Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reagan and Bush's Not-So-Secret War: Part 7

The Contras Send Drugs to the US
In the 1980s, the Contras started selling cocaine in the United States with no prompting from anyone in our government. The C.I.A. picked up on the trade almost immediately and repeatedly reported new developments in it. The evidence on this is abundant. Yet, have no evidence on when the US government decided to aid and abet the transportation of drugs from Central America in order to pay for weapons for the Contras.Moreover, it is clear that enormous amounts were raised and that relatively little went to the Contras. By one estimate, only 3% reached them.

It is known that the first Conta drug shipments entered the United States in 1981, and that a subsequent ( 1982) Amemorandum of understanding@ issued by Attorney General William French Smith freed the C.I.A. of an obligation to report any criminal activities on the part of the Contras. (President Clinton rescinded this ruling in 1995. ) Director Casey wanted protection because knowing about the trade and not informing the F.B.I. or another domestic agency could have been a crime. There a large pool of former operatives who had been cut loose in the seventies who could be employed by North and others in the covert operations in Latin America.

These men detested Jimmy Carter and his party and were willing to do anything necessary in the service of Ronald Reagan. They were motivated by anti-communism, but fundamentally were driven by a quest for money and power, and , above all, “the adrenaline that stems from being able to create chaos.” Moreover, a number of small airlines were available for hire. They had sprung up when Air America was decommissioned in the seventies.

In 1981, President Reagan instructed the C.I.A. to help Argentina strengthen the Contra. This plan was hatched by Bill Casey, and there is no indication that Casey revealed in selling it, that the C.I.A. had been using the Argentine military in the seventies to train right wing elements in Central Americas. One wonders if this was because, this had occurred without the knowledge of Jimmy Carter. Casey could not pronounce “Nicaragua” and continually said “Nic-a-wha-wha.” He saw aid to the Contras entirely in the context of the cold war and paid no attention to people in the agency who saw it in as larger context.

Although the Sandanistas had stopped supplying insurgents in Salvador, Casey sold the plan to the intelligence committees as an effort to cut off the arms flow. Representative Lee Hamilton wondered if the operation violated standing treaties and international law. Nevertheless, the committees gave their assent. This was the camel head getting under the tent. Soon it became clear to insiders that the real plan was to overturn the Nicaraguan government, a clear violation of u\US and international law. The members of the intelligence committee bided their time, giving Casey limited support, waiting for clear e4vidence that he was attempting regime change. Later they moved against him when the agency was caught mining Managua harbor. 1

The Argentines were working with Bolivian drug lord Roberto Suarez in drug operations in a number of countries. Some of proceeds went to the Contras. The C.I.A. had helped the drug lords come to power in the so-called “Cocaine Coup” of 1980. The coup was led by Suarez cousin Colonel Luis Arce-Gomez and was engineered by Nazi fugitive Klaus Barbie, using the name Klaus Altmann. He deployed paramilitary squads called “Fiances of death” that wore swastika armbands.

Barbie was a long-time C.I.A. asset there and had worked with previous governments there. Barbie became the security advisor for Gomez, when he took power in 1980. Barbie was in business with Licio Gelli of P-2 in peddling arms in Latin America. This action was an outgrowth of a US-inspired Operation Condor, an effort on the part of right wing military elements in Latin America to weaken leftist elements by any means possible, including assassination. Barbie had played an important role in establishing Condor and in teaching Bolivia’s military intelligence people advanced methods of interrogation and torture. 2 Garza gave the Interior Ministry to his nephew Roberto Suarez, a major drug dealer. A more important drug dealer linked to these men was Sonia Atala, the “Bolivian’snow Queen,” who was closely tied to the C.I.A. and became the main tie between Bolivia and the Columbian cartels.

The C.I.A. assisted her by breaking her competitors. It is believed that companies established by Barry Seal in Hondouras were used as fronts for preparing the coup. Seal did not use them for his drug business, instead relying upon his companies in Panama and the Cayman Islands. In the 1980s, there was a huge drug lab in Huanchaca to support C.I.A. drug operations in South America.

Seal dealt directly with the Snow Queen. For a time, her main companion was Joe Bonnano's granddaughter. When she was finally arrested by the DEA, she gave up a few underlings and went back in business. One of her trusted pilots was Bo Abbott, a DEA agent who had been trained by the agency to land on short dirt airstrips. It appears that the DEA cooperated fully with the C.I.A.'s Operation Condor. It had its own well-publicized Operation Condor, which was mainly aimed at nailing drug dealers not tied to the US. There were many agents who did not understand what was going on so there were occasional arrests of drug people the US cooperated with. Quoting Seal, Abbott said that at any given time only 10% of the Americans in the drug trade were private operators; the rest worked for the C.I.A. or DEA. Abbott often flew loads of drugs to Addison, Texas, where the DEA has a major base.

Another key figure was Stefano “Alfa” Delle Chiaie, an Italian Fascist and member of P2, who led a band of Argentine veterans of the “dirty war” who called themselves “the Phoenix Commandos,” named for the famed American mass murder program. Their victims were raped, murdered, and castrated. Reverend Moon’s Unification Church also had close ties to these thugs, but it left Bolivia when the regime acquired a terrible reputation for drug running. The church, instead, invested in Honduras and Uruguay, and had close ties with drug traffickers in both places.

By then the whole Honduran government was deeply involved in the drug trade, and by the early eighties, Dewey Claridge, lead C.I.A. agent in the area, depended upon drug operators there to help fund the contras. He was a seasoned and charismatic operative who had the ability to inspire subordinate to follow him through the very gates of hell Claridge, a member of the C.I.A. old boys network, was a flashy dresser and viewed a “can do” man and was given a direct line of communications to DCI Bill Casey. The DCI and Claridge were “intoxicated with their certitudes” and uncaring about any cautionary criticism. Together they were involved in several near fiascoes before Claridge was moved to another post. Their blind certainty would foreshadow the outlook of the Neoconservatives who later led the United States into invading Iraq. Argentine assistance In the secret war ended when the US gave the United Kingdom in the Falklands War. Claridge was later convicted on seven counts of perjury and was pardoned by George H.W. Bush. 3

Dewey Claridge was a favorite of Ronald Reagan, who was in touch with him sometimes several times a week to learn of his progress and exploits. At a minimum, Clarridge reported once each week to Reagan, who in other areas left the impression he was a hands-off chief executive. The president left a great deal of governing to others but he followed his secret war in Nicaragua very closely. When Clarridge’s role was exposed in 1984 he handed day-to-day control of operations over to Oliver North, and he took a post in Europe.

Bill Casey subsequently introduced North to General Manuel Noriega and to key C.I.A. operatives in the region. Noriega had been dropped from the C.I.A. payroll by Admiral Turner and was promptly reinstated by Casey. The ambassador to Honduras in 1981-1985 was John Negroponte. At the time that was the largest US embassy in the world, and it was believed that Negroponte played a guiding role in the US secret war against Latin American progressives. Negroponte later held three top positions in the administration of George W. Bush, most important of which was Director of National Intelligence.

In the late seventies, Barbie had worked with a Bolivian dictator and his counterparts in Latin America in identifying and eliminating people likely to oppose them. At the same time, his forces were protecting the drug trade. A generation of Latin American security people learned interrogation techniques from this master of the bullwhip and pushing needles under fingernails, the use of truth drugs, and sending electricity “by nodes attached to the nipples and testicles.”

He also instructed them in creating a network of concentration camps. He travelled from country to country giving lectures in rooms adorned with the iconography of the Nazis. He was adept at targeting for murder priests, missionaries, and their friends who sympathized with the suffering of the poor, even though a fascist priest in the Vatican, with the assistance of the OSS, helped him and his family find safety in Latin America. These assassinations were part of the Banzer Plan, which was an intrinsic part of the C.I.A. Condor Operation to protect Latin American dictators. These operations became the prototype fot the US anti-leftist operations in the 1980s. Barbee, the “butcher of Lyons,” was only one of hundreds of Nazis and their collaborators spirited out of Europe to serve the US as spies, scientists, and guerilla warriors. Many were saved from war crimes prosecution so that they could serve the US in Europe battling Communism. Many of them were tied to Reinhard Gehlen’s Nazi military intelligence network, more than a few turned out to be soviet double agents. Harry Truman said he did not want an American version of the Gestapo, but the C.I.A.'s Allen Dulles seemed to have been able to accomplish a great deal moving in that direction without Truman’s full knowledge. Under American guidance, the Gehlen people were placed in Interpol and Gehlen ran the BND, West Germany’s secret police. 4/

Thursday, February 17, 2011

REagan and Bush's Not-So-Secret War: Part 6

The White House and Drugs

There is no absolutely irrefutable evidence that a decision was made in the White House to permit the Contras to sell drugs. We do know that the government of Costa Rica examined the matter thoroughly and found it necessary to ban Lt. Colonel Oliver North and three other high US operatives for life from its territory. In 1998 Frederick Hitz, C.I.A. Inspector General confirmed that the agency was involved in this trade. In his report to Congress, the general referenced a memorandum, to Vice President Bush that provided specific information on one set of drug operations. 1The agency admitted to tolerating the trade by Contras, but it did not claim that its own personnel were involved. It has also not denied evidence that it acted in the eighties to torpedo investigations that would have exposed the Contras" drug trade. Lewis Tambs, former ambassador to Costa Rica, later wrote that it was his impression that North, Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, and C.I.A. official Alan D. Fiers, Jr. were “triumvirate” operating the secret war. 2

The Oliver North diaries do not establish clearly that the NSC and C.I.A. was dealing in drugs North was a Marine Lieutenant Colonel and a C.I.A. agent working in Reagan’s National Security Council. . They make it clear that North and American agents clearly knew that the Contras were involved in drug running. There is no evidence North notified the DEA of these activities. North worked hard to obtain the release of an Honduran general who could have exposed the drug running activities of the Contras. 3 However, it was also clear that many actions were taken to facilitate drug running.

The Oliver North diary for August 9, 1985 noted that a plane flown for Mario Calero, the brother of the head of the Contras, was probably carrying drugs to New Orleans. The July 12, 1985 entry notes that General Richard Secord told North that weapons in a Honduran warehouse had been purchased with drug money. Secord’s partner, Albert Hakim, an Iranian who became an US citizen, handled the procurement of weapons for him. Hakim also sold weapons to Iran and helped the shah’s generals park the bribes they received in Swiss bank accounts. Secord had been dealing weapons while still an active duty Air Force officer. Later, as a private citizen, he helped North move arms to Iran in the Iran/Contra deal and told a Congressional committee that his commission was $8,000,000.

It should be noted that the Senate never got all of Ollie North’d diaries. His attorneys had the right to expunge whatever they thought was irrelevant and just give whatever remaining text there was to the Senate committee. It never got clean copies or the actual diaries, and it had a very short mandated life, meaning the ten months it had to enforce subpoenas ran out before the wheels of justice could turn.

An April 1, 1985 memo from Robert Owen to North ( “the Hammer”) told of Contras on the southern front running drugs. Owen was a former member of Senator Daniel Quayle’s staff and functioned as North’s eyes and ears in Central America. Owen was on Quayle’s staff in 1980 and worked also as Donald Gregg’s liaison ON Capitol Hill.

He remained on Quayle’s staff until 1983, and took C.I.A. operative John Hull around to meet important Republicans on the Hill. Quayle was close to Bill Casey and Beurt SerVaas, a board member of Veterans of the OSS, which still had great influence in the C.I.A.. In November, Owen joined a lobbying firm that represented the Contras, but he was essentially part of North’s Project Democracy. . In 1985, he founded the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Assistance and received a humanitarian assistance grant from the State Department In a interview with CBS’s West 57th Street, mercenary commander Jack Terrel said that Owen told him he took money to Hull on a monthly basis. He was with Hull on the night of the La Penca bombing. Owen’s role was that of a cut out between the NSA and the Contras.

In a February 10, 1986 memo, Robert Owen tells North--now “ Blood and Guts”-- that a plane previously used by Vortex Corporation in Florida had been used to run drugs. The owner of the firm was a known drug dealer, and a humanitarian venture controlled by North and Elliott Abrams paid the firm $300,000 that year. The memo also detailed Contra drug activities and suggested that two drug dealers working with them were probably just in it for the money. . On July 28, 1988, two DEA agents told the Kerry Subcommittee about a DEA sting operation against the Columbian Drug Cartel. North wanted to take the $1.5 million in bribe money for his purposes or operations. On August 23, 1988, North e-mailed John Poindexter that Manuel Noriega would “take care of the Sandanistas” if the NSC cleaned up his image. The reference was to drug dealing. North suggested giving Noriega $1 million from the profits of the Ireanian arms sale. There are numerous other references to drug money in the North notebooks, including a February 14, 1985 reference to $14 million raised through the drug trade. 4

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reagan and Bush's Not-so-Secret War: Part 5

Provisioning the Nicaraguan Contras

Supplying the Nicaraguan Contras was a major priority for C.I.A. Director William Casey, who sometimes carried out his own foreign policy. Casey essentially carried out his own foreign policy and was repeatedly successful in blocking George Schultz’s arms control efforts. Casey and the NSA also undermined Schultz’s position on bargaining to retrieve hostages. The C.I.A. and NSA dealt not only with Iran but terrorists who held Father Lawrence Jenko and other hostages. On the other hand, Schultz unsuccessfully tried field as peace plan for Nicaragua, thus attempting to end Casey and North’s secret war there.

Casey did all he could to assist Oliver North carry on support for the Nicaraguan contras, while barely staying within the law. After the Boland Amendment became law, Casey was very careful what he did about Nicaragua and he told potential Contra donors they would have to talk to Ollie North. He even signed a document for the Senate intelligence Committee promising he would remain within the law. While some in the C.I.A. approved of Casey’s aggressive policies, others dreaded another round of Congressional investigations and new restrictions and tried to circumscribe some of his most risky policies.

Disgusted with Congressional restrictions, he dreamed of the day when the C.I.A. would be a self-financing, “full-service agency.” To reach self-financing status, he accelerated efforts of the agency to enter private business. There is no way of knowing if he knew of C.I.A. involvement in the drug grade.1

Much of the supply effort was coordinated by Lt. Colonel Oliver North, a deputy in the office of the National Security Advisor. A number of former C.I.A. agents played important roles, as did C.I.A. contractors in central America. At first, it appeared that the C.I.A. was permitting the Contras to bring cocaine into the United States to pay for weapons.

The agency and Justice Department repeatedly shielded US drug dealers who were acting as distributors for the Contras.2 The C.I.A.’s Inspector General testified much later that between 1982 and 1995, the agency had an agreement with Justice hat it did not have to report drug dealing on the part of its assets. Janet Reno classified as top secret the department’s investigation of C.I.A. drig trading/ 3
By late 1985 or 1986, it was clear that the drug trade was being coordinated out of Washington. The operation had become so large that elaborate money laundering schemes in the US had become necessary. Many of those involved in this drug trade were Cuban ex-patriots who were timed to US intelligence work since the Bay of Pigs invasion. There is significant evidence that it also became necessary to share profits with some politicians, mostly Republicans. 4

Of far greater importance was the elaborate executive infrastructure, answerable to Vice President George H.W. Bush, to secretly supply the right-wing Contras. Congress cut legitimate aid to a trickle with the two Boland Amendments, making all other assistance of any sort, including the use of US personnel illegal. Another breach of the law occurred in the Reagan-Bush, Sr., years. The NSC and C.I.A. violated the law by advising and provisioning the Contras in Nicaragua.

They used US military personnel in some operations against Nicaragua, a violation of the Neutrality Act, which forbids use of force against nation with whom the US is at peace. Later, the violation of the law was compounded when Congress legislated against supplying the contra rebels in Nicaragua. Almost certainly, Bush was deeply involved in operational problems. The complexity of this mechanism was necessary in order to give as many people as possible deniability and to circumvent laws requiring the C.I.A. to report its covert operations to Congress –

A year later, a subgroup was created to deal with terrorism (NSDD-30). It was called the Terrorist Incident Working Group. The agencies involved were Department of Defense, F.B.I., C.I.A., and NSC staff. In 1984, Reagan signed NSDD-138, which gave TIWG greater power and the ability to form subgroups. It formed Operations Sub-Group-1 under Ted Shackley; it was the “anti-narcotics group.” OSG-2 was headed by Lt. Colonel Oliver North and was concerned with anti-terrorism. OSG-3 was “our ‘alignment’ group,” under General Richard Secord. It dealt with troublesome agents and others.

At its peak, there were 80 operatives from the US, Israel, Turkey, Britain, and Denmark. It predates the Reagan administration, but what is unique about it is that it is now directly controlled by the Vice President. . In 1987, the Iran/Contra scandal made it necessary for him to step aside. Secord took over his group, and Gene “Chip” Tatum took over the alignment group. From the beginning of SSG, Bush drew upon the advice of his assistant Donald Gregg and representatives of British and Israeli intelligence. In 1984, Dewey Claridge, who had been running C.I.A. operations in Central America, was transferred to Europe. This was also the year a second and tougher Boland Amendment was passed. The first amendment passed the House December 8, 2002, 411-0.5 It is very there would have been no dissent on this kind of vote in subsequent years, when the New Right became a major force in the Republican party.

It is likely in the 1980s that many secret black operations were coordinated by entities under the control of Vice President George H..W. Bush. He chaired the Task Force on Combatting Terrorism, why served as that launching pad for many illegal activities of Lt. Colonel Oliver North and others in Central America. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive-3( -3), entitled “Crisis Management,” which established a Special Situation Group headed by the vice president to deal with terrorism and other matters. Secretary of State George Schultz made it clear he did not agree with this directive. The SSG essentially stood between Reagan and the Secretary of State, ranking far above other interagency groups.

This and subsequent NSDDs effectively placed Vice President George H.W. Bush in charge of US intelligence operations. Moreover, they erected an asbestos wall between Bush, Donald Gregg, his national security advisor and secret and illegal activities being carried out in Central America in the name of the United States. By employing National Security Decision Directives , Reagan effectively kept secret a large part of American foreign policy as NSDDs do not have to be revealed to Congress. 6

The covert war in Central America in some ways laid the foundations for America’s future imperial adventures in the Middle East. Some intelligence was cooked, and administration actions ere covered by the claim that the Communists and their allies were resorting to terrorism. Otto Reich, Elliot Abrams, and Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick gave the public buckets of misinformation about the murders of unarmed men, nuns—more than twenty of whom were thrown out of helicopters-- women, and children. John Negroponte, then ambassador to Honduras, deceived Congress about all this while playing a major role in the Central American black operations Ambassador Negroponte hid and protected the grisly crimes of General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, army chief who had promised to employ the same bloody tactics used by neo-Nazis in Argentina.

Indeed, Negroponte played a role in establishing Battalion 3-16, which carried out many barbaric crimes. Negroponte said Alvarez for his “dedication to democracy,” and Ronald Reagan gave the general the Legion of Merit medal. During Negroponte’s term there, civilian deaths reached into the tens of thousands as “special intelligence units” or death squads roamed the land. 7

These clandestine operations involved very serious breaches of the law in the Reagan-Bush,Sr., years. The NSC and C.I.A. violated the law by advising and provisioning the Contras in Nicaragua. They used US military personnel in some operations against Nicaragua, a violation of the Neutrality Act, which forbids use of force against nation with whom the US is at peace. Later, the violation of the law was compounded when Congress legislated against supplying the contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Almost certainly, Bush was deeply involved in operational problems. It is also abundantly clear that the NSC and C.I.A. helped and protected the Contras to bring drugs into the United States as a way of financing their operations. There is considerable evidence that the C.I.A. itself did more than watch and help these operations. The irony is that after moving tons of drugs into the United States to finance the contras, the problem in Nicaragua was solved by threatening Sandanista leader Daniel Ortega" family. He was told that his second cousin, a very close friend, would -be killed on a certain day if Ortega did not announce free elections. After his cousin was murdered, he backed down. It is difficult to understand what those involved in these activities thought democracy demanded of them. Perhaps Lt. Colonel Oliver North’s secretary, Fawn Hall, spoke for them when she said they were obeying a “ higher law.” Two decades later, those who took a similar view of the rights of the executive branch of government were talking about inherent powers of the president which exceeded those concretely spelled out in legislation or the constitution.

There does not seem to be any clear evidence about exactly when the C.I.A. started to use drugs to pay for weapons in Central America. It is clear that Argentine-trained right-wing forces in Central America were financing their operations through the sale of drugs by 1980. But the evidence is unmistakable that the C.I.A. eventually sold or permitted to be sold drugs to support the Contras. In time, it became clear to some White House operatives that the contra leaders saw their activities as essentially a business, yet nothing was done to reign them in make them more accountable.

In the 1997 Senate hearings, memos of General Paul F. Gorman , head of Southern Command, were read. In one, he said, : “There is not a single group in unconventional warfare that does not use narcotics to fund itself.” 8 In a civil case deposition, it was revealed that the C.I.A. laundered some drug money through the Republic National Bank and relied on one of its officers, Nan Morabia. When Oliver North needed cash, Morabia's husband and son would deliver bags with hundreds of thousands of dollars to North operatives in New York hotel rooms. These cash drops were carried out to circumvent federal currency laws. North also moved money through Swiss accounts and a Costa Rican seafood company, Figorificos de Pntarenas. 9

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The North Plan and Its Descendants in Recent Years

FEMA agency has continued to acquire more and more extensive powers, especially in recent years. In 2006, FEMA employed Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, and Root to build more detention facilities at a cost of $385 million. The old North facilities were usually old military bases and thjey were originally set aside to deal with leftist illegal immigrants, whom North had fear4ed were sent to secretly invade the US to help the Nicaraguan contras. The new legislation says the new detention and processing facilities are for illegal immigrants “or to support the rapid development of new programs.” 1

In January, 2006, the Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton’s Kellogg, Brown and Root a contract for $360 million to build detention facilities to be used in “new programs.” In May, 2001, President George W. Bush resumed these planning tasks and placed them under Vice President Richard Cheney, who had supported North’s efforts when he was a Wyoming Congressman in the 1980s. Later a Northern Command of the US Army(CINC-NORTHCOM) was created to assist with homeland defense within the US. In 2007, it rerquested power to create special operations units similar to those being deployed in Iraq. Some wondered why commandos and special intelligence squads were needed within the United States. 2 In 2010, Amy Goodman found evidence that military people were spying on peace people in Olympia, Washington and that these activities continued after George W. Bush left office. It is likely these activities were coordinated out of Northern Command.

Early on, FEMA began a campaign to show that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 really did not bar use of troops to quell civil disturbances. It might be added that Congress gave George W. Bush the power to suspend the Possee Comitatus Act of 1878. 3

Expansion of North Plan under George W. BushThe second Bush administration’s Patriot ACt provided in section ( 605) which created a permanent and secret Homeland Security force known as the “United States Secret Uniformed Division.” When it thought it had good reason could arrest people without warrant. It would also function at special events of national significance (SENS), which it was free to designate itself.

This new provision is the more worrisome when it is recalled that on January 6, 2003, President Bush signed an executive order permitting himself to set aside habeas corpus and the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits using troops in domestic situations. He did not invoke this power when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, but it remains on the books. This provision was lifted from a 1982 plan by Lt. Colonel Oliver North to give FEMA a new mission.”

The act was overwhelming extended in March, 2006 after some “legislative hocus-pocus” which changed little but provided a “figleaf” of a compromise which enabled moderates and most liberals enough cover to join the stampede. Then in October, Bush signed Senator John Warner’s National Defense Authorization Act further swept aside the restraints of the old Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act of 1807. The president’s power to declare martial law framed in the context of national emergencies “other conditions in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred….” During the duration of the exercise of this authority, he must advise the Congress what he is doing at fourteen day intervals.

In 2002, the Bush administration established the Northern Command at Peterson Air Base in Colorado. Like other commands, it was headed by a CINC, a proconsul or regional commander in chief who does not answer to service secretaries or his service chain of command. This new command was given the task responding to terrorism and preventing the introduction of weapons of mass destruction into the United States.

Even in World War II, there was no domestic command because there was a fear that such a centralized command would not be healthy for the future of democracy. No sooner was this command established and the Pentagon started studying ways to prevent itself from being limited by the Posse Comitatus Act. In 2003, the administration also proposed that the military and C.I.A. be given power to subpoena information from credit card companies, libraries, banks, telephone companies, e-mail providers, and internet providers. The proposal did not include judi C.I.A.l oversight. 4 The Washington Post reported that Norcom had developed plans for declaring martial law in fifteen different situations. In late 2003, General Tommy Franks said that “the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government” if mass destruction is ever visited upon the United States. Leading neocon theorist Terry Leeden has said that in such a situation “preserving liberty may require the role of a single leader—a dictator….”

Three years before that, MSNBC reported that Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), a new Pentagon spy agency, had look into 1500 separate civilian’suspicious incidents” over a ten month period. One was a Quaker meeting that was planning to protest military recruiting in schools in the Los Angeles area.

George W. Bush signed Defense Authorization Act of 2007, which included in Section 5122 language giving the president and Secretary of Defense the ability to deploy National Guard troops in the states regardless of the wishes of governors. Section 526 reversed traditional posse comitatus legislation by requiring governors to obtain federal permission before using the Guard. Some might find this troubling, the mores so when it is recalled that in January 2006, Congress gave Kellogg, Brown, and Root $385 to build more “temporary detention and processing facilities,” to augment those build under Ronald Reagan.

In 2007, President George W. Bush moved to resurrect the North scheme with a document entitled “National Continuity Policy,” National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51. It required presidential assistant for homeland security Frances Fragos Townsend to develop a full plan within 90 days. There were “classified Continuity Annexes.”5

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reagan and Bush's Not-So-Secret War: Part Four

Conservative Christians, through its people in the military, first discovered the network of camps and its writers assumed that fundamentalist and evangelical leaders were to be rounded up brought to the detention centers by secular humanists in government. This eventually proved to be absurd.

Indeed, the builders of the camps were possibly expecting the evangelicals to round up secular humanists. Granted, some fundamentalists thought of themselves as strict constitutionalists and, so, they thought they could eventually reside in these places. Over time, information on the camps has become so widespread that FEMA has had to acknowledge that some existed for the continuity of government in a nuclear attack or other emergency.

Attorney General William French Smith attempted to reign in FEMA, and it was forced to turn over 12,000 dossiers on political dissidents to the F.B.I. REX-84 continued to constitute the basic plan for dealing with emergencies. North represented only a minority in the Reagan administration and, he was quickly severed from FEMA. Yet the infrastructure for dictatorship that he established remained in place, and two decades later his allies Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld held high positions in government. Unfortunately the evidence is clear that some conservatives still dream of rounding up opponents and that they manage to get into high places. There probably are not as many William French Smiths now as there were in the 1980s in the Republican party. Still, it is unlikely that these people can act on their dreams without something worse than another 9/11.

In the 1980s, Cheney had discussed COG with Donald Rumsfeld, then a former Secretary of Defense and head of a pharmaceuticals company. During Congressional recesses , Cheney would disappear from Washington leaving his wife only a telephone number for emergencies. With four or five dozen others, he participated in continuity of government exercises. He played the role of presidential chief of staff to someone designated as president during an emergency.1

The COG program, tied to the North plan, included surveillance of dissidents. North was most likely using PROMIS software to track dissidents in conjunction with both REX-84 and the COG. It was probably the use of PROMIS that made it necessary to defer the questioning of Congressman Jack Brooks to an executive session of the Iran/Contra Committee.

Overall responsibility for both plans was assigned to Vice President George H.W. Bush, who headed the administrations’ “anti-terrorism” efforts The Miami Herald speculated that many of the people occupying key positions in this secret government had been involved in the October Surprise as well as in the theft of President Carter’s debate briefing book in 1980. Clark was replaced by Robert McFarlane, essentially a staffer who seemed to be easily used by Bill Casey and Oliver North.
A series of Reagan executive orders placed covert activity under his Vice President George H.W. Bush in his capacity as head of the Task Force on Combatting Terrorism. Bush was also made head of the drugs task force, which placed him in a position to protect the C.I.A.’s drug running activities. During his time as chairman of the task force, the volume of drugs entering the United States tripled. Bush also headed the executive branch committee that pressed for the deregulation of the savings and loan banks, which left them open to subsequent plundering by the C.I.A. 2

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reagan and Bush's Not-So-Secret War: Part Three

The plan , reflecting the Reagan- Meese scheme for dealing with Black activists in California, called for the detention of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens. Environmental activists, supporters of asylum for refugees, and opponents of nuclear energy were also to be watched. On April 18, 1984, President Reagan authorized FEMA to carry out a readiness exercise to see if it could implement the plan. The exercise also went by the name RX84-Bravo ( also Alpha Explan, or Readiness Exercise 1984). It involved practicing to round up 400,000 imaginary aliens. The exercise was coordinated on the fifth floor of FEMA headquarters where heavy metal doors were installed and only certain personnel were admitted. The rationale for the North Plan was that if the US invaded Nicaragua, thousands of Latinos would cross into the US from Mexico and would have to be rounded up. The more likely rationale was that a plan was needed for rounding up dissidents.

General Louis Giuffrida developed a list of 12,000 people from F.B.I. files he thought should be watched. It soon became the basis for a list that was projected to grow to a database of 100,000. names. F.B.I. director learned of this and demanded that the 12,000 files be returned. The files were returned, but FEMA kept copies and retained its data base even though Congress had been led to believe otherwise. The database was kept in conjunction with a continuity of government plan that Oliver North was detailed to develop in 1981. North was working directly under Vice President George H.W. Bush. One aspect of it was what The New York Times called its “Doomsday Plan, which included 20 super secret black programs to be used in the event of a nuclear war. It is interesting that when George W. Bush admitted he authorized spying on the telephone calls of American citizens he linked it to the continuity of government plan. Few in the press picked up on this remark.1

The North FEMA Plan became intertwined with a Continuity of Government Plan that was also developed by the Reagan administration. The Continuity of Government plan was authorized in National Security Decision Directive 55, January, 1983. Charles Allen, deputy director of the C.I.A., was to run it. It is said that when allen first met North, he joked, “Let's see now. Our job is to throw the Constitution out the window.''

There were some private firms involved in it that were run by former C.I.A. people, George Bush’s “ C.I.A. without the C.I.A..” 2

FEMA’s control center is located at Mount Weather, on Route 601 outside Berryville, Virginia. The skeleton of an emergency government exists there, and FEMA, over the years, has been given extraordinary powers that could be used in a national emergency. Most of these powers were conferred by Richard Nixon on February 10, 1972 in E.O. 11490---before FEMA even existed.

Ronald Reagan expanded upon the emergency program by creating Rex 84 Bravo, created by NSDD 52, a program for detaining dangerous foreign immigrants and US citizens likely to assist terrorists. It was similar to a plan Reagan’s staff developed in California while he was governor. The program was supervised by Kenneth de Graffenreid, special assistant to the president, and seems to have been underway by 1984. About 100 detention facilities have been built. Some of them could hold upwards of 20,000 people. Blue Lists were developed containing names of people to be detained. The four chief centers are at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Fort Drum, New York, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., and at Camp A.P. Hill in Virginia.

However the most interesting place is a deserted facility in Indianopolis for which Congress keeps appropriating money for reconstruction.
It has been disclosed that the Army’s Civilian Inmate Program was being used to provide labor to build detention facilities. It appears that most camps are in the west, but one was found at Tobyhanna, PA. However, it describes itself now as only being interested in disaster relief. It is still building detention facilities. During a joint hearing on Iran/Contra, Representative Jack Brooks tried to publicly raise the North plan, but Senator Daniel Inouye succeeded in moving the matter to executive session. 3

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Reagan and Bush's Not-So-Secret War: Part Two

Only months after the Reagan administration took power, theNew York Times reported “Intelligence Groups Seek Power to Gain Data on U.S. Citizens.” Bill Casey, the new DCI, had given C.I.A. lawyers the task of drafting an executive order that would set aside most restraints on the agency’s domestic operations. As soon as it was finished, he signed a recommendation to the White House for its implementation, and he had the strong backing of another right-winger, Richard Allen, the National Security Advisor. In addition to opening the door to spying in the United States and on USD citizens, it deprived the Justice Department of its role in approving some covert operations. The story broke while Casey was out of the country, and Deputy Director Bobby Inman quickly disavowed the proposed executive order and had the backing of Ed Meese, a top Reagan advisor. However, right wing extremists within the administration would seek other means of accomplishing some of these goals. 1

The Reagan administration also laid plans to use FEMA to act against its political opponents. FEMA is a federal agency created by Executive Order 12148 (April 1, 1979). In the beginning FEMA was not funded by Congressional appropriations. There are all sorts of “conspiracy theories” about where the money came from. Some think that it is so loosely drafted that the agency could suspend the fedral constitution.

In the early years of the administration, Major Oliver North established a Crisis Management Center in the basement of the White House. That basement was where George H.W. Bush woulds manage intelligence operations during the Reagan years. North, NSC liason oto FEMA, assisted retired General Louis Giuffrida, FEMA director, 1982-1985 in developing a contingency plan for FEMA called”REX 84” for the surveillance of leftists, the declaration of a state of emergency, suspension of the constitution, and the governance of the united States. Giuffrida had been Reagan’s emergency planning chief in California, where he and Edwin Meese drafted plans for rounding up Black militants and peace advocates. Their plan was called “Operation Cable Splicere” and was a variant of the Army’s “Garden Plot.” As a graduate student in 1970, he wrote a detailed plan for incarcerating radicals and blacks in detention camps. He developed the California Specialized Training Institute for military commandos and police. A bit of a cowboy, he got himself deputized so he could carry a gun to work in Washington.

North and FEMA director Giuffrida also revised Operation Garden Plot, which dealt with civil disobedience and riots. Giuffrida had developed it initially to deal with an uprising of black militants, and it considered the possibility of rounding up 21,000,000 African Americans. .The revised Operation Garden Plot was actually implemented in Los Angeles during the civil unrest accompanying the Rodney King riots in 1987 and during some more recent anti-globalization riots . There was also “Operation Lasso,” a C.I.A. operation, designed to distribute guns among whites before an expected black riot.

The general installed a new telephone system at FEMA and forbade any personal calls. A record was kept of every number dialed. He seemed obsessed with terrorists and “radical environmentalists.” Henry Hyde, a ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, worked with North in developing the martial law governance plan. Major General Richard Secord had also spent some time at FEMA and had worked with these people on the martial law scheme.

In essence, the North plan would place government in the hands of FEMA and the president. The president received power to take over legislative and judi C.I.A.l functions. The North Plan called for FEMA to report directly to the president, but it had power to appoint military commanders and take over state governments. (Executive Order 11490). The plan was predicated upon Frank Carlucci ‘s NSC directive in 1981 that stated: “ Normally a state of martial law will be proclaimed by the President. However in the absence of such action by the President, a senior military commander may impose martial law in an area of his command where there had been a complete breakdown in the exercise of government functions by local authorities.'"

By then, FEMA already possessed many relocation centers where people could be kept, and the federal government has continued to build more up to the time of this writing. North thought it necessary to be ready to detain as many as 400,000 people. These facilities could also be used in the event of uncontrolled population movements across the Mexican border into the United States.

John Brinkerhoff, Giuffrida’s deputy, made the case for using troops in civil disturbanced and played a key role in planning for African-American disturbances. Today, he is with the Anser Institute for Homeland Security. Brinkerhoff told PBS in 2002: “The United States itself is now for the first time since the War of 1812 a theater of war. That means that we should apply, in my view, the same kind of command structure in the United States that we apply in other theaters of war.”