More on the CIA-Drugs Connection

Editor's note:  This is from the archives of the CIADRUGS mailing list. Some typos have been corrected and expired links have been removed (and a couple of new ones added).

From: (Jim Hargrove)
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 1996 15:00:35 GMT
Organization: WorldWide Access (tm) - Chicagoland Internet Services
References: <5805t5$>

Here are some html links describing additional charges of CIA involvement or complicity in the opium/heroin trade. A quick Web search will reveal many, many more. Excerpts from each of the four pages cited here are included.

— Jim Hargrove


The State Department had forced out Horn's two immediate DEA predecessors in Rangoon, but he still considered it his "dream job" when he arrived in June 1992. Not for long. Horn is bound to silence by DEA rules, but his lawyer has provided TIME with a long letter he wrote to Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel detailing Horn's allegations. It recounts that Horn and Franklin Huddle, the embassy's charge d'affaires, clashed over a report to Washington that Horn thought unfairly denigrated the junta's antidrug efforts. Horn says Huddle refused to obtain expert help from the U.S. to draft manuals for Burmese police and prosecutors implementing new drug laws, but did approve training at the CIA for Burmese intelligence officers. He claims that the CIA divulged the name of a DEA informant to the junta and sabotaged a DEA survey of opium yields by revealing to the government that the CIA - distrusted by the Burmese - had secretly given the DEA the funds to conduct it. The ultimate insult was discovering Huddle's cable to Washington relaying exact quotes from a phone conversation Horn had made from his home. Horn knew of another instance where the CIA had bugged a DEA agent, and concluded the same had been done to him.


Rep. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) shocked reporters at a March press conference when he revealed that Michael Devine, an American innkeeper in Guatemala, was tortured to death with the approval of a US Central Intelligence Agency informant in 1990.

The informant, Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez, a graduate of the US Army's School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, GA, was on the CIA's payroll for five years and is renowned as a "murdering spy," according to The New York Times. At the Flores military base in Guatemala's rainforest, Alpirez's troops killed countless suspected "subversives," says Amnesty International. [....]

Former DEA agent Cele Castillo ("The Celerino Castillo Story," May '95 HT) recalls working the rainforest near the Flores base during the DEA's Operations Popeye and Olive Oil in the 1980s. "We used to fly our airplanes and helicopters for spraying missions out of there. There were a lot of marijuana plantations. We found out that Alpirez's unit was involved in cultivation and the payoffs for the marijuana. It was also heavily documented that they protected the opium plantations."

Alpirez denies any wrongdoing or complicity with the CIA, bellowing to reporters after his testimony to the Guatemalan attorney general, "Never, never have I worked for a United States agency. I receive my salary from the Guatemalan Army, not from any US institution." CIA spokesperson David Christian neither confirms nor denies that Alpirez worked for the agency, stating, "I am not at liberty to discuss these reports as we are conducting an internal investigation." The DEA, NSC, State Department and American in Guatemala Embassy are equally tight-lipped about the colonel's narco connections.


Colonel Bo Gritz Addressing the American Liberty Lunch Club:

What I want to tell you very quickly is something that I feel is more heinous than the Bataan death march. Certainly it is of more concern to you as Americans than the Watergate. What I'm talking about is something we found out in Burma - May 1987. We found it out from a man named Khun Sa. He is the recognized overlord of heroin in the world. Last year he sent 900 tons of opiates and heroin into the free world. This year it will be 1200 tons.

(video showing discussion at Khun Sa's headquarters — some translation of Burmese to English going on..Bo Gritz still talking to Lunch club in the foreground)

On video tape he said to us something that was most astounding: that US government officials have been and are now his biggest customers, and have been for the last twenty years. I wouldn't believe him. We fought a war in Laos and Cambodia even as we fought whatever it was in Vietnam. The point is that there are as many bomb holes in those two other countries as there are in Vietnam. Five hundred and fifty plus Americans were lost in Laos. Not one of them ever came home. We heard a president say, "The war is over, we are out with honor - all of the prisoners are home." and a few other lies. Now we got rid of that president, but we didn't get rid of the problem. We ran the war in Laos and Cambodia through drugs. The money that would not be appropriated by a liberal congress, was appropriated. And you know who we used for distribution? Santos Trafficante, old friend of the CIA and mobster out of Cuba and Florida. We lost the war!


WORMSCAN Updated: 960420 (c) Copyright 1980, 1996, by David P Beiter, proliferate freely. WORMSCAN is a collection of news items concerning the involvement of police, lawyers, judges, politicians, bankers, prison guards, spooks, and other social predators in the enormously profitable illegal drug business....

[NOTE: Wormscan is a reasonably large database, but it appears to be updated only through late April of this year. — jh]

Former DEA agent Celerino Castillo stated that he and three other ex-narcs were willing to testify before Rep. Robert Toricelli's proposed subcommittee on the intelligence community and human rights violations in Guatemala and Central America regarding the extent of direct involvement by the Central Intelligence Agency in international drug trafficking. The estimate he gave the newspaper was that approximately 75 per cent of the drugs that enter the United States do so with the acquiescence or direct participation of U.S. and foreign CIA agents. But this story has been around longer than has the War On Drugs. More in WORMSCAN. [link expired]


— Jim Hargrove

[end of message]

Date: Fri Jun 20, 1997 9:11 pm CST
From: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:

TO: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
BCC: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject: ciadrugs] Hung Out to Dry: 'Dark Alliance' Series Dies

Found at [link expired; but try this more recent one: CIA Admits Tolerating Contra-Cocaine Trafficking in 1980s]

The Consortium June 30, 1997

Hung Out to Dry: 'Dark Alliance' Series Dies

By Georg Hodel

The "Dark Alliance" contra-crack series, which I co-reported with Gary Webb, has died with less a bang or a whimper than a gloat from the mainstream press.

"The San Jose Mercury News has apparently had enough of reporter Gary Webb and his efforts to prove that the CIA was involved in the sale of crack cocaine," announced Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, who has written some of the harshest attacks on Webb. "Editors at the California newspaper have yanked Webb off the story and told him they will not publish his follow-up articles. They have also moved to transfer Webb from the state capital bureau in Sacramento to a less prestigious suburban office in Cupertino." [WP, June 11, 1997]

Webb got the news on June 5 from executive editor Jerry Ceppos, who had publicly turned against the series several weeks earlier with a personal column declaring that the stories "fell short of my standards" and failed to handle the "gray areas" with sufficient care. [SJMN, May 11, 1997]

In killing the new stories, Ceppos said Mercury News editors had reservations about the credibility of a principal Webb source, apparently a reference to convicted cocaine trafficker Carlos Cabezas who has claimed that a CIA agent oversaw the transfer of drug profits to the contras. Ceppos also complained that Webb had gotten too close to the story.

Ceppos then ordered Webb to the paper's San Jose headquarters the next day to learn about his future with the newspaper. On June 6, as that final decision was coming down, I called Ceppos to protest. I wanted him to understand the human as well as journalistic costs of what he was doing, not just to Webb but to other journalists associated with the story in Nicaragua where I have worked for more than a decade.

I thought he should know that his decision to distance himself from the "Dark Alliance" series — combined with earlier attacks from major American newspapers — had increased the dangers to me and others who have been pursuing this story in the field.

Just as Webb has been under personal attack in the United States, I have faced efforts from former contras to tear down my reputation in Nicaragua. Ex-contras also have harassed Nicaraguan reporters who have tried to follow up the contra-cocaine evidence.

In one paid advertisement, Oscar Danilo Blandon, a drug trafficker who has admitted donating some cocaine profits to the contras in the early 1980s, called me a "pseudo-journalist" and accused me of having some unspecified links to an "international communist organization." Blandon also accused Nicaraguan reporters from El Nuevo Diario of "trying to manipulate" members of the U.S. Congress looking into the contra-cocaine charges.

Former contra chief Adolfo Calero declared in an article in La Tribuna what he thought should be done to these politically suspect Nicaraguan and foreign reporters. He used metaphorical language that refers to leftist Nicaraguan journalists as "deer" and fellow-traveling foreign reporters as "antelopes." "The deer are going to be finished off," Calero wrote on Feb. 2. "In this case, the antelopes as well." As a Swiss journalist, I would be an "antelope."

Less subtly, there have been threatening phone calls to my office. In late May, a male voice shouted obscenities at me over the phone and threatened to "screw" my wife who is a Nicaraguan lawyer representing Enrique Miranda, one of the Nicaraguan cocaine traffickers who has spoken with congressional investigators.

Earlier I had sent Ceppos a letter which complained that his May 11 "column provoked ... a series of very unfortunate reactions that seriously affect my working environment and exposes unintentionally everybody here who has been involved in this investigation." In the phone conversation on June 6, Ceppos first denied having received the letter, but then admitted that he had it. Still, he refused my request that the letter be published.

A Clear Message

My appeal also did not stop Ceppos from informing Webb later that day that the investigative reporter would be transferred to a suburban office 150 miles from his home where he and his wife are raising three young children. That would mean that Webb would have to relocate from Sacramento or not see his family during the work week. The message was clear and Webb did not miss its significance: he saw the transfer as a clear message that the Mercury News wanted him to quit.

The retributions against Webb were a sad end to the "Dark Alliance" series which has been enveloped in controversy since it was published in August 1996. The series linked contra cocaine shipments in the early 1980s to a Los Angeles drug pipeline that first mass-marketed "crack" cocaine to inner-city neighborhoods.

The series drew especially strong reactions from the African-American community which has been devastated by the crack epidemic. In fall 1996, however, The Washington Post and other major newspapers began attacking the series for alleged overstatements. The papers also mocked African-Americans for supposedly being susceptible to baseless "conspiracy theories."

The furor obscured the fact that "Dark Alliance" built upon more than a decade of evidence amassed by journalists, congressional investigators and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration who found numerous connections between the contras and drug traffickers. Some of that evidence was compiled in a Senate report issued in 1989. Other pieces came out during the Iran-contra scandal and still more during the drug-trafficking trial of Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega in 1991.

But the contras were always defended by the Reagan-Bush administrations which saw the guerrillas as a necessary geo-political counterweight to the leftist Sandinista government that ruled Nicaragua in the 1980s. With a few exceptions, the mainstream media joined the White House in protecting the contras — and the CIA — on the drug-trafficking evidence. [For more details about the controversy, see Robert Parry's Lost History: Contras, Cocaine & Other Crimes or I.F. Magazine, July-August 1997]

Contra Cocaine

Still, from time to time, even The Washington Post has acknowledged legitimate concerns about contra drug trafficking. Last fall, for instance, after initiating the attacks on "Dark Alliance," the Post ran a front-page article describing how Medellin cartel trafficker George Morales "contributed at least two airplanes and $90,000 to" one of the contra groups operating in Costa Rica. The story quoted contra leaders Octaviano Cesar and Adolfo "Popo" Chamorro as admitting receipt of the contributions, although they insisted that they had cleared the transactions with their contact at the CIA. [WP, Oct. 31, 1996]

The Post did not mention the name of that contact, an omission that angered Chamorro. He told me that the CIA man was Alan Fiers, who served as chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force in the mid-1980s. Fiers has denied any illicit involvement with drug traffickers, although he testified to the congressional Iran-contra investigators that he knew that among the Costa Rican-based contras, drug trafficking involved "not a couple of people. It was a lot of people."

While admitting some truth to the contra-cocaine allegations, the Post story stopped short of any self-criticism about the newspaper's failure to expose the contra-drug problem in the 1980s as the cocaine was entering the United States. In the Oct. 31, 1996, story, the Post only noted that "a broad congressional inquiry from 1986 to 1988 ... found that CIA and other officials may have chosen to overlook evidence that some contra groups were engaged in the drug trade or were cooperating with traffickers."

The Post then added obliquely: "But that probe caused little stir when its report was released." With that indirect phrasing, the Post seemed to be shunting off blame for the "little stir" onto the congressional report. The newspaper did not explain why it buried the Senate report's explosive findings on page A20. [WP, April 14, 1989]. Instead, last fall, the Post and other big papers focused almost exclusively on alleged flaws in "Dark Alliance."

When that drumbeat of criticism began, Ceppos initially defended the series. He wrote a supportive letter to the Post (which the newspaper refused to publish). But the weight of the attacks from major newspapers and leading journalism reviews eventually softened up the Mercury News. Inside the paper, young staffers feared that the controversy could hurt their chances of getting hired by bigger newspapers. Senior editors fretted about their careers in the Knight-Ridder chain, which owns the Mercury News.

New Leads

In the meantime, Webb and I continued following contra-drug leads in Nicaragua and the United States. The new information eventually became the basis for Webb's submission of four new stories to Ceppos. Webb has described these stories as completed drafts although Ceppos called them just "notes."

Though I have not seen Webb's drafts, I know they include two stories relating to witnesses in Nicaragua who were part of the cocaine networks of Norwin Meneses, a longtime Nicaraguan drug trafficker who was based in San Francisco and who collaborated closely with senior contra leaders.

Meneses's operation surfaced with the so-called Frogman case in 1983 when the FBI and Customs captured two divers in wet suits hauling $100 million worth of cocaine ashore at San Francisco Bay. The federal prosecutor ordered $36,020 captured in that case be given to the contras who claimed it was their money.

For the new "Dark Alliance" stories, we interviewed Carlos Cabezas who was convicted of conspiracy in the Frogman case. Cabezas insisted that a CIA agent — a Venezuelan named Ivan Gomez — oversaw the cocaine operation to make sure the profits went to the contras, not into the pockets of the traffickers.

Last year, Cabezas outlined his claims in a British ITV documentary. "They told me who he [Gomez] was and the reason that he was there," Cabezas said. "It was to make sure that the money was given to the right people and nobody was taking advantage of the situation and nobody was taking profit that they were not supposed to. And that was it. He was making sure that the money goes to the contra revolution."

The ITV documentary, which aired on Dec. 12, 1996, quoted former CIA Latin American division chief Duane Clarridge as denying any knowledge of either Cabezas or Gomez. Clarridge directed the contra war in the early 1980s and was later indicted on perjury charges in connection with the Iran-contra scandal. He was pardoned by President George Bush in 1992.

The new "Dark Alliance" stories also would have examined the claims of other contra-connected drug witnesses in Nicaragua as well as the career problems confronted by DEA agents when they uncovered evidence of contra drug trafficking. But prospects that the full contra-cocaine story will ever be told in the United States have dimmed with the shutting down of "Dark Alliance."

I am also afraid that Ceppos's decision to punish Webb will strengthen the campaign of intimidation inside Nicaragua. But beyond the personal costs to Webb and me, Ceppos's actions sent a chilling message to all journalists who some day might dare investigate wrongdoing by the CIA and its operatives.

What's especially troubling about this new "Dark Alliance" tale is that the investigative spotlight was turned off not by the government, but by the national news media. ~

(c) Copyright 1997

* The New York Times Comes Clean, Sort of...

* Indonesia: More Years of Living Dangerously

[Image] Comments, Questions or Responses, Please E-Mail

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Date: Fri Jun 20, 1997 11:29 pm CST
From: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:

TO: parapol-request EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
CC: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
BCC: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject: ciadrugs] Full Circle: Meneses Arrested

By: Jonathan Marshall, Chronicle Staff Writer

TEXT: A former Bay Area resident linked to the Contra rebel forces and Bay Area drug shipments has been charged in Nicaragua with masterminding a huge cocaine smuggling ring, according to law enforcement officials.

Norwin Meneses was arrested in Managua on November 3 in one of the biggest drug busts in Nicaragua's history. Agents seized 738 kilograms of cocaine at two locations.

Meneses is a Nicaraguan who moved to Hillsborough and opened a restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District after the fall of Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

Roger Mayorga, chief of the National Police Criminal Division, called Meneses the king of cocaine in Nicaragua. The officer also called Meneses the top representative in Nicaragua of Colombia's Cali cartel, considered to be the world's premier cocaine trafficking organization.


Meneses, 48, is also wanted in the United States on cocaine trafficking charges. A sealed indictment against him was handed up by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on Feb. 8, 1989, according to a law enforcement source. No extradition treaty exists between the United States and Nicaragua.

State and federal agents in 1984 arrested several members of Meneses' organization, including three of his nephews, according to Jerome Smith, special agent in charge of the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in San Francisco.

One member of the organization told an undercover agent that Meneses planned to import 50 to 100 kilograms of cocaine from Costa Rica. One of his nephews testified that he sold as much as 30 kilograms a month, generating more than $1.5 million a month.


Meneses was never charged. "We had a hard time with Norwin," said Smith. "He was never around. He was always the shadow in back of people we were dealing with."

Dick McCall, a U.S. Senate staff member who investigated Central American drug trafficking in the late 1980s, said Meneses played a role in the "frogman" operation. The San Francisco frogman bust in 1983 netted 430 pounds of cocaine, one of the largest seizures in Bay Area history. The ring was named for divers who were arrested while retrieving the drugs from a Colombian freighter docked at Pier 96. The source of cocaine in the frogman case was also Cali, drug experts said.

An FBI report from the period named a Costa Rican-based Nicaraguan, Meneses associate Horacio Pereira, as one of the suppliers. Other suppliers named in the report were Troilo and Fernando Sanchez, brothers of one of the founding members of the Nicaraguan Contras' political directorate.

Pereira was sentenced to 12 years in prison on cocaine charges in Costa Rica.

Two of the smugglers convicted in the frogman case claimed that a large portion of their profits went to finance Contra groups. The government returned to them $36,020 that was originally seized as drug money after Contra leaders claimed that the money represented political funds for the "reinstatement of democracy in Nicaragua."

Meneses also had political connections in Nicaragua. Two of his brothers were high-level officers in Somoza's National Guard. One of them, Colonel Edmundo Meneses, was chief of police in Managua in the mid-1970s.

During his stay in the Bay Area, Meneses hosted several functions for the Nicaraguan Contras in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He also met several times with Adolfo Calero, head of the largest anti-Sandinista force, the Nicaraguan Democratic Front, based in Honduras.

A news story in 1986 quoted Calero and other Contras admitting to the meetings but Meneses denying them.

------------------------ I hadn't seen this posted to the list, apologies if it appeared before I joined.

Observations: Note the $1.5 million a month.

And all these fraternal connections to political operatives.

The frogman said "a large portion" of their profits went to contra groups.

Meneses hosting these little contra get-togethers illustrates yet another way that drug money supported the covert war and overt political efforts.

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Date: Wed Jun 25, 1997 11:55 am CST
From: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:

TO: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
BCC: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject: ciadrugs] CTRL -CIA Drug-Money Laundering

from Portland Free Press: ----- CIA Drug-Money Laundering (A continuation of "New York Mob at Mena")

by Ace R. Hayes (May/June 1997 issue, Page 22)

[Editor's note: PFP received the complete 50-page uncensored Brenneke deposition taken by Congressman William Alexander, 21 June 1991. It was faxed directly from the library at Arkansas State University, which holds the Alexander collection.

We herewith provide additional excerpts (see also "New York Mob at Mena," January/February 1997 issue). The questioner is Congressman Alexander; all answers are Mr. Brenneke's.

Before starting, two points need to be made. First, knowledge of drug-running through Mena, Arkansas has been known to the FBI and the head of the Arkansas State Police since January 1988 (see PFP November/December 1996, p. 11). The Arkansas Attorney General and Special Prosecutor Walsh have known of this since June 1991 (January/February 1997 PFP). How in the hell have the corporate media and government law enforcement succeeded in playing dumb for the past decade?

Second, the PFP is poor. We fund the magazine entirely out of subscriptions, occasional reader enthusiasm and our day jobs. We don't have a credit line or credit card to send some hot reporter down to the Dean Ellis Library at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, to spend a week or more reading the Alexander collection. This, however, should be the mother load of records and documents to blow the cover on the entire bipartisan kleptocracy.

All of the major media know this, from 60 Minutes to The Wall Street Journal. All are avoiding the Alexander collection like a mine field. The Inspectors General at the CIA and Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Justice, et al., damned well know what they are ignoring. Obstruction of justice seems as common in D.C. as wife-swapping in Hollywood.

But can the Republic survive terminal corruption?]

Q. Now, I was asking you about whether or not the CIA had a "black bag" operation at Rich Mountain Aviation in Mena, Arkansas. 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?

A. Yes.

Q. You were working for the federal government agency known as the Central Intelligence Agency. In a sort of man-on-the-street vernacular, how do you keep these guys honest? I mean, do you — what precautions did you take and [sic] the CIA to know whether or not they were dealing with this cargo in the manner in which it was intended?

A. The general procedure and the procedure specifically used in the case of Rich Mountain Aviation was to go through the files from time to time to be sure that there were no papers being kept back that would link the CIA to the activities there, and if they were, they were removed from the file; and to look at such things as income tax returns and bank statements to make sure that the people with whom we were dealing were not stealing more than their fair share.

Q. We will — and so you checked on Hampton, did you?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And what did you discover?

A. I discovered that Mr. Hampton was not stealing more than his fair share, and in general was performing the services that he was — that he had agreed to provide.

Q. Now, what had he agreed to provide?

A. He provided landing facilities, a place to store the aircraft, assistance with mechanical problems on the aircraft or avionics problems on the aircraft if they were necessary to get it out of there, a storage area for drugs that were brought in, a storage area for weapons that were taken out, a place where people could rest or wait for a truck to haul them out to Nella.

Q. And how much did the CIA pay him for his services?

A. I don't know the dollar figures. That's — the figure I saw on his tax returns at one point indicated that he had received something in excess of $10,000.

Q. Who would have handled the payment to Hampton for the CIA?

A. My understanding was that the man I was working for at the time paid him, and that was Bob Kerritt.

Q. Bob Kerritt. Can you identify where he might reside?

A. Mr. Kerritt is a full-time employee of the Central Intelligence Agency; and when I first met him, I checked on that by waiting for him to return to Washington, calling Information in the D.C. area, got the phone number for the switchboard at the CIA, called and asked for him by name, and I got him.

Q. Okay. Now, how did you check on Reale; did you check on --

A. Well, I had already seen him. He and — I mean, I had seen him in New York. I knew who he was. And, as I say, we'd been dealing with these folks in New York since 1968-69.

Q. When you say "we," you mean the Central Intelligence Agency?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, did the Gotti organizations, 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. Did they pay you in cash?

A. Yes, generally.

Q. And what do you mean "generally"; what other forms did they pay you in?

A. You're given — I owned an aircraft in Mexico City for a while that was payment for some work I had done.

Q. I see.

A. Occasionally there were items like that.

Q. So what would be the procedure for you to receive the payment from the Gotti organization for the drugs?

A. Generally the money was — okay. Let me restate that. The money was given to us in cash.

Q. "Us," you mean the CIA?

A. "Us" meaning the people I worked with, who were also associated with the Central Intelligence Agency. We would transfer that money to banks in Central and South America; and from there transfer it via accounts that I had established back in 1970 to — they were accounts of which I was a beneficial holder and the named signee on it.

Q. Let's take a payment from Mr. Reale in cash, and follow the procedure step by step as you know it for the transmittal of that money from the Gotti organization to the Central Intelligence Agency.

A. Okay. That money was delivered to us in cash. There were — there were occasions where there were wire transfers, but generally — the generally followed method was cash. That would be stored in the aircraft on its return trip to Panama. Once it reached Panama, we would put it into a bank account, which at that time was in the Banquo DePanama.

Q. Banquo DePanama?

A. Yeah.

Q. All right.

A. And the account name was the initials IFMA, which was a company that I set up in Panama City in 1970, I believe; it may have been '69.

Q. Did you get a receipt for deposit?

A. No, sir. We would not get a receipt for deposit. The money would be deposited there, but it would be subsequently and then almost immediately transferred to — the transfer points in general followed this way; they came — it came to Spain or Liechtenstein, from there it went to either — it went to Monte Carlo, and the ultimate destination was Zurich or Geneva but, in any case, Switzerland.

Q. The money was given to you by the Gotti — the agent for the Gotti organization?

A. Yes, sir. And there were other people besides the man that I've named. And I'd have to see photographs, but I can surely pick them out for you.

Q. Well, we can return to the manner in which the money was transferred at a subsequent time. I'm trying here to identify the source of the money --

A. Yes.

Q. — and the place that the money went to, and who received the money. And you have said that that went to the CIA?

A. To CIA accounts that I established on their behalf in the late sixties and early seventies. I still have the incorporation papers on them.

Q. How do you know that the money went to the CIA itself?

A. Because I would transfer personally that money out of that account into others.

Q. Did you ever talk to any people in the CIA about the money?

A. Sure. I talked to Mr. Kerritt from time to time, Mr. Ellis, who was also a controller, from time to time --

Q. Who is Mr. Ellis, can you tell us, and --

A. Ellis is an employee and was an associate of Mr. Kerritt's. Robert Ellis is his name, E-L-L-I-S. He was an associate of Kerritt's. The two used to work together frequently. (pp. 22-27)

Q. So you're saying that you were recruited by the CIA to organize and open accounts for the CIA for the purpose of laundering money?

A. That's correct.

Q. And how many accounts did you open for the CIA, and can you identify where those accounts were opened and in which banks?

A. Yes, I can. They were opened in Panama. The accounts — or the companies — if you wish, I will provide you with the Articles of Incorporation --

Q. Yes.

A. — as they were drafted at that time.

Q. We will ask you to submit those as an exhibit to your testimony. And, of course, we will have to come together again in order for that to be presented — those documents to be presented.

And just describe for the moment, since we're going to have to come back again with these documents, the countries, the names of the banks that you recall that you opened; where you opened accounts for the CIA.

A. Panama City, Banquo DeMexico, at one point we were using a Citibank correspondent down there whose name escapes me. I just don't recall it. We had a man on site who worked for us, as well as worked for Ron Martin, a man named Johnny Mollina, M-O-L-L-I-N-A, I believe. John was -- would spend a lot of his time in Panama City there and worked in one of the banks that we used. I set up an account in — well, I set up more than one account in Madrid that was used. I set up an account in Brussels at Bank Lambert that was regularly used. I set up accounts at Credit Suisse and --

Q. Is that a Swiss bank?

A. That is a Swiss bank. And Bank of Credit and Commerce, commonly referred to as BCCI, also a Swiss bank. A bank that no longer exists called Bank Hoffman. And to facilitate matters — not to drag this out -- to facilitate matters I set up a bank in Panama City on behalf of the mutual fund company I worked for so that I could ultimately control how the transfers were handled.

Q. And you organized a bank in Panama for the CIA?

A. I organized it for the company I worked for, that was — it was subsequently used by the CIA and it was used by members of the organized crime families. The bank was called U.S. Investment Bank. It really existed in Panama City. You could actually go in and open a checking account there.

Q. And the money that you got from the Gotti organization that you put on the airplane and returned to Panama on the next trip, you personally took to a bank in Panama City?

A. You bet, I did.

Q. And you deposited that money. And can you tell us the amount of those deposits, and the directions that you would give to the officers at the bank, and the name of the bank, and where the money would go? Just detail that for us.

A. All right. The money would go into — let's take Banquo DePanama, the Panamanian National Bank down there, as an example. I would go in. I would meet with — at times I would meet with, for instance, Johnny Mollina. John worked for one of the banks down there, I think it was City that he worked for at one time. In any case, I would go in. I knew the bank officers by name. Unfortunately, I don't recall all their names since it's been many years ago. And I would provide them with directions as to how the money was to be transferred and where to transfer; that is -- is it to be transferred by cashier's check and courier to Madrid in a specific account there or is it to be just wire transferred to Madrid as a transfer of funds from IFMA, a Panamanian corporation, to IFMA's affiliate in Madrid or Brussels at Bank Lambert. They needed to know that. And then I would have to tell them at the other bank that money was coming into that account. (pp. 31-34)

Q. All right. Let me just ask a couple of general questions in order to try to reach a conclusion here. Did you ever discuss your concerns with the CIA Director, the late Bill Casey?

A. Yes, I did on a number of occasions. And Mr. Casey's telephone logs would reflect phone calls to me, made to me in — specifically in Lake Oswego, which was at that time the location of my office.

Q. So Mr. Casey called you?

A. Yes, sir, he did.

Q. On how many occasions?

A. Two that I can recall specifically.

Q. What was the nature of the conversations with Mr. Casey?

A. What went wrong in Central America.

Q. Can you relate to us that discussion — tell us what he said and what you said?

A. Certainly. Bill Casey's main concern — there were two main concerns to him: One, exposure of the operations in Central America; and two, why did the system break down? To me he sounded like sort of a general or supervisor who doesn't have his hands on the pulse of what's really happening out in the trenches. And by this time I had caused sufficient problems for CIA and others in South and Central America that the Israelis had in fact sent over a team of people to shut down the Israeli involvement in anything that closely resembled the drug business. I could get no assistance of any kind similar to that from the United States Government, and I explained that to Mr. Casey. And his first question was, why I had gone to Israel, and I said, because I tried everybody in the U.S. Government first and they sure as hell weren't going to help.

Q. Well, we haven't asked you about that effort that you were referring to — to try to stop the operation — and I think my associate will ask you about that in a moment.

A. Sure.

Q. I think, finally, I want to ask you if you have any knowledge of the money that you're talking about coming from the Gotti organization being used for any other purposes, other than depositing in the bank accounts for the CIA?

A. Sure. We had to run the operations at Nella, for instance. The training facilities at Nella had to be paid for.

Q. Now, where is Nella?

A. Nella is about 10 miles out of Mena, north.

Q. North of the Mena Airport. We've not talked about that, Mr. Brenneke. Can you tell us what you know about Nella; what it is, and for what purposes it was established?

A. Sure. Nella was a training base for military and paramilitary folks from south of the border, Mexico, Panama.

Q. Who managed the base? Who operated the base?

A. Don't know the names of the operators.

Q. What agency operated the base?

A. Central Intelligence Agency, as far as I knew.

Q. Did you know anyone from the agency that was responsible for the operation?

A. I knew the names of some of the people over there. I didn't spend much time at Mena, so I'd have to answer that by saying, no, I really don't know. I do know one of the folks who was a flight instructor over there, and that was Terry Reed. (pp. 37-40)

(All emphases added.)

[This provides — along with the January/February issue — the essential parts of the Brenneke deposition. For those who want the complete 50-page document, please send $5 to the PFP at P.O. Box 1327, Tualatin, Ore. 97062.] M

----- Aloha, He'Ping Om, Shalom, Salaam. Peace Be, Amen. Roads End Kris --- For list service help, send a message to with a subject of HELP.

Date: Wed Jul 02, 1997 6:31 pm CST
From: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:

TO: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
BCC: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject: ciadrugs] Written Concisely

From: (Jim Hargrove)
Subject: Re: Donations OK from Mob-connected CIA-asset
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 12:48:34 GMT

On 1 Jul 1997 11:05:25 GMT, (AccessGuru) wrote:

>Dear Larry,
>I do not see anything in your proof all that daming. Vague accusations
>with very weak link to the CIA are not proof.
>You string this stuff together as if it meant something but
>I just do not think it really does. Perhaps I was hasty
>maybe you are just a paranoid whacko and are not
>deliberatly lying.

Well, then, let's take a look at some simple, unequivocal statements regarding narcotics and the CIA made by other "paranoid whackos:"

"I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years for less evidence for conspiracy with less evidence than is available against Ollie North and CIA people. . . . I personally was involved in a deep-cover case that went to the top of the drug world in three countries. The CIA killed it."

Former DEA Agent Michael Levine CNBC-TV, October 8, 1996

"The connections piled up quickly. Contra planes flew north to the U.S., loaded with cocaine, then returned laden with cash. All under the protective umbrella of the United States Government. My informants were perfectly placed: one worked with the Contra pilots at their base, while another moved easily among the Salvadoran military officials who protected the resupply operation. They fed me the names of Contra pilots. Again and again, those names showed up in the DEA database as documented drug traffickers.

"When I pursued the case, my superiors quietly and firmly advised me to move on to other investigations."

Former DEA Agent Celerino Castillo _Powder Burns_, 1992

"The Subcommittee found that the Contra drug links included:

— Involvement in narcotics trafficking by individuals associated with the Contra movement.

— Participation of narcotics traffickers in Contra supply operations through business relationships with Contra organizations.

— Provision of assistance to the Contras by narcotics traffickers, including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by the traffickers.

— Payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies."

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

"I really take great exception to the fact that 1,000 kilos came in, funded by U.S. taxpayer money."

DEA official Anabelle Grimm, during a 1993 interview on a CBS-TV "60 Minutes" segment entitled "The CIA's Cocaine." The 1991 CIA drug-smuggling event Ms. Grimm described was later found to be much larger. A Florida grand jury and the _Wall Street Journal_ reported it to involve as much as 22 tons.

--- For list service help, send a message to with a subject of HELP.

Date: Wed Jul 02, 1997 10:50 pm CST
From: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:

TO: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
BCC: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject: ciadrugs] US Government Still on Ropes Over Lockerbie

Found at:

US Government Still on Ropes Over Lockerbie

By John Ashton

Originally Appeared in June 9, 1996 edition of The Mail on Sunday - London

[Online at]


There are two very different theories about Lockerbie, the first is black and white; the second is murky and gray. The black and white version presents the bombing as a victory of terrorist cunning over American innocence. The gray version suggests that Uncle Sam has as much blood on his hands as the bombers. Not surprisingly, it is the first version that the US and British governments came to believe.

The conflicting accounts are now the heart of an extraordinary battle to prevent a book from being published in the US Trail Of The Octopus by Donald Goddard and Lester Coleman first appeared in Britain in 1993, but no major American publisher would touch it. "If the book's allegations prove to be correct," says Dr. Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora at Lockerbie, "it will make Watergate look like vicar's tea party."

Like Spycatcher, it is a sensational whistleblower's account of alleged excesses by the spooks. But whereas Spycatcher prompted a government to launch a clumsy legal attempt at censorship, Trail Of The Octopus is being resisted by a collection of private individuals. This has made the current battle much more low-key; but it is no less hard fought.

A firm of distributors has already pulled out of handling the book. "I've known nothing like it for 20 years," says Warren Hinckle, head of its own small publisher Argonaut Press. A veteran of many censorship battles, Hinckle is now planning to do up the stakes. In doing so, he intends to expose a seven year campaign by government agencies against those who have challenged the official version of Lockerbie. If he is successful the repercussions could be immense.

Some of the facts about Lockerbie are not disputed. The most obvious is that on December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb built into Toshiba radio cassette player. All 259 people on board were killed, along with 11 residents of the Scottish town.

Then there is the Iranian connection. In July 1988 the US Navy battle cruiser Vincennes accidentally shot down an Iranian Airliner over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people on board. Within days hard-liners within the Tehran government had commissioned a Syria based group, the Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine, General Command (PFLP-GC), to carry out a revenge attack. Led Ahmed Jibril, it had specialized in blowing up planes since 1970.

By mid-October 1988, Jibril had everything in place. His bomb-maker, Marwan Khrecat, had been dispatched to Germany and had assembled five bombs designed to detonate at altitude. However, the German police were watching Kreesat's moves. On October 26, he and 14 other PFLP-GC suspects were rounded up in an operation code named Autumn Leaves. One of the aircraft bombs was seized. It had been built into a Toshiba radio-cassette player.

It is at this point that the two versions begin to diverge. According to the first version, Autumn Leaves halted Jibril's plan and opened a window of opportunity for the Libyan leader Colonel Gadafy. Western intelligence sources maintain that he was desperate to avenge 1986 American raids on his country. It is claimed that the action suddenly shifted to Malta where two Libyan agents, working undercover for Libyan Arab Airlines, are alleged to have assembled a bomb in another Toshiba radio-cassette player. They then managed to smuggle it on board a flight to Frankfurt, in an unaccompanied suitcase labeled to New York. At Frankfurt it evaded Pan Am's security and, still unaccompanied, was loaded on a first leg of flight 103 to Heathrow, where it joined the ill fated jumbo jet. This version became official in November 1991, when the British and American government issued indictments against the two alleged agents: Abdel Basser Ali Al-Mergrahi and Lamen Khalifa Phimah.

According to alternative versions, Autumn Leaves were a mere hiccup in Jibril's plans. Four more airplane bombs were still at large, and, within days, most of the suspects, including Kreesat had been freed.

It is on the question of what happened over the next two months and, in particular, how the bomb got on the flight 103, that the alternative version becomes too controversial. Its supporters allege that Jibril used an unwitting dupe; a young Lebanese-born American Khalid Jafaar. The Jafaar clan was one of the major drug-producing dynasties in the Syrian occupied Bekaa valley. It is claimed that Jafaar walked aboard flight 103 believing himself to be carrying heroin, but that he had been double-crossed by Jibril's men. Having learned of the drug shipments through the treacherous world of the Bekaa, Jibril realized that they provided an ideal means for getting the bomb on the plane.

Under normal circumstances it might have been detected in a routine security check, but, so the story goes, this was drug-trafficking with a difference. It was part of a shady bargain struck between elements within the CIA and the Syrian overlords of Lebanese narco-terrorism. In return for the Syrian[s] using their influence to free the remaining American hostages, the CIA helped them to safely transport their heroin on transatlantic flights. Jafaar had a foot in both camps; as well as bring a mule for the drug barons, he was secretly an asset of the CIA.

Coming as it did on the heels of Irangate (which also involved shady deals over hostages), the CIA was desperate to keep the operation secret. For this reason, it is claimed, it sought cover behind the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). At this point the Trail Of The Octopus comes in.

The book tells the story of its co-author Lesier Coleman. Originally a journalist, in the mid-Eighties he began to work as a contract consultant for the DEA's Cyprus office. At that time Cyprus was the nerve center of efforts to monitor drug production in Lebanon. It was no ordinary assignment because Coleman was simultaneously employed by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the ultra-secretive military spooks. According to Coleman, the DEA [DIA?] was desperate for information about Lebanon, but it also wanted to keep a discreet eye on the DEA [DIA?] and CIA, both of which it viewed with suspicion.

By the time Coleman arrived in Cyprus, the flow of drugs out of Lebanon was so great that the best the DEA could hope for was to monitor where it was going to in the US to catch the dealers there. In order to do this, he claims, he relied on a technique called controlled delivery. This involves an agent, or informant, carrying a specially marked bag containing drugs. The shipment is monitored by the DEA and, through cooperation with other countries, is allowed to pass through security and customs unhindered.

Trail Of The Octopus claims that the controlled deliveries provided the CIA with its fig leaf. Not only that, but the DEA allowed its network of informants to double as the CIA's eyes and ears in Lebanon. It was this mixing of roles, Coleman asserts, that proved fatal. The informants were not trained agents; worse still, he believes, some of them were reporting back to the Syrian backed terrorists. Security, thus, was a sham. Coleman insists that he tried to raise the issue with the head of the DEA Cyprus, Michael Hurley, but was ignored. Tension between the two men grow [grew] and Coleman eventually left the island in May 1988. Before departing, he claims to have warned Hurley, in a taped telephone conversation that the security situation was a disaster waiting to happen. Hurley has accused Coleman of editing in the phrase, and says that Coleman was sacked by the DEA for unsatisfactory behavior.

Despite his avowed prophecy, Coleman says that it was not until months after Lockerbie that he realised the disaster might be connected to drug-trafficking. He claims the realization was triggered by the discovery that Khalid Jafaar was among the victims. "The kid was one of those I saw coming through the office in Cyprus," he says, "I knew from the conversations around me in 1988 that he was involved in controlled deliveries --- there's no doubt in my mind about that at all." The DEA denies any connection with Jafaar.

Coleman was not the first to hint at the alternative version. In the days after the disaster rumors were rife that Jafaar had been duped into carrying the bomb. The rumors were fueled by the fact that large quantities of heroin were found among the debris. These finds were later denied by the British and American authorities.

In 1990 the ceiling fell in on Coleman's world. He was arrested by the FBI and charged with passport fraud. Although he admitted applying for a passport under the name Thomas Leavy, he maintains that he was acting under orders from the DIA, which he says, had just reactivated him for an undercover assignment. When he tried to call his DIA contact numbers, he says, the numbers were dead. Then the anonymous death t[h]reats started. Rather then waiting around for a trial, he decided to flee to Sweden. On arrival, he became the first American citizen to apply for political asylum since the Vietnam war.

Coleman presents himself as a latter-day version of the man who knew to[o] much, but to his detractors the passport charges show that he is a trickster and a con man. They point out that he has yet to produce the hard evidence to prove his claims. Chief among his enemies, predictably, is old DEA boss Michael Hurley. In May 1994 Hurley issued a libel writ against the book's British publisher, Bloomsbury. The case has still to come to court.

Coleman counters his critics by pointing out that they too have yet to make public proof of their allegations. He is adamant that he could proof his case in an instant, if the US Government allowed him access to documents relating to him and to the DEA's controlled delivery operations. In 1990 he requested [them] under the US Freedom of Information Act. The application was refused on the grounds of "National Security"; a curious response from a government which claims it has nothing to hide.

What Coleman does have, in spades, is evidence that the American authors have played dirty. In 1992 the FBI applied to the Swedish government to have him extradited. Among the papers it submitted was an "investigative summary" concerning the passport case. It claimed the FBI had been alerted to the fraud by the public records office in the town of New London, Connecticut. Suspicions had been raised, the report stated, when someone identifying himself as Thomas Leavy had requested a copy of his birth certificate. He listed his date of birth as July 4, 1948. According to the FBI, when the records office ran a computer check, they discovered "that the real Thomas Leavy had died in New London, Connecticut, two days after his 1948 birth." The impostor, the FBI suggested, was Coleman.

The FBI was lying through its teeth. In January 1995 Coleman's lawyers obtained a sworn statement from the registrar of public records in New London. It stated that "after a diligent search of the records...neither a birth record on or about July 6, 1948, nor a death record, on or about July 6, 1948, of one Thomas Leavy was recorded.'

On September 21, 1993, the US government issued another indictment against Coleman this time for perjury. The alleged offenses were contained in an affidavit he had sworn for Pan Am's lawyers in 1991. To those wondering why the government would wait two years before acting, Coleman points out that the charges came just days before Trail Of The Octopus was published in Britain. "It was a blatant spoiling operation," says his co-author Donald Goddard. "They even announced the charges in a press release." The indictment once again showed the government to have been careless. Its first count alleges that Coleman lied about his ability to speak Arabic. In fact, he speaks three dialects of the language quite competently. "If the American government is prepared to lie about Coleman," says Jim Swire, spokesman for the British Lockerbie relatives, "then who is to say the official version of Lockerbie is not also a lie?'

In 1993 I began to investigate Lockerbie for a TV documentary called, "The Maltese Double Cross", made by an internationally renowned film-maker, Allan Francovich. The project attracted controversy because it was initially funded by Lonrho plc, which had business ties with the Libyan government, and later by the company's former chief executive, Tiny Rowland. Francovich, only agreed to be involved on condition that there was no interference from Rowland or Libya. The condition was met.

Before long we came across alarming evidence that Coleman was not the only one whom the authorities had tried to silence. I made it a priority to find policemen and volunteers who had the grim task of scouring the Scottish hillsides for debris. Five years on, it was hard to get people to talk. Most reticent were those who had searched the area around Tundergarth, where the nose section of the plane had landed, and the heroin was found.

The day after the crash, the area was swarming with pla[i]n-clothed Americans, Searchers told me, off the record, that the agents seemed desperate to find something. Although the search effort was supposed to follow the strict rules of evidence gathering, they seemed to have been given carte blanche to do their own thing. In the meantime junior police officers and volunteers were warned that, under the Official Secrets Act, they must never reveal what they had seen.

The film eventually concluded that the alternative version of Lockerbie was correct. Despite all the new evidence we uncovered, we were never approached by the Scottish police, or FBI, to help with their inquires. It was due to be premiered at the 1994 London Film Festival, but, for the first time in its 38 year history, the festival pulled out at the last minute owing to fears of legal action. Following the decision, a number of screenings were organized by an anti-censorship center in Birmingham called the Angle Gallery. The day after the first screening both the gallery and the home of the organizer were burgled. Nothing of value was taken, but office files had been rifled. A few weeks later, the gallery organized a further screening. This time it suffered an arson attack.

Channel 4 eventually agreed to show the film on May 11 last year. The day before the broadcast the British and American governments launched an extraordinary assault. Simultaneously, the Scottish Crown Office and the US Embassy in London sent every national and Scottish newspaper a press pack. It consisted of a series of unsubstantiated smears against four of the film's interviewers. Among them, inevitably, was Lester Coleman. Great play was made of the fact that he was a fugitive from justice but the FBI's blatant lies were ignored.

Also targeted was a New York based investigator called Juval Aviv. In 1989, at the recommendation of a number of prestigious law firms, he was hired to investigate the bombing by Pan Am. After three months he delivered a report based on anonymous intelligence sources, which was the first detailed incarnation of the alternative version. A few weeks later it was leaked to the media. Some of the lawyers representing the Lockerbie relatives played hell, accusing Aviv and Pan Am of cooking up a story that would exonerate the airline's faulty security.

Ever since that time, Aviv claims, he has been a marked man. He alleges a series of break-ins at his Madison Avenue offices. "They rarely took anything, but they left signs of their presence. It was like they were saying, "Don't step out of line again," he says. He also claims his clients have been approached by FBI agents and advised to sever contact with him. This may sound like the stuff of paranoid fantasy, but he points to the fact that, since the report was leaked, all his contacts with government agencies have dried up.

Within days of The Maltese Double Cross being broadcast, Aviv was indicted on fraud charges. The alleged offense had occurred---you've guessed it---years earlier. He is adamant that it was trumped up to help the governments spoiling operation against the film (indeed it was trailed in the press pack). His lawyer, Gerald Shargel, applied for the case to be dismissed on the grounds of selective prosecution. In an affidavit submitted last September, he wrote; "In all my (25) years of practice, I have never seen the resources of the FBI and the US Attorney's Office devoted to such an insignificant, inconsequential, isolated, four-year-old matter." The judge turned down the application last month, but not before condemning some of the prosecution's arguments [as] "pathetic" and "dishonest".

Despite the legal set back, there is now dramatic evidence of the government's vendetta against Aviv. It is contained in a report produced by Martin Kenney, a New York based international lawyer who specializes in serious financial crime. Earlier this year he, Aviv, and one other partner, set up an asset search and recovery company in Bermuda called Interclaim Ltd. The plan was to utilize Kenney's legal skills and Aviv's investigative know-how.

They lined up a handful of distinguished legal and commercial figures from Britain and the US to become both investors and members of the company's board of directors. The also approached an investment banking firm from the City of London and three major accountancy firms. All were enthusiastic about Interclaim. Aviv was completely open with Kenney about the outstanding charges. Kenney conducted his own investigation into the allegations and into Aviv's background. He concluded, "I found the incongruity between the fact of the indictment, and the quality and content of Mr. Aviv's professional background, standing and professional and client references to be remarkable.'

Suddenly, last month, Kenney regretfully asked Aviv to step down from the company. According to Kenney's report, the bankers, accountants, and at least one of the directors, had suddenly got cold feet and there was a danger that they would abandon the venture. The reason, Kenney claims, is that most of them had been warned by unnamed US government officials that Aviv was a man not to be touched.

The US government's dirty tricks may just be about to unravel. The catalyst could be the remarkable battle currently being waged over Trail Of The Octopus. Warren Hinckle agreed to publish it last year and by February of this year it was at the printers. Then the barrage began. His distributor, Publishers Group West Inc.(PGW), was bombarded by faxes demanding the company pull out of the deal.

They were mostly from Michael Hurley, who warned that the book "is highly defamatory of myself and many other US citizens and is currently the subject of libel proceedings in the UK". Legal threats were also made by Ron Martz, a journalist on the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, who was referred to in the book.

Joining in the assault were Daniel and Susan Cohen from New Jersey, who lost their daughter Theodora on flight 103. Their fax warned: "If this book appears in the US we can assure you that we will not sit by quietly. We will energetically denounce not only the book and its scum-bag author, but all those who seek to make money on our daughter's death."

This is not the first time the Cohen's had used such tactics. When Channel 4 first showed interest in The Maltese Double Cross, it was besieged by faxes and phone calls from them, which variously accused us of being "scum", "bastards" and of "whoring for Gadafy". Jim Swire used to be on friendly terms with the couple, but they have ostracized him ever since he announced he was keeping an open mind about the book and the film. "In effect they wanted to impose censorship," he says. "To my mind that's wrong because the public should have a chance to see and read for themselves, and make their minds up on the bases of that."

Another opponent of the film to become embroiled in the current controversy is ex-CIA officer Vincent Cannistraro.

As the head of CIA's Lockerbie investigation until October 1990, Cannistraro had helped provide the intelligence that pointed the finger away from drug-running and towards Libya. Previously he had worked alongside Colonel Oliver North in a secret program designed to destabilize the Gadafy, regime.

Nevertheless, the campaign to halt the publication of Trail Of The Octopus appeared to be working. On March 11, PGW told Hinckle that it would not be distributing the book. The company had published many controversial books in the past, but it had never faced such an onslaught. A few days later, British publisher Bloomsbury attempted to revoke its license agreement with Hinckle.

If the book's opponents think they have won the battle, they should think again, they have chosen to tangle with the wrong man. As editor of the investigative magazine Ramparts in the Sixties, Hinckle was frequently involved in similar scrapes. Now he's taking the gloves off again. He intends to press ahead with publication come what may. The counter-offensive is being taken to Washington. Two constitutional rights groups have shown an interest in the legal action and the renowned American lawyer Alan Dershowitz is reported to be looking into the case. With their help, Hinckle hopes to use the case to investigate whether the campaign against the book has been encouraged in any way by the government.

And that's not all. Hinckle plans to force a Congressional inquiry into government smear tactics against Coleman, Juval Aviv and others. He has already made a formal approach to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to monitor the spooks. He believes that, once the pattern of dirty tricks is made clear, members of Congress will go after the perpetrators with a vengeance. "Someone, somewhere in the dark recesses of government has been coordinating all of this," he says, "I intend to see these bastards forced onto the witness stand and made to sweat." Once the American public is treated to such a spectacle, its faith in the official version of Lockerbie may well crumble.

Hinckle plans to team up with yet another victim of the US government's underhand tactics. Until four years ago Dr. Bill Chasey was one of Washington DC's most successful political lobbyists. After 22 years in the game he had many influential contacts in government and his clients included some of America's largest corporations. A conservative Republican by instinct, he had earlier spent nine years as a US Marine Corps officer. In short, he was the ultimate Establishment figure.

In 1992 he took on what, for him, was a slightly unusual contract, with an American company called International Communications Management (ICM). It had been hired by the government of Libya to help normalize relations with the US, in the wake of the Lockerbie indictments and the resulting UN sanctions. When he was first approached about the assignment, Chasey felt uneasy, As a loyal citizen, he had no reason to doubt his government's account of the bombing. However, on reflection, he figured that the assignment was not necessarily unpatriotic. Normalizing relations need not involve acceptance of Libya's innocence. In any case, the US did business with plenty of the world's more unsavory regimes.

Chasey agreed, on condition that everything be played by the book. Under US law, anyone representing a foreign government in this way must register as a foreign agent. If the assignment was in breach of the UN sanctions, he assumed that the Department of Justice would deny his registration. It did not, and he became registered as Foreign Agent number 4221.

Over the coming weeks, Chasey met with representatives of the Libyan regime, who assured him that the US government had deliberately covered up the truth about Lockerbie. He didn't believe them but became convinced that they deserved a fair hearing on Capitol Hill. Before he was able to make any headway, his world fell apart.

On December 3, 1992, the US government's Office of Foreign Assets Control(OFAC) Issued him with a formal order to stop work on the contract. He was told it was in breach of UN sanctions and that he would be liable to criminal charges. Chasey was bemused; if the contract was illegal, why had he been allowed to register as a foreign agent? Nevertheless, he agreed to cooperate with OFAC and felt sure everything could be sorted out amicably.

Two weeks later as he was about to leave on a Christmas skiing vacation, his wife Virginia phoned, in panic, to tell him that their bank account had been frozen. He immediately called OFAC to find out what they were playing at. An agent explained that it was because he had breached sanctions by accepting Libyan money. Chasey again pointed out that the money had come from an American company, ICM, but to no avail. OFAC refused to budge and the account remains frozen today.

Chasey believes while all this unfolded, he was being closely monitored. "Whenever I arrived in Washington, the FBI would greet me at the airport. How could they have known my travel plans without monitoring my calls?" He also claims to have received anonymous phone calls, in which a man with an Arab accent warned him: "There are a lot of people who don't want this case reopened. If you want to stay alive, stay away from Pan Am 103.'

Eventually, in May 1994, OFAC fined him $50,000. He was never allowed a hearing to put his case. By that time his lobbying business had been badly hit. As with Juval Aviv, a number of clients were approached by the FBI and told that he was under investigation for fraud. Last year he finally wound down the company and got out of Washington. He lost his homes there and in California, and, at 55 years old, was forced to rebuild his life from scratch.

With hindsight, Chasey believes his story demonstrates that the Libyans were right all along. "They went after me because they were worried that I might stumble upon this almighty cover-up and tell my friends in congress about it." Four years ago he would have viewed someone like Warren Hinckle with distaste, but now the publisher is a valuable ally.

Like Lester Coleman, Chasey was moved to write a book about his experiences. Called Foreign Agent 4221: The Lockerbie Cover-Up, it was launched in Washington on April 22 last year. As he entered the city's airport to return home to California, there was another encounter with the FBI. An agent served him with a Grand Jury subpoena for all his business records dating back to 1989. He also questioned Chasey about the Oklahoma bombing three days earlier. He asked if Chasey had any contacts with the Libyans and warned that if he did not report any future contact with them, he would be prosecuted.

America took little notice of the book and it sold just a few thousand copies on the fringe conspiracy market. Now he's updated it and renamed it Pan Am 103: The Lockerbie Cover-Up. It is about to be published for the first time in the UK. It begins with a quote which sums up his experiences "I love my country, but I fear my government." The sentiment will be shared by all those who have probed the dark secrets of flight 103.


Look for The Trail of the Octopus to be featured soon in Deep Politics

In the mean time, please read this Special Appeal for Help from Lester Coleman

[ Decorative Rule]


---a bookstore for democracy ---

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Date: Wed Jul 02, 1997 11:15 pm CST
From: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:

TO: ciadrugs EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX:
BCC: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject: ciadrugs] American Investigator: Mena Under Investigation, 1/30/96

Washington, DC January 30, 1996



(Excerpts from NET special report, "American Investigator: Mena, Arkansas Under Investigation")

Congressman James Leach

Congressman James Leach (R-NY), Chairman of the House Banking Committee has begun an investigation into the Mena story. "It's quite conceivable that to the degree politics is involved, it might end up embarrassing as many Republicans in Washington as Democrats in Arkansas. But we are convinced that there is a story there but the magnitude of the story is still very difficult to piece together." "The stronger role and capacity that we have, is, that as the United States Congress we do have the capacity to compel certain documents from the Executive branch and to potentially compel witnesses if relevant ones develop. One aspect of virtually everything that deals with the drug issue is that at some point in time there's a conversion to money, at that point in time there's sometimes a capacity to trace the money." Asked who has the potential to be damaged more by this investigation - Republicans or Democrats?, he said, "You know — I just don't know - to me, the only issue is the truth."

This is the story of an unlikely collusion, almost a partnership, made possible by a strange condition - a government with selective respect for its own laws. Some discredit the story as a mythical conspiracy. What is now coming to the fore through new government investigations took years to make and may take years to uncover. Leave aside a conspiracy; the evidence emerges from each player pursuing his own self-interest, his career or simply putting in money in the bank.

At the center lies Barry Seal, a young pilot who activated the operation with his skills of persuasion and organization. Seal's talents also masked his other identity: a drug smuggler through Mena, Arkansas with a possible CIA connection, who eventually became a DEA informant.

Russell Welch

Russell Welch, former Arkansas State Investigator: "He [Barry Seal] was extremely intelligent, tended to have control of whatever setting he was in at the time. He was a manipulative person. I don't have anything good to say about him. He was a cocaine smuggler. He caused a lot of problems and he solved some problems to stay out of prison. Whether that justifies everything he did or not, I don't know. The worst of his stuff goes beyond cocaine smuggling but he dealt out a lot of pain." By his own admission, Barry Seal moved tons of cocaine into the US, but his career ended in 1986 when he was brutally assassinated in Baton Rouge by the Medellin Cartel. Seal wrote his own epitaph, saying he was a rebel adventurer.

Because of Seal's CIA involvement, he is alleged to have ties to Oliver North. North was dedicated to getting arms to the Contras. When his actions became public through the Iran-Contra hearings, the Reagan Administration wrote North off as a loose cannon, but the White House may have given North the green light. And it's speculated the CIA gave North the power to set up an operation such as Mena. Last year, North ran for a Senate seat - and lost. The money and distribution man may have been Dan Lasater, a wealthy Arkansas bond trader with links to the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan (now called Central Bank and Trust), Rose Law firm and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, also known as ADFA. Lasater also had his own airfield. He was an aggressive trader, but he was also well-known for his aggressive and systematic pursuit of young women with cocaine as the bait. In 1986, he was convicted of cocaine distribution.

Ray Baxter

Ray Baxter, former legal counsel for Dan Lasater: "There's a side to Dan Lasater that the general public doesn't know. He's a very active man in his church, yes, he had his problems, sure he did. But if there's ever been a situation where there's been a completely and totally changed life it's Dan Lasater." Charles Cooper, Lasater's neighbor: "No, I'm sorry, One's actions will speak for themselves. He ain't walking the talk."

Today, Lasater, although a millionaire, is said to be a church volunteer in Arkansas and an avid hunter. At the edge of the chart is a friend of Lasater's, Bill Clinton, an ambitious man who was elected to four terms as governor of Arkansas. Clinton established ADFA; a creation which was meant to spur economic growth through encouraging and controlling investment in the state. Through its loose bookkeeping, ADFA became Clinton's reward system for the good ole boy network in Arkansas, circumventing a traditional check and balance system. Acquiring money for one of the nation's poorest states and taking risks became daily strategies for then-governor Clinton. He is now the 42nd President of the United States. How could the lives of such different men cross paths? Through intermediaries and networks.

Ray Baxter: "Arkansas is a small enough state that a political game is played in Arkansas with a small enough number of players to where everybody knows everybody."

Now the setting. An isolated airport in western Arkansas, an unusually long airstrip found in the midst of a small backwater town called Mena. The mountains make it ideal for evading radar detection, and the area itself has a long tradition of lawlessness. Barry Seal moved his drug operation to Mena from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to begin an alleged dual-operation: running guns to the Nicaragua contras and smuggling drugs to the US. All under the cloak of national security and with the implicit nod of Governor Clinton. These allegations stem from numerous clues: a history of airplane modifications and money laundering, plus the testimony of Barry Seal and others about Rich Mountain Aviation, the company which Seal called home.

In this story, self-interests connect each character and enhance the credibility of the plot. Oliver North provided security and a CIA cover while Barry Seal ran the arms and brought back the cocaine. Dan Lasater bought cocaine and laundered money which in turn injected Clinton's Arkansas economy, including ADFA, and Lasater contributed to Clinton's political campaigns. Finally, Governor Clinton allegedly provided cover at the state level.

The American Investigator team went to Arkansas to examine the evidence for a story which is still unfolding. We talked with the skeptics as well as the believers about the activities in Mena.

Jim Johnson

Former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson, a historian of Arkansas politics, says the implications of Mena are appalling. Jim Johnson: "These people got what they needed in their operations down there. But I'm sure that the powers that be surely to God didn't mean to put America in the dope business. And that's what resulted in Mena, with America literally being in the dope business. And there's nothing as degrading as the thought of my country being a party to that kind of activity and that occurred, in my view, in Mena."

Two investigators have worked carefully and relentlessly for over ten years against a backdrop of Federal and State-level resistance. Russell Welch, a state police investigator, has kept watch on Barry Seal's drug-running from the beginning. Bill Duncan, an IRS investigator, tracked money laundering in Mena banks. Enter Terry Reed, a self-proclaimed major player in the events at Mena. Terry Reed threw together in novelistic form a series of richly detailed assertions. Terry Reed's credibility and his assertions are in question; in fact, some serious investigators despise the book. Yet Reed has catalyzed the Mena issue; Reed is currently in court over an alleged framing by Clinton security loyalists Buddy Young and Tommy Baker. The upcoming trial has served as a conduit for new Mena evidence. Investigators, and troopers from Clinton's security detail were recently questioned — the American investigator team has acquired their depositions.

In an extensive phone interview, Bill Duncan asserted that he had over 25 specific instances of money laundering in Mena area banks, (including Union Bank) from over 7000 pages of evidence on the Mena case. According to the depositions: a scared secretary at Rich Mountain Aviation (RMA) reported the use of cashier's checks to avoid filing Currency transaction reports; the first cases of money laundering were used to build Seal's hangar in Mena airport; a local bank VP admitted under oath that RMA had laundered money with them; Seal's pilot confessed that irregular procedures were used; and, an overheard conversation between the CIA and US customs hinted at "some type of joint operation at the Mena Airport" "active as late as October of 1991."

Fred Hampton

Asked about money laundering around Mena airport, Fred Hampton, Owner of Rich Mountain Aviation: "Well - there were cashier's checks bought. But because you buy cashier's checks don't mean you laundered money. If you had a customer like Barry Seal, who, that's all he paid you in was cash. I mean that son-of-a-gun, he never wrote a check. I guess sometime in his lifetime, but I guarantee, to my company he never wrote a check. Even if he had to go to the bank of Gonzales and borrow money to come pay me, he did it in cash. That's just the way he did it. And of course I took the cashier's - I took the cash and I bought cashier's checks in Barry Seals name, remitted to my company and put those things in the bank. That's not laundering money." Russell Welch, former Arkansas State Investigator: "If you purchased or made a deposit of a check in excess of $10,000 you have to pay taxes on it or notify the IRS. So if you make frequent deposits or purchases — if you purchased cashier's checks for large sums of money - to put it in Barry Seals own words, the people in Mena would know his business. So you put it in less than 10,000, as opposed to 100,000 you get a series of 9,000 checks. I think a lot of people do that, I think a lot of honest people probably did it, but cocaine smugglers did it too."

In December 1985, Russell Welch and Bill Duncan interviewed Barry Seal under a plea agreement, less than two months before he was gunned down. He confessed to drug smuggling on a massive scale. According to the depositions: a DEA official verified Seal's claim of arms and drug-running; a well-understood method of cocaine delivery emerged from the questioning and the physical evidence; and, an informant reported that cocaine had actually been kept in the hangars.

Fred Hampton, Owner of Rich Mountain Aviation: "He did not have a drug smuggling operation here." Russell Welch, former Arkansas Stale
Investigator: "Barry Seal was a cocaine smuggler. He used the Mena airport. He used other places too, but he based his operation - starting in 1982 and through 1983 - to smuggle cocaine, not for anybody but Barry Seal, he based it at the Mena airport. That is not even debatable."

Barry Seal had mentioned his connections with the CIA early on. Because the CIA claim is often a handy cover for drug smuggling, the evidence must be corroborated by other sources. According to the depositions: DEA officials testified that the CIA was closely involved with the Central American trips and RMA; at least one of Seal's airplanes may have come from a CIA-front; DEA briefings were held with White House officials and Oliver North on Seal's operations; a multitude of eyewitness accounts suggest that Nella, an airstrip ten miles north of Mena could have been used for Contra or Panamanian training; and, possibly, Oliver North made an appearance at Mena airport.

Russell Welch

Russell Welch: "You know you can back through certain case files -- completely unrelated investigations and you would find information that you could -- someone could say, yes that is part of a CIA operation. Umm. If I had seen a CIA operation I wouldn't have interfered with it. I wouldn't have interfered with a legitimate government operation, not knowingly."

Sources from the House Banking Committee say that Seal's money laundering was at least in the seven figures. It is speculated that the money trail may go beyond the Mena area, perhaps as far as Dan Lasater's firm. One curious fact: Lasater and Co made millions of trades in the account of an unsuspecting Kentucky citizen during 1985. The trading suddenly stopped in February, 1986, the month that Seal was killed. Reed's book claims that Dan Lasater was a major recipient of Seal's cocaine. It is a fact that in late 1986, Dan Lasater pleaded guilty to distributing cocaine and received a 30-month sentence. It was cut short by a pardon from Governor Clinton who had lobbied to give Lasater a $30 million State Police radio contract. Lasater contributed to Clinton's campaigns, was a major underwriter of Arkansas bond issues, and had hired Clinton's brother, Roger as a chauffeur -- even paid Roger's drug debts. Patsy Thomason, now at the White House and under fire for her role in the Foster affair, was Lasater's Chief Executive Financial Officer. Although both Lasater and Clinton now claim that they have only met a few times at crowded events, Congressman Dan Burton, former Chairman of the Republican Study Committee strongly disagrees. "He was so close to the Governor that he got $664 million in Arkansas development bonds from which he was able to get $1.6 million in commissions. And this was at a time when Dan Lasater was under investigation by the state police for cocaine trafficking and cocaine use."

In a reluctant deposition Trooper Barry Spivey, former Governor's security, unwittingly agreed with Congressman Burton. Spivey also remembers taking Lasater's plane to Kentucky with Lasater and Clinton while they bet on horses. The question is: Why would Dan Lasater and Bill Clinton misrepresent their relationship? from January of 1983 to July 1985. In April 84 Brown saw an ad for the CIA in Hillary's Sunday Times.

L.D. Brown, former Arkansas State Trooper assigned as a bodyguard to Gov. Clinton: "Bill came out to go jogging I think it was and I showed him, I said: look at this - is this for real? And he said: 'Sure you oughta do that. I always told you would make a good spy. I'll help you with it.'" Brown says that Clinton helped him draft an essay for the Agency.

L.D. Brown: "This is kind of a funny deal. I mean I don't really care if the American public champions this cause or whatever, if they believe it or not. But this is something I've been trying to - not cover up - but stay away from for over ten years. But - I kept some of the things that I had sent into the agency. I kept that essay on 'Marxism in Central America'. You know, I knew what that was but it wasn't exactly my topic du jour to get into the CIA. He's the one that said: 'That's what they want to hear.' And, you know, I played along and we wrote it."

With Clinton's recommendation, Brown was cleared by an operative in Texas. Brown received a call from Barry Seal, inviting him to Mena airport. Two identical missions followed. With Brown on board, Seal's plane left Mena, dropped crates somewhere in Central America, loaded duffel bags in Honduras and returned to Mena. L.D. Brown: "The second time we come back from where Seal said we were going, which he said was Honduras, he breaks open a bag and pulls out of it what to me, having worked in Narcotics, was a kilo of cocaine. I mean he never opened it — it had a numbers sign and two on it which I had seen packaged before. And then, I just, we supposedly were flying guns - it's what he had told me. I didn't know what was coming back on return trips."

Brown confronted Clinton outside the Mansion. "He was about to ask me - are you having fun? — again, I know he was and that's when I just lost it and I said you know what they're bringing back and I'm just cursing and you know what's on those blankety-blank airplanes and he says what do you mean, what do you mean. I said they're bringing back coke and he says wait a minute, he throws his hands up and says that's Lasater's deal. And throughout this whole thing, Lasater's name was never brought up about anything. I know Lasater, I've seen him at the mansion, been to his house and sat in his racing box at the horse races and I knew that the only time I'd see the Governor around any kind of cocaine was at Dan Lasater's house when it was on the table and I got him outta there. So just like a big light goes off in my head - cocaine, the governor and when he's says Lasater I'm thinking oh no, what's going on." "When I saw the coke, well you know all my DEA training, I'd been to the advanced schools and gotten their achievement award. Well, man, I thought this is a drug operation it's a sting thing - I'm trying to convince myself of that, all the way back to Little Rock and up until the time I meet with Clinton, and he blows all that perception and tells me: 'No, it's a straight drug deal, L.D.'"

According to Bill Duncan, nine separate state and federal probes into Mena went nowhere or were blocked. What happened to the investigations? And what happened to the investigators? According to the depositions: Troopers were told to keep their mouths shut, to forget what they had heard or what they had seen; the House subcommittee on crime in 1990 never allowed Duncan's evidence; a now-controversial Grand jury made no convictions; an FBI agent memorandum copied to FBI and CIA headquarters spoke of the cover-up.

Charles Black

American investigator interviewed Charles Black, a local prosecutor. In 1988, frustrated with the Federal investigations, Black tried to pursue financial assistance for an investigation on the local level. Black hand-delivered a request to Bill Clinton in 1988. Charles Black: "He stood there and he listened to me. And he said some words to the effect that he would get a man on it and would get word back to me. And I never heard back from him after that. I never heard back from anybody on his behalf."

Insight Magazine recently reported that, based on a deposition by Betsy Wright, Governor Clinton's former chief of staff, the Governor's Mansion was "inundated" with phone calls concerning Mena in 1985. Bill Clinton has claimed that he knew nothing about Mena until 1988. Even then, the State Authorities took no action and no-one was prosecuted. Instead, the investigators suffered consequences. While preparing committee evidence, Welch became violently ill. The doctor's diagnosis: military-style anthrax. In Mena, he was blocked from opening new cases. A forced transfer to Hot Springs followed. The charge? Ironically, Welch's caseload was down. Finally, Welch was given a forced retirement without cause. The State police had knocked on his door in an attempt to collect his uniform and badge just a few days before our interview. Russell Welch, former Arkansas State Investigator: It's hard to explain. It's hard to sit down and go through the whole story from day one, and how a straightforward criminal investigation turned into this. It shouldn't never have - this shouldn't have happened. Things shouldn't be where they are at now." "If I could sit here and name names and show you documents, if I could give you the answer to every question that surrounds Arkansas right now, it wouldn't make any difference. What would you do? If the president committed a felony on national television, who's going to go knock on the door and say: come on down to the station; you better call your lawyer. Who's going to do that? Who's going to bang on the door? If the President obstructs justice, who's going to knock on the door and say, Mr. President, come on down to the station, we've got some questions to ask you."

Contact: NET investigative reporters on this story Ethan Gutmann & Therese Kaplan 202.544.320

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