed down by Contra leader Adolfo Calero. In July 1983, Hull traveled to Washington, D.C. to convince members of Congress that Pastora could not be trusted since he was a front for the FDN. One of the offices which he visited was that of Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana He was introduced to Quayle’s assistant, Robert Owen, and to North. Subsequently, Owen resigned from his position with Quayle and started the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO).

Contra War

Contra War

One of Pastora’s former pilots, Geraldo Duran, told the Kerry committee that he had been arrested in 1986 in Costa Rica for flying drugs to the United States. When the CIA dropped Pastora in 1984, it had to find another source through which to work. That turned out to be Jorge Morales who conspired with an American, John Hull, who owned a multi-acre farm in northern Costa Rica. A leadership struggle within the FDN developed early in the Contra war. Eventually Pastora, leader of the southern front operating out of Costa Rica, broke ranks with Adolfo Calero who was the White House’s choice to run the Contras. As a result of a leadership struggle in the FDN, Pastora soon fell out of good grace with the umbrella Contra organization which operated out of Honduras.

Honduras Narco Routes

Honduras Narco Routes

Hull was also aided by two Americans, William Crone and Ian Kniloch, the chief of the Contra’s air logistics. Both worked with a paramilitary group known as Huerta Norte. Another Hull neighbor was Bruce Jones who owned a 55-acre ranch next door. Jones testified that Hull received 5,000 rifles, 5 million rounds of ammunition, hand grenades, mines, and mortars from the contras. Jones was a liaison between the CIA and Contras for whom he was supplying millions of dollars in arms. He testified that between May 1982 and May 1984 approximately 100 deliveries of arms and supplies were coordinated by him and Hull. These supplies were kept on Hull’s ranch. Jones maintained that when the planes arrived, he would help unload the drugs and arms in five or ten minutes.

Gen. Richard V Secord

Gen. Richard V Secord

In the 1960s, Ronald Martin worked for the CIA in Miami along with James McCoy, another ex-attaché to Nicaragua. When Contra aid was legally cut by the Boland Amendment in 1984, Martin began organizing North’s role in raising arms for the Contras. However, Martin was shut off when North began to use Richard Secord as the arms broker. According to Calero, Martin and McCoy received $2,095,000 for arms from North. Martin’s attorney stated that the amount was closer to $15 million or $20 million. At least five witnesses testified to the Kerry committee that cocaine was loaded onto planes at John Hull’s ranch. The committee also was told that Hull received $10,000 a month as a courtesy from Oliver North. Yet the Justice Department took no action against Hull for either obstruction of justice or for drug trafficking. In 1989 Hull was arrested in Costa Rica, but the charges against him for trafficking 2,500 kilograms of cocaine were dropped. He was declared a persona non grata and moved to Miami. After 1988 the Justice Department reluctantly indicted some people working for Hull, but soon afterwards these too were dropped.

Felipe Vidal - Cuban Assassin

Felipe Vidal – JM Wave Cuban Assassin

Felipe Vidal and Rene Corvo were Cuban-Americans involved in transporting arms to Hull’s ranch in return for drugs. Revenue from the cocaine was used to purchase military equipment, ammunition, and explosives for the Contras. Corvo testified to the Justice Department that paramilitary supplies were stored in the home of Frank Chanes in Miami and in the garage of Corvo. However, no charges were ever brought against Corvo. Witnesses testified that Corvo stored loaded guns on his premises and that he told friends that he flew clothing and medical supplies to refugees in El Salvador.

Ex-CIA agent Jose Fernandez testified to the Kerry committee that Vidal and Corvo were agency operants. He stated that both were involved in the illicit drug business and that the CIA’s duty was to protect them. Vidal was called a CIA contract agent who had been arrested numerous times in Miami on narcotics and weapons charges. All this evidence gave the Kerry committee adequate evidence to implicate Vidal, Corvo, North, and others as being part of an arms-for-drugs conspiracy. Between 1983 and 1986, numerous pilots made flights out of Hull’s ranch and returned to the United States with millions of dollars in drugs. Many flights landed at Ilopango Air base in El Salvador and at Hull’s ranch. A convicted drug smuggler admitted flying 500 kilograms of cocaine from Hull’s ranch to the United States. “It was arms down, cocaine back . . . with full knowledge of the CIA and DEA.”

John Hull

John Hull

According to the Kerry report, the main front set up by the CIA that operated out of Florida was SETCO Air. This was a CIA-operated company which ran arms down to Honduras and returned with cocaine. The Kerry report stated that SETCO was the principal company used by the contras to transport supplies and personnel to the FDN, carrying at least a million rounds of ammunition, food, supplies, uniforms, and other military supplies for the Contras from 1983 through 1985. Peter Glibbery, a mercenary hired by Hull to train contras on his ranch, told a Costa Rican court that he was arrested after Hull asked him to set up a Contra training camp on his ranch. He was convicted and imprisoned for violating Costa Rican neutrality laws and illegal possession of explosives. Glibbery said that Hull informed him of a proposed bombing plot at the American embassy in San Jose. According to Glibbery, Hull claimed that mines were needed to do the job. However, Glibbery’s account of his experience on the Hull ranch changed. During a trial in a suit brought by Hull against the two American journalists Avirgan and Honey, Glibbery refused to discuss Hull’s involvement in the assassination plot. Glibbery told a Costa Rican court that he had met Hull and Posey in March 1985. The next day, Glibbery said that he flew to Costa Rica with Hull and the mercenaries. He said Hull identified himself as the liaison officer between the CIA and the FDN. Glibbery told Honey and Avirgan that in April 1987 that Hull had threatened to kill him if he did not repudiate the evidence which he had given to the United States federal investigators.

In May 1987, an Iran-Contra select committee team went to San Jose, Costa Rica but failed to interview Hull. It turned out that they merely called him on the telephone from San Jose, just 30 miles from his ranch. Hull never testified to either congressional committee. However, he could have told the congressional committee who ran the operation and who authorized it. Hull could also have responded to allegations that those running the supply lines through his ranch were engaged in drug trafficking. Hull received $10,000 a month from Contra leader Calero, according to public testimony by Owen. Hull also received $800 a month from the CIA to pay for bodyguards during a time the agency was prohibited from using funds to supply the Contras. Thus, no legitimate congressional investigation was ever launched.

CELERINO CASTILLO

Celerino Castillo III - Former DEA Agent

Celerino Castillo III – Former DEA Agent

In 1979, Castillo was hired by the DEA, and after a successful conviction, he was transferred to Central America. After Reagan launched his war against the Sandinistas two years later, Castillo immediately became involved with numerous drug dealers, most of whom were also hired to run arms to the Contras. Castillo’s first encounter was with Socrates Amaury Sofi-Perez, a former Bay of Pigs veteran, who operated a shrimp business in Guatemala City. He smuggled drugs packed in frozen shrimp into Florida and laundered the profits for the Contras. Castillo also had ties to Gerard Latchinian, an international arms dealer. In 1984 Latchinian was arrested for using proceeds from a $10 million cocaine deal to help finance the assassination of Honduran President Roberto Suarez Cordoba. Latchinian’s partner was General Jose Bueso Rosa who helped train Contra soldiers in Honduras.

Luis Posada Carriles

Luis Posada Carriles

Another associate was Luis Posada Carriles who was arrested in the 1970s for carrying out murders while he was an agent for Venezuela’s DISIP or secret police. After bribing himself out of prison in 1985, Posada was flown by the CIA to El Salvador and paid $3,000 a month by the agency. Posada arranged for pilots to fly weapons to Contra bases in El Salvador and Costa Rica as well to bring drugs on their return trips into the United States. Posada also worked with Luis Rodriquez who operated Costa Rica’s Frigoficos de Puntarenas, a shrimp business which was used as a front to provide $260,000 in aid to the Contras.

El Salvador Narco Routes

El Salvador Narco Routes

Hugo Martinez was yet another one of Castillo’s friends who helped to develop flight plans for contra resupply missions. He informed Castillo that most of the pilots bringing weapons into Ilopango as well as to Contra camps in Honduras and Costa Rica were involved in smuggling drugs back to the United States. One such pilot was Carlos Alberto Amador who had a long record of drug trafficking. Another was Carlos Cabezas whose drug runs had been published in the CIA Inspector General’s report which was published in January 1998. At a December 1981 meeting with members of the inspector general’s staff in San Jose, Costa Rica, Cabeza explained how he raised cocaine money for the contras. Present at that meeting was Julio Zavala, involved in the San Francisco “frogman” case where 430 pounds of cocaine were seized near the Golden Gate Bridge. Zavala asked Castillo to be a middle man in collwecting money from San Francisco drug dealers and flying it back to Central America. Cabezas also set up a network of Contra “mules,” such as airline stewardesses, to bring small quantities of cocaine into the United States. Another drug dealer attendung the December 1981 meeting in San Jose, was Troilo Sanchez who instructed Cabezas to deliver drug money to help feed Contra troops and to support their families.

El Salvador

El Salvador

Castillo met with Vice President Bush at a Guatemalan embassy reception in January 1986. Bush asked what his business was in Central America, and he replied that he was investigating cocaine trafficking. He informed Bush that drug trafficking was occurring at Ilopango in El Salvador. Bush responded by smiling as he shook his hand, and then he walked away. In a February 1989 memo to his DEA superior in Guatemala, Castillo detailed how known traffickers with DEA files used two hangars at the American military installation and how they obtained United States visas despite their backgrounds. According to Castillo, the CIA owned one hangar and the NSC ran the other. In 1994 Castillo said that large quantities of cocaine were being brought into the United States to support the Contras. We claimed that he witnessed cocaine shipments and boxes full of money. Castillo maintained that he knew the names of traffickers as well as their destinations, flight paths, tail numbers, and the date and time of each flight. According to the Kerry report a March 1987 memorandum stated that a number of people, who supported the Contras and who participated in contra activity in Texas, Louisiana, California, and Florida, as well as in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, claimed that cocaine was being smuggled into the United States. They stated that it was part of the same infrastructure which procurred and transported weapons for the Contras.

THE GEORGE MORALES CONNECTION

bushsr

In the early 1980s, Morales was a well known contra drug trafficking, transporting cocaine and marijuana from Latin America northward into the United States. In May 1986, Morales was to meet with Vice President Bush to discuss a secret operation. However, the appointment was canceled when the Iran-Contra scandal was about to leak to the public. Morales was dismissed from the CIA and was later was indicted. Morales testified before the Kerry committee that he was well known to Colombian drug traffickers and that his ranch was the key base of an operation which sent cocaine to Miami in exchange for contras arms. Morales also testified that he had delivered 40 M-79 grenade launchers which were flown from Miami to Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador.

Morales also told the Kerry committee that he sent approximately $4 million in drug money to the contras. Morales’ story is corroborated by his pilots such as Gary Betzner who made several runs in 1984 from Florida to airstrips in Costa Rica. On one occasion, Betzner unloaded weapons for Pastora’s Contras and proceeded to load his plane with “seventeen duffle bags and five or six two-foot-square boxes filled with cocaine.” Additionally, pilots Geraldo Duran and Marcos Aquado flew arms missions into Costa Rica between 1982 and 1985 and both cited examples of Morales’ drug connections. In 1986 Duran was arrested in Costa Rica for exporting drugs to the United States. Another pilot who was recruited by Morales was Fabio Ernesto Carrasco who was subpoenaed to testify in a drug trial in Oklahoma City in 1990. Carrasco said that between 1984 and 1985, he flew over five drug missions for Morales and that he carried between 300 and 400 kilos of cocaine into the United States on each flight. Carrasco also testified that he and Betzner flew down weapons for the Contras from Florida and that they returned from Costa Rica loaded with cocaine which had been purchased by Contra leaders Octaviano Cesar and Mario Calero. Many of these missions from the United States ended at the Costa Rican ranch of Hull who Morales said was heavily involved in drug smuggling. Carrasco also said that Morales gave millions of dollars in drug money on 30 to 40 different occasions to Contra leader Adolfo “Popo” Chamorro, the nephew of Violetta Chamorro who was later elected president of Nicaragua. Morales also testified that he gave airplanes and cash to the Contras because Popo Chamorro promised to help him with his legal bills in the United States. Morales offered Popo Chamorro an old DC-3 to carry food, arms, boots, and uniforms to Pastora’s Contra soldiers who were isolated in Costa Rica and needed air support to receive supplies. Pastora was desperate, since Calero and White House had severed relations with him in his struggle for power within the FDN. In 1986, Morales was convicted in prison and died five years later.

THE FELIX RODRIQUEZ CONNECTION

Felix Rodriguez

Felix Rodriguez

Rodriquez began his CIA career in the late 1950s in Florida. After the aborted Bay of Pigs invasion, he was moved to Vietnam where he worked for Gregg and Shackley. Rodriquez returned to the Western Hemisphere in the early 1980s when Reagan launched his covert war in Nicaragua. He was assigned to oversee the Contra supply effort in El Salvador from 1982 to 1986.

In November 1982, Ramon Milan Rodriquez, involved with the Colombian cocaine cartels, made a $3,690,000 payment to the Contras at the request of Felix Rodriguez, in exchange for protection from prosecution. The next year, Gustave Villolda received a letter of recommendation from Gregg as “combat advisor” to the Contras. Villolda worked along side Rodriguez during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the CIA track down and execution of Che Guevara in Bolivia. In 1984 Gerald Latchinian, co-director with Rodriguez of Giro Aviation, a CIA proprietary airline, was arrested for smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine to finance the assassination of Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian contended that this was a CIA operation.

RAMON MILIAN RODRIQUEZ

Ramon Milian Rodriguez

Ramon Milian Rodriguez

Rodriquez was a Cuban exile and was the principal accountant for the Medellin cartel, handling $200 million a month in drug profits. His business took him from Colombia to Panama and Florida. He claimed that in the 1972 he carried $200,000 in cash from CIA operant Manuel Artime to some of the burglars arrested at the Watergate Hotel. In 1982 he was recruited by Felix Rodriquez to join the contra network for which he contributed approximately $10 million between 1982 and 1985. When Milian Rodriquez was arrested in 1985, his financial papers were seized. In a column under the heading of “CIA,” Rodriquez had recorded $3.69 million in expenditures. Rodriquez used his Ocean Hunter frozen shrimp company, based in Florida, but owned exclusively by his Costa Rican Frigorificos de Puntanenas firm, to move around about $200,000 in this time frame.

THE SANCHEZ FAMILY CONNECTION AND THE SAN FRANCISCO “FROGMAN”

The Sanchez family first involvement in drug trafficking dated back to the San Francisco “frogman” case in 1983. This operation netted 430 pounds of cocaine from a freighter outside of San Francisco Bay. Its crew admitted that it was running drugs from the Contras in Costa Rica. One was an ex-Somoza air force officer who stated that the profits belonged to the Contras. Another stated that he had given thousands of dollars from the drug smuggling to Costa Rican Contra groups and helped to arrange for the shipment of arms to a small Contra group headed by Fernando Chamorro. The United States returned $36,020, which was seized as drug money, after one of the defendants, Zavala, submitted letters from Contra leaders claiming that the funds were really their property.

The Kerry committee found that two of those arrested had ties to the Contras and had received the cocaine from Colombian sources. The committee report implicated higher up Contra leaders who were involved in narcotics traffic. Several members of the Sanchez family were indicted. Court records showed that the cocaine ring’s source of supply included one of the family members, Troilo Sanchez. He was a relative of Aristides, a member of the FDN directorate who earlier had been caught trafficking cocaine. The “frogman” case resulted in the demise of the Sanchez family.

THE HONDURAS CONNECTION

Area of accused DEA murders

Area of accused DEA murders

 

Honduras had been the classic example of a banana republic. Most of its economy was controlled by United Fruit and Standard Fruit. New Orleans ran its economy, and soon banana trade routes became drug routes. In 1975, Honduran president General Oswaldo Lopez Arellano received $1.5 million in bribes from the American multinational companies, and in return never paid export taxes amounting to $7.5 million.In the 1980s, Honduras accounted for approximately 20 percent of the cocaine imported by the United States. Costa Rica supplied about 10 percent of America’s cocaine. Between 1982 and 1987, the Reagan administration pumped in $335 million in military aid and $836 million in “economic” aid to Honduras. A Christian Democrat in Honduras’ congress stated that Washington would merely ignore any questions about drug trafficking.

Honduras Narco Routes

Honduras Narco Routes

Reagan administration officials interceded on behalf of Jos 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 plotted to assassinate Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordoba This was to be financed with a $40 million cocaine shipment to the United States, which the FBI intercepted in Florida. According to declassified e-mail messages North led an effort to seek leniency for Bueso. The messages indicated the efforts of American officials to “cabal quietly” to get Bueso a “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 Bueso was involved in a conspiracy that the Justice Department deemed the most significant case of narco-terrorism ever discovered.

THE MATTA-SETCO-CALERO CONNECTION

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This arms for drugs caper emerged in 1983 when Calero was placed in charge of the contras operating out of Honduras. It was at this time that Eden Pastora in Costa Rica was cut off the CIA payroll. Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros was a well-known drug dealer who spent part of the 1970s in a Colombian prison. He returned to Honduras in 1986 after bribing his way out of jail with $2 million. The DEA knew about Matta by 1978 when he was arrested at Dulles airport with 54 pounds of cocaine. However, by 1983 SETCO Matta’s air freight company was used by the Contras to run arms to the Contras in Honduras. According to the Kerry report SETCO was being used as the Contras’ main supplier of weapons in 1984. For these services, Matta was paid by North. The Kerry report also stated: “One of the pilots selected to fly Contra mission for the FDN (Contras) for SETCO was Frank Moss, who was under investigation as an alleged drug trafficker since 1979.” Two years after Iran-Contra broke in the United States the Justice Department extradited Matta who was a suspect in the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico.

In July 1985, Michael Tolliver, a convicted American drug smuggler who was at a Georgia halfway house, was contacted by Barry Seal. Seal had contacts with the CIA and was released from prison early. He was told that he would receive $75,000 a trip if he were to fly arms from Miami’s airport into Honduras. According to Tolliver, Seal had 28,000 pounds of marijuana when he arrived at Homestead Air Base in Florida. Upon returning from Central America, Seal met “Hernandez” at the Fountainbleau Hotel and was paid $75,000. In October, FBI agents seized 763 pounds of cocaine with a wholesale value of $10 million in southern Florida. Among those arrested was Honduras’ former chief of staff of the army, General Bueso Rosa. In 1987, United States officials confiscated two shipments of cocaine weighing 6.7 tons. United States government investigators stated that it went directly to the doorstep of the Honduran military. The cocaine originated from the Cali cartel with whom Matta dealt directly. In 1987, the DEA had information which linked five top Honduran military officers with drug trafficking but was persuaded not to act since it may have endangered Honduran cooperation in the Contra war. By 1987, it was estimated that Honduras accounted for 20 to 50 percent of all cocaine which entered the United States from Latin America.

THE CUBAN-AMERICAN CONNECTION.

Bay of Pigs

Bay of Pigs

Several groups of Miami-based Cuban-Americans provided direct or indirect support to the Contras when it was prohibited by the Boland Amendment. Rene Corbo was one who provided supplies and training with funds in part from drug money. Two other Cuban exiles, Mario Rejas Lavas and Ubaldo Hernandez Perez, were captured by Sandinistas in 1986. They were reportedly members of UNO/FARN which was headed by Fernando “El Nego” Chamorro. When the Kerry committee requested information on these Cuban-Americans, the Justice Department refused to provide any information on the grounds that the committee was merely carelessly rambling through its open investigations. The Justice Department advised this committee that the matter had been fully investigated and that the committee’s allegations were untrue. In May 1986, members of the Kerry committee met with CIA officials who categorically denied that weapons had been shipped to the Contras on planes involving Corvo. Yet the FBI had learned that Cuban-American supporters had shipped weapons from south Florida to Ilopango Air Base in Honduras as well as to John Hull’s ranch in Costa Rica.

THE DAN QUAYLE-ROBERT OWEN CONNECTION

Dan Quayle

Dan Quayle

Hull came to the United States in 1983 to convince Congress that Pastora should not be supported since he had allied himself with the Sandinista government. Hull met with Senator Quayle and Owen, his legislative aide. A year later Owen switched jobs and began to work for the Washington D.C. lobbying firm of Gray and Company. He was approached by Contra leader Calero who asked him to take on the task of raising money in the United States through non-profit organizations and companies for the Contras.Owen researched the financial and military needs of the Contras and passed the information on to North. Owen reported that between $1 million and $1.5 million was required on a monthly basis to keep the Contras equipped. In July 1984 purchased weapons from South Africa and returned to the United States where he met with Hull and Calero. Owen promised to provide Calero with $2,500 a month and Hull with $10,000 a month.

Owen also worked primarily with Neil Livingstone, who was responsible to Ed Wilson of the CIA. Additionally, he was North’s liaison, delivering Swiss bank account numbers to Taiwanese government officials who in turn made contributions to the Contras. In April 1985 Owen warned North that Costa Rican-based Contra leader Jose Robelo had the “potential involvement in drug running” and that another Contra, Sebastian Gonzalez, was “involved in drug running out of Panama.” In August 1985 North told Owen that the “DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into the United States.” In February 1986 Owen informed North that another Contra DC-4 was “used at one time to run drugs, and part of the crew had criminal records. Nice group the Boys (the CIA) chose.” Frank Castro, an ex-Cuban and Bay of Pigs veteran, was indicted in the 1970s for smuggling more than a million pounds of marijuana to the United States. Owen stated that Castro was heavily into drugs and that he had furnished Pastora with a DC-3 plane. Castro also hade visited Hull’s ranch in Costa Rica. The Kerry report also corroborated the allegations linking together North and Castro as part of a conspiracy to both gunrunning and drug trafficking.

THE EL SALVADOR CONNECTION

Col. James Steele

Col. James Steele

Colonel James Steele was the chief American military adviser in El Salvador and senior officer in charge of United States military operations which provided the Contras with weapons out of Ilopango airport. In December 1984, National Security adviser Gregg met with Felix Rodriguez and was given a position in El Salvador as a contra military advisor. The next month Rodriguez met with Bush to discuss the Contra job. In the summer of 1985 Rodriguez flew to Washington D.C. to meet with Gregg and Steele. According to Rodriquez’s testimony before the Kerry committee in 1987, Steele was in contact with Rodriguez from September 1985 through summer 1986. A North memorandum stated that Steele made Rodriguez his deputy and allowed him to use a military car as well as a KL-43 encrption device for secure telephone conversations. In March 1986, Steele met in Honduras with Rob Owen, North’s associate directing the Contra resupply operation from bases in Costa Rica. In a memo to North after the meeting, Owen suggested stockpiling weapons for the contras in Costa Rica at “Cincinnati,” a code word for the United States air base at Ilopango, El Salvador, where Steele was the American commander.

According to a crew member aboard a flight dropping supplies to the Contras in April 1986, Steele helped guide the mission. Nine days later after approximately 10 flights dropped arms and equipment to the southern front, Steele met with North, Secord and retired Colonel Richard Gadd in El Salvador. Gadd stated that Steele’s role suggested that higher officials in the Pentagon may have known and participated in the resupply effort. Mattes claimed that Steele could have testified as to whose authority that he operated in assisting the Contras during a time when the Boland Amendment was in place. Attorneys for the select committees deposed Steele in April 1987, but he was not called to the witness table.

THE PANAMA CONNECTION

Noriega in Call of Duty

Noriega in Call of Duty

Before he seized power as head of state, Manuel Noriega was first recruited by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency in 1959 while studying in Peru. By 1967 he was placed on the CIA payroll. At this time, he worked in conjunction with the United States military, which used Panama as a listening post in Latin America. After a failed coup in 1971 General Omar Torillos, who later became dictator, fled to Miami where he stated that Noriega had “operational control” of the narcotics trade through Panama.The Justice Department dropped the idea to attempt to indict Noriega. In 1976 Noriega was placed on the CIA payroll again, this time at $110,000 a year. When Carter was elected, Noriega was again dropped from the CIA. Carter’s major objective was to pass the Panama Canal Treaty, so all allegations against Noriega were suppressed. However, once the treaty was ratified by the Senate, the Panamanians got the word that America was open for drug trade. In 1980 Noriega was given full control over a special Panamanian intelligence unit. Noriega supplied at least seven pilots to run arms down from Florida. The pilots returned with cocaine.

The real Noriega

The real Noriega

Panama Narco Routes

Panama Narco Routes

When Reagan took office in 1981, Noriega was immediately brought back by the CIA. His salary was increased, and his salary jumped to $185,000 a year, and by 1985 it reached $200,000. The CIA deposited Noriega’s illegal payoffs in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), whose name made front page news in the summer of 1991 for laundering money. CIA Director Casey began meeting with Noriega in 1981. Noriega was paid $100,000 for the use of Panama as a middle country to run drugs from Colombia to the United States. His personal pilot, Floyd Carlton, stated that he received $400 per kilogram to run cocaine from Colombia into Panama. However, things turned sour for Carlton in 1985 when $3 million in cocaine was missing on flights into Costa Rica.Noriega supplied pilots and urged Pastora to unite with the Contra organization in Honduras. By 1985, Noriega promised to train Contras in Panama. Noriega met with North in London to discuss plans to set up training for booby trapping, night operations, and sabotage activities against Nicaraguan targets. Noriega stated that he would try to obtain Israeli commandos to work with the Contras. The Kerry report stated: “Noriega put his pilots to work flying weapons from Panama to Costa Rica for the Contras. …Many of the pilots moved mixed cargoes of guns and drugs to bases in Costa Rica, dropped off the guns and flew on to the United States with drugs.”

Invasion of Panama

Invasion of Panama

In 1986 the Iran-Contra scandal broke, now making Noriega expendable. The next year his personal pilot, Carlton, was extradited to the United States. In 1988 Noriega himself was indicted by the Justice Department and was linked to drug trafficking for the first time. The following year the United States invaded Panama, and Noriega was kidnapped and taken to Miami for his trial. The CIA never turned his files over to the Justice Department. After Noriega was brought to the United States, the Bush administration placed Guillermo Endara in power. Endara was director and secretary of Banco Interoceanico which had been targeted by the DEA and FBI, and he named Carlton as a major person who laundered money through that bank from the Medellin and Cali cartels. The CIA also used Banco de Ibereoamerica as a front through which to launder money in Panama. Through this dummy company, North purchased arms from a Syrian drug and arms dealer, Manzer al-Kasser, who had ties to the Medellin cartel.

Bush and Noriega

Bush and Noriega

THE VENEZUELA CONNECTION

Davila

Davila

In 1988, the CIA hired General Ramon Guillen Davila to investigate Venezuela’s drug enterprises, primarily the Cali cartel. With the help of the CIA, Guillen set up a drug smuggling operation which involved Venezuelan National Guardsmen. They purchased cocaine from the Cali cartel in Colombia, imported it to Venezuela, and stored it in warehouses which were run by Guillen and funded by the CIA. One CIA agent said “let the dope walk;” that is, to ship it northward into the United States. Another agent, Mark McFarlin, testified in Miami federal court in 1989 that he had informed the Caracas CIA agent chief that 3,000 pounds of cocaine had just been shipped to the United States. When the agent chief was informed that the DEA was unaware of the operation, he responded by telling McFarlane, “Let’s keep it that way.”

map-drug-traffic-624

Between 1989 and 1992, 22 tons of cocaine flowed from the Guillen network into the Miami. In 1990, DEA agents in Caracas were informed of the illicit activity and made no attempt to intervene. Finally in 1992, United States Customs in Miami terminated the operation when they seized an 800 pound cocaine shipment. One of Guillen’s dealers, Adolfo Romero, was arrested and convicted on drug conspiracy charges. No action was taken against Guillen’s organization, and he simply dropped out of contact with the CIA. In November 1996, the Justice Department indicted Guillen on charges of importing cocaine into the United States. Guillen headed Venezuela’s anti-drug unit while smuggling over 22 tons of Cali and Bogata cartel cocaine into the United States and Europe. After he learned of his indictment, he went into seclusion in Caracas where he received a federal pardon. Guillen contended that Venezuelan cocaine shipments to the United States were authorized by the CIA. He said, “Some drugs were lost and neither the CIA nor the DEA want to accept any responsibility for it.”

EUGENE HASENFUS

Eugene Hasenfus

Eugene Hasenfus

CIA operant Hasenfus was a “kicker” on a C-123 cargo plane which ran shipments to the Contras over Nicaragua. He would “kick out” the cargo which then parachuted down to the Contras in the field. When the plane was shot down by a hand-held surface-to-air missile, Hasenfus was able to parachute out. The plane’s crew also consisted of a Contra radio operator, American pilot Bill Cooper, and copilot Wallace “Buzz” Sawyer. Sawyer had in his possession the White House phone number of Vice President Bush. Telephone logs from the phone company in El Salvador for the “safe houses” used by the plane crew showed many calls to North’s White House office. Bush’s office was the first place notified after the C-123 crashed. Hasenfus claimed that this was done with the knowledge and approval of Bush. Telephone logs from the phone company in El Salvador used by the plane crew showed many calls to North’s White House office.

It was discovered that the plane was the same C-123 which had been used by Seal to run drugs into the United States. Earlier in 1983, Harry Doan had sold the C-123 to Seal who flew it to Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio. It was there that it was outfitted with hidden cameras by the CIA. Seal then piloted the aircraft to Nicaragua and returned with 1,472 pounds of cocaine. The cameras filmed Federico Vaughan, who was an employee of the Nicaraguan Interior Ministry, helping load cocaine into the plane. Also, the plane’s logs indicated it had flown out of Colombia, home to the Medellin and Cali drug cartels. Flight logs in the plane indicated that it had made trips between Barranquilla, Colombia and Florida in 1985.

Only days after the downing of the aircraft Hasenfus told Nicaraguan authorities that “there were two Cuban nationalized Americans that worked for the CIA that did most of the coordination of the flights and overseeing all operation projects, transportation… also refueling and…flight plans.” Hasenfus identified the two as Felix Rodriguez and Ramon Medina. After Hasenfus was released by the Sandinistas several weeks later, he returned to the United States and testified that he worked for the CIA and that he reported to Gomez (alias Felix Rodriguez) and Medina (alias Luis Posada Carriles) with the knowledge and approval of Bush.

A Reagan administration official, who was familiar with contra activities, claimed that the crew of the C-123 was flying supply missions for the State Department’s Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office, which was responsible for providing $27 million in nonlethal aid to the Contras earlier in 1985.The Kerry committee learned that Southern Air Transport of Miami had provided the plane. Southern Air denied any knowledge, and no charges were brought against this front. The CIA denied any knowledge of Hasenfus and also stated that he was working outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. After several weeks, Hasenfus was released and returned to the United States where he subsequently received no aid or support by the government.

– The Green Chazzan 

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Required Reading – A Brief History of The CIA’s Involvement With Drug Smuggling – Part 1

**EDITOR: This piece starts to bring the whole room together. As one can see, it was OSS China that initiated the global narcotics trade after World War II and sustained it for decades to come using their influence over CIA covert action and US foreign policy.

The CIA’s Involvement with Drug Smuggling by Dark Politics (Post 2008) – Part 1 

Opium Finds Its Way To Asia

Chinese Opium Den

Chinese Opium Den

The origin of opium can be traced back to the Middle East region of Mesopotamia circa 3100 B.C. Centuries later Alexander the Great exported the narcotic eastward to India in 330 B.C. By 400 A.D. it became a large market in China where it was introduced by Arab traders.

Southeast Asia got its first dose of opium in 1500 when Portuguese, while trading along the East China Sea, initiated the smoking of opium. Within two centuries the Dutch were exporting shipments of Indian opium to China and the islands of Southeast Asia. In 1729, Chinese emperor Yung Cheng issued an edict which prohibited the smoking of opium and its domestic sale, except under license for use as medicine. Nevertheless, the use of opium increased, and by 1750 the British East India Company assumed control of Bengal and Bihar, the opium-growing districts of India. British shipping dominated the opium trade out of Calcutta to China. By 1767, opium exports by the British East India Company to China reached a staggering two thousand chests of opium per year. In 1793, the British East India Company established a monopoly on the opium trade. All poppy growers in India were forbidden to sell opium to competitor trading companies.

In 1799, Chinese emperor Kia King banned opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal. Foreign merchants then turned to smuggling. Charles Cabot, a smuggler from Boston, Massachusetts, attempted to purchase opium from the British and then smuggle it into China under the auspices of British smugglers. Another American, John Cushing, acquired his wealth from smuggling Turkish opium to Canton. For example, John Jacob Astor of New York City and owner of the American Fur Company purchased ten tons of Turkish opium which he shipped on to Canton.

The First Opium War

The First Opium War

In 1839, the first Opium War broke out, and the Chinese ordered all foreign traders to surrender their opium. The British responded by sending warships to China. Two years later, the Chinese were defeated by the British which demanded heavy reparations, including the cession of Hong Kong to Great Britain The Second Opium War erupted in 1856, and the British again demanded indemnities from China, forcing the emperor to legalize opium. By the turn of the century and after 150 years of failed attempts to rid the country of opium, the Chinese finally convinced the British to dismantle the India-China opium trade. In the 1850s, British merchants began importing Indian opium to Burma and selling it through a government-controlled monopoly. In 1886, the British acquired Burma’s northeast region, Shan state. Production and smuggling of opium along the lower region of Burma thrived despite British efforts to maintain a strict monopoly on the opium trade.

By the turn of the century, the French joined the British in monopolizing opium in Southeast Asia. In the 1940s, the ‘Golden Triangle’ — Burma, Laos, and Thailand — became a major player in the profitable opium trade. During the early years of World War II, opium trade routes were blocked and the flow of opium from India and Persia was cut off. Fearful of losing their opium monopoly, the French encouraged Hmong farmers to expand their opium production. After Burma gained its independence from Britain in the 1940s, opium cultivation and trade flourished in the Shan states.

Early Complicity in Drug Trafficking

oss-office-of-strategic-services-78641357

The “multinational” business of drug trafficking can be traced back to the 1940s, even before the CIA was created following World War II. Before the creation of the CIA in 1947, Allen Dulles assembled the Flying Tigers, an inner clique within the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Dulles had close ties with Eastern billionaire families, and he was able to run clandestine operations out of the White House. The OSS-mafia alliance emerged soon after the agency was formed. The OSS was first headed by Earl Brennan who helped plan the Allied invasion of Sicily and Italy in World War II. During the war, He had close ties with the head of the Vatican’s Vessel Operation, Monsignor Giovanni Batista Montini who was also an aid to Pope Pius XII. Montini suggested that Brennan recruit Italian exiles such as Masons business leaders, and mafia members to corroborate with the Allies in their invasion. In 1963, Montini become Pope Paul VI.

Colonel Paul Hellwell of the OSS began to smuggle heroin from Burma and sold it in ghettos in the United States. Grown in Burma and processed in Shanghai, OSS agents ran across this bonanza while attempting to bolster the right wing regime of Chiang Kai-shek and to prevent Mao Tse Tung from ascending to power. Flying Tigers were OSS mercenaries who were financed with secret funds. Hellwell observed how Chiang sold opium to Chinese addicts and used the revenue to purchase weapons for his troops. Hellwell created Sea Supply, an OSS proprietary company, out of Miami and used it to carry guns across the ocean to China. The opium was grown in Burma, so Hellwell moved on to Southeast Asia in order to consolidate his operation.

Chief of OSS China - Paul Helliwell

Chief of OSS China – Paul Helliwell

In the late 1940s, Hellwell was named the Burmese consulate in Miami and was able to secure a monopoly on opium in Burma. From there, opium was processed in Shanghai, and then it was exported to the United States on Sea Supply boats. In return, Hellwell shipped guns back to China. The OSS used the mob to distribute heroin in big cities throughout the United States. Another OSS connection was the German Gestapo. Dozens of leading Gestapo figures and SS spies were used. Their spy networks and personal war records could be used to survey and control the Soviet Union. After these Nazis arrived in Georgetown, they were used by the newly created CIA in a drug running role. They were educated at Fort Benning and then used extensively in Latin America by local militaries. They were partially funded by the revenue generated from Burmese heroin exported to China for refining, and then exported to ghettos in the United States. After Mao solidified his power in 1949 revolution, drug trafficking in China began to diminish, partially because the death penalty was carried out against convicted dealers.

The OSS did not confine itself only to the Far East. While the bulk of American heroin originated in Asia, smaller amounts were produced in Marseille by the Corsican syndicates in the 1940s. Drug trafficking was certainly not at a premium during World War II. Transoceanic shipping was disrupted during the war years as a result of submarine warfare. Consequently, the power of Marseilles’ Corsican syndicates was weakened. In addition, Sicily’s mafia was smashed by two decades of Mussolini’s repressive regime.

The Marseilles Syndicate

The Marseilles Syndicate

After World War II, the OSS created a situation which helped revive the Sicilian-American mafia and the Corsican underworld. The alliance with the mafia was maintained by the CIA in order to check the growing strength of the Italian Communist Party. For example, the Corsicans in Marseilles smuggled raw opium from Turkey and refined it into high grade heroin for export to the United States. Marseilles relied on a handful of expert chemists who were able to produce high grade number four heroin. After the transformation of the OSS into the CIA, Marseille’s Corsicans fell under the protection of the French intelligence service which allowed heroin trafficking to operate for another 20 years. By 1965, Marseilles syndicates were able to double their production and operated between 20 and 25 laboratories which produced 50 to 150 kilograms of heroin each month. It was estimated that 4.8 tons of pure heroin was exported to the United States in 1965 alone.

The American government was concerned that both the French and Italian communist parties would rise to power in free elections in their respective countries. On the homefront, the government was concerned of the rising strength of the New York longshoremen’s union and a series of strikes which threatening to erupt a year after World War II ended. To counter the communist parties’ influence in France and Italy as well as to stamp out the longshoremen’s power in New York, the newly formed CIA turned to the mafia’s drug traffickers. The mafia connection assured the CIA the resources which they critically needed: hit-men to help carry out their illicit operations and additional funds to help finance their activities.

Santo Trafficante

Santo Trafficante

After spending 10 years of a 30-to-50 year sentence in prison for drug trafficking, New York’s mafia leader Lucky Luciano given clemency and released from Albany’s Great Meadows Prison in 1946. In exchange, he promised to cooperate with American authorities. He returned to Italy and was able to build a black market which had been abandoned by the Genovese family. He then expanded his operations by forging close ties with the Marseilles syndicate. He imported raw opium from the Middle East and processed it in laboratories in Italy. Luciano’s top deputy was Meyer Lansky who had first contacted Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Luciano initially purchased 200 kilos of heroin and shipped it on to Cuba. Lansky was given a monopoly on Cuba’s gambling operations plus assurances that Sicilian heroin could be shipped from Marseilles to Havana and on to the United States. In return Batista and his assistants received half the profits from the casinos. Lansky and Luciano chose Sicilian-born Santos Trafficante of Florida to run the Cuban gambling and drug business. Luciano made sure that Havana’s prostitutes were addicted to heroin and paid them with diluted forms of the drugs as well.

Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky

The CIA armed and funded the Corsican syndicates to break up longshoremen’s strikes in 1947 and 1950. Harry Bridges had been known for his leadership in general strikes in San Francisco in 1934, and he moved on to New York City where he worked to unionize dock workers. The CIA paid the mafia to assault and harass union leaders and workers. Some were even murdered. The CIA also used psychological warfare against the unions. Anti-union pamphlets, radio broadcasts, and posters discouraged workers from continuing the strike. Meanwhile in Europe, the CIA continued to work with drug traffickers in its war to thwart the election of communists in democratic elections. By the late 1940s, Marseilles had become the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. And Italy’s mafia still maintained its strength as the most powerful component in Europe.

The CIA’s protection of the Corsican syndicate continued into the 1970s. Frank Matthews, one of the East Coast’s prime heroin dealers, brought in $130 million annually. In 1973, he was finally arrested for drug trafficking in Las Vegas. Matthews was released on $325,000 bail and returned to New York with $20 million in cash. According to the Justice Department charges against nine of his suppliers were dropped at the insistence of the CIA which contended that prosecutions would jeopardize national security interests.

From Florida to Asia

Allen Dulles

Allen Dulles

The Italian mafia continued to maintain a stronghold in the United States. In the 1950s, the CIA once again turned to the mafia to foil communism — this time in Cuba. The very year that the right wing Batista government was overthrown, Operation 40 was organized as an assassination unit to kill Fidel Castro. Organized crime leaders Santo Trafficante and John Roselli, with the knowledge of Vice President Nixon, were heavily involved in importing drugs from Laos. After the failure at the Bay of Pigs two years later, Operation 40 was replaced by Operation Mongoose, a larger scale paramilitary organization. Its purpose was also to overthrow the Castro regime. The CIA officials who directed Operation Mongoose were Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines. Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban refugee, was hired to be a member of a special assassination team. Rodriguez worked under Shackley in Miami, Florida. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, dozens of anti-Castro sympathizers were indicted for drug trafficking.

CIA Chief Ted Shackley

CIA Chief Ted Shackley

After the defeat of the French at Dienbienphu in 1954, the United States quickly moved to fill the void. In that decade, over a thousand tons of opium was being cultivated in the Golden Triangle — Laos, Burma, and Thailand. This amounted to 70 percent of the entire world’s illicit opium supply. In addition, this marked the first time that number three heroin (three to six percent pure) was being refined. As a result, the Thai government launched an opium suppression campaign which compelled most of the planters to switch to heroin. In the 1960s large quantities of number three heroin were being refined in Bangkok and northern Thailand. It was during this decade that both Shackley and Clines were transferred from Florida to run CIA operations in the heart of Southeast Asia as well as in the heart of the world’s largest heroin region.

During the Vietnam War, the White House drug team was headed by Lucien Conein who once had ties to Corsican drug dealers in Southeast Asia and Marseilles. The CIA urged Conein and the White House to accept a plan to carry out a series of assassinations against drug kingpins. According to a White House memo, “With 150 key assassinations the entire heroin-refining industry can be thrown into chaos.” However, the CIA’s list included a hand-full of names of drug dealers in Southeast Asia, and none of them were the principal players. Additionally, the White House decided to concentrate in Turkey where less than 5 percent of the world’s opium supply was grown.

The Golden Triangle

Opium in the Golden Triangle

Opium in the Golden Triangle

During the heated cold war in Southeast Asia in the 1950s, large scale decisions were made by the CIA in its Langley, Virginia headquarters. The agency’s operants were given a large scale of autonomy in the field. The agency did not ask questions as long as those on the payroll produced results. One of the major objectives of these factions was to gain control of opium trade in their regions. A large amount of duplicity, which included tortures and murders, occurred among various groups: CIA headquarters, its operatives in the field, and drug lords.

After World War II the French returned to Indo-China and became directly involved in drug trade with the Hmong tribesmen in the highlands of Laos. At first, the French attempted to eliminate opium addiction in 1946. However, desperately short on funds, French intelligence and paramilitary organizations became involved in opium trafficking in order to finance their covert operations against Ho Chi Minh in the north. By 1951, French intelligence controlled most of the opium trade in the region. The French started top secret Operation X which resulted in a steady supply of Hmong opium into the dens of cities such as Saigon and Danang.

In 1950 President Truman implemented the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) which approved a CIA invasion into southern China. This meant that CIA operants need to infiltrate various local tribal units particularly in the Golden Triangle — Burma, Laos, and Thailand. The CIA recruited agents such as William Colby who years later was elevated to CIA director. When CIA operants moved into the Shan states in the Golden Triangle region of northern Burma, opium growers operated only randomly. However, the region soon was transformed into one of the largest growing opium regions in the world. The CIA needed an alliance with the KMT, which had just been driven out of China by Mao Tse-tung a year before, and the Thai police in order to bolster its position in the region.

CIA Director William Colby

CIA Director William Colby

The KMT exported their opium harvests usually by mule train across the mountains or by unmarked American C-47 transportation planes to Thailand for processing. Some was flown on to Taiwan. In 1950 the CIA purchased bankrupt Civil Air Transport (CAT) for $950,000 and used their fleet of planes to run weapons to KMT General Li Mi in Shan province, and the planes returned to Bangkok filled with opium. Shortly afterwards, CAT was renamed Air America. General Phao Siyanan, head of the Thai police since a CIA orchestrated coup overthrew General Phin Choohannan in 1948, purchased most of this opium. Thus, the KMT became a pivotal force in opium trade in Southeast Asia. With CIA support, the KMT remained in northern Burma until 1961 when the Burmese army finally drove the right wing army into Laos and Thailand.

In 1951, Operation Paperclip, a joint CIA-KMT effort to reconquer China’s Yunnan province, was approved. The CIA’s first objective was to accomplish an intelligence-gathering mission inside China. In addition, the CIA trained and funded 10,000 KMT forces. Unmarked C-46 and C-47 transport planes began making supply drops into northern Burma. The next year KMT troops and some CIA operants crossed 60 miles into China but were forced to turn back after facing fierce resistance. The CIA also realized the importance of funding other smaller factions in the Shan states, so that no one element could consolidate absolute power in that region. Maintaining instability in the Golden Triangle prevented any one group from controlling and regulating opium trade.

General Khun Sa

General Khun Sa

However, American aid to the KMT soon dropped off significantly when drug lord Khun Sa began to extend his influence in the mountainous region of the Shan states just south of China. Khun Sa began his military career with the KMT when he was 18 years old and was trained in both arms and opium by the CIA-supported army. As Khun Sa extended his influence into the Shan states, the CIA was slowly edged out along the Burma-China border, and were no longer able to use that area too stage subsequent attacks into Yunnan province.

In the 1960s, thousands of KMT mercenaries made their way across the mountains of the Golden Triangle to eastern Burma. Khun Sa’s army was defeated by KMT General Ouane Rattikone in the 1967 Opium War, and his troops fled into central Laos. Khun Sa was arrested and released at a later date, but by that time the size of his army had dwindled to about one thousand. Khun Sa not only lost major casualties among his troops, but he also lost his monopoly on opium trade in the Shan states.The Opium War left Rattikone and the KMT in control of 80 percent of the opium trade in Burma. During the duration of the KMT’s dominance in northern Burma — from the end of World War II to 1960s — his CIA subsidized army increased opium production by nearly 500 percent from 80 tons to 500 tons annually. The Golden Triangle provided approximately 33 percent of the world’s illicit opium trade.

The severe drought of 1978-80 took a heavy toll on illicit drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle. However, by the 1980s, opium trade became the most prosperous ever in that region. Even though Thai and Burmese military operations increased, heroin laboratories in the mountains in the two countries managed to operate without serious incidents. The Shan leaders became more splintered, and the Burmese Communist Party (BCP) collapsed. This opened the door for Khun Sa to return to the Shan states.

General Lo Hsing Han of Burma

General Lo Hsing Han of Burma

By the early 1970s, he recovered his lost territory in the central Shan states, but the BCP quickly moved into the mountain areas just south of the China border, posing a large threat to Khun Sa expansionist policy. Three factions began to position themselves: Khun Sa, Chinese warlord Lo Hsing-han, and the Shan State Army (SSA). Like Khun Sa, Lo Hsing-han began his army career in the KMT and emerged as one of the principle opium dealers in Shan province. In 1972, the Nixon administration branded him the “kingpin of the heroin traffic in Southeast Asia.” After Khun Sa was defeated in the 1967 Opium War, Lo Hsing-han became the largest single opium merchant in the province. The SSA was founded in 1958 and was political in nature. Its chief concern was to regain Ragoon and to abolish Shan authority in that region. It was not directly involved in opium trade. The size of its army was 2,700 and the troops were armed with American weapons which were purchased on the black market.

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Golden Triangle – North

 

In 1973, the Burmese government disbanded its militia groups in Shan province. In an effort to consolidate his power in the region, Lo Hsing-han turned to moderate elements in the SSA for support in controlling. The two groups proposed that officials at the American embassy in Bangkok be informed that they intended to sell 400 tons of Shan opium for $20 million. The two groups also requested American support for the purchase of all opium controlled by smaller Shan factions in the Golden Triangle at a fixed price. They insisted that this would eliminate all heroin trade in the area. However, Lo Hsing-han was arrested in 1973 by Burmese officials and charged him with — not drug trafficking — but high treason and rebellion. The following year, the Burmese government released Khun Sa, who had spent five years in solitary confinement, and returned him to his troops in Shan province. Now Khun Sa easily replaced Lo Hsing-han as the drug kingpin in the Golden Triangle.

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Golden Triangle Center

 

Khun Sa forged ahead by forming an alliance with the conservative factions of the SSA and was involved in skirmishes with the revitalized KKT. Khun Sa once again he proposed that he purchase the entire Shan province opium crop. This request was rejected by the State Department after Congressional hearings took place in 1975. In 1975, the SSA broke into two factions. The larger and more moderate group broke away from the conservative faction and joined the BCP. The other faction joined forces with fragments of the KMT and formed the Tai-Land Revolutionary Council. Furthermore, to complicate issues, several rightist independent armies combined to form the National Democratic Front (NDF), an anti-communist coalition which was made up of 13 groups.

Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

In 1977, an agreement regarding the division of opium trade in the Golden Triangle was reached between Khun Sa and the leader of the revitalized KMT. Khun Sa was allowed to maintain a base inside Thailand, and this served as his headquarters for control of 40 percent of Burma’s opium exports and the annual collection of $850,000 in transit fees from others who crossed through the region. Between 1976 and 1978, the Burmese government, using American helicopters, began a series of military operations aimed at destroying the Shan armies and their opium operations. Government forces were able to destroy some poppy fields, but they did not enter BCP-controlled regions. The BCP controlled one-third of the area, and even though they were not involved in opium trade, they did allow private dealers to cultivate opium.

TOR-Routes-Sud-Thaïlande

Golden Triangle South

 

Opium production plummeted after 1975. After the United States withdrew from Vietnam, black market operations dwindled, making it difficult for Shan rebels to purchase weapons. In addition, between 1978 and 1980 the Golden Triangle was hit with two droughts. This was followed by two seasons of intense monsoon rains, reducing the region’s opium production to a record low. The usual 600 ton opium harvests were cut to 160 tons in 1978 and 240 tons in 1979. Recovering from this two year failure, the region began to produce a bumper crop in the 1980s.

Richard Armitage - Bush Crony

Richard Armitage – Bush Crony

Khun Sa stated that Richard Armitage, at that time an envoy in the American embassy, financed drug smuggling in Vietnam and Bangkok from 1975 to 1979. CIA agents Daniel Arnold and Jerry Daniel trafficked weapons and drugs with Khun Sa. The operation was believed to be at its peak in 1975 and 1976 under George Bush. In a letter to George Bush, Gritz maintained that Khun Sa claimed that he had once engaged in narcotics transactions with Richard Armitage, who later became the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Shackley, as well as other American officials. Bush was head of the CIA in 1976 when Khun Sa said that he was selling drugs to top CIA officials. Gritz says that, strangely, nobody in the American government was interested in an investigation. Gritz later testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s International Narcotics Control Task Force.

By 1983, Khun Sa strengthened his forces, and opium production was on the rebound. With Hong Kong chemists and over ten refineries, Khun Sa increased his holdings, controlling 75 percent of Golden Triangle opium production. Khun Sa was able to defeat KMT forces, and he destroyed numerous heroin facilities. With a virtual monopoly on opium trade in the Golden Triangle, Khun Sa was only briefly attacked by Thai and Burmese government forces which were able to secure a small area. Khun Sa was forced to evacuate some of his heroin laboratories, but he merely moved them into Laos.

Khun Sa had eliminated all his rebel rivals, and by 1986 he was refining 80 percent of the opium harvest in the Golden Triangle. The king of opium trade, Khun Sa had risen to become the world’s largest single heroin trafficker by controlling 60 percent of the world’s illicit opium supply.

2000px-US-DrugEnforcementAdministration-Seal.svg

In 1986, Bo Gritz went to Burma with White House approval to meet with Khun Sa who supposedly had information on American MIAs. Khun Sa said that he wanted to end the opium and heroin traffic in his territory and to expose American officials involved in the drug smuggling. Gritz claimed that he took this message to the United States government and was told by Tom Harvey of the National Security Council that “there is no interest here” in the Khun Sa overture. Gritz had in his possession 40 hours of video tape of Khun Sa who “charged American officials, both past and present, with being the chief buyers of drugs produced in that part of the world.” He also claimed that he wanted to stop drug trafficking, but that the United States government would not let him. Khun Sa said that the CIA were some of his best customers. He offered support to the DEA to alert them of drug movements, but this was rejected at the headquarters level. In 1988, the government of Burma fell into the hands of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Its goal was to bolster the nation’s economy by doubling opium exports, and within two years 60 percent of the world’s heroin — valued at $40 billion a year — was exported from Burma.

Also in 1988, the single largest heroin seizure was made in