EDITOR: The mysterious Paul Helliwell was the Station Chief of OSS China, the leader of the renegade commando group and the original architect of the CIA drugs-for-arms trade that would be the center of the Consortiums power. He was one of the top operatives for the CIA, the Mob and the Consortium, helping expand narcotics operations worldwide. Helliwell also controlled the finances of Operation J/M-Wave, the main CIA team picked from former Jedburgh Elite that was to conduct the Bay of Pigs assassination program. William Pawley was also key CIA figures in expanding the global narcotics trade in Central and South America. He was Tommy Corcoran’s main partner in Air America. He played a significant role in the Bay of Pigs and Operation J/M-Wave. Operation J/M-Wave was the CIA operation to assassinate Castro and recover the Consortium assets through the overthrow of Cuban communism.
Excerpts from Operation Jedburgh
by John Simkin (1997) – Part 4
Jedburgh Team Profiles
Paul Lional Edward Helliwell was born in 1915. He was a lawyer before he joined the United States Army during the Second World War. Later he was transferred to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) where he served under William Donovan. Helliwell was sent to China where he worked with Ray S. Cline, Richard Helms, E. Howard Hunt, Jake Esterline, Mitchell WerBell, John K. Singlaub, Jack Anderson, Robert Emmett Johnson and Lucien Conein. Others working in China at that time included Tommy Corcoran, Whiting Willauer and William Pawley.
In 1943 Colonel Paul Helliwell became head of the Secret Intelligence Branch of the OSS in Europe. Helliwell was replaced in this post by William Casey in 1945. Helliwell became chief of the Far East Division of the War Department’s Strategic Service Unit, an interim intelligence organization formed after OSS was closed down. In 1947 Helliwell joined the Central Intelligence Agency. In May 1949, General Claire Chennault had a meeting with Harry S. Truman and advocated an increase in funds for Chaing Kai-shek and his Kuomintang Army (KMT) in his war in China. Truman dismissed the idea as impractical. However, Frank Wisner, was more sympathetic and when Mao Zedong took power in China in 1950, he sent Helliwell to Taiwan.
Helliwell’s main job was to help Chaing Kai-shek to prepare for a future invasion of Communist China. The CIA created a pair of front companies to supply and finance the surviving forces of Chaing’s KMT. Paul Helliwell was put in charge of this operation. This included establishing Civil Air Transport (CAT), a Taiwan-based airline, and the Sea Supply Corporation, a shipping company in Bangkok. It was Helliwell’s idea to use these CIA fronted companies to raise money to help support Chaing Kai-shek. According to Joseph Trento (Prelude to Terror): “Through Sea Supply, Helliwell imported large amounts of arms for the KMT soldiers to keep the Burmese military from throwing them out of the country. The arms were ferried into Burma on CAT airplanes. CAT then used the “empty” planes to fly drugs from Burma to Taiwan, Bangkok, and Saigon. There the drugs were processed for the benefit of the KMT and Chiang Kai-shek’s corrupt government on Taiwan.”
Civil Air Transport (CAT), later renamed Air America, provided the CIA with the air power needed to sustain its covert operations for the next twenty-five years. Helliwell was to play an important role in running these covert, and often illegal operations. By the late 1950s it became clear that Chaing Kai-shek would never be strong enough to invade China. The main focus changed to stopping the spread of communism to countries like Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. At the time, the main group fighting communism in the region were the large private armies controlled by the drug lords. For example, General Vang Pao was employing his 30,000-man army to help the Pathet Lao. In return for joining the CIA, Helliwell helped Vang Pao to modernize the drug trade. William Corson claims that: “Portable heroin processing facilities were brought in. It was a creation of the CIA’s technical services division.” Some of these profits went to help CIA run some unofficial covert operations.
In 1960 Paul Helliwell was transferred to provide business cover for the CIA’s Cuban operations. According to Peter Dale Scott (The Iran Contra Connection) Helliwell worked with E. Howard Hunt, Mitch WerBell and Lucien Conein on developing relationships with drug-dealing Cuban veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion. It was during this period that Helliwell met Ted Shackley and Thomas Clines. Helliwell later became CIA paymaster for JM/WAVE. In this way, Shackley was able to finance unofficial CIA operations against Cuba.
After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Helliwell was sent by the CIA to the Bahamas where he set up offshore banks for CIA use. At first he established the Mercantile Bank and Trust Company and then the Castle Bank and Trust Company. Helliwell also ran the American Bankers Insurance Company based in Galveston, Texas. This provided insurance cover for businessmen who cooperated with the CIA. Helliwell also created the Intercontinental Holding, a company in the Cayman Islands that owned the Lear jet used by Barry Seal for his drug running activities. Helliwell also established a Miami office for the Sea Supply Corporation. According to Joseph Trento (Prelude to Terror): “The primary objective of Helliwell’s operations in Florida was to cement the CIA’s relationship with organized crime.” This included Santos Trafficante, who had a common business interest in Asia, the “successful exportation of Chinese white heroin.”
According to Daniel Hopsicker (Barry and the Boys), Helliwell ran Red Sunset Enterprises in Miami. Hopsicker claims it was a CIA front company set up to recruit frogmen and explosives experts for Operation Mongoose. In 1973 the Internal Revenue Service began an investigation called Operation Trade Winds. During its investigation it discovered that some major organized crime figures such as Morris Dalitz, Morris Kleinman and Samuel A. Tucker were using the Castle Bank and Trust Company. It soon became clear that the bank was laundering CIA funds and drug profits. The IRS eventually announced that it was dropping its investigation of Castle Bank because of “legal problems”. According to the Wall Street Journal, the reasons for this was “pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency”.
The CIA now needed a new bank. Later that year, Frank Nugan, an Australian lawyer, and Michael Hand, a former CIA contract operative, established the Nugan Hand Bank. Another key figure in this venture was Bernie Houghton, who was closely connected to CIA officials, Ted Shackley and Thomas G. Clines. Nugan ran operations in Sydney whereas Hand established a branch in Hong Kong. This enabled Australian depositors to access a money-laundering facility for illegal transfers of Australian money to Hong Kong. According to Alfred W. McCoy, the “Hand-Houghton partnership led the bank’s international division into new fields – drug finance, arms trading, and support work for CIA covert operations.” Hand told friends “it was his ambition that Nugan Hand became banker for the CIA.”
Helliwell continued to work as a lawyer in Miami and served as legal counsel to a Panamanian holding company that controlled a Bahamian gambling casino connected with Meyer Lansky. Paul Helliwell died from emphysema on 24th December, 1976.
Paul Helliwell, instructions to all agents of the Secret Intelligence Branch of the OSS in Europe (26th January, 1943)
“Psychological warfare is the employment of all moral and physical means other than orthodox military operations which tend to: destroy the will and ability of the enemy to resist; deprive him of the support of his allies and neutrals; increase in our own troops and allies the will to victory. This must be consonant with national policy and coordinated with orthodox military operations. The implements of psychological warfare include open propaganda, black propaganda, subversion, and sabotage, special phases of economic and political pressure, and cultural contacts. Since psychological warfare can be waged successfully only when supplemented by adequate intelligence, it becomes necessary that a flow of information regarding the psychological state of mind of groups and populations in both enemy and neutral countries, and their reaction to psychological warfare conducted by our agencies and those of our allies, be available to this office. Therefore, supplementary to your present activities, it is desired by the Director that you secure and send reports regarding the vulnerabilities of enemy groups, both civil and military, and neutral populations which can be exploited for psychological warfare.”
Paul Helliwell, Instructional Memorandum on Intelligence Operations (1943)
“Relatively accurate facts can be secured as to the activities of the civil government, and the parties or political groups exercising power at the moment, and these reports should be in considerable detail. The more difficult task of securing accurate information as to minority political groups and subversive political organizations constitutes a very real challenge to the Director. He must develop contacts within such groups, or place loyal agents in such groups as members. Such opposition forces should be assisted in every possible way in their aim to interfere with the functioning of the government in power. Financial support should be offered and, if accepted, should be given in such a way that that future actions of the group can be controlled. This can best be accomplished by requiring that one of our agents be given a high position in the organization and that he exercise control over the finances. … Efforts should be made to foment social unrest in the hostile national by agitating the current social problems and pitting one class against the other. A sub-Director who is thoroughly acquainted with the history of the hostile nation and its peoples should be assigned to study this problem and direct a planned campaign. … In studying his territory the Director will know the key points in the enemy installations but generally such points will be carefully protected and sabotage of such point must be the act of “desperate” men who have been especially selected and especially trained. … Propaganda should be divided into two categories, one being the Propaganda Reconnaissance Agent and the other the Propaganda Distributing Agent…”
“Orders to employees must always be verbal, definite and understandable. It is best to repeat orders, and to have the employee repeat the order, until it is positive that it is clearly understood. Orders should never be given in writing… The disposition to be made of an employee who proves to be unsatisfactory or disloyal should be a part of the Director’s plan. If the employee proves to be disloyal and is in possession of dangerous information, he should probably be killed…”
“Informers should be made available to known hostile agents and false or misleading information furnished. These informers may be either unwitting individuals or agents engaged (in a) deliberately planned campaign. The activities of known enemy organizations or agents might be embarrassed by rendering anonymous reports to police authorities and thus subjecting them to embarrassing inquiries. When possible their activities might be made the subject of reports to newspapers and thus secure them unfavorable publicity. The wives and relatives of known hostile agents should be given scandalous information, and embarrassing information of this type should be disseminated so that it reaches the ears of the superiors of a hostile agent.”
Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots (1987)
“So the CIA began supplying the KMT through two front companies: Civil Air Transport, headquartered in Taiwan, and Sea Supply Corporation, headquartered in Bangkok. Only a few people with top security clearance knew that both companies were covertly owned by the U.S. Government. They are important, not only for what they did in the 1950s, but also because they were precursors of organizations that touch directly on Nugan Hand in the 1970s.
After China was given up on, the focus of U.S. efforts in East Asia shifted to Indochina. Civil Air Transport was then transformed into (among several successor entities) Air America. That was the airline Michael Hand worked closely with as a CIA contract agent. Many of the CIA associates whose money first helped Hand get started in business in Australia were Air America employes.Sea Supply Corporation, for its part, was founded and run by a lawyer and CIA operative named Paul Helliwell.
During World War II, Helliwell had been chief of special intelligence in China for the OSS. Colleagues from those days told the Wall Street Journal’s Jim Drinkhall that Helliwell, then a colonel, regularly used to buy information with five-pound shipments of opium (“three sticky brown bars,” one man said). Drinkhall also reported being told that Helliwell ran an operation code-named “Deer Mission,” in which OSS personnel secretly parachuted into Indochina to treat Ho Chi Minh for malaria. After the heyday of Sea Supply in the 1950s, Helliwell moved to Miami and became an important figure in the Bay of Pigs invasion and the CIA’s other battles against Castro. His Castle Bank both funneled money for the CIA and, privately, operated as a profitable tax-cheat business. Its unexpected demise in the mid-1970s directly coincided with the growth of Nugan Hand. Considering the gaggle of brass from the U.S. intelligence community who helped push Nugan Hand into orbit in the late 1970s, there has been understandable speculation that Nugan Hand was Castle Bank’s successor.”
William Douglas Pawley was born in Florence, South Carolina, on 7th September, 1896. His father was a wealthy businessman based in Cuba and Pawley attended private schools in both Havana and Santiago. He later returned to the United States where he studied at the Gordon Military Academy in Georgia. In 1925 Pawley began work as an estate agent in Miami. Two years later he began working for the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. In 1928 Pawley returned to Cuba to become president of the Nacional Cubana de Aviacion Curtiss. He held this post until the company was sold to Pan American Airways in 1932.
Pawley now became president of the Intercontinent Corporation based in New York. The following year he moved to China where he became president of the China National Aviation Corporation. Over the next five years he built three aircraft factories for the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek. Pawley also formed a business relationship with Tommy Corcoran. In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had asked Corcoran to establish a private corporation to provide assistance to the nationalist government in China. Roosevelt even supplied the name of the proposed company, China Defense Supplies. He also suggested that his uncle, Frederick Delano, should be co-chairman of the company. Chiang nominated his former finance minister, Tse-ven Soong, as the other co-chairman.
For reasons of secrecy, Corcoran took no title other than outside counsel for China Defense Supplies. William S. Youngman was his frontman in China. Corcoran’s friend, Whitey Willauer, was moved to the Foreign Economic Administration, where he supervised the sending of supplies to China. In this way Corcoran was able to create an Asian Lend-Lease program. Pawley also worked closely with Claire Lee Chennault, who had been working as a military adviser to Chiang Kai-shek since 1937. Chennault told Tommy Corcoran that if he was given the resources, he could maintain an air force within China that could carry out raids against the Japanese. Corcoran returned to the United States and managed to persuade Franklin D. Roosevelt to approve the creation of the American Volunteer Group.
William Pawley became involved and he arranged for one hundred P-40 fighters, built by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, that had been intended for Britain, to be redirected to Chennault in China. Pawley also arranged for the P-40 to be assembled in Rangoon. It was Tommy Corcoran’s son David who suggested that the American Volunteer Group should be called the Flying Tigers. Chennault liked the idea and asked his friend, Walt Disney, to design a tiger emblem for the planes. On 13th April, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a secret executive order authorizing the American Volunteer Group to recruit reserve officers from the army, navy and marines. Pawley suggested that the men should be recruited as “flying instructors”.
In July, 1941, ten pilots and 150 mechanics were supplied with fake passports and sailed from San Francisco for Rangoon. When they arrived they were told that they were really involved in a secret war against Japan. To compensate for the risks involved, the pilots were to be paid $600 a month ($675 for a patrol leader). In addition, they were to receive $500 for every enemy plane they shot down. The Flying Tigers were extremely effective in their raids on Japanese positions and helped to slow down attempts to close the Burma Road, a key supply route to China. In seven months of fighting, the Flying Tigers destroyed 296 planes at a loss of 24 men (14 while flying and 10 on the ground).
In 1944 Pawley became president of the Industan Aircraft Manufacturing Company in Bangalore, India. Pawley was responsible for building India’s first ammonium-sulfate plant in Trannvanacore. After the war Pawley became a diplomat. In 1945 Harry S. Truman appointed Pawley as U.S. Ambassador to Peru. Soon afterwards left-wing newspapers in Lima began to claim that Pawley was making “lucrative deals” for himself in Peru. This involved transporting unspecified goods in and out of Peru.
In 1948 Pawley became Ambassador to Brazil. During this time he became a FBI informant. He passed information to J. Edgar Hoover claiming that Spruille Braden, the Ambassador to Argentina was under the control of communist advisers such as Gustavo Duran and George Michanowsky. In a document dated the 7th September, 1948, Pawley suggested that Braden was attempting to expose “non-existant and imagery Nazis in Latin America” as a cover for his communist sympathies. Pawley also claimed that William A. Wieland, who worked as a press officer for the embassy in Brazil, held “anti-capitalist” views.
Pawley continued to be involved in various business projects. He was a close friend of President Rafael Trujillo and together with George Smathers, had invested in the bauxite industry in the Dominican Republic. He was also extremely friendly with Fulgencio Batista and in 1948 he established Autobuses Modernos in Cuba. A company he later sold to Batista.
On 7th November, 1949, Pawley sent a memorandum to the State Department suggesting that a small group of Americans should be sent to Formosa in order to help protect the government of Chiang Kai-shek. Pawley claimed that Dean Acheson rejected the idea after consulting with advisers such as Owen Lattimore, John C. Vincent and John Davis. In February, 1951 Pawley became special assistant to Acheson. Later that year he held a similar post under Robert A. Lovett. However, he discovered that the State Department considered him to be a reactionary and he was denied access to secret documents concerning Latin America.
Pawley was an active member of the Republican Party. A close friend of both President Dwight Eisenhower and CIA director Allen W. Dulles, he took part in a policy that later become known as Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). Pawley played a role Operation Success, a CIA plot to overthrow the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 after he introduced land reforms and nationalized the United Fruit Company. John Foster Dulles decided that he “needed a civilian adviser to the State Department team to help expediate Operation Success”. Dulles selected William Pawley. In his book Peddling Influence (2005), David McKean argues that Pawley’s most important qualification for the job was his “long association with right-wing Latin America dictators.”
Gaeton Fonzi points out in his book, The Last Investigation: “Pawley had also owned major sugar interests in Cuba, as well as Havana’s bus, trolley and gas systems and he was close to both pre-Castro Cuban rulers, President Carlos Prio and General Fulgencio Batista. (Pawley was one of the dispossessed American investors in Cuba who early tried to convince Eisenhower that Castro was a Communist and urged him to arm the exiles in Miami.)”
In March 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower, disillusioned with Batista’s government, insisted he held elections. This he did, but the people showed their unhappiness with his government by refusing to vote. Over 75 per cent of the voters in the capital Havana boycotted the polls. In some areas, such as Santiago, it was as high as 98 per cent. Some members of the State Department came to the conclusion that it would be in America’s best long-term interest in Cuba to be seen as opposing Batista. William A. Wieland, Director of the Caribbean and Central American Affairs, was against America providing support for the Cuban dictator. As the U.S. Ambassador of Cuba, Earl E. T. Smith was later to tell a Senate Committee: “He (Wieland) believed that it would be in the best interest of Cuba and the best interest of the world in general when Batista was removed from office.”
Wieland was not the only one who took that view. According to Pawley and Smith, Roy R. Rubottom, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, John L. Topping, Chief of the Political Section and the Chief of the CIA Section, held similar opinions. Pawley and Smith also identified Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times as being an important figure in providing support for the idea of regime change in Cuba. Smith pointed out that “Matthews wrote three articles on Fidel Castro, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times, in which he eulogized Fidel Castro and portrayed him as a political Robin Hood.
On 9th December, 1958, Pawley had a meeting with Fulgencio Batista. Pawley told Batista that he was losing the support of the American government. Pawley suggested that the Cuban dictator should resign and allow an anti-Castro and anti-Batista caretaker junta to take over. Batista rejected the idea and on 14th December, William A. Wieland, speaking for the State Department instructed Earl E. T. Smith, to inform Batista that he no longer had the support of the US government and that he should leave Cuba at once. On 1st January, 1959, Batista fled to the Dominican Republic.
Pawley later told a Senate Committee on Latin American Affairs: “I believe that the deliberate overthrow of Batista by Wieland and Matthews, assisted by Rubottom, is almost as great a tragedy as the surrendering of China to the Communists by a similar group of Department of State officials fifteen or sixteen years ago and we will not see the end in cost of American lives and American recourses for these tragic errors.” After Batista was overthrown by Fidel Castro, Pawley pressurized President Dwight Eisenhower to provide military and financial help to anti-Castro Cubans based in the United States. Recently released FBI files suggest he worked closely with Manuel Artime in efforts to overthrow Castro.
In the winter of 1962 Eddie Bayo claimed that two officers in the Red Army based in Cuba wanted to defect to the United States. Bayo added that these men wanted to pass on details about atomic warheads and missiles that were still in Cuba despite the agreement that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bayo had originally fought with Fidel Castro against Fulgencio Batista. He disagreed with Castro’s policies after he gained power and moved to Miami and helped establish Alpha 66. His story was eventually taken up by several members of the anti-Castro community including Gerry P. Hemming, John Martino, Felipe Vidal Santiago and Frank Sturgis. Pawley became convinced that it was vitally important to help get these Soviet officers out of Cuba. To help this happen he communicated with James Eastland, the chairman of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, about this story.
Pawley also contacted Ted Shackley, head of the CIA’s JM WAVE station in Miami. Shackley decided to help Pawley organize what became known as Operation Tilt. He also assigned William (Rip) Robertson, a fellow member of the CIA in Miami, to help with the operation. David Sanchez Morales, another CIA agent, also became involved in this attempt to bring out these two Soviet officers. In June, 1963, a small group, including Pawley, Eddie Bayo, William (Rip) Robertson, John Martino, and Richard Billings, a journalist working for Life Magazine, secretly arrived in Cuba. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to find these Soviet officers and they were forced to return to Miami. Bayo remained behind and it was rumored that he had been captured and executed. However, his death was never reported in the Cuban press.
William Pawley died of gunshot wounds in January, 1977. Officially it was suicide but some researchers believe it was connected to the investigations being carried out by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. However, a relative Cash Pawley, has argued: “Bill Pawley had acquired a severe case of Shingles years earlier, which had progressed across his entire body (even the soles of his feet). He had been unable to lay down, stand or become comfortable in any position. The pain was excruciating, and there was no modern medicine(s) for a cure or even proper pain management at the time. Therefore, Mr. Pawley suffered day in and day out, until he just could not do it anymore. This was the reason for his suicide.”
JM WAVE was the Central Intelligence Agency station in Florida. Located south of Miami in a heavily wooded 1,571-acre tract. The numerous buildings were said to belong to Zenith Technological Enterprises.
After the Bay of Pigs disaster President John F. Kennedy created a committee (SGA) charged with overthrowing Castro’s government. The SGA, chaired by Robert F. Kennedy (Attorney General), included John McCone (CIA Director), McGeorge Bundy (National Security Adviser), Alexis Johnson (State Department), Roswell Gilpatric (Defence Department), General Lyman Lemnitzer (Joint Chiefs of Staff) and General Maxwell Taylor. Although not officially members, Dean Rusk (Secretary of State) and Robert S. McNamara (Secretary of Defence) also attending meetings.
At a meeting of this committee at the White House on 4th November, 1961, it was decided to call this covert action program for sabotage and subversion against Cuba, Operation Mongoose. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy also decided that General Edward Lansdale (Staff Member of the President’s Committee on Military Assistance) should be placed in charge of the operation.
The CIA JM WAVE station in Miami served as operational headquarters for Operation Mongoose. The head of the station was Ted Shackley and over the next few months became very involved in the attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. One of Lansdale’s first decisions was to appoint William Harvey as head of Task Force W. Harvey’s brief was to organize a broad range of activities that would help to bring down Castro’s government. By the spring of 1962, JM/WAVE employed more than 200 CIA officers. They in turn ran over 2,200 Cuban agents. JM/WAVE had a navy of over 100 craft, including the 174-foot Rex,that had the latest electronic equipment and 40-millimeter and 20-millimeter cannons. The CIA station also had a large number of V-20 Swift craft and access to F-105 Phantoms from nearby Homestead Air Force Base.
William Harvey was ordered to activate an assassination plot against Fidel Castro. This became known as the ZR/RIFLE project. Harvey arranged for David Sanchez Morales to move from Mexico City to join the project based at the JM WAVE station. In the winter of 1962 Eddie Bayo claimed that two officers in the Red Army based in Cuba wanted to defect to the United States. Bayo added that these men wanted to pass on details about atomic warheads and missiles that were still in Cuba despite the agreement that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Bayo’s story was eventually taken up by several members of the anti-Castro community including William Pawley, Gerry P. Hemming, John Martino, Felipe Vidal Santiago and Frank Sturgis. Pawley became convinced that it was vitally important to help get these Soviet officers out of Cuba.
William Pawley contacted Ted Shackley, the head at JM WAVE. Shackley decided to help Pawley organize what became known as Operation Tilt. He also assigned Rip Robertson, a fellow member of the CIA in Miami, to help with the operation. David Sanchez Morales, another CIA agent, also became involved in this attempt to bring out these two Soviet officers. In June, 1963, a small group, including William Pawley, Eddie Bayo, Rip Robertson, John Martino, and Richard Billings, a journalist working for Life Magazine, secretly arrived in Cuba. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to find these Soviet officers and they were forced to return to Miami. Bayo remained behind and it was rumoured that he had been captured and executed. However, his death was never reported in the Cuban press.
– The Green Chazzan