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 (President Clinton rescinded this ruling in 1995.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/


Anonymous said...

December 9-11, 2011 -- Giffords, Roll Hit a Planned Twin Assassination

A knowledgeable federal government counter-narcotics source in Arizona has revealed to WMR that the shooting on January 8 this year of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and U.S. Judge John Roll in Tucson was planned as a twin assassination of two individuals who threatened to expose a weapons-for-drugs smuggling operation carried out by a covert group working under the aegis of the Central Intelligence Agency and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. In fact, the covert operation dates back to when Napolitano was governor of Arizona. Roll had been Chief Judge of the District of Arizona since 2006. The assassin, Jared Lee Loughner, killed five others and wounded thirteen, including Giffords, at a Safeway parking lot in north Tucson. Loughner's first and priority targets were Roll and Giffords.

Read rest on Wayne Madsen website

just like Hinckley, Sirhan, and Rabin shooter. Tucson press reported second shooter "just in case"

Michael Levine said...

With all due respect, much of what you wrote about Sonia Atala, Roberto Suarez, Luis Arce-Gomez, Operation Condor et al was was either incorrect or missing some really important information for Americans. I wrote THE BIG WHITE LIE after having done all the undercover work in US v Roberto Suarez, and then having worked undercover posing as Sonia Atala's "lover" in Operation Hun, the DEA undercover sting operation targeting Bolivia's cocaine government. The book is documented by tape recorded conversations and secret government reports, and had to pass several libel readings before anyone dared publish it. I highly recommend that you read it and include it in your research. It is the true and well documented history of what happened. I just put it out in Kindle because last year Evo Morales, President of Bolivia cited the book as his justification for booting DEA from Bolivia. I think if he actually read the book he would welcome DEA as heroes and boot CIA for betraying both the American and Bolivian peoples.


Michael Levine