Police Corruption & Marijuana

Santa Ana Corruption

In 2015, corruption, abuse and violence among US law enforcement agencies became an issue of discourse at the American dinner table, as deep reservations have spread across the public in regards to their relationship with those “sworn to protect”. Many deadly police shootings occurred with the deaths of several minors, young men and women alike totaling nearly 1,000 deaths (according to the Washington Post) and 10% of those killed were unarmed and not in the process of committing a crime but merely ran from police out of the fear of being murdered. While police shootings and violence have taken a front run in the media, medical marijuana growers and patients are no strangers to such encounters with law enforcement. The medical marijuana industry has endured the edge of the spear of police corruption for several years if not decades counting the passage of medical marijuana laws in the late 90’s and 2000’s. Despite a voter mandate and the implementation of a regulatory structure, again and again, marijuana patients and growers have found themselves subjected to the deadliest side of law enforcement abuse, with such tactics as murder, racketeering, theft, fraud, entrapment, wrongful imprisonment, illegal search and seizure, unlawful surveillance, bribery, extortion and other forms of severe abuse of power.

Why has corruption become so endemic in recent times among our police forces? The first key is the Patriot Act. The Bush Administration literally swept away anti-corruption incentives in favor of ‘anti-terror’ and ‘domestic terror’ incentives, allowing the police in many cases to sidestep the fourth amendment. Many jurisdictions and counties throughout the country took the liberty of interpreting the new rules as they saw fit, conducting their own authorizations of domestic surveillance and using the atmosphere of fear to justify expansion of budgets and more importantly, armaments.

Asshat-In-Chief

Asshat-In-Chief

The second key was the change in recruiting policies that took place during the Bush Administration, it began with the federal government reducing the standards for military admittance, allowing ex-felons, known hate groups and known members of gangs and organized crime to serve in the ranks during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In many cases these criminals were promoted to higher rank for their willingness to perform acts of violence against civilians that other more tempered soldiers were not. Police departments petitioned the government to lower their recruiting standards as well to permit the entry of these ex-felon soldiers, many coming back with mental duress from combat, into the police forces upon their return home using veteran employment and Iraqi policing experience as a justification. These new officers were far more prone to violence, brutality, corruption and hate than their prior counterparts and many were promoted due to their views on race and domestic policing.

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

The third key was the continual recruitment of these personalities into law enforcement well after 2008, mainly due to the success of the Fraternal Order of Police in planting their top lobbyist, Senator Joe Biden, into the position of the Vice Presidency. The police union nationwide saw this a carte blanche opportunity to no longer ‘to protect and to serve’ but simply to rule by fear, violence and corruption. This was supported by the fact that Congress obstructed the placement of federal judges by President Obama, and many of the corrupt Bush appointees were able to continue to make rulings that protected the expansion of police misuse of power, including the acquittal of many murderers serving on the force. The ongoing corruption has led to penetration by foreign organized crime organizations, most notably the Mexican Cartels, who have used their newfound influence in law enforcement to expand their power to whole municipalities as shown by DEA research published in 2015.

Cartel Power

DEA Corruption Report

http://www.dea.gov/docs/dir06515.pdf

So now that we know the police forces are riddled with corrupt, war-torn and psychologically unstable officers, let’s focus on their abuse of the medical marijuana industry in both current events and in retrospect:

  1. Yuba County Sheriff, California – NET-5 Transporting Apprehension (2015)
Christopher Heath

Officer Christopher Mark Heath

A recent case, near and dear to our hearts that epitomizes the corruption within policing today. This month Yuba County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher ‘Mark’ Heath, a veteran narcotics officer of the Yuba County Sheriff’s NET-5 drug and gang task force was caught transporting 200 pounds of medical marijuana, taken from NET-5 raids, in Pennsylvania by a local anti-narcotics task force. Heath was en route to New York, where the medical marijuana could fetch a price anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 a pound. Heath was looking at anywhere from $1 million to $1.6 million in stolen marijuana profits. Whether other NET-5 or Yuba County Sheriff’s Deputies conspired to assist Heath in transporting is still pending investigation but industry insiders know that this is most certainly the case.

NET-5 is a notoriously corrupt anti-marijuana trafficking task force that has been known to ‘tax’ marijuana transporters and local growers alike for several years now, by conducting raids and seizures in violation of California’s Medical Marijuana Law if growers fail to pay or supply them. Yuba County itself is a sparsely populated farming county with most high paying jobs coming from government work with the local air force base or the county itself. The per capita income rate is about 40% less than the California average and like many parts of California, lower income populations have turned to medical marijuana to relieve the financial stress produced by the outfall of the ongoing financial crisis. Yuba County also sponsors FACT, an anti-marijuana group in the area that documents and publicizes police raids and seizures in the county.

Links on Heath Case

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/12/30/yuba-county-deputy-accused-of-transporting-hundreds-of-pounds-of-marijuana-to-pennsylvania/

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/yuba-county-deputy-suspected-of-pennsylvania-marijuana-delivery/article_ddb93030-af2b-11e5-9d15-c7348145fa1f.html

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/12/30/yuba-county-deputy-accused-of-transporting-hundreds-of-pounds-of-marijuana-to-pennsylvania/

Links on NET-5 Raids

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/06/04/marijuana-grow-discovered-at-gas-station-in-yuba-city/

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/public-safety-briefs-m-marijuana-bust-in-foothills/article_1d5efafe-4159-11e4-9394-0017a43b2370.html

http://www.yubacountyfact.com/?q=headlines&page=2

http://www.chicoer.com/article/ZZ/20141009/NEWS/141009424

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/yuba-county-sued-for-third-time-over-pot-penalties/article_1975c8da-ae8d-11e5-8100-772524fd384e.html

 

  1. Santa Ana, California – Municipal Corruption (2015)

Santa Ana, a city notoriously influenced by Mexican Drug Cartels, not excluding Mayor Miguel Pulido and City Attorney Sonia Carvalho, imposed a state and federally illegal lottery in early February to issue 20 zoning and operating permits for medical marijuana collectives within the city to friends, financial associates and cartel front men associated with Pulido, Carvalho and other members of Santa Ana city council to fast-track their operations and justify the elimination of competition. The Santa Ana Police, since the issuing of these permits, have followed Long Beach’s lead by becoming the Mayor’s personal hit squad for taking out collectives that have taken suit with the city over these illegal measures, using the gang unit and anti-narcotics units to shut down anyone competing against the 20 collectives. In late May, the corruption was unveiled at the Sky High collective when Santa Ana Gang Unit utilized itself as an intimidation force to shut down the collective but was caught on camera conducting the raid, which featured several officers illegally partaking in edibles and stealing product.

Mayor Pulido (right) with his cabal

Mayor Pulido (right) with his cabal

The illegal lottery occurred as part of Measure BB, sponsored by the City Council, the Santa Ana police and Cartel front men; the cities success at the ballot was in large part due to the mishandling of the counter-initiative by OC NORML, who may or may not have sabotaged their own efforts due to institutional corruption and arrogance. OC NORML suspiciously opened a brand new office in the Downtown district of Santa Ana, without opposition, following the City’s victory, let alone NORML’s reputation for selling out local growers and farms for political influence and funding.

See more about the history of NORML’s Lies and Dirty Tricks:

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/12/24/when-the-grinch-stole-christmas-how-norml-sabotaged-marijuana-legalization-in-1978/

Statements made against the city by OCWeekly Magazine and Attorney Matthew Pappas revealed that “The mayor has a pecuniary interest in [at least] one of the collectives. Prior to the election, there were limousine services and gifts provided to officials. We have evidence of that. People were approached to pay a $25,000 amount and were told they would win the lottery.”

OC Weekly continues:

“Rather than forcing lottery players to go through a lengthy background check, something that might have greatly reduced the number of applications, city officials allowed individuals to submit an unlimited number of applications per location on behalf of various corporate entities. The city’s somewhat-cynical operating theory is that corporations are people, and thus each one, no matter how fictional or freshly conceived or who actually owned it, has the right to its own lottery ball….”

“Predictably, most of the 20 winners were deep-pocketed entrepreneurs, some of whom purchased 100 or even 150 balls to increase the odds of winning. The winners included some high-profile names such as Cypress Hill’s B-Real. Many winners formed legal partnerships, raised money from investors and paid the city with money orders; the Weekly also interviewed eyewitnesses who described successful applicants who drove to City Hall in flashy cars with their girlfriends in tow, hauling shopping bags stuffed with enough cash to purchase dozens of lottery balls.

The Weekly also uncovered allegations of attempted influence peddling by Pulido’s personal attorney and former Orange County Democratic Party chairman Frank Barbaro, as well as aggressive solicitation of campaign donations by both Pulido and powerful Democratic Party operative Melahat Rafiei, whose brother is among the 20 winners. Furthermore, to raise cash for the Measure BB campaign and thus lay the groundwork for the lottery, the city worked with Randall Longwith, a prominent medical-marijuana attorney whose brother-in-law, David Dewyke, happens to manage the Clinic Patient’s Association. The large-scale dispensary operated in Santa Ana without a permit for several years, until it was finally shut down by the police in late May–one of the last such dispensaries left in the city.

Campaign-contribution records obtained by the Weekly show Dewyke was by far the largest contributor to Measure BB, writing checks totaling $57,000–single-handedly footing nearly a third of the roughly $181,000 campaign bill. (Dewyke also gave $10,000 to the Measure CC campaign.) According to limo-company operator and custom-car designer Vini Bergeman–who lives in a 20,000-square-foot mansion in Panorama Heights and is a former associate of John Gotti, as well as a former business partner of Dewyke’s–Dewyke frequently borrowed his vehicles, saying he needed them to wine and dine city officials involved in Measure BB.

Female Officer Who Threatened Patients

Female Officer Who Threatened Patients

The Atlantic Magazine also chimed in by pointing out the presence of corruption in the police union over the marijuana issue and the intended abuse of some of the patients present during the raid:

On-duty police officers appear to be eating edible pot products—OC Weekly transcribes words they spoke while egging one another on. (“Those candy bars are pretty good,” one said. “I kinda feel light-headed though.”) Other dialogue offers a number of insights into the subculture of this narcotics unit. Take the woman with an amputated leg that police encountered on entering the dispensary. “Did you punch that one-legged old benita?” one police officer asks another. The other cop laughingly replied, “I was about to kick her in her fucking nub.” These are people Santa Ana taxpayers empower to use lethal force at their discretion….”

“What’s new is the way that the cops caught misbehaving on camera and the police union that represents them have responded to an internal police investigation—not with embarrassment, contrition, and public apologies, as would befit trustworthy people of good character, but with shameless, discrediting chutzpah: They’ve sued to keep now public video of their indefensible behavior from their overseers!

A lawsuit, filed last week in Orange County Superior Court by three unidentified police officers and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, seeks to prevent Santa Ana Police Department internal-affairs investigators from using the video as they sort out what happened during the May 26 raid of Sky High Collective,” the Orange County Register reports. The article goes on to characterize the lawsuit’s claims:

The lawsuit argues that the video doesn’t paint a fair version of events. The suit also claims the video shouldn’t be used as evidence because, among other things, the police didn’t know they were on camera. “All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks,” says the suit.

The dispensary also did not obtain consent of any officer to record them, the suit says. “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” the suit says.

 Santa-Ana-Raid

To sum up: These police officers are complaining that after rushing into this business with guns drawn, forcing employees outside, and using a crowbar to pry visible surveillance cameras off the walls, they were not warned—by the same employees they forced out—that their efforts to disable all surveillance cameras failed, rendering their decision to eat the business’s products visible to its owners. As well, they’re arguing that, though on-duty cops, they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, having failed to account for their own incompetence at disabling surveillance.

But even more galling is that last bit about how “without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” as that’s only true if one assumes that all cops present would cover for one another’s egregious misbehavior and sign off on a police report that misrepresented the raid. That isn’t a bad assumption, given that police subculture is rife with cops who fail to report on the misconduct of fellow police officers, but it’s really something to see police officers invoke that reality, even implicitly, in an attempt to wriggle out of accountability.

And most galling of all is the fact that this tactic is going to work temporarily. “A Superior Court judge indicated Tuesday that he plans to issue a temporary restraining order that would prevent the Santa Ana Police Department from using video of officers misbehaving during a pot-shop raid as the department investigates the officers’ actions,” the Voice of OC reports. “According to court documents, Judge Ronald Bauer so far agrees with officers’ claims that they would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if the department is allowed to use video that the Santa Ana Police Association argues was obtained in an illegal eavesdropping operation.”

Santa Ana Police even went as far as to quash the video for their own internal affairs investigation. Maybe it’s the City of Santa Ana, not the medical marijuana community, that deserves to have an investigation of its own and not just a local one, but a federal one.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/the-chutzpah-of-a-police-union-in-orange-county-california/400502/

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/exactly-who-won-santa-anas-medical-marijuana-lottery-6479501

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/full-video-of-santa-ana-dispensary-raid-shows-even-more-cops-eating-pot-edibles-6455382

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/santa-ana-pot-store-where-cops-allegedly-ate-edibles-shut-down-by-cops-6781707

http://www.thecannabist.co/2015/08/05/santa-ana-marijuana-dispensary-raid-video-internal-affairs/38964/

 

  1. Sullivan City, Texas – Top Narc Caught Taking Marijuana From Raid (2015)

cash

Police officers conducting a raid against a marijuana grow site removed marijuana from the scene with permission from the police chief. Unbeknownst to these investigators, the grow has cameras on-site and filmed one officer removing marijuana in bottles of rubbing alcohol. The Department had already been under suspicion of marijuana trafficking for the cartel and a good cop, upon review of the footage, elected to turn in the corrupt cops to the Texas Rangers authority. The police department attempted to cover up the misappropriation leading to a raid by Texas Rangers against the Sullivan City Police Department. The local Valley News tells us more:

Officer Angel De La Mora grabbed a handful and stuffed the marijuana inside a bottle of rubbing alcohol. “It was a stupid, dumb mistake,” de la Mora said months later during an interview. “But there’s more to it.” Police Chief Miguel Martinez stood by the door, watching de la Mora take handful after handful of marijuana. Police Inv. Reynaldo Cortes also stood nearby, occasionally chatting with the chief. They weren’t concerned about two security cameras that recorded the incident on May 21. If a police sergeant hadn’t tipped off the Texas Rangers, nobody would have missed the marijuana.

 “For me, it was more of a Barney Fife deal,” said attorney Ricardo Salinas, who represents de la Mora — referencing the dimwitted but well-meaning deputy from “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“I don’t believe that him or the chief really meant to do anything wrong,” Salinas said. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I don’t think it’s really worth pursuing.”

 The Texas Rangers apparently didn’t agree.Nearly three weeks later, the Rangers raided the Sullivan City Police Department and seized the surveillance footage.They also presented Sullivan City with a search warrant that placed the police department on notice: The Rangers believed the incident may have constituted theft by a public servant, a state jail felony, and abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor. While the raid surprised Sullivan City administrators, problems with the police department aren’t anything new. The troubled police department went through five police chiefs during the past five years. In June 2010, federal agents arrested Chief Hernan Guerra Jr., who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Frustrated with city politics, Interim Chief Carlos Lucio left just 14 months later. The City Commission fired Chief Jose Anaya for unprofessional conduct. And Chief Juan Alejandro resigned after Sullivan City administrators asked him to stop sleeping at the department. That left Sullivan City with veteran patrolman Miguel Martinez, who got the top job primarily because the City Commission knew he would stick around.

sullcity

 Constant turnover allowed de la Mora and other officers with questionable records to avoid scrutiny for years. “To me, it wasn’t a police department per se,” said Joe Cantu, a semi-retired Rio Grande Valley lawman who spent a year working for Sullivan City. “It was just a bunch of guys who carry guns and badges and aren’t properly trained.”

Several local officers, including former police Chief Hernan Guerra Jr., have been caught working with smugglers. In June 2010, federal agents arrested Guerra for working with a Tamaulipas-based drug trafficking organization. Guerra helped the organization dodge Border Patrol agents and kept Sullivan City police away from drug shipments. He also rigged city vehicle auctions for drug traffickers. In exchange, the smugglers paid him $500 to $2,000 every month, according to federal court records. He pleaded guilty and received a 10-year prison sentence. “You seemed to scoff, really, at getting caught,” said U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, according to a transcript of the April 2011 sentencing hearing. “You didn’t care. You were going to do it anyway. I remember being appalled listening to some of the things you were saying on wiretaps.”

“Former Sullivan City police Officer Juan Sotelo said he witnessed de la Mora’s dark side on March 10, 2012. While working off-duty security at Jaguars — an Edinburg strip club with nude dancers — Sotelo said he spotted de la Mora. “Officer Sotelo stated that Officer de la Mora was heavily intoxicated and appeared to be under the influence of an illegal substance, due to the fact that he observed a white substance on his nose,” according to records from an internal investigation conducted by the Sullivan City Police Department. Sotelo later filed a lawsuit against Sullivan City, claiming the department retaliated against him for reporting wrongdoing.

 His attorney, Javier Pea, provided the confidential internal investigation to KGBT-TV, which independently verified the document’s authenticity. The police sergeant who investigated the incident confirmed Sotelo’s story by contacting another officer who worked off-duty security at Jaguars that night, according to the report. Afterward, the sergeant bought an off-the-shelf drug test from Walgreens and asked de la Mora to submit a urine sample. De la Mora tested positive for cocaine, according to the internal investigation. He resigned effective immediately. However, the Walgreens drug test wouldn’t stand up to legal scrutiny. Sullivan City had botched the investigation.”

Fewer than two months later, de la Mora reapplied to the Sullivan City Police Department. He submitted the standard 13-page job application, which asked: Have you ever used marijuana or any other drug not prescribed by your physician? “Yes,” wrote de la Mora, according to a copy of the application obtained through a public information request. “Cocaine. The situation was an ordeal.” Sullivan City hired him back anyway. Nearly all drug trafficking and immigrant smuggling cases involve cars, Lucio said, adding that the department would file civil forfeiture proceedings against the vehicles. Money from the vehicle auctions funded equipment and other police department expenditures. “Sullivan City can’t support itself on the citations,” Lucio said, referencing traffic tickets. “It can’t. The money is in forfeitures.” For the cash-strapped city, forfeiture funds have become so important the police chief talks with the City Commission about seized vehicles at monthly meetings. “That’s why they wouldn’t let him go: Because the police department is a business,” Lucio said. “And anyone who says otherwise is lying.”

 De La Mora went on to claim he was stealing the marijuana for a relative, for medical use but given his track record of corruption, nobody took the bait.

http://valleycentral.com/news/local/why-a-cop-who-seized-tons-of-marijuana-stole-a-handful–and-how-sullivan-city-handled-it

The Drug Policy Alliance made a general comment on asset forfeitures and police corruption stating:

Ever wonder why police spend so much time enforcing failed drug laws?  To find the answer, you just need to follow the money.  Funding schemes and asset forfeiture laws have given law enforcement agencies strong financial incentives to continue the drug war.  Because funding for drug task forces is often based on the number of arrests made and the amount of property seized in drug busts, the easiest way for local police to up their numbers and boost their careers is to target low-level drug offenders, not violent kingpins.  To create arrest opportunities, police routinely rely on untrustworthy informants, conduct dangerous home invasions on flimsy evidence, frame suspects and commit perjury.  Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to seize property with minimal proof, putting the burden instead on suspects to prove their own innocence.  Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have created financial incentives for property seizures that encourage corruption.”

 

  1. Phoenix, Arizona – Police & Courts Entrap Medical Grower (2015)
Kyle Catlin

Kyle Catlin

Kyle Catlin, a medical marijuana grower, patient caregiver and medical marijuana activist in the state of Arizona is currently facing trial along with his brother for two cases in Tucson for growing marijuana for sick, elderly and disabled patients. Catlin’s arrest was due to a personal vendetta by local law enforcement authorities, against Catlin’s father a seasoned marijuana veteran who managed to evade arrest and incarceration for several years. The local authorities were so vengeful in going after Catlin that the judge in his trial refused to allow Catlin’s lawyer to reference the state marijuana law. Since Catlin is a state licensed caregiver the marijuana law would have protected his civil rights but the corrupt judge refused to allow the law to be brought into court stating that in Arizona the marijuana law was not an affirmative defense.

According to Tucson Weekly:

“In April 2012, Catlin was pulled over by Tucson Police officers, allegedly for speeding. What really happened, according to Catlin, is a young man had gotten in trouble earlier over having some weed, and he told the cops he had gotten it from Catlin. The police officers interrogated Catlin, and he ended up showing them the two ounces of weed he carried in his backpack (law says you can carry up to 2.5 ounces), and his medical marijuana card. “At some point I asked ‘Am I under arrest?'” he says. “I heard a police officer lie and say that I had said that there were more (marijuana) jars at my house, when I was never asked anything about marijuana at my house,” he says. The cops searched his pockets and found two cell phones and cash, which they saw as sufficient probable cause to search his home.

They found 147 marijuana plants, weed in jars and a gun in Catlin’s safe. Overnight, he was charged with four felonies: possession of weed for sale, attempt production, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a deadly weapon during the “commission of a drug offense.” According to the indictment document, law enforcement found more than two pounds, but less than four pounds of weed for each cultivation, production and possession, roughly adding up to 15 years if given the maximum sentence. Marijuana paraphernalia would be at least four months but no more than two years. A grand total of close to 20 years in prison if given the max, according to the marijuana advocacy group NORML.”

Catlin w/patient

Catlin w/patient

A few months into pre-trial for case one, Catlin’s home was searched again. The investigators overseeing the case found recent information about his healing center— Arizona Medical Marijuana Caregivers—online, and that’s how they justified another search warrant. “They destroyed my house, ripping posters down, and breaking glass water pipes all over the house,” he says. Catlin was pinned with 10 felonies. Among them, “illegally conducting an enterprise that sold and/or possessed for sale amounts of marijuana and cannabis … to customers,” the indictment says. It lists Catlin as the boss, who employed an “associate” to deliver marijuana, and “arranged appointments between the runner and customer for the purpose of selling marijuana.” There was also another charge for possession of marijuana for sale, possession of drug paraphernalia, and conspiracy to possess and sell. “Here I am trying to prove that what I am doing is legal, and I’m getting in trouble. I’m not doing anything illegal, but it appears to (the judge) that I am,” he says. The trial for case one begins on Oct. 13. If he’s found guilty of all or any charge, he’ll face trial two with previous convictions.”

Sheriff Joe

Sheriff Joe

Kyle’s problems are an extension of the municipal and statewide corruption by law enforcement and judicial authorities. Just a little dig into the local marijuana community and we were able to uncover that many Arizona state officials and the local elite have ownership stake in the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and that such persons include famous public figures like Sheriff Joe Arapaio, JP Holyoak of the hedge fund Holyoak Wealth Management, and most notoriously the so called “anti-corruption figure” Representative Ted Downing of Tucson and his relatives. Downing has been perceived as the invisible hand behind Catlin’s trouble in court as Catlin was a direct competitor to Downing’s associated dispensaries in Tucson, Sedona and Cottonwood; he has only admitted to ownership stake in the Sedona dispensary and in a production facility in Cottonwood. Suspicion of Downing has been present ever since the indictment of Downing’s sons for diversion of campaign funds for personal use in 1997 and again in 2011, shattering his anti-corruption image and putting him on the list of corrupt public officials that misuse their political power for personal gain.

Rep. Downing

Rep. Ted Downing

Other advocates have attempted to speak out against the misuse of authority. The Phoenix New Times primarily blames the regime of Governor Jan Brewer and a rogue AZ DEA in a 2012 article for the stunted growth of AZ’s industry:

“The state of medical marijuana in Arizona is messed up. Governor Jan Brewer partly is responsible for that. After a thin majority of voters passed Proposition 203 in 2010, Brewer canceled the dispensary portion of the program, claiming that state workers would be prosecuted for administering it. A federal lawsuit she filed in May 2011 was an obvious attempt by the Republican marijuana foe to get the law declared unconstitutional. It failed. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Richard Gama, in examining a lawsuit by would-be dispensary owners, ordered Brewer to implement the program as voters intended.”

Brewer

Brewer

“A few Valley clubs and/or collectives have been raided by police and shut down. But more keep popping up. At least one, the Arizona Cannabis Society in El Mirage, re-opened after a raid. Prosecutions have been fewer. After the federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided Tempe’s Arizona Go Green Co-op, state Attorney General Tom Horne’s office dropped charges against the owner, James Chaney, and an employee. Bill Hayes, one of the founders of the Arizona Cannabis Society, is yet to be charged after his outfit was busted by Phoenix police in May. And Garry Ferguson, whose Tempe club had the distinction last year of being the first such business to be raided, never was charged.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery, an ambitious conservative who wants the medical-marijuana law canceled by the feds, voters be damned, is moving forward with prosecutions of employees of two cannabis clubs… Montgomery is trying to force the issue, possibly in conjunction with police and the state Attorney General’s Office. Fact is, the question about the legality of the clubs still is to be determined in Arizona, as authorities well know.”

Despite the threats of prohibitionists, the names of 97 companies and groups that will be authorized to sell marijuana in Arizona were pulled from a lottery-style air-blower by the state Department of Health Services on August 7. The lucky applicants were culled from a total of 426 who each paid $5,000 for the opportunity to be in the running. The losers get $1,000 back.”

Sound familiar?

Links:

http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&ArticleID=54182

http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=58407

http://m.eastvalleytribune.com/news/article_bf812142-4ccb-5d62-a835-f9ccf617e36d.html?mode=jqm

http://wc.arizona.edu/papers/91/7/01_2_m.html

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/allan-sobol-arizonas-medical-pot-martyr-6455298

 

  1. Long Beach, California – A Nationwide Model For Police Corruption (2008 to Current)
Mayor Bob Foster

Mayor Bob Foster

Ah yes, Long Beach; the birthplace of the medical marijuana industries problems.

The City of Long Beach was the first city in the United States to racketeer medical marijuana dispensaries under the architecture of former Mayor Bob Foster, Police Chief Jim McDonnell (now LA County Sheriff), City Attorney (and Irish Mob affiliate) Bob Shannon, La County Supervisor Don Knabe, Attorney Matt Knabe, Business Relations Manager Erik Sund (known KKK affiliate) and the Long Beach Police Officer Association led by Narcotics Detective and underworld killer, Det. David Strohman. Long Beach was formerly the jewel of the medical marijuana industry and the top pioneer in dispensary operation, but this all came to a grinding halt when city insiders became deeply threatened by the level of competition that their own dispensaries faced.

John Morris courtesy of OC Weekly

John Morris courtesy of OC Weekly

Mayor Foster, City Attorney Shannon and local OC crime boss John Morris along with local grower Carl Kemp, shared interests in several of the local dispensaries in Long Beach that were not performing well due to the subpar quality of their indoor marijuana. Morris, the notorious owner of Long Beach’s Legends bar in Belmont Shore, peddled his influence to several members of the Long Beach City Council in order to push for an illegal lottery that would determine who would be allowed to stay and who would be forced to go.

*Courtesy of OCWeekly Marijuana Super Investigator Nick Schou:

John Morris (right) partying with Mayor Bob Foster

John Morris (right) partying with Mayor Bob Foster

His pitch to City Hall: work with someone you know, rather than open the door to strangers from out of town who might turn out to be shady characters. “How are we going to make this truly work in Long Beach so it’s not gangbangers doing it?” Morris figured. “Let’s bring the community into this thing so everyone knows who we are.” Since marijuana collectives aren’t allowed to make a profit in California, Morris says, he planned to open at least four different storefronts throughout the city, each affiliated with a nearby charity, including Long Beach Memorial Foundation; the city’s skate-park program, run by ex-councilman Mike Donelon; and Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center, whose director, Ron Sylvester, recalls talking to Morris and being excited about the concept. I brought it to our board of directors and got back to John and told him that we’d love to be a beneficiary,” Sylvester says. “I kept an eye on what was happening legislatively, and, of course, we’re disappointed that it hasn’t come to fruition. When he met with city attorney Shannon about the project, Morris brought his lobbyist, Matt Knabe, whose father, Don Knabe, sits on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.”

“To create a nonprofit called the Fourth Street Collective at 1069 Wardlow St., Morris reached out to Christine Donelon, wife of the former city councilman who ran the skate-park charity Morris hoped to fund. Another was tax accountant Osvaldo Lainez, who handled returns for both Morris and Dee Andrews, a Long Beach councilman. Lainez is also the president of the nonprofit Chicar, which has won tens of thousands of dollars in Port of Long Beach donations, ostensibly for helping to organize the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, which is steered by Andrews.”

Bob Shannon

Bob Shannon

In late 2010, City Attorney Shannon held a rigged lottery in City Council that essentially forced the dispensary owners to bribe the city into retaining their operating permits, in addition requiring a $15,000 application fee. The lottery was immediately legally challenged thwarting the Morris Syndicate’s plans to fix competition as widespread corruption was alleged by other dispensary owners. In retaliation, Morris’s associate Mayor Bob Foster ordered David Strohman of the Long Beach POA to form a special anti-marijuana task force that would begin to raid, shake down and intimidate the dispensaries that dared to defy the illegal lottery.

“Larry Parks, who owned the 1 A.M. collective, [2] first became suspicious about the city’s program weeks earlier, when he paid a $2,000 consulting fee to Morris’ attorney, Violas.

“I wanted to get his thoughts about the lottery process and what he thought my chances were,” Parks recalls. “He wanted me to hire him for $2,000 a month and told me his clients don’t get bothered by the city. He called it ‘good lawyering’ and said he’d need $5,000 here and $5,000 there to spread around.” Violas claimed to be “good friends” with Erik Sund, Long Beach’s business-relations manager and director of the city’s medical-marijuana program. “Mr. Violas told me that if I paid him money, he would be able to guarantee acceptance of my patient-cooperative group’s application for a Long Beach city permit,” Parks later stated in a sworn deposition. “When I asked him how he could do this, he told me . . . my group might have to make monetary contributions to city projects or to city officials.”

Mike Genera refused to pay the fee to enter the lottery; soon after, the city began sending code-enforcement officers to his collective, threatening his landlord, and issuing him up to $50,000 in fines over a period of several months. The police also showed up and filed misdemeanor charges—violating the city’s marijuana ordinance—against his security guard and manager. “They used every kind of tactic that you can imagine,” Genara says. “It was just so overwhelming.”

Dallas Alexander, who operates the Dank City Collective, also paid only a token fee of $500 to the city, instead of the $15,000. “I was summarily rejected,” he says. Not long thereafter, the police raided his shop while he was on his way to work. “They broke down my door with no warrant,” he says. “They basically robbed me. They took whatever they could in money. I saw Erik Sund walk out with a bag of my merchandise. They arrested three of my people who were working, but they were out in a couple of hours.”

Until she voluntarily closed the dispensary late last year, Katherine Aldrich operated 562 Collective in the north Long Beach neighborhood of Bixby Knolls. She also refused to pay the city’s permit fee and didn’t participate in the lottery. On Feb. 14, 2011, the police raided her collective while she was taking her daughter to the orthodontist. Security footage filmed during the raid shows plainclothes officers accompanied by Sund standing in her lobby. No arrests were made, but Aldrich received a fine. The cops returned again three months later, again without a warrant. When her employees refused to open the safe, police arrested them but left empty-handed. Sund was present for that raid, too.”

Eleven dispensaries immediately found themselves getting served with official city letters demanding $40,000 a month in payments to the City Attorney’s office or face a ‘federal raid’ citing a power to deputize LBPD officers as federal narcotics agents. Strohman and his corrupt POA conspirators began a system of identifying, surveilling, capturing and in some cases assassinating members of the Long Beach and San Pedro marijuana industries including growers, transporters, and dispensary workers alike.

The city’s counterattack came to a grinding halt when they caught the attention of the FBI following the shooting and killing of a corrupt federal law enforcement official, who attempted to kill internal affairs investigators at the Downtown Long Beach Federal Building. According to the LA Times: “ The ICE agent, whose name has not been made public, shot and killed Ezequiel Garcia in February 2012 after Garcia opened fire during a meeting about his job performance. He fired at least six shots at his boss before he was shot dead. Kevin Kozak, the Los Angeles field offices second in command, was severely injured. The shooting left the seventh-floor office in Long Beach riddled with bullets.” This incident sparked a yearlong investigation that disturbed city officials, fearing that their RICO violations of the Long Beach marijuana collectives would be uncovered due to the attention being garnered by the lottery lawsuits. Foster and Shannon’s immediate reaction was to pass a citywide ban on medical marijuana collectives and they entrusted Chief McDonnell and Detective Strohman with carrying out the elimination of over a hundred collectives that operated throughout the city targeting both the collectives, their suppliers and even resorting to intimidating and harming their patients.

Marijuana Super Advocate Joe Grumbine

Marijuana Super Advocate Joe Grumbine

“According to the lawsuit, one of the officers, Dave Strohman led a team of cops who raided the NatureCann collective on March 21, 2012, using a battering ram to knock down the door. “The police officers entered guns drawn and ordered everyone on the ground,” the lawsuit states. “They immediately arrested everyone (four volunteers) for violating LBMC Chapter 5.89,” the city’s ordinance banning marijuana clubs. The lawsuit adds that Strohman and his team “interrogated those arrested,” then seized “all medical marijuana, cash registers, computers and patients records” and that the club was “utterly destroyed.” Elsewhere, the suit claims Strohman routinely failed to provide exculpatory evidence, such as information showing that the clubs were legal under state law, when filing search warrant affidavits. Another cop mentioned in the lawsuit is Oscar Valenzuela, a detective whose prior claim to fame is star witness for the prosecution against Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine, both of whom have the distinction of being the only Long Beach pot purveyors who were prosecuted for doing the same thing that city-permitted clubs were going, i.e. selling pot. (The two men were convicted, but have won the right to a new trial thanks to judicial misconduct).

Further Reading on LBPD Police Corruption by advocate Chief Stephen Downing:

http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=5241

http://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/05/30/long-beach-corruption-unveiled-local-news-connects-police-and-city-council-to-marijuana-rackets/

The dispensaries connected to the city were allowed to remain open for a longer duration in order to recover losses and assume profits before the ban became permanently in effect in late 2013. Since that time, Long Beach held city elections in 2014 that were heavily monitored by the marijuana community for anti-corruption. Most notorious was the highly illegitimate election of City Attorney Charlie Parkin, a relative of RICO co-conspirator Bob Shannon, who has continued to hamper efforts to restore medical marijuana within the city.

Councilwoman Price; Anti-Marijuana Advocate

Councilwoman Price – Drug Crusader

Despite attempts by Councilmen Lena Gonzalez, Suja Lowenthal, Rex Richardson and Mayor Robert Garcia to restore the cities medical marijuana business program they have faced staunch opposition led by former prosecutor, anti-marijuana advocate and racist blue blood Susan Price, representing the wealthy 3rd District;  8th District Councilman Al Austin, who was miraculously elected despite his very public displays of illiteracy at council meetings; 5th District Councilwomen Stacy Mungo, a queen bee follower who was subject to attack ads by Americans For Safe Access during the election and retains a bitter resentment towards the industry and Councilman Dee Andrews of the 7th District who is still trying to cover up his involvement in Mayor Foster’s extortion racket. City Council must have a 6 member majority to pass the marijuana law and the final decision may lie in the hands of new Councilman Daryl Supernaw although it appears he has been negatively influenced by the Suzie Price Clique. There is no doubt that Ms. Price intends to sabotage the medical marijuana program to undermine Mayor Garcia, as it is known that she has made statements in private regarding her desire to become the Mayor of Long Beach. Mrs. Price’s prejudices against marijuana and marijuana patients comes from her deep entrenchment as a prosecutor and her racist attitudes towards the black and Latino communities within Long Beach.

Aaron Herzberg, Marijuana Racketeer in Santa Ana and Long Beach

Aaron Herzberg, Marijuana Racketeer in Santa Ana and Long Beach

The opposition to Mayor Garcia’s initiative by Price forced the creation of a highly corrupted city commission, of whose members are dually involved in Mayor Pulido’s racketeering of Santa Ana dispensaries. They seek to reinstate the city insider dispensaries while taking away grow rights from individual patients within city limits. Despite a voter mandate authorizing the restoration of the city’s medical marijuana ordinance, Ms. Price used council procedure to force the commission and stall implementation in order to maintain the ban. Meanwhile, Officer Strohman has successfully eliminated marijuana competition within the delivery serves, and most deliveries now operating within Long Beach city limits are owned by members of LBPD or their children.

Links:

http://www.dailybreeze.com/article/ZZ/20100920/NEWS/100928606

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/long-beach-offers-collective-punishment-6424622

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/16/local/la-me-ice-shooting-20130316

http://www.presstelegram.com/health/20150211/long-beach-medical-marijuana-task-force-to-help-write-new-pot-shop-law

The ‘Long Beach Model’ of corruption has been exported to municipalities and law enforcement agencies throughout Medical Marijuana states and this has been seen with the subversion of marijuana law by county and city authorities throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado and possibly many more states to come.

Will 2016 be the year when the marijuana industry says enough is enough?

 

  • The Green Chazzan
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In The News

US Surgeon General Backs Medical Marijuana

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

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

US Drug Czar Approves DC Legalization

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

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

Justice Department Goes After Marijuana Mafia in Oakland

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

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

Marijuana Proven To Be Effective Against Depression

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

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

Cannabis Advocate: Ohio Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough

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

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

Santa Ana Lottery

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

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

Cypress Hill Rapper Wins Marijuana Lottery

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

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

800 Plants Seized in Washington

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

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

Republicans Must Fold on Marijuana To Stay Relevant

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

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

 

 

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Required Reading: The Blacklist

 

CIA

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

heroin logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Phoenix Program (1965-1972)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

marijuana_logo

Operation Intercept (1969)

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

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

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

cocainelogo

Operation Condor (1969-1976)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Operation Charly (1977-1986)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Iran-Contra Affair (1985-1987)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Invasion of Panama (1989)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

VIDEO DOCUMENTARIES

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

Part 1

Part 2

The Mena Connection (1995)

 

 The Green Chazzan

 

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AbNORML: The Paraquat Panic of 1978

Stroup's Paraquat Propaganda

*EDITOR: From the archives of friends.

Paraquat

By Michael Chance (1978)

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

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

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

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

high_times_september_78

The Paraquat Issue (Top Caption)

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

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

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

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

searle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

paranoia

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

Sen. Charles Percy

Sen. Charles Percy

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

NIDA

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

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

NORML

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

Dr. Peter Bourne

Dr. Peter Bourne

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

Keith Stroup

Keith Stroup

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

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

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

Top Headline Again

Top Headline Again

– The Green Chazzan 

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

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

Excerpt from The Jimmy Carter Coke Scandal

by Mike Chance and Dana Beal (1978)

Keith Stroup - Traitor to The Marijuana Movement

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

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

Dr. Peter Bourne (Left) with President Jimmy Carter

Dr. Peter Bourne (Left) with President Jimmy Carter

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

NORML

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

Phil Walden

Phil Walden

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

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

Dr. Peter Bourne

Dr. Peter Bourne

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

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

Keith Stroup, head of NORML

Keith Stroup, head of NORML

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

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

'Crazy' Aron Kay

‘Crazy’ Aron Kay

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

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

Paraquat Paranoia

Paraquat Paranoia

Stroup's Paraquat Propaganda

Stroup’s Paraquat Propaganda

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

Consortium and OSS China Agent - Jack Anderson

Consortium and OSS China Agent – Jack Anderson

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

president-jimmy-carter

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

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

Peter Bensinger in 1980

Peter Bensinger in 1980

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

Keith Stroup  - DEA Turncoat?

Keith Stroup – DEA Turncoat?

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

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

Anti-Marijuana Activist Peter Bensinger

Peter Bensinger

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

Carterfucked

**EDITOR**

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

Reagan

Reagan

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

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

US Incarceration Rate

US Incarceration Rate

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

NORML

Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukkah!

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

Excerpt from A New Heroin Conspiracy?

by Dana Beal (1982)

Bayer Heroin

Bayer Heroin

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

 

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

Smack Scandals of 1927

high_society_heroin_in_a_jar_and_prohibition_poster

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

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

Arnold Rothstein - The original Mr. Big

Arnold Rothstein – The original Mr. Big

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

Harry J Anslinger

Harry J Anslinger

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

Meyer Lansky

Meyer Lansky

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

 Reign of the French Connection

French-Connection (1)

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

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

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

birch_4

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

The Marseilles Syndicate

The Marseilles Syndicate

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

Conein

Conein

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

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

OSS China

OSS China

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

Chiang Kai-Shek

Chiang Kai-Shek

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

World Anti Communist League

World Anti Communist League

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

The International Right Wing Web

Nixon

Nixon

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

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

Otto Skorzeny

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

The Consortium

The Consortium

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

1978: Genesis of a Heroin Epidemic

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

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

images (1)

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

Nixon w/Shah of Iran

Nixon w/Shah of Iran

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

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

war-on-drugs

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

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

Excerpts from The Great Heroin Coup

by Henrik Kruger (1981)

Drugs Intelligence & International Fascism

Santo Trafficante

Santo Trafficante

Quote from The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia:

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

The Role of Nixon

Nixon

Nixon

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

Conein in Vietnam

Conein in Vietnam

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

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

G Gordan Liddy

G Gordan Liddy

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

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

Chief of OSS China - Paul Helliwell

Chief of OSS China – Paul Helliwell

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

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

 CIA ‘Old Boys’ Work DEA Scam

E Howard Hunt

E Howard Hunt

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

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

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

The Mexican Connection

The Mexican Connection

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

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

Final Consolidation of the DEA

DEA

DEA

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

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

Mitch Werbell III

Mitch Werbell III

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

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

Lopez Rega

Lopez Rega

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

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

Otto Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny

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

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

Mitch Werbell and The Mexican Connection

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo

Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo

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

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

General John K. Singlaub

General John K. Singlaub

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

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

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

Robert Vesco

Robert Vesco

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

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

Heroin and The Strategy of Tension

Mussolini

Mussolini

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

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

WaronDrugs

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

war-on-drugs

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

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

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

bush-salute

 

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

Activists Ptotest Crackdown On Medical Marijuana In San Francisco

 

– The Green Chazzan

 

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Required Viewing

Lord of The Golden Triangle (8 min each)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

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

The Secret Government (Bill Moyers PBS 1987)

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Required Reading: The Origin of the DEA – Part 1

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

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

Images of Conein Are Rare

Images of Conein Are Rare

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

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

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg

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

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

Mitch Werbell III

Mitch Werbell III

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

Document #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

The CIA’s Involvement with Drug Smuggling

by Dark Politics (Post 2008) – Part 2 

Map_of_Communist_Base_Areas,_as_used_in_Operation_Menu

The Pegasus Program

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

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

CIA Director William Colby

CIA Director William Colby

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

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

Col Oliver North

Col Oliver North

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

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

George Bush Sr.

George Bush Sr.

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

Chamorro

Chamorro

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

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

THE CIA-CONTRA COCAINE TRAIN

CIA Chief Ted Shackley

CIA Chief Ted Shackley

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

Guatemala Narco Routes

Guatemala Narco Routes

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

Richard Armitage - Bush Crony

Richard Armitage – Bush Crony

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

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

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

George Bush w/ Crack Bag

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

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

THE CONGRESSIONAL SELECT COMMITTEES.

kerry

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

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

THE COSTA RICA CONNECTION

Sandanistas

Sandanistas

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

Costa Rica Narco Routes

Costa Rica Narco Routes

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

El Salvador Civil War

El Salvador Civil War

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

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

THE JOHN HULL CONNECTION

Contra War - 1980s

Contra War – 1980s

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

Contra War

Contra War

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

Honduras Narco Routes

Honduras Narco Routes

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

Gen. Richard V Secord

Gen. Richard V Secord

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

Felipe Vidal - Cuban Assassin

Felipe Vidal – JM Wave Cuban Assassin

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

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

John Hull

John Hull

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

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

CELERINO CASTILLO

Celerino Castillo III - Former DEA Agent

Celerino Castillo III – Former DEA Agent

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

Luis Posada Carriles

Luis Posada Carriles

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

El Salvador Narco Routes

El Salvador Narco Routes

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