Excerpts from The Great Heroin Coup
by Henrik Kruger (1981)
Drugs Intelligence & International Fascism
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
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.
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.
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.”
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 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?”
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– The Green Chazzan