|New York Mob at Mena|
|by Ace R. Hayes|
|Portland Free Press|
Yet another CIA-Mafia drug connection: Richard Brenneke puts mob boss John Gotti and CIA boss Donald Gregg in the middle of contra drug operations at Mena Airport
In December 1996, the Portland Free Press secured a copy of Richard Brenneke's 21 June 1991 sworn deposition before Congressman William Alexander, Jr., and Chad Farris, chief deputy attorney general of Arkansas.
PFP is running late with the January/February 1997 issue with some semi-good reasons. As a result, we secured former congressman William Alexander's fax number and sent him a request for confirmation. We got more than we hoped for, 7 January 1997: ". . . the Brenneke transcript along with other evidence of money laundering by Barry Seal at Mena, Arkansas, was delivered to Judge Walsh for action. Nothing followed.
"I agree that the American people deserve to know the truth about our government. Thank you for providing it.
"Good luck" (signed Bill Alexander, with seven pages of deposition).
Mr. Alexander did the direct questioning and Bushman Court Reporting, Inc., did the recording. Combining the pages Mr. Alexander faxed and the parts we had received from our original source will have to do until we can get the entire unredacted transcript. What we do have is the red-hot smoking cannon. (We left a message on Mr. Brenneke's answering machine to advise him he is going to be back on the front page.)
"Joint Investigation by the Arkansas State Attorney General's Office and the United States Congress:"
Q. And when you landed at Mena, what would be the disposition of the cargo?
A. On one or two occasions the cargo was taken off by people who were not residents of the Mena area and put into other aircraft which departed from there. However, the most frequent activity was that the aircraft would be unloaded in front of [deleted]'s hangers and it would be stored in the back of the hanger....
Q. And go back in your mind to the first trip you took and describe to me the disposition of the cargo; that is, the cocaine, once it returned to Arkansas, once it was delivered to Arkansas? And I am especially -- I am particularly interested in the identification of persons other than [deleted]. You've talked about [deleted]. You've identified him. Can you identify other people who might have received this cocaine?
A. Yes. I can identify people who in fact received the cocaine, not "might have." And --
Q. Can you tell us who they were?
A. I can tell you that they were members of John Gotti's family in New York. One of them was an individual know[n] to me by the name of Sal Reale.
Q. Could you spell that name for us?
A. R-E-A-L-E. . . .
Q. Salvatore Reale?
Q. And how did you know Mr. Reale?
A. Mr. Reale at that time was the Director of -- I believe it was that time, was the Director of Security of Kennedy International in New York City.
Q. . . . Speak to the subject of your knowledge of Mr. Reale and his activities as the head of security at Kennedy? Tell us what you know about him and what he did?
A. Okay. Mr. Reale was a -- was one of Mr. Gotti's lieutenants. I watched the two of them interact. Mr. Gotti would provide directions, Mr. Reale would carry them out. It was his job to make sure that cargo being shipped through Kennedy was not lost, but properly located, and in some cases avoiding . . . the customs procedures.
Q. Are you saying that you saw Mr. John Gotti, the famous head of the organized crime syndicates, in New York together with Mr. Reale?
A. Yes, sir, I did.
Q. Where did you see them?
A. That was in New York City.
Q. . . . What was the occasion that permitted you to see them together, do you recall?
A. I don't recall the nature of it. I do recall that it was a private club that I was taken to, and I had an opportunity to meet with them at that time.
Q. And so -- okay. Do you remember when it was you saw them together?
A. It was either late '84 or early 1985. But in that three-or-four-month time span, it would have had to have been one or the other.
Q. Was your notice of Mr. Gotti and Mr. Reale in any way connected with your contractual job with the Central Intelligence Agency?
A. Yes. As far back as 1968 and early '69, we had begun to launder money from organized crime families in New York. At that time, Mr. Gotti was an up-and-coming member of the families. I got to know them at that time. We used to wash their money out overseas and put it in Switzerland in nice, safe places for them.
Q. So you worked for Mr. Gotti as well as for the CIA?
A. Actually the CIA told me to do that on his behalf.
Q. So the CIA was in, would you say, partnership or association with Mr. Gotti?
A. Yes, sir. I would say a partnership.
Q. And can you describe the nature of that partnership?
A. Sure. The organized crime members had a need for two things: they needed drugs brought into the country on a reliable, safe basis; they needed people taken out of the country or people brought into the country without alerting customs or INS to the fact that they were being brought into the country; they also needed their money taken offshore so that it would not be subject to United States tax where they might have to declare its source. And so we performed these kinds of functions for them.
Q. Mr. Brenneke, are you saying that the CIA was in the business of bringing drugs into the United States?
A. Yes, sir. That's exactly what I'm saying.
Q. And that they were in partnership with Mr. Gotti in this operation?
A. I would say that they worked with Mr. Gotti and his organization very closely. Whether it was a formal partnership, I don't know. But there certainly was a close alliance between the two.
Q. All right. Now let's go back to the Mena Airport in Arkansas for a moment. At a time when you saw Mr. Reale there, did he receive any of the shipment, the cargo of the drugs that you brought back from Panama?
A. He did not personally take any of the drugs. He did, however, see that they were transferred into aircraft and vehicles so that they could be moved off the field, and that was his function. His function was not to load the vehicles, but to see that nothing got lost on transit.
Q. Are you saying that drugs that you brought back from Central America to Mena were for the purpose of delivery to Mr. Reale, who was in the employ of Mr. John Gotti, the New York crime syndicate boss?
A. Yes, sir. I would say that.
Q. And Mr. Reale was there to manage the transshipment of those drugs?
A. From time to time there were other people from the family down there.
Q. Did you have any conversations with him about where he intended to take those drugs?
A. Yes, sir. I asked on more than one occasion where the drugs would be taken, and I was told the New York City area, specifically Kennedy International Airport.
Q. Now, do you have any knowledge of the CIA, quote, "black bag," operations at Rich Mountain Aviation? . . . And maybe a more interesting way to ask that question would be, you knew that you were dealing with criminals; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir.
Q. You were dealing with criminals that were transporting and selling cocaine in the United States? . . .
Q. Now, did the Gotti organization, through Reale, pay money to the CIA for the drugs?
A. Yes, they did.
Q. Do you know how much money?
A. Firsthand knowledge, somewhere in the $50,000,000 bracket.
Q. How do you know how much money?
A. Because I banked that money for them in Panama City, and ultimately transferred it to other locations in Europe.... . . .
Q. Can you recall any conversations you had with any of the CIA agents about the money, and tell us the nature of that conversation, the scope of it?
A. Sure. When I found that we were bringing drugs into the United States, and that we were receiving money which was being put into accounts which I knew to belong to the United States Government, as I'd set them up specifically for that purpose, I called Mr. Don Gregg, who was a CIA officer with whom I was acquainted, and complained about the nature of what we were doing.
Q. Now, who is Mr. Don Gregg?
A. At that time, he was . . . Vice-President George Bush's National Security Advisor. . . .
Q. And can you tell us what you remember about that conversation?
A. I surely can. I was told that it was not my business, what I was flying in and out of the country. That I was hired to do specific things, and if I would do those things and not pay any attention to anything else, we would all be very happy. I didn't like that.
Q. Well, what else did he say?
A. Shut up and do your job.
Q. He said, "shut up and do your job?"
A. Essentially, yes.
Q. Did you have further contact with him?
A. Yes. Subsequently I talked to Mr. Gregg on a number of occasions as well as to other people in the Vice-President's office to voice my concern over the use of drugs in -- importing drugs into the United States and using the cash generated from that to perform operations which I perceived to be not put before Congress in any form....
The accuracy and validity of Mr. Brenneke's sworn deposition, taken by former Congressman William Alexander, 21 June 1991, is strongly supported by documents that have never before been published for the general reader. A small sample of these documents are herewith provided.
First is a hand-written letter to a State Department official working with the Bush/North/Gregg contra-cocaine operation. It was labeled "confidential," dated 6 January 1986, and addressed to "Ralph:"
As I explained, there would be a separate enclosure. This is it, and it will not make anyone happy. You understand why I'm writing this for you only. I strongly urge you to destroy this. But, don't destroy the thoughts. They are very real.
I am leaving the Central America program. I have no choice. For your own good, you should do the same.
I have closed my eyes to the damn drug scene too long. As we have discussed, Israel and the United States (no, Ralph, there is no distinction) have allowed business to continue as usual. The same people are doing business in all the same places, only now they're doing business with our assistance. We're doing the importing. I told you last year that even I fell victim to the trap. Now our so-called "friends" are blackmailing me. Ralph, we're not the good guys any more. As I have tried to tell you, we are the bad guys. You know where all this will lead just as well as I do. We both have children. You are fortunate, yours don't use drugs. You know that mine does.
This is why I'm writing you without all the fancy codes. I want you to see reality in black and white.
What can the new people do? They will fall into the same trap we did. You cannot get away from these people. You know that.
Neither of us started this business, but together we can stop it. I've been quiet way too long. You tell the boys in the basement* that everyone has run out of time. If this continues I'm going public, blackmail or not. I'll take my chances and we can all live with the consequences.
Ralph, I think you should destroy this letter. It scares me
[page 2] me just to write it.
It would be wise to discontinue contact now. You know what you have to do and so do I.
Would you also tell Don the details of this letter? He needs to know where I stand now. I know that you and he still talk.
Pass the word along that there will be no more use of my company. [See following stock certificate.] It is over.
Finally, please calm our friend down. I'm going to get him his originals next month.
For your reference, I am arranging to give the Iran material to Mr. Bush when he comes to Portland. Not, of course, this letter. This is between us and whoever runs the show now. I'm not willing to listen to any more protestations. Shut it down or we all go public is the only thing you can say regarding my position.
Yours, Dick [Brenneke]
* "The boys in the basement" refers to the National Security Council, offices located in the basement of the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB). During the 1980s, the Raygun-Casey cabal used the Constitution for toilet paper. The extra-legal gimmics employed to evade law, congress and media ran through an alphabet soup beyond the old-time CIA, FBI, DEA, ONI, NRO, etc.
Within the National Security Council evolved the National Security Planning Group (NSPG), the Restricted Interagency Group (RIG) and the Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG). These had evolved by 1985 and were transitioned into new forms by the end of 1986 with the blowout of Iran-contra.
". . . Casey handed McFarlane a sheet of paper on which he had outlined plans for a new CIA anti-terrorism unit . . . [it] officially sanctioned a secret entity with a mandate to coordinate our government's response to international terrorism -- preemptively if possible, retroactively if necessary. I became its first chairman . . ." (Oliver L. North, Under Fire, 1991, p. 197).
"My associates on the Task Force [members of the treasonous secret unit] included Noel Koch (and later Richard Armitage) from Defense, Dewey Clarridge and Charlie Allen from the CIA, Buck Revell and Wayne Gilbert from the FBI, Bob Oakley from State, and Art Moreau (and later General Jack Moellering) from the Joint Chiefs of Staff" (ibid., p. 198).
Frederick Kempe, a former Wall Street Journal diplomatic correspondent, wrote Divorcing the Dictator: America's Bungled Affair with Noriega in 1990. This documents the Israeli connections with CIA in the contra-cocaine program in Central America and confirms Brenneke's story: "Noriega, the new Comandante, made clear he was willing to be more cooperative than his predecessors. He was also feeling more heat for Panama's role in laundering money for international drug traffickers, and he interpreted a George Bush visit in December 1983 as an appeal for more help for the Contras. . . . In Noriega's mind, he thought Bush was saying that if Panama helped the Contras it could defuse criticism about money laundering. He passed this interpretation to a trusted adviser.
"Coincidentally, perhaps, in December 1983 the Israelis allegedly started using a CIA front company in Panama to start funneling support to the Contras. That company was IFMA Management Company, which had originally been created in 1969 in Panama as a conduit for CIA 'black' funds." (p. 162.)
The American people, since World War II, or World War I, or the Spanish American War -- take your choice -- have witnessed the tip of many criminal icebergs. The official investigations of the criminal icebergs almost always stopped at the waterline. The other 90 percent of the criminal icebergs were never hauled onto the beach for complete examination, prosecution and correction.
The criminal cases of 1980 to the present are in perfect harmony with this honored tradition. This is, of course, why Americans are the most profoundly ignorant people on planet earth. The illusion of knowledge is far worse than knowing you don't know.
The Iran-contra-cocaine criminal iceberg was subjected to a series of bogus investigations and damage control "exposé&s." "The Tower Commission and Select Committee of the House and Senate on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition in 1987," began the damage control operation for the Imperial state. But, the hall of shame did not stop with John Tower, Ed Muskie and Brent Scowcroft or Dan Inouye and Lee Hamilton. It included Senator John Kerry and his Special Counsel Jack Blum and Staff Aid Dick McCall. It reached to the Special Counsel, Judge Lawrence E. Walsh, and to The Iran-Contra Scandal: the Declassified History, edited by Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne for the "National Security Archive," 1993.
The two most respected government investigations of Iran-contra turn out to be as bogus as the original "Select Committee of the House and Senate on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition." "The Kerry Report" of December 1988 and the "Walsh Report" of 4 August 1993 are both obstructions of justice, just as were the "Select Committee" and "Tower Commission."
The "Committee Print: Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy -- a Report, Prepared by the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, of the Committee of Foreign Relations United States Senate, December 1988" (commonly called "The Kerry Report") is a cover-up of more than it "uncovered."
The International Center for Development Policy, founded by Ambassador Robert White, provided "The Brenneke Report: An Assessment of the International Center's Investigation, Prepared for Sen. John Kerry, Jack Blum and Dick McCall" (25 August 1988).
All had "The Brenneke Report," with 31 pages of analysis and 53 pages of documents, along with a "closed deposition" taken 23 April 1988.
"The Kerry Report," pages 130-32, blows Brenneke and Ambassador White off:
"Brenneke said that he had worked closely with a number of Israeli agents active in the Central American weapons project who were running drugs into the United States. He said that he was told by White House officials that the operation was officially sanctioned, and he had personally discussed the operation with members of the Vice President's staff." (p. 130.)
The next paragraph claims an "exhaustive effort to determine whether Brenneke's sworn statement had any basis in fact" involving the review of "thousands of pages of documents from government files relating to him [Brenneke]." Then the entire evidence is dismissed because "Brenneke was never officially connected to US intelligence" and "there is no evidence that any of them [arms deals] ever came to fruition" (pp. 130-31).
This is technically known as a non sequitur and is utterly dishonest. Brenneke had reported drug dealing and Kerry denies he ever sold guns. Brenneke reported he was a "contract operative" and Kerry denies he was a sworn officer.
This constitutes a willful and deliberate lie by Kerry, Blum and McCall. In addition, where are the "closed deposition" and "the thousands of pages of documents from government files relating to him"? Strange, is it not, that a "phony nobody" like Brenneke would have "thousands of pages of documents from government files relating to him." Perhaps Mr. Brenneke should be filing FOIAs.
Then came the "Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters -- Lawrence E. Walsh, independent counsel, 4 August 1993," commonly called the "Walsh Report." It, like the Kerry Report, is a con job and cover-up.
Congressman William Alexander of Arkansas deposed Dick Brenneke about Mena, 21 June 1991, and all of the evidence developed by Congressman Alexander was provided to Special Counsel Walsh. None of it was used by Walsh.
The "Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters," Vol. I, 4 August 1993, tells us on page xxi of the "Executive Summary" where Mena, Gotti, CIA and drugs may have disappeared: "In addition to the unclassified Volumes I and II of this report, a brief classified report, Volume III, has been filed with the Special Division. The classified report contains references to material gathered in the investigation of Iran/contra that could not be declassified and could not be concealed by some substitute form of discussion."
Another cover-up was put in place. We, the people, have been scammed again.
Both Kerry in '88 and Walsh in '93 have come across as honest, upright efforts to clean up the crimes of the CIA. Wrong! Both were clever cover-ups of CIA crimes.
Then the loyal opposition at the National Security Archive piles on another layer of cover-up with The Iran-Contra Scandal: the Declassified History, 1993. The effusive praise for Judge Walsh and his "unparalleled contribution to uncovering the truth" (p. viii, Acknowledgments) is highly suspect.
There is not a word in the so-called "Declassified History" about drugs. Yet Scott Armstrong, founder of the Archive and its first executive director, had direct knowledge of contra-CIA drug dealing through his work with Ambassador White, et al., at the International Center.
This is precisely the threat that John Stuart Mill warned of in his brilliant 1859 essay, On Liberty: "Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil . . ."
The quiet suppression of half the truth is the Orwellian reality of American pathology. A very few people have told the other half of the truth and they have been systematically ignored and/or smeared.
In his 1993 book, The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic, former-DEA agent Michael Levine describes it this way: "For decades, the CIA, the Pentagon, and secret organizations like Oliver North's Enterprise have been supporting and protecting the world's biggest drug dealers. Those brave freedom fighters in Afghanistan, the Mujahedin, supply a major portion of the heroin used in the United States. The Contras and some of their Central American allies like Honduras have been documented by DEA as supplying us with at least 50 percent of our national cocaine consumption. They were the main conduit to the United States for Colombian cocaine during the 1980s. The rest of the drug supply for the American habit came from other CIA-supported groups, such as DFS (the Mexican equivalent of the CIA), the Shan United Army in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, or any of a score of other groups and/or individuals like Manual Noriega. . . .
"So with the help of American bureaucrats and gutless politicians, they put on a dog-and-pony show to demonstrate to the American taxpayers how committed they are to our war on drugs. And out of gratitude we pay them billions in aid and hundreds of millions in 'drug war funds.' Yet incredibly, after almost three decades of international cooperation and statistic-spouting politicians who tell us again and again how we are now 'turning the corner in the drug war,' drugs keep pouring across our borders at an ever-increase rate." (pp. 463-64.)
Former DEA agent Celerino Castillo, along with Dave Harmon, gave the following account in their 1994 book, Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War: "He [Hugo Martinez, a Salvadoran who worked at Ilopango] explained the operation in detail. The Contra planes flew out of hangars four and five, and Hugo could identify their planes by the black cross painted on their tail. The CIA owned one hangar, and the National Security Council ran the other. I knew the CIA, like DEA, had a long history of hiring men with less than stellar reputations. In this case, they were narcotics traffickers. Hugo said the pilots often brought the drugs to Ilopango from either numerous private airstrips in Costa Rica, or the U.S. military base in Panama. They flew weapons, cash, and cocaine from these safe havens, taking the powder to the United States.
"Ilopango reminded me of O'Hare Airport in Chicago, bustling at all hours of the day and night. Murga was one of the busiest men on the base, tending to a continuous line of pilots waiting for their flight plans. Like Aparecio, Hugo had no trouble picking up incriminating information; many times pilots told him outright they were taking cocaine to the United States. The CIA had hired them, they boasted, and nobody could touch them. Hugo would quietly jot down their names after they left. Most of the time, Hugo simply poked his balding head into the planes as he made his rounds. When he spotted the tightly wrapped kilos, the pilot's name joined the others on his list.
"As Hugo described it, every pilot had his own preferred technique for getting his illegal payload to U.S. soil. Some liked the John Wayne approach, flashing their CIA credentials at Florida airfields and unloading the drugs in plain view. Those who wanted to maintain a lower profile shipped the kilos out in innocuous cargoes like towels, seafood, frozen vegetables or auto parts. Many landed at military bases around the United States, knowing no one would inspect a Contra plane. The air drops were probably the least risky and the most popular, since many of the pilots had plenty of experience dropping bundles in the Bahamas or off the Florida coast.
"They returned with cash to Ilopango. Hugo said some of the pilots flew the money to Panama for deposit in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, later indicted for money laundering and bribery. From Panama, the money was wired to a Costa Rican bank account held by the Contras. They used the money for supplies and arms, completing the cycle.
"When I ran Hugo's list of names through the computer, they all came back as narcotics traffickers in DEA files. Little wonder the Contras used them, I thought. Nobody knew the terrain like drug pilots, and their dive-and-dump flying skills perfectly matched the job description for covert operations. (pp. 138-39.)
A further account can be found in Jack Terrell's and Ron Martz' 1992 book, Disposable Patriot: Revelations of a Soldier in America's Secret Wars: "He [Francisco "Paco" Chanes] was offering me a million dollars if I helped get cocaine into the States hidden in the frozen lobsters. Drug-sniffing dogs had trouble smelling cocaine through the iodine in the seafood and if Customs thawed out the lobsters looking for drugs and there were none, the government would have to compensate Ocean Hunter for the loss.
"It would have been very easy for me to get rich. All I had to do was keep my mouth shut, play their game and do business with Frigorifico de Puntaremas. If I did that, I could be living in a mansion in Brazil, or wherever I wanted.
"I'll run guns, but I draw the line at drugs. The idea that someone was using this war to run drugs into the United States infuriated me. I knew I was being self-righteous about this, but there are certain things I do not condone and will not justify. Drug running is never justifiable, no matter what political cause its profits may advance. I may put a gun to someone's head and pull the trigger, but I won't put a hypodermic needle in his hands.
"Those principles made me a liability within the FDN and a liability to myself. I was ruthless in one sense and morally rigid in another. I would only go so far in what I would allow myself to be involved in. Political assassinations and war, yes. Drugs, no.
"If we had gotten involved in the cocaine business, we would have had the one thing we needed most --money. But I knew we were not going to fight one evil with another evil.
"When the deal to bring in cocaine fell through, Frigorificos de Puntarenas became a prime launderer of drug money. Later investigations by the Miami police and the FBI indicated Ocean Hunter was using 'narcotics transactions' to fund the Contras." (pp. 247-248.)
Terry Reed and John Cummings put out Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, How the Presidency was Co-opted by the CIA in 1994. (The referenced 20 April 1992 article by Time reporter Richard Behar, "Anatomy of a Smear," which was pure US Government/CIA damage control, is reprinted in Chapter 36 of their book as Figure 36-2.)
"'I thought you wanted to write an article about Jack Blum's coverup, about Lawrence Walsh's coverup,' Reed said referring to an earlier conversation with Behar, in which Behar stated he felt there was strong evidence to prove Senator John Kerry's investigator, Jack Blum, had actually helped to stymie the Mena investigation.
"Blum's job as Special Counsel to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations was to not only provide investigative services to Kerry's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, he was to also funnel off pertinent leads he developed during the course of his investigation to Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh's office, which was seeking indictments involving the Iran-Contra Affair. It was Blum who[m] the Reeds had interviewed extensively with in Washington in 1988.
"Behar had confided to Reed he felt Walsh, probably in concert with Blum, was indeed part of the Iran-Contra cover-up since Walsh's office had taken no action on Mena. Behar earlier cited the foundation for his suspicions stemmed from Walsh's lack of action on the preponderance of credible evidence provided directly to his office by federal, state and county law enforcement agencies, as well as the materials provided him by Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant and U.S. Congressman William Alexander concerning the activities at Mena.
"Behar responded, completely reversing his earlier position on the Mena affair, 'I'm not convinced there is a coverup.'"
Dick Brenneke first hit the news in November of 1986 over illegal arms dealing with Iran by then-President Raygun. The New York Times got copies of his memos and went public 28 November 1986.
In the past decade, he has been chewed up and spit out by damned near every outfit in the USA. On 12 May 1989, the Department of Justice charged him with five counts of perjury for his sworn testimony on the October 1980 treason of Raygun and company. He was trashed by ex-CIA officer Frank Snepp in the Village Voice, 10 September 1991. Others, who will remain nameless at this point, have seriously questioned his authenticity and honesty.
From 1980 with the October Surprise to 1997 with the Mena-CIA-cocaine story, Dick Brenneke has had a lot to say that a lot of people have not wanted to hear. If one reads Robert Parry's Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery (1993), Brenneke is hammered severely. However, Pete Brewton, in his book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush: Corruption, Greed and Abuse of Power in the Nation's Highest Office (1992), treated Brenneke with respect and appreciation.
Brenneke was found not guilty of all charges by 12 Portland, Oregon, federal jurors, in May 1990. "After the trial, jury foreman Mark Kristoff said that the panel of eight women and four men believed Brenneke's entire story. There was not a single 'guilty' vote on any of the five counts.
"'We were convinced that, yes, there was a meeting, and he was there and the people listed in the indictment were there,' Kristoff told Willamette Week after the trial." (Willamette Week, 10-16 May, 1990, Jim Redden).
In the conclusion of Jim Redden's "Brenneke Papers" in "A Question of Treason," he provides a major insight into the reasons why the federal government runs like the Mafia. "Q: Given the verdict, will Congress hold hearings on whether the Reagan-Bush campaign broke the law to win the 1980 election?
"A: That's very unlikely. Republicans don't want to raise the issue for obvious reasons. But the Democrats have been very reluctant to pursue these questions as well. Brenneke believes that the Democrats are nervous because the Israelis did much of the dirty work -- both in the Middle East and Central America, where some of the profits from subsequent arms sales to Iran were diverted. The Democratic Party has long supported Israel, and many Democratic candidates have received sizable campaign contributions in return" (ibid.).
In The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present (1992), George and Douglas Ball laid out some details of the Israel payoffs to the so-called Democratic party: 33 key Democrats received, from 1980-1990, close to $11,000 per year for a total of almost $110,000 each for the decade (p. 212).
This buyout of the so-called Democrats was the best investment ever made. "In inflation-adjusted terms, the cumulative total of America's aid to Israel exceeds the aggregate assistance the United States gave Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. Yet Israel's population of 5.2 million (of which 4.4 million are Jewish Israelis) is barely two percent of the population that shared in the Marshall Plan" (ibid., p. 256).
In the 10 years that 33 key Democrats received $3.5 million in campaign funds from Israeli supporters, Israel received over $40 billion in US aid. This has to be world history's greatest return on investment since the Spanish conquest of Latin America (ibid., p. 281).
Ari Ben-Menashe wrote Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network in 1992: ". . . the congressional hearings into the Iran-contra affair unfolded. . . . For me, it was highly entertaining to watch official after official lying through his teeth or pleading complete ignorance.
"All America was gripped by a confusing spectacle that never seemed to go anywhere or result in anything substantive. Several years later, in 1991, I discussed the events of 1987 with Spencer Oliver, the chief counsel for the House Foreign Relations Committee, who had been involved in the Iran-contra hearings.
"'Didn't you know they were all lying?' I asked.
"'Yes,' he said, 'we knew it was a coverup. But at the time the Democratic congressmen and senators were very weak, and also "for the good of the nation" we did not want to start a scandal that would bring down the president. We did not want to hear the "I-word" -- impeachment.'
"'To lie to the nation is for the good of the nation?'
"'No. But the Democrats did not have the backbone to do what they had to do. They all knew that the witnesses were lying or telling half-truths. Everybody knew it was a cover-up, but not many knew the real truth. Casey was sick and dying. Gates and Bush were untouchable. To get them, we had to bring down the whole administration. We weren't ready for it. The Democrats didn't have any strong leadership. The only thing we did manage later, when Casey died and Robert Gates's nomination was put forward in 1987, was to force the nomination to be withdrawn.'
"There was a clue to the future, perhaps, in Robert McFarlane's suicide attempt during the congressional hearings. He overdosed on pills, I suspect, because he was afraid his role with the Israelis would surface. But no one was able to connect his attempt to kill himself with a national scandal that went far beyond the wildest imagination. All that happened, of course, was the decision by an independent prosecutor, Judge Lawrence Walsh, to put North, McFarlane, and Poindexter on trial. They were convicted of lying to Congress, but none of them went to jail. Later, North's conviction was thrown out. So, for the time being, the truth was buried. America was to continue living under the Big Lie." (pp. 193-194.)
"Looking back, I can say that the 1980s were a mean decade, perverted in their lack of humanity. It would be too easy to say simply that I regret my role -- though I am deeply sorry for the human suffering of the Iranians and Iraqis. I also regret that Israel continued to develop its capacity for nuclear destruction and that we were unable to bring about peace with the Palestinians.
"But I do not regret that my experience allowed me to see first-hand how secret intelligence agencies increasingly dominate the foreign policy of nations like the United States and Israel. Whereas once intelligence was supposed to inform leaders and guide them in making policy decisions, today covert intelligence operations and foreign policy are too often inseparable, one and the same. The tools of secret slush fund money, covert operations, and disinformation have been used on such a grand scale that they have changed the nature of the entire political process. A handful of people never elected by anyone are now able to manipulate politics. [And what became of all that slush-fund money? There was approximately $780 million (including interest) in the Israeli slush fund, and another $780 million (including interest) in the American CIA slush fund. To a clever politician or a secret intelligence service, this would be a formidable sum, especially because it is not on any budget line and can be used without accountability. (p. 351)]
"And my former colleagues, the international arms merchants, with whom I had so many dealings, are not out of business, not by a long shot. If there isn't a big war going on at any given time, there are always a number of small wars. The events in Eastern Europe -- in Yugoslavia and in the former Soviet republics -- continue to generate profits for them. As I sit here I imagine them around their tables, waiting for the next big one, just like Iran and Iraq. Perhaps India and Pakistan. Plenty of cannon fodder to be equipped, a balanced enough conflict to last a long time, no one in the West to care who gets killed -- a real goldmine.
"I am a humbler man today than I was in the 1970s when I joined Israeli intelligence. I've learned the hard way that everyone make mistakes, some of them so big that they were irrevocable. I've also changed my view of Israel and the Jewish people. When I was young, I shared with many Israelis a deep nationalistic feeling -- the self-righteous and arrogant belief that we were right and everyone else was wrong, that it was more important for Jews and Israel to survive than others, that we were -- as the Bible says -- the chosen people.
"I still believe that Jews are chosen. But no longer can I accept the premise on which the Iranian arms deals were based: 'Better that their boys die than ours.'
"People are people. We are all chosen." (pp. 351-352.)
Failure by the people, media and government to face the reality of high crimes and cover-ups is corrupting the heart and soul of America. Our nation is dying of its own cowardice.
Brenneke has told the same story as Ari Ben-Menashe, Jack Terrell, Celerino Castillo, Mike Levine, Fred Kempe and Terry Reed, and this is only a once-over lightly of the mountain of evidence. So, how has CIA, Mossad, Mafia drug-dealing through Mena been kept effectively as a "secret"?
How has the CIA-crack story of Gary Webb at the San Jose Mercury News of August 1996 already begun to drift into the fog of DC and Wall Street daily scandals?
Because America is losing its mind.
The two-party system has been utterly homogenized by corrupt money. The mob and Mossad have cut a deal with Wall Street and the CIA to run the world as a global plantation for the benefit of the global plutocracy.
Only impoverished presses like the PFP, some talk radio and the Internet are yet outside the hegemonic power of transnational corporate fascism. However, when the Imperial pigs succeed in driving 80 percent of the world into the new serfdom, they will probably wish they had not let their greed glands run wild.
When the middle class discovers that they are part of the impoverished and imprisoned rather than the privileged, they will lead the "underclass" in a revolution against the plutocracy and its gun thugs.
Failure to deal with the Mena cesspool will continue to erode the credibility of a terminally corrupt governing class.
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