Information

Frank Nugan


Francis John Nugan was born in Sydney, Australia, on 29th January, 1943. His parents were German who had emigrated to Australia. By 1950 Alfred Nugan was running one of the largest fruit and vegetable operations in the area. One of the Nugan Group's major customers was the United States Navy base at Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Frank Nugan obtained a law degree from Sydney University in 1963. He then moved to the United States where he studied for his masters at the University of California. By 1965 he was studying at York University in Canada.

It is believed that Nugan returned to Australia in 1967. This was the year that Michael Hand and Bernie Houghton also arrived in Sydney. Houghton established the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant in Sydney. Houghton claimed that he met Hand in the autumn of 1967. However, in one interview he admitted he had been told about Hand in 1964: "I had heard of Mike Hand's great combat exploits and courage, which was well-known in Vietnam."

Frank Nugan joined his brother Ken Nugan, to run the family company, the Nugan Company. Whereas Michael Hand began selling development lots along the Australian coast. The company, Ocean Shores Development, was run by lawyer Fred Miller, a senior executive for the shipping empire owned by Sir Peter Abeles, the longtime business partner, Rupert Murdoch. One of the largest investors in this scheme was the singer Pat Boone. The registered directors included Boone of Beverly Hills, California and Patricia Swan of Sydney, Australia. Swan was Frank Nugan's secretary.

In 1969 Michael Hand formed his own company called Australian and Pacific Holdings. His two partners were Clive Wilfred Lucas and John J. Foley. The plan was to develop an island off Australia's barrier reef. Hand and Lucas visited Vietnam where they raised $16,000 from members of the U.S. Army. On 16th January, 1970, the directors of Australian and Pacific Holdings decided to lend the $16,000 to Frank Nugan. It is not known what this money was used for. However, it does show that Nugan and Hand now had a business relationship.

There is no doubt that Frank Nugan and Michael Hand were involved in promoting anti-socialist political causes. As Jonathan Kwitny points out in The Crimes of the Patriots: “By associating with the more hard-hat attitudes of the right wing of Labour, Nugan and Hand may have done more to help their cause than they could by sticking to the more right-wing parties. Certainly it is a standard ploy of the CIA to work less with the most openly anti-communist parties than with the anti-communist wing of the party on the borderline.”

Nugan also developed a relationship with Bernie Houghton. Regular visitors to the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar included two Central Intelligence Agency station chiefs in Australia (Milton Corley Wonus and John Denley Walker). Lieutenant Colonel Bobby Boyd, a Texan who was a former U.S. embassy military attaché in Latin America, also went to work for Houghton.

Houghton clearly had important contacts in Australia. When he applied for a new Australian visa in 1972, he gave the immigration officers the name of Leo Carter, director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) in New South Wales, to support his application. Carter also arranged for him to get permission for unlimited re-entries to Australia in the future.

Allan Parks claims that Houghton was active in the drug trade in the 1970s. "There's no doubt about it, he'd fly anything. The Golden Triangle, that's where he got his opium from. There was one flight, he flew in slot machines. He did some deals over in India."

Frank and Ken Nugan kept full control of the Nugan Group until 1973. In order to raise $700,000 for a new cannery they sold shares of stock in the company. In the stock sale, several large insurance companies acquired a 40 per cent interest.

In 1973 Nugan and Michael Hand established the Nugan Hand Bank. Another key figure in this venture was Bernie Houghton, who was closely connected to CIA officials, Ted Shackley and Thomas G. Clines.

Nugan ran operations in Sydney whereas Hand established a branch in Hong Kong. This enabled Australian depositors to access a money-laundering facility for illegal transfers of Australian money to Hong Kong. According to Alfred W. McCoy, the "Hand-Houghton partnership led the bank's international division into new fields - drug finance, arms trading, and support work for CIA covert operations." Hand told friends "it was his ambition that Nugan Hand became banker for the CIA."

In 1974 the Nugan Hand Bank got involved in helping the CIA to take part in covert arms deals with contacts within Angola. It was at this time that Edwin Wilson became involved with the bank. Two CIA agents based in Indonesia, James Hawes and Robert Moore, called on Wilson at his World Marine offices to discuss "an African arms deal". Later, Bernie Houghton arrived from Sydney to place an order for 10 million rounds of ammunition and 3,000 weapons including machine guns. The following year Houghton asked Wilson to arrange for World Marine to purchase a high-technology spy ship. This ship was then sold to Iran.

By 1976 the Nugan-Hand Bank appeared to have become a CIA-fronted company. This is reflected in the type of people recruited to hold senior positions in the bank. For example, Rear-Admiral Earl P. Yates, the former Chief of Staff for Policy and Plans of the U.S. Pacific Command and a counter-insurgency specialist, became president of the company. Other appointments included William Colby, retired director of the CIA, General Leroy J. Manor, the former chief of staff of the U.S. Pacific Command and deputy director for counterinsurgency and special activities, General Edwin F. Black, former commander of U.S. forces in Thailand, Walter J. McDonald, retired CIA deputy director for economic research, Dale C. Holmgren, former chairman of the CIA's Civil Air Transport and Guy J. Pauker, senior Republican foreign policy adviser.

One of those that Earl P. Yates brought in to help the Nugan Hand Bank was Mitchell WerBell. Yates later told the Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking he recruited WerBell as a consultant because he "had extensive experience in Central America".

Former CIA agent, Kevin P. Mulcahy later told the National Times newspaper "about the Agency's use of Nugan Hand for shifting money for various covert operations around the globe."

The investigative journalist, Jonathan Kwitny, became convinced that the Nugan Hand Bank had replaced the Castle Bank and Trust Company in Nassau, as the CIA's covert banker. The bank, run by Paul Helliwell, was forced to close after the Internal Revenue Service discovered that he Castle Bank was laundering CIA funds and drug profits.

On 7th January 1980, Robert Wilson (House of Representatives Armed Services Committee) and Richard Ichord (chairman of the Research and Development Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee) had dinner with Bernie Houghton at the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant in Sydney.

Nugan flew to the United States on 9th January. He visited William Colby before moving on to Florida where he entered negotiations to buy a condominium. He also spent time in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland before arriving back in Australia. On 25th January he had a meeting with Bernie Houghton. The following day Nugan agreed to spend $2.2m on a 828 acre country estate. Nugan told the seller that he was close the deal the next day.

On 27th January, 1980, Frank Nugan was found shot dead in his Mercedes Benz. With his body was a Bible that included a piece of paper. On it were written the names "Bob Wilson" and "Bill Colby". Robert Wilson was a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and William Colby was a former director of the CIA.

Bernie Houghton was in Switzerland at the time and he immediately rang his branch office in Saudi Arabia and ordered the staff to leave the country. Houghton also visited Edwin Wilson's office in Geneva and left a briefcase with bank documents for safekeeping. Soon afterwards, a witness saw Thomas G. Clines going through the briefcase at Wilson's office and remove papers that referred to him and General Richard Secord.

Two days after Nugan died, Michael Hand held a meeting of Nugan Hand Bank directors. He warned them that unless they did as they were told they could "finish up with concrete shoes" and would be "liable to find their wives being delivered to them in pieces".

Frank Nugan's inquest took place in April, 1980. Testimony from Michael Hand revealed that Nugan Hand was insolvent, owing at least $50 million. Hand then promptly fled Australia under a false identity on a flight to Fiji in June 1980. Bernie Houghton also disappeared at this time and it is believed both men eventually reached the United States.

According to one witness, Thomas G. Clines helped Bernie Houghton escape. Michael Hand also left the country accompanied by James Oswald Spencer, a man who served with Ted Shackley in Laos. The two men traveled to America via Fiji and Vancouver.

An investigation by the Australia/New South Wales Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking discovered that the clients of the Nugan Hand Bank included several people who had criminal convictions relating to drug offences including Murray Stewart Riley, Donald William McKenzie, James Lewis Williams, Malcolm Craig Lord, Charles Robertson Beveridge, Barry Graeme Chittem, Murray Don Newman, Bruce Alan Smithers, James Sweetman, James Blacker, Colin Courtney, Stephen Demos, John Brooking and John Ceruto. According to the records the bank was making $100,000 a year from tax advice. In reality, it was receiving it for money laundering.

One right-wing organization called Accuracy in Media defended the Nugan-Hand Bank claiming it was really an honest but hard-luck banking organization that had been maligned by an anti-military press.

The Australian government asked the Royal Commissioner D. G. Stewart to investigate the Nugan-Hand Bank scandal. The Stewart Royal Commission was published in June, 1985. It stated that the "Nugan Hand Ltd. was at all times insolvent... and flouted the provisions of the legislation as it then stood in that large volumes of currency were moved in and out of Australia".

Stewart went on to blame the dead Frank Nugan and the missing Michael Hand for the illegal activities of the bank. Rear-Admiral Earl P. Yates, William Colby, General Leroy J. Manor, General Edwin F. Black, Walter J. McDonald, Dale C. Holmgren, Guy J. Pauker and Bernie Houghton were considered blameless. Despite the evidence, Hand and Patricia Swan, Nugan's secretary, were accused of being the only ones "responsible for the shredding of documents".

Frank Nugan got a law degree from Sydney University in 1963, then set out for North America, where he pursued two highly unusual postgraduate degrees in law. His only real achievement during his American stay, though, was constructing, with some artifice, the resume that was to lure many clients when he returned down under.

Nugan later claimed he achieved a reputation as an international tax expert-the result, he said, of his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, for a master of laws degree. Master of laws is a degree most lawyers don't think worth the trouble of obtaining, but which Nugan won in 1965. A veteran professor at the Berkeley law school, Richard Jennings, recalls Nugan as "a kind of wild fellow" who "dropped into Berkeley with an XKE, kind of a playboy type." He remembers Nugan spending time with glider airplanes, and laughs at the idea that Nugan was a tax expert. "He never even studied taxes when he was here," Jennings says.

Next, Nugan went to Toronto, where he studied for the even more arcane degree of doctor of laws (he never got it). To help pay the Jaguar's gas bills and other expenses, he worked for a corporations task force performing an overhaul of Canadian corporate law. Nugan later claimed-and it was widely believed in Australia-that he had a big hand in rewriting the Canadian legal code. In fact, the task force's report names three authors and twenty-four valuable assistants, none of whom was Frank Nugan.

Philip Anisman, a professor of law at Osgood Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, remembers that in 1967 Nugan got a clerical and research job with the task force. But Anisman says Nugan never had a hand in the task force's recommendations. Anisman says Nugan was "kind of wild, loquacious, fun." But on the main expertise Nugan claimed to bring back from North America, Anisman says, "I never heard anything about any work he did on tax."

Recollections of when Nugan returned to Australia vary-from late 1967, about when Hand arrived, to early 1969. And just how did Nugan-the playboy heir to a modest food-processing fortune with strange beginnings, even stranger criminal associations, and built in part on U.S. military contracts-happen to meet Hand, just coming off active duty as a U.S. intelligence operative in Southeast Asia? Nobody seems to remember that, either. Asked under oath at the inquest, Hand declared that he didn't remember how he met Nugan-highly unlikely, considering that for better or worse they became the most important person in each other's lives.

The Nuran Hand bank collapsed, owing some $50 million. None of the deposits were secured because they were used for illegal activities. These included defrauding American military personnel in Saudi Arabia out of nearly $10 million. The bank sent out "investment counselors" to installations where Americans were working in Saudi Arabia and told them to invest their salaries in Nugan Hand's Hong Kong branch in secured government bonds.

The Australian government eventually investigated the collapse of the bank and found that millions of dollars were missing and unaccounted for. It discovered that the main depositors of the bank were connected with the narcotics trade in the Middle East and Asia, and that the CIA was using Nugan Hand to finance a variety of covert operations. Government investigations revealed ties between Nugan Hand and the world's largest heroin syndicates. The reports said that the Bank was linked to at least 26 separate individuals or groups known to be associated with drug trafficking.

In 1983 the Australian Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking released a report on Nugan Hand's activities to Parliament which said Shackley, Secord, Clines, Quintero, and Wilson were people whose background "is relevant to a proper understanding of the activities of the Nugan Hand group and the people associated with that group."

The pattern of events surrounding this expansion indicates that Michael Hand may have realized his dream of becoming the "CIA's banker". Both Sydney police and Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny came away from their long investigations of Nugan Hand convinced that there may well have been some connection between the bank's sudden rise and the antecedent demise of a CIA proprietary, the Castle Bank and Trust of Nassau. After retiring from the CIA, Paul Helliwell, founder of such agency "proprietaries" as SEA Supply Inc. of Bangkok and Air America, opened a law office in Miami and formed Castle Bank offshore in nearby Nassau to cover the agency's covert money movements. In 1973 agents of the Internal Revenue Service were able to photograph the Castle Bank's customer list while a bank executive dined in a posh Key Biscayne restaurant with a woman described as an IRS "informant". Reviewing the purloined documents, IRS investigators found that the 308 Castle Bank customers on the list had moved $250 million to foreign numbered accounts. Depositors included Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, Penthouse magazine publisher Robert Guccione, and some major organized crime figures - Morris Dalitz, Morris Kleinman, and Samuel A. Tucker. Elated by the find, investigators formed Project Haven to make "the single biggest tax-evasion strike in IRS history." Suddenly, the IRS announced that it was dropping the investigation because of "legal problems". According to a later investigation by the Wall Street Journal, "pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency ... caused the Justice Department to drop what could have been the biggest tax evasion case of all time." The CIA invoked "national security" since it was using the Castle Bank "for the funding of clandestine operations against Cuba and other intelligence operations directed at countries in Latin America and the Far East." By the time Helliwell died from emphysema on Christmas Eve, 1976, Castle Bank had been liquidated.

Simultaneous with the closure of Castle Bank's Nassau office, Nugan Hand Bank launched its formal "banking" operations in the nearby Cayman Islands. The opening of Caribbean branches, a new area for Nugan Hand, and recruitment of retired CIA officers gave it a corporate structure similar to the collapsed Castle Bank. Indeed, a former CIA agent named Kevin Mulcahy, a key witness in the Edwin Wilson case, gave details to the National Times of Sydney "about the Agency's use of Nugan Hand for shifting money for various covert operations around the globe".

Working through Houghton, moreover, the Nugan Hand Bank deepened its contacts with the network of ex-CIA officials surrounding Edwin Wilson. After helping Hand informally with the bank's operations for the previous five years, Houghton finally joined Nugan Hand's staff in late 1978 and opened a branch in Saudi Arabia to collect deposits from American contract employees. Under Houghton's management, the Saudi branch ran the bank's biggest - and simplest - fraud. With introductions from Beck Arabia of Dallas, a leading engineering firm with major Middle East contracts, Houghton flew into Saudi Arabia in January 1979 and rented a villa at Al-Khobar to serve as both office and residence for the bank. Over the next twelve months, Houghton and his aides circulated through the U.S. construction camps along the Persian Gulf, issuing bank receipts for cash deposits from American contract workers. Paid in cash and unable to make deposits in Saudi Arabia's backward banking system, American expatriate workers needed the deposit-taking service that Nugan Hand pretended to provide. Houghton then bought bundles of Thomas Cook traveler's checks and sent them off in commercial courier parcels to Michael Hand's new office in Singapore. Through this simple system, Houghton and Hand collected collected at least $5 million from their fellow Americans - all of which simply disappeared when the bank collapsed a year later.

Concerns over bank's questionable accounting processes began to circulate by the late 1970s as investors attending Nugan Hand AGM's were prevented from asking questions by the bank. These concerns turned into panic for bank investors in the early hours of 27 January 1980 when Nugan (who was facing charges of stock fraud) was found shot dead by a .30 caliber rifle in his Mercedes Benz 100 miles west, outside of Lithgow, New South Wales; it is said that a hand-written list was found on his body with a list of substantial loans Nugan Hand had extended to various notables, such as William Colby and Bob Wilson. The following police investigation returned a verdict of suicide. Suspicions of the bank's activities grew in subsequent days as details emerged of the contents of Nugan's car (including the business card of former CIA director William Colby) and news that Nugan's house and office had been ransacked by Hand and Yates and important company files destroyed or stolen.

The official inquest into Nugan's death in June 1980 made front page news amid testimony from Hand that Nugan Hand was insolvent, owing at least A$50 million (and as much as hundreds of millions), including $20,000 rent on their Sydney headquarters. He then promptly fled Australia under a false identity on a flight to Fiji in June 1980, after destroying Nugan Hand's remaining records. Hand has not been seen since; it is generally assumed that Hand, as a CIA operative, re-entered the US and was given a false identity. A subsequent Royal Commission of inquiry into the activities of the Nugan Hand Group revealed money laundering, arms shipments, drug dealing, theft (including US$5 million from US military personnel in Saudi Arabia) and large-scale tax avoidance by Nugan Hand throughout its brief but eventful existence. One Commission witness, a former Nugan Hand director, stated that Hand warned Bank executives "If we didn't do what we were told, and things weren't handled properly, our wives would be cut into pieces and put in boxes and sent back to us."

Australia's Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking compiled a report on Nugan Hand in 1983, determined that, above and beyond the revelations of the Royal Commission, Nugan Hand had acted as a CIA front to finance a war in Laos by laundering drug money (particularly via the Nugan Hand Chang Mai branch) participated in the covert sale of an electronic spy ship to Iran and weapons shipments to southern Africa. The CIA's use of Nugan Hand as a front appears to have been more extensive than merely enriching certain people or supporting the heroin drug trade.

In his otherwise admirable fight against the scourge of drugs, fraud, illegal arms sales, and abuse of government power, Mr. Kwitny has maliciously maligned and assassinated the character of some truly great American heroes and in so doing has besmirched the reputations of the military and intelligence services of this nation. My purpose here is to defend the honor of those men and the services they represent.

The general comments herein concern only those people for whom I had some measure of responsibility for their involvement in Nugan Hand and for whom I can speak with great confidence. Their names are: General Edwin Black, General Erle Cocke, General LeRoy Manor, Mr. Dale Holmgren, Dr. Guy Pauker, Mr. Donald Beazley, Mr. William Colby, Mr. Walter McDonald, Mr. Robert Jantzen, and Mr. George Farris (hereinafter, THE TRUE PATRIOTS).

I specifically exclude all others, not because I consider them guilty or care any less about their fair treatment, but because I do not have the time, space, or knowledge to defend them against the alleged crimes. I use the word "alleged" advisedly, for as of this date, more than seven years after the collapse of Nugan Hand, no crimes have been proven.

Before addressing the general reader, I direct my first comments to the Nugan Hand employees and investors, who were the principal victims of the bank failure. Each of THE TRUE PATRIOTS has expressed to me a most genuine distress for your losses, particularly those of you whom they might have influenced to invest in Nugan Hand. Most of them lost significant sums of their own. For example, I never received any pay due me and personally lost over twenty-five thousand dollars in unreimbursed business expenses. We are, therefore, able to share both your agony and your anger.

Having devoted their lives to the service of their country and having often risked those lives in dangerous missions, THE TRUE PATRIOTS highly treasure the morale and reputation of those who are taking the same risks today in our national defense. They are distressed over any damage done to that morale and reputation by such warped and distorted viewpoints as found in this book.

Each of them deplores the injury done to the relationship between the United States and Australia, a long, strong, and mutually important relationship, which the Soviet Union and its KGB Disinformation Service would dearly love to destroy.

For the above reasons they unanimously regret any distress that their association, however innocent, might have contributed to others. I add to these regrets my own remorse for having induced THE TRUE PATRIOTS to join Nugan Hand. I must take full responsibility for that. They associated with Nugan Hand largely because of their trust in my assurances that I had gone to extraordinary lengths to determine the integrity of that organization and found no evidence whatsoever of a shortfall.

I informed them that my assurances were based on my personal interviews with a wide range of highly respectable, knowledgeable people and agencies, many of whom had a recognized duty to know the bona fides of Nugan Hand. These included: the managing directors of the two largest banks in Australia, which held Nugan Hand accounts; an agent of the Reserve Bank, which has responsibilities similar to our Federal Reserve Bank; the Premier of New South Wales, whose private office was adjacent to the Nugan Hand offices; two prominent Australian lawyers who had worked closely with Mr. Nugan; an agent of the Australian Tax Department, who was familiar with Mr. Nugan's tax work; the managing director of the Sydney subsidiary of Citicorp, who traded securities with Nugan Hand; a partner of the accounting firm that certified Nugan Hand records; vice-presidents of two large international banks that had accounts with Nugan Hand; the U.S. Consul General in Sydney; the desk officer in the Department of Commerce who publishes financial reports on Australian firms; agents of the Treasury Department; agents of the FBI; some highly satisfied clients of Nugan Hand; and several employees. Of all these, none gave any unfavorable information, and most had high praise. General Black and others interviewed similar groups, including prominent newspapers, with comparable results.

In recruiting THE TRUE PATRIOTS, I explained the substance of my lengthy conversations with Mr. Nugan and Mr. Hand about their ultimate objective to build an international "one-stop business shopping-center" organization to make it easier for small businesses to compete in the international marketplace against the multinational cartels. They liked the concept and the opportunity to pursue it. They believed, as I did, that their employment was honorable, that Mr. Hand were honorable, successful, and reliable businessmen, with the highest sense of personal integrity and genuine concern for their clients.

In response to queries about how the firm made money, Mr. Nugan gave me an extensive mathematical dissertation, supported by genuine money market documents, on how to "gross-up" the interest yield on money by buying and selling discounted bills of exchange on the lively Sydney market. He later held a conference of other employees to explain this important aspect of Nugan Hand's money market operation. He further informed me and others that his law practice yielded four to twelve million dollars per year (a false claim, nevertheless substantiated by two other lawyers and a CPA) and that the money was always available as a drawdown to protect our client's deposits.


10 Intriguing Mysteries Involving The CIA’s Dark Deeds

The CIA was established in 1947 and tasked with carrying out intelligence work outside the United States. But the agency soon strayed from its original purpose, carrying out coups, assassinations, and other murky activities around the globe. And while much of the CIA&rsquos sordid history was exposed by the Church Committee in the 1970s, there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the darker side of &ldquothe Company.&rdquo


Frank Nugan - History

Peter Butt still hadn’t found his man. For years he’d been chasing a shadow. Which wasn’t surprising. Butt’s target was a former Green Beret, CIA operative and gun runner. Michael Jon Hand was also one of Australia’s most notorious fugitives, co-founder of the Nugan Hand Bank – a funhouse of financial chicanery and a preferred laundering site for the Golden Triangle’s drug money.

Hand fled Australia after the bank’s collapse in 1980, aided by a false passport and disguise. Butt tells me the trail mostly went cold after about 1982, when declassified ASIO documents recorded a sighting of Hand on the Nicaragua–Honduras border. I have seen the cable, sent from ASIO’s Washington, DC, office to “Scorpion” – the codename for the director-general of the intelligence agency. The document reports that an Australian police officer, Inspector Paul Lawrence, was sent to the States on the trail of Hand. Lawrence wanted ASIO to confirm for him what a source had supplied – that Hand was training the Puma Battalion, a band of Nicaraguan rebels that was receiving United States support. Neither ASIO nor the FBI seemed moved to help the police officer.

Butt is an author and award-winning documentary-maker who has spent years researching the case. “I’d been looking for Hand for four years, on and off,” he tells me. “Looking through archives, public documents, photos, newspapers. I drew up a list of possible scenarios, places he might’ve been.”

There were rumours and culs-de-sac, and Butt thought he’d exhausted his options. But in March this year he decided to try one more time. “I went through US corporate documents, focusing upon states that I’d heard he’d lived in. I was hoping on the fact that he’d kept some of his original name. And I knew, for instance, that he was sighted in Washington State. Then, on the Idaho Secretary of State website, I found registration documents. Registered to a Michael Jon Fuller. His wife’s name was registered as vice-president. It was the same date of birth. I cross-referenced the signature with immigration records I had from the ’60s – it was the same. ‘Jon’ was a wonderful identifier. Then I compared handwriting – that was the same, too. He would do a reverse ‘3’ for an ‘e’. Then I found his business website, an elite knife manufacturer called TOPS.”

For all of Hand’s guile, he had erred clumsily by retaining much of his old name. “There was a firewall between him and the world for a long time,” Butt tells me. “But then he got slack. He reverted to an old signature. Perhaps over time he thought he’d gotten away with it. It’s funny, because this was the man who in 1979 told his staff to change their names, move to France or kill themselves.”

In April, Butt hired a private investigator to track Hand in the small city of Idaho Falls. The investigator trailed his target from home to work to cafes. He took long-lens snaps of Hand. When Butt saw the photos, he knew immediately who it was. “We had him.”

The next question was how to confront him? Butt realised that Hand had retained his original social security number, which suggested to him that if authorities were serious about arresting him, they would have done so a long time ago. Low on money, Butt, who is the author of a book on the case called Merchants of Menace, approached Australian 60 Minutes reporter Ross Coulthart with his tip. Coulthart had reported on the case in the 1990s.

The next part was delicate. Hand is in his early 70s now, but you don’t back a man like him into a corner. Butt knew that he often carried a gun, and the 60 Minutes team agreed it would be unwise to confront him at his factory – a place filled with “burly men” and a lot of knives. Coulthart’s team liaised with the private investigator, and when the TV crew finally approached Hand, they did so as he left a pharmacy. Barrel-chested and bearded, he looked like an old Hemingway – a man who spent his last years in the same Idaho mountains.

Stunned and silent, Hand ignored the flurry of questions, got in his car and drove off. This week, Hand’s company released a statement on his behalf: “A recent news story has surfaced from 60 Minutes Australia condemning Michael Fuller as a criminal because of an incident that occurred in Australia over 35 years ago. This is untrue and inaccurate. While we empathise with those who lost money, as with any investment, Michael Fuller is not to blame.”

1 . Bourbon and Beefsteak

The Nugan Hand Bank affair is smoky and byzantine and has a cast of hundreds. It is a story comprising assassins and CIA spooks, drug lords and deputy premiers. Perhaps one of the most pungent characters is Sydney’s Kings Cross, which for a long time was a Petri dish for complicated vice. And it’s where the story starts.

During the Second World War, the Cross endeared itself to American military officers serving in the Pacific theatre. This was the preferred place for their rest and recreation, periodic moments of relief and violent catharsis. Darlinghurst Road would swell with sailors and sex workers. Liquor flowed. Fights spilt onto the streets. Reclaiming the Pacific from the Japanese was hard work and bloody. Recreation was favoured over rest. “After the Second World War,” Butt tells me, “the Cross became a sleepier underbelly. But it was a place melded to the psyche of Vietnam vets.”

The strip’s picaresque history would be revived during the Vietnam War. The US boys had returned to the theatre, this time engaged in a dreadful and worthless attrition, and they bore the scars. “Many Vietnam vets had drug problems,” Butt says. Some of those vets were involved in napalm and massacre, but among the opium fields they were at least close to the source of their self-medication. When the Cross resumed its role as an adult playground for the US military, the market supplied the heroin. The Cross was thick with the stuff.

One man profitably anticipated the soldiers. A garrulous Texan, the son of an oil driller, Bernie Houghton opened the Bourbon and Beefsteak on the strip – a New Orleans-style boozer that became infamous for its hedonism. Established as a mecca for the US Army’s damaged, it also attracted the city’s gangsters, crooked cops and bent politicians. There were plenty. Drug scores, solicitation and kickbacks all happened here. But Houghton was not merely a roguish proprietor. He was also a suspected CIA operative, and among the addled soldiers, working girls and clouds of hashish, he hosted the men plotting America’s shadow wars.

It was here that the Nugan Hand Bank was conceived.

2 . Dirty money

Peter Butt spent a lot of time speaking with an old army mate of Michael Hand’s, Douglas Sapper. According to Sapper, Hand was an exceptional soldier. “There was a battle in Vietnam,” Butt tells me. “Hand had to save himself with a knife because he was out of ammunition. According to Sapper, Hand killed up to 20 people. It was a dark experience. He met death front on. Sapper told me that Hand stabbed one Vietcong soldier in the stomach, then tore the knife up through his sternum. There were pieces of bodies everywhere.”

Hand was awarded medals of valour, and was recruited by the CIA for special operations. He covertly trained rebels in South-East Asia before he wanted a change, Butt tells me. “Sydney seemed a paradise and he moved there to work in real estate. Many bought it, but never saw it. And it was in Sydney that he met his wife, Helene.”

It was also in Sydney that Hand met Bernie Houghton and an Australian lawyer, Frank Nugan. Nugan was a boorish and unstable alcoholic who clashed with Houghton, but he possessed chutzpah. In 1973, the Nugan Hand Bank was established. “The nefarious stuff started soon afterwards,” Butt says. “Hand vanished for 15 months. He was in South Africa, and he asked Nugan about the availability and cost of weapons – tens of thousands of them. It was likely part of covert CIA operations in the Angolan war. Meanwhile, Nugan was moving money into Asia. They laundered drug money. No question. There were the names of 24 drug traffickers on a ledger in Nugan’s car. And there are telexes that show Nugan Hand trying to do deals with weapons.”

Offering high interest rates on investment, Nugan Hand Bank wasn’t just attracting the CIA, despots and drug runners as clients, but regular investors.

When Hand returned from overseas, he brought ambitions to globally expand the bank. Drawing upon his lofty connections in the US military and spy networks, he hired military brass as executives and advisers, although their level of involvement was minimal. Rear-Admiral Earl P. Yates of the US Navy was appointed bank president. William Colby, the director of the CIA between 1973 and 1976, was employed as legal counsel. “Almost no one had banking experience. It was all admirals and CIA guys. But the international sphere of the bank was helped. It added gravitas.”

And yet things were unravelling. The New South Wales narcotics bureau was sniffing around. Nugan knew this because of a corrupt tipoff. The state’s attorney-general, Frank Walker, knew something was wrong. Nugan wanted to offload the dirty money and go clean – but he was alone. He was also drinking two bottles of scotch a day, and his relationship with Hand was deteriorating. “There was a big Nugan Hand conference at the Gazebo Hotel in 1979,” Butt says. “All of it was recorded. Hand and Nugan were no longer brothers in arms. When all of the Americans came on board, Nugan was sort of shifted aside. I also heard that the two had a physical fight during that conference. Psychologically, Nugan was in a position of nightmare. It’s Frank against the world. His colleagues are turning, the narcotics bureau are investigating. And Frank was the kind of person to make bad situations worse. There was the drinking. He was screaming and intimidating people. He started thinking of ways of killing problems off. Framing politicians and taking a hit out on the attorney-general. He was out of control.”

About 4.20am on January 27, 1980, Constable Cross from the Lithgow police station spotted a stationary car on a small street. He found Nugan slumped dead in the driver’s seat clutching a rifle. The names of CIA operatives and drug dealers were found in the car. Nugan was 37. A coronial inquest ruled it suicide and Butt, too, doesn’t suspect murder. “Others want to believe he was executed. Perhaps he was forced. The pressure was building up. The coroner said there were three categories of death for the purposes of investigation: accident, murder and suicide,” Butt tells me. “But I think there’s a fourth option. It’s like the Mafioso code. We give you one option: kill yourself, die with honour.”

Nugan’s death was the end. Investors lost it all. And then Hand, the great escape artist, vanished – and he remained so until Butt caught up with him.

3 . Commission whitewash

There were multiple investigations. A joint police taskforce was established, and started pulling on threads that led to the “Mr Asia” heroin syndicate and other major traffickers. A royal commission was established in 1983. That same year, federal opposition leader Bill Hayden stood in parliament and demanded that the commission’s terms of reference be expanded to include an investigation of the CIA’s role. Hayden was fuming. “There can be no doubt that Nugan Hand was involved with the CIA and in arms dealing,” he said. “There have been firm United States denials about CIA involvement with Nugan Hand. Quite frankly, on its record the only people who would accept that sort of guarantee from the CIA would be the sort of people who would believe Ronald Biggs when he said he had never travelled by train. The CIA has a deplorable record … It has been deplorable and often out of control and can rarely be trusted.”

Three years later, when the commission’s final report was tabled, the Liberal party would exhume Hayden’s words and condemn him with them. The commission had found Nugan Hand Bank to have been grossly irresponsible, incompetent and guilty of fraud – but could find no evidence of CIA involvement or money laundering. Liberal member for North Sydney, John Spender, stood in the house. “The foreign minister of this country was equating the CIA with a bank robber. The Central Intelligence Agency is a most important agency to the United States government. It is most important to the security of that government, to the free world and to this country.”

But many thought the commission was inadequate – overly deferential to the senior US military men called to testify, and unwilling to admit the limitations of their investigation given the destruction of evidence. One of those men critical of the commission is Clive Small, a NSW detective who was part of the joint taskforce. “That taskforce uncovered information about multiple drug traffickers,” Butt says. “Small was vehemently of the belief that the royal commission report was a whitewash.”

Butt also unearthed an ASIO document, which I’ve seen, dated September 1980 and detailing a conversation between the spy agency and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. While not proof of collusion, it suggests that Canberra was seeking a refutation of the CIA allegations from Washington, and that it would accept one uncritically.

4 . Houghton remembered

The history of Kings Cross is heavy, and we lionise it weakly with euphemism. “Colourful” is the dominant, and witless, description. Witless in that it ignores the district’s great blossom of corruption. Ignores the greed and murder the banal bravado the theatre of cynicism that involved cops, killers and politicians. The egos of this world demanded they be thought irresistible, and we have obliged. In Sydney’s Fitzroy Gardens, a bust of Houghton sits above an adoring plaque. “Bernie’s Texan greeting is warmly remembered. He loved his adopted Kings Cross. Bernie loved people and helped those struggling in life. His Bourbon and Beefsteak bar became a local and international icon.”

After Houghton’s death in 2000 at the age of 80, the Bourbon and Beefsteak changed owners. They abandoned the “Beefsteak” and transformed the interior. It was unrecognisable – all sharp edges, clean walls and house DJs. The gentrified site has now been sold again, slated for the construction of apartments, caught in a different kind of inexorability.

5 . Smiley’s People

There’s a painting I’ve seen, made by the former Nugan Hand president Admiral Yates and given to Helene Hand as a Christmas present in 1979 – just weeks before Frank Nugan’s death. The painting’s subject is Helene’s husband, Michael, frozen in patriotic kitsch. Our hero stands in a beige jacket, his arm gripping a compliant tiger’s neck. A snake is coiled around his hiking stick. To his right, a screeching eagle is perched on a branch. Hand is unmoved by the potential threats of this wildlife – he seems to have heroically quelled or assimilated their danger.

Behind Hand is a snow-capped mountain, and suggestions of the romantic expanse of the American west. His hair is wholesomely parted, his gaze and modest smile turned towards something distant and unseen by the viewer. Presumably it’s a glorious future.

Technically juvenile, the painting is also an intense and self-conscious compression of the tropes of American exceptionalism. But more interesting is the inscription on the back of the canvas. “This painting done for Helene Hand for Christmas ’79. ‘Smiley’s People’ by E. Yates, friend.”

It is evidence of the vain myth-making of rogue spooks. Smiley’s People was the final book in spy novelist John le Carré’s “Karla” trilogy, released that same year. It was a famous series, about two ageing, intimately opposed spymasters, George Smiley and his Russian counterpart, Karla. It was written by the “most reliable witness to the vicissitudes of international paranoia”, in the words of journalist Andrew O’Hagan. Le Carré, a former British intelligence agent himself, audited the costs of that paranoia – in blood, treasure and peace of mind – and warned of the soul death that follows studied cynicism.

Smiley was calm, grey and cerebral: a bookish professor with awesome power. He was aware of the global costs of duplicity. Spectacularly cuckolded, he was also aware of the personal. The naming of Yates’s painting for le Carré’s book seems not only incongruous, but aggrandising. Yates glibly flipped the author’s warnings into a perverse validation, proof that the zeitgeist found their adventures charming. It is Narcissus admiring his reflection in a pond of popular culture, but the self-enchantment is so great he can’t see the gross distortions cast by the ripples. If Yates and Hand were seeking avatars in pop culture, Ian Fleming’s James Bond – pregnant with male wish-fulfilment – seems the more appropriate figure.

Despite the saintly canvas, it is unlikely Hand was a sincere romantic. He was a man on the make, grateful for the state’s validation of his criminality. He was neither Bond nor Smiley, but a hustler who enjoyed the patronage of a superpower. But within that patronage was fertile soil for self-justification. William Colby accepted “necessary evil” – the sort that could make a man like Hand come to think of his crimes as useful, a grimy bulwark against communism.

At their best, le Carré’s novels are filled with painfully self-aware characters. Characters who draw their own lines of moral demarcation. We can only wonder where Hand drew his, if anywhere, but by assuming a false name for decades we might assume he realised that he had crossed someone else’s.

6 . Paranoia reigns

One great theme of the Nugan Hand affair is paranoia, and the men who made a cult and profession from it. Paranoia was the temper of the foreign policy that encouraged and protected the likes of Hand. The history of his bank coincides neatly with the Ford White House’s vain burying of the CIA’s history of dark illegality. The agency called its secrets the “family jewels”.

The smokescreen for mercenaries such as Hand was “reds under beds” and the feared “domino effect” of communist contagion in Asia. It’s telling that even now, decades after the bipolarity of the Cold War vanished, Hand’s business is still based upon paranoia. It has just changed its source. His knife company carries the slogan “In and out of the shadows” and sells its blades not just to the US military, but civilians who pride themselves on their preparedness for the collapse of society.

Another company, onPoint Tactical, is close to Hand and endorses his knives. OnPoint offers courses in “urban escape and evasion”, providing paramilitary skills to mums and dads. Skills such as how to “get out of custody in an urban setting” by “escaping handcuffs, flexi-cuffs, rope, duct-tape, you name it”. It sells these services knowing that many Americans are responsive to imminent threat. “Last year,” one of its promotional videos says, “there were 327 kidnappings in Phoenix, Arizona. Do you think you are safe?”

“Phoenix”, coincidentally, was the name of a clandestine operation overseen by William Colby in Vietnam, involving Michael Hand, which resulted in vast torture and the killing of at least 20,000 suspected Vietcong. OnPoint’s founder, Kevin Reeve, is not one for historic shade, but he understands American anxiety. In a recent interview, he said: “I have taught SEALs, special ops, all parts of the military. But I’ve had a lot of good experiences teaching the civilian community – people who are concerned about the future of the economy, worried about future instability, those kind of reasons are why people take these classes.”

One senses with Hand that he recognised, if only on an animal level, the savage freedoms he could enjoy once paranoia was officially adopted by the state. From there he cunningly dressed his operations in the prestige of that state, lacquered a rotten structure with the associations of respected men. William Colby called his memoir Honorable Men.

7 . ASIO files will reveal more

Peter Butt doesn’t know what happens next. He’s provided information to the Australian Federal Police and the office of the NSW attorney-general. It’s Hand’s move now. And the authorities’. Butt suspects that it took 35 years because no official was interested in finding Hand. It was all too complicated. Too messy. Too many shadowy contingencies. What Butt does know, though, is that there’s much, much more to find out. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are 18,000 royal commission documents on this, and only 2000 have been declassified. There are a thousand more stories. It’s huge.”

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 14, 2015 as "Sleight of Hand".

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A History of CIA Drug Trafficking: How Drug Cartels and Drug-Dealing Death Squads Have Been the CIA's Best Friends for Many Decades


Large picture: the CIA's Paul Helliwell with the CIA's Michael Hand (mid) and Frank Nugan (right) of the Nugan Hand Bank, a laundromat for CIA heroin profits. Small picture, left: Former CIA director, vice president, and chief U.S. drug trafficking "fighter" George H. W. Bush with Panama's Noriega, a decades-long CIA asset and Medellin Cartel-allied cocaine exporter to the U.S. - until he became too much of a liability in 1989. Small picture, right: Seizure in Mexico of cartel weapons and drugs.

1. Intro: four dozen CIA drug trafficking cases
2. "Liberal CIA"-backed "New Left" media our best friend?
3. Key names behind the CIA drug trade
4. The "rogue" CIA myth
5. Where do elites fit into CIA drug trafficking?
6. CIA drug trafficking timeline: 1940s - 21st century
7. DEA working with Mexican police. or Mexican drug cartels?
8. Mike Ruppert and those less reliable CIA drug trafficking cases
9. Notes

Intro: four dozen CIA drug trafficking cases

In this article about four dozen historical cases of CIA drug trafficking are summarized, complete with sources. These summaries and sources should make it much easier to understand the intricacies of CIA drug trafficking allegations, see how various cases fit together, leap over some of the less reliable ones, and form a relatively clear opinion as to whether or not this subject is credible. A timeline of the more important and credible historical cases is as follows:

  • 1940s: the Cosa Nostra, Triads, Black Dragon terrorists and Yakuza
  • 1950s: the role of CAT and SEA Supply in setting up the "Golden Triangle" opium trafficking network
  • 1960s-: later "Golden Triangle" drug lords as Khun Sa and Vang Pao
  • 1960s-1970s: South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu
  • 1970s: the Nugan Hand Bank and BBRDW collapses
  • 1970s-:Bolivia's coca suppliers, starting under dictator Hugo Banzer, with European fascists Klaus Barbie and Stefano Della Chiaie as chief aids
  • 1970s-1980s: the Medellin Cartel and Cali Cartel in Colombia
  • 1978: the Honduran cocaine coup of drug trafficker Felix Gallardo and dictator General Policarpo Paz García
  • 1980: the Bolivian cocaine coup of General Luis Garcia Meza Tajada, once again with Klaus Barbie and Stefano Della Chiaie
  • 1973-1990:Augusto Pinochet in Chile
  • 1980-1989:Manuel Noriega and his Mossad henchman Micha Harari in Panama
  • 1980s:Mexico's Guadalajara Cartel and its government bosses in the DFS and cabinet, in part also revealed through DEA agent Mike Levine
  • 1982-1985: the pro-Contra BLACK EAGLE operation, ran from George H. W. Bush's office
  • 1982-1986: the subsequent CIA crack-cocaine affair, Mena affair, John Hull ranch and Ilopango Airport drug smuggling accusations, and finally Iran-Contra, all in relation to these Contra wars
  • 1980s:Afghanistan and the BCCI in the 1980s
  • 1998-: the Afghan heroin-linked KBR Halliburton-Far West partnership and the U.S.-tied Alfa Group in Ukraine and Russia
  • 1999-2001: the drug trafficking accusations and convictions of the flight school owners who trained the primary 9/11 hijackers
  • 2001-: the Afghanistan heroin production surge post-9/11 and Afghan drug traffickers on the CIA payroll
  • 2006-2011: Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, "El Chapo", and Operation Fast and Furious.

Then there are a number of more well-known but far less reliable CIA drug trafficking accusations that have been perpetuated in conspiracy circles. These have been included in a separate list. Because of their prominence and partially or largely correct information (minus a few code names and details), they remain important to discuss. We're talking about:

  • 1984-1988:Daniel Sheehan's CIA-Contra investigations through the "liberal CIA"-backed Christic Institute
  • 1991:Richard Brenneke's claims about Mena and the Strategy of Tension
  • "1980": the Colonel Edward Cutolo affidavit
  • 1996: the Colonel Robert Wilson affidavit
  • 1990s: the Dee Ferdinand-Carone testimony
  • 1990s: the claims of Gene Tatum
  • 1996: the rise to prominence of Mike Ruppert immediately after the Gary Webb "Dark Alliance" exposés.

In addition, for now I prefer to label a case mentioned in Daniel Casolaro's private journal as "less reliable", because the same source he used for this case appears to have been feeding him disinformation on other occasions.

The reader should know that certainly not all sources used in the "reliable" section actually are fully reliable. Colonel Bo Gritz, Rodney Stich, or Joseph Trento all have their peculiarities. I only used them when left with no other choice or as one of a number of sources. Furthermore, I can only pray that Mike Levine's claims are genuine. I have little reason to doubt him, except that I wonder how he ever made it to the New York Times best-sellers list. Most likely that has been due to the influence of "liberal CIA" in the aftermath of the Contra affair let's hope that's all there is to it.

Update: Intuition seldom fails. On June 15, 2005 Mike Levine was invited to conspiracy disinformation radio show Coast to Coast AM alongside Peter Lance to argue in favor of the somewhat official "government negligence theory" for 9/11 while debating fellow security state assets David Ray Griffin and Alex Jones, two unfortunate no-plane-promoting leaders of 9/11 "truth". Considering everyone invited to Coast to Coast AM is a security state asset of some sort, Mike Levine cannot be considered reliable. However, as with Peter Lance, his core accusations do seem to have merit.

As the above update makes additionally clear, the conspiracy business is the ultimate minefield and CIA drug trafficking is hardly different. Despite that, I'm quite sure that the vast majority of cases listed in the "reliable" section are very accurate. But ultimately readers will have to check the sources for themselves and make up their own minds.

"Liberal CIA"-backed "New Left" media our best friend?

The "Liberal CIA" network.

As I found out while putting together this oversight, accusing the CIA of drug trafficking certainly isn't contained to conspiracy authors. "Liberal CIA" media outlets have been doing it since at least the Contra affair of the mid 1980s. Articles used as source material here include those from PBS, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, Alternet and Consortium News, as well as the National Security Archive and the surprisingly detailed and rather unique 1998 book Whiteout of Alexander Cockburn (ever since UCLA establishmentarian Peter Dale Scott came out as a Pentagon-no-planer, I'm even more hesitant to cite his somewhat similar book Cocaine Politics). A broadcast of Pacifica Radio's WBAI station has also been used.

I was somewhat surprised by all this, because these same alternative "liberal CIA" media outlets - all of them funded by big foundations as Rockefeller, Ford, Soros, MacArthur and others - will scream bloody murder when similarly rational questions are asked about the JFK assassination or 9/11 - which, as far as I can see, largely implicate the same set of characters.

Exposés of Contra drug trafficking or even U.S. government support of dictators and death squads during the Cold War aren't even contained to these alternative outlets. There are a number of quite revealing articles on this in the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as the somewhat less establishment Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and L.A. Weekly. It must be said though that voicing suspicions that the CIA and top cabinet officials have been involved in drug trafficking is really where establishment publications as the New York Times have been drawing the line. We clearly saw that in late 1996 when Gary Webb reported in the San Jose Mercury News about CIA-sanctioned Contra cocaine trafficking. While some of the "new left" publications - which actually receive financing from interests equally linked to the New York Times and Washington Post - never wavered in their support of Webb, he was harshly and irrationally attacked by (official) establishment publications, to the point he lost his job and eventually committed suicide.

Still, it's good to see that the "new left" media, however controlled it is, has been reporting on CIA drug trafficking, because it makes the subject much easier to discuss. They might not have the authority of the New York Times or Washington Post, but they cannot simply be dismissed either. Far from it. Take the National Security Archive alone. Apart from all the unique government documents it has published, it has numerous establishment individuals involved with it, including Seymour Hersh, Morton Halperin, Walter Slocombe and the occasional high-level Soros employee.

Cocaine and heroin legalization?

George Soros, always scheming. The Drug Policy Alliance is part of what ISGP refers to as "Liberal CIA", which to a large extent has actually been working to expose the CIA drug trafficking schemes of its more conservative counterpart. Unfortunately, it's also not exactly opposed to pushing disinformation and manipulating public opinion to its own benefit.

What is also very nice to see is that this "new left" "liberal CIA" network is actively working to make not just marijuana legal, but also psychedelics as mushrooms, ibogaine, ayahuasca and MDMA. All of these psychedelics have shown tremendous potential for unparalleled psychological introspection, release of trauma, and the breaking up of addiction patterns. Ibogaine, in particular, can successfully treat all kinds of addictions, from cigarettes to heroin. George Soros' Drug Policy Alliance and the Rockefeller-tied Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and Heffter Research Institute are leading the way in this.

A lot of these same people used to be advocates of the methadone programs of the 1970s, which cut crime in half in the 1970-1973 period. Reluctantly introduced by Nixon under pressure of the Washington Post and other liberal establishment interests [1], these programs were shelved under the Reagan-Bush administration with its "Just Say No" policy, which, according to Carter's drug czar Dr. Peter Bourne was akin to "telling someone who's depressed, "Have a Nice Day."" [2] At the same time, the Reagan administration secretly re-introduced U.S. government cooperation with drug cartels and drug dealing military commanders and dictators. Indeed, Christian Conservatives never cease to amaze.

Personally, I would also advocate for the legalization of cocaine and heroin, be it in a very controlled matter in which anyone can buy them for the lowest possible price in specialized government drug stores. The only alternative, especially with regard to heroin, is forced treatment with ibogaine. This aspect is discussed in ISGP's solutions oversight.

It would be very interesting to see - as a temporary experiment - what would happen if a cocaine and heroin legalization program is implemented. It should destroy the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels overnight and end the half-century old "War on Drugs". The Mexican economy should take off, stopping the illegal and legal emigration flows toward the United States. But will it ever come this far? After all, similar to the much newer "War on Terror", there's a military and national security establishment that needs enemies to protect us from. If the drug or terrorism problem gets solved, defense budgets are going to be slashed and a lot of powerful people will lose their jobs, prestige and influence. It will also make it much harder to argue in favor of invasive domestic espionage plans. Terrorism in the most crucial enemy, but the drug cartels and domestic crime groups are a good second. Dr. Bourne is among a number of high officials who have publicly discussed this problem. [3]

In any case, pushing for full drug legalization and regulation is as viable a route as trying to educate people about CIA-sanctioned drug trafficking and how the CIA built up the French Connection, the Golden Triangle opium lords, the Afghan heroin market, and the Colombian cocaine cartels.

Key names behind the CIA drug trade

Key CIA names of the Agency's drug trade of the 1950s in Burma/Myanmar - and with that established the infamous Golden Triangle - include Frank Wisner, Paul Helliwell, Claire Chennault, William Pawley and Tommy Corcoran. Their primary tools to facilitate arms-for-opium trafficking operations in the region were Chiang Kai-shek on Taiwan and the airliners Civil Air Transport (CAT later Air America) and SEA Supply Corporation. Together these elements built up anti-communist guerrilla armies in the Burmese backlands, as well as the Thai national police force.

William Colby, a protege of Richard Helms in the CIA's Operations Department. In the mid-1970s they fell out.

William Colby came to the Golden Triangle in 1959 as CIA station chief of South Vietnam, working with Ngo Dinh Diem in forcing the population to resist the communist North. Diem reportedly was involved in the trafficking of Burmese opium and so was South Vietnam's president from 1965 to 1975, Nguyen Van Thieu, with whom Colby also worked closely, first as chief of the CIA's Far East Division from 1962 to 1967, and then as head of the Phoenix Program from 1968 to 1971. When the notorious Ted Shackley, widely accused of similar opium trafficking practices, became station chief of Laos in 1966, Colby was his immediate supervisor.

Ted Shackley, a protege of Helms in the CIA's Operations Department and close to Bush, Sr. and Carlucci.

After Vietnam, Shackley continued his activities as chief of the Western Hemisphere Division from 1972 to 1976 and as George H. W. Bush's deputy director of covert operations. After being forced out of the CIA by Carter's CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, in 1979, he became deeply involved with his mentor Richard Helms, George H. W. Bush, Frank Carlucci and a number of others in managing a private CIA network through groups as the Safari Club [4] and Le Cercle. His name features in numerous of the most sensitive and appalling CIA scandals, from the JFK assassination to Gladio terrorism, even after he was officially removed from the Agency.

Another of these Shackley-tied scandals is the 1980 collapse of the Nugan Hand Bank amidst accusations that the bank was laundering Golden Triangle heroin profits, almost a decade after the end of the Vietnam War. Shackley, who around the same time was also fingered as a CIA drug trafficker by Burmese opium kingpin Khun Sa, was reported to be involved in the bank. Colby, as the lawyer to one of the founders, certainly was. In addition to Shackley and Colby, CIA officers and key CIA assets Paul Helliwell, General Richard Secord, Rafael Quintero, Thomas Clines all were named in a 1983 study of the Australian government into the Nugan Hand Bank as having been close to the bank's co-founder Michael Hand.

What is almost hilarious is that Hand used to work for the CIA's opium smuggling airline Air America in Laos during the Vietnam War, while General Secord played an important role in directing Air America operations and Shackley and Clines were running the Laotian CIA station in this same period. What might be of additional interest is that Admiral Felix B. Stump was chairman of Air America from 1959 to at least 1970. Why? Because Admiral Stump joined the the national strategy board of the ultraright, death squad-linked American Security Council, which over the years has seen its fair share of top-level CIA and Pentagon officers on the board, as well as three Wackenhut executives. James Angleton, Ray Cline, Iran Contra's General John Singlaub, and Daniel Arnold - of Golden Triangle opium trafficking fame alongside Shackley - include some of these CIA and Pentagon officers. By the 1980s cocaine-trafficking Contras leaders were also very popular at American Security Council meetings.

Shackley's good friend George H. W. Bush has been considered another key insider to the CIA drug trade. There's quite a bit of evidence that Operation BLACK EAGLE - and certainly a similar operation if the name itself turns out to be incorrect - to support the Latin American Contras was ran from Bush's vice presidential office on behalf of CIA director William Casey. There is more than a bit of evidence that these men allowed the Contras to smuggle cocaine into the United States, in order for them to pay for weapons and other supplies. Besides Casey and Bush, other names that continually surfaced in relation to BLACK EAGLE and overlapping operations as the ARMS SUPERMARKET and THE ENTERPRISE included Donald Gregg, Felix Rodriguez, General Richard Secord, and the famous Colonel Oliver North, who reportedly was Casey's asset at the National Security Council.

Reagan administration officials at the very least in the know of Contra cocaine imports into the U.S., f.l.t.r.: William Casey, George Bush, Felix Rodriguez, Donald Gregg, Colonel Oliver North and General Richard Secord.

Others particularly closely tied to the Contra arms and cocaine trafficking operations, mainly in the 1982-1986 period, include Costa Rica-based CIA asset John Hull, Contra leaders and American Security Council visitors Adolfo Calero and Enrique Bermudez, and Panama's Manuel Noriega, together with his right-hand man Mike Harari, a top-level Mossad asset in Latin America. For the rest, clandestine partners of the U.S. government included well-known drug traffickers and dictators who had no particular name to uphold in the first place.

Bush's name we also find in the CIA-linked BBRDW scandal of the early 1980s, although it must be said, maybe not through the most reliable source (the convicted chairman Ron Rewald through author Rodney Stich). Then there's the Mena drug trafficking affair in which Medellin Cartel cocaine importer Barry Seal stood central. Who looks at this case will have to conclude that it is virtually certain that both Bush and Clinton, the latter as governor of Arkansas, were shielding Seal's operations from law enforcement. On top of that, the Casey-Bush-North alliance destroyed the DEA's operation aimed at bringing down the entire Medellin Cartel when they decided to leak the Contra sting operation of their asset Barry Seal to the media. This allowed Reagan to accuse the Sandinista government of drug trafficking and force Congress to end the ban on U.S. military aid to the Contras - who, of course, were the real drug traffickers. The scheme worked.

What might also be important to mention is that it almost certainly wasn't an accident that Bush was appointed CIA director. As has been the case with various other CIA directors (William Casey, James Woolsey), there's evidence that Bush maintained a decades-long affiliation with the CIA through the business world, in his case through the network of his Eastern Establishment father, Prescott Bush, and then through his oil firm Zapata Petroleum. The oil business not only made him a key CIA asset who later came in handy for overtures to the Saudis as part of the Safari Club network, but in the mid 1970s Bush reportedly also was extremely useful to CIA friends as Ted Shackley and CIA director Richard Helms in penetrating the Mexican government and its national oil company PEMEX. William Pawley, a CIA asset in starting up Golden Triangle CIA opium trafficking in the early 1950s and an American Security Council propagandist, is reported to have played a key intermediary role between Bush and the Mexican government. [5]

Bottom-left, top-left, top-right: Defense minister Juan Arevalo, interior minister Manuel Bartlett and Reagan with Mexican president Miguel de la Madrid. Bottom-right: Bush, Sr. with Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The real cocaine cartel bosses of the 1980s and early 1990s?

We all know what an extremely violent place Mexico has become since the late 1970s when the drug cartels reared their ugly heads. As it happens, various Mexican presidents and cabinet members have been accused of direct involvement in the cocaine trade. Names include defense minister Juan Arevalo and interior minister Manuel Bartlett, both of whom served the full six years (1982-1988) of the presidency of Miguel de la Madrid. Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994) has been accused of direct involvement. Also mentioned have been (the convicted) Ruben Zuno Arce, a son-in-law to Mexican president Luis Echeverria Alvarez (1970-1976) and Colonel Jaime Carranza, a grandson of Venustiano Carranza, Mexico's defacto leader from 1915 to 1917 and then president until 1920. Government control over the cartels, at least in the 1970s and 1980s, was maintained through the Federal Security Directorate (DFS), an internal security service which was trained by the CIA, answered to the interior minister and served as "the eyes and ears" of the cartels.

If we subsequently look at rather serious accusations that Felix Rodriguez - the front man for Bush and Gregg in Contra and seemingly drug trafficking affairs - in the 1980s attended parties in which top Guadalajara Cartel bosses, Mexican cabinet ministers, police chiefs and even national Interpol directors all mingled, and that Rodriguez reportedly played a key role in the torture-murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, and we once again are more or less forced to conclude that Bush, Sr. most likely has been a major insider to CIA/White House-sanctioned drug trafficking. And more than that as well. Bush's name already surfaced in a curious manner in the JFK assassination, while his son, Bush, Jr., was president of the United States on 9/11, another event that has left us with more questions than answers. So, maybe by figuring out who the key persons have been behind CIA drug trafficking, we most likely can also figure out who has been behind a whole range of other conspiracy affairs.

Bush, Jr. has called Hillary Clinton his "sister-in-law" and Bill "his brother from another mother". [6] He also stated that his father is a "father figure" to Bill Clinton. [7]
Just as worrying, both families can be tied to CIA-sanctioned Contra cocaine imports of the 1980s through BLACK EAGLE and Mena. Did the Agency take control over presidential candidates as well?

The post-9/11 world has seen the curious spike in production in Afghan opium that the United States, in contrast to the Taliban, just can't seem to get under control.

The violence in Mexico also continued to increase in the post-9/11 world due to competing cocaine cartels. In fact, a lot of evidence has emerged that certainly in the 2006-2011 period, the Bush and Obama administrations were secretly aiding the Sinaloa Cartel against the Los Zetas in what has become known as the gun walking scandals.

As the timeline in this article demonstrates, all these problematic drug-producing hot spots - the French Connection, Golden Triangle, the Golden Crescent and Latin America - were created by the United States during the Cold War to finance (largely) illegal CIA operations. Has anything changed? Who really knows. Apart from the Bush family legacy to go by, we appear to have Bush's vice president Dick Cheney and the CIA linked to Afghan opium trafficking through their (past) partnership with Far West Ltd., at least in the 1998 - early 2000s period.

There may also be ties between the Bush government's brutal extraordinary rendition program (the torturing of terrorist subjects in Third World countries) and Sinaloa Cartel cocaine imports into the United States, much like CIA-backed anti-communist death squads that were partially financed through the drug trade during the Cold War.

We certainly also shouldn't forget, of course, that 9/11 ring leader Mohammed Atta and some of his primary associates were trained as pilots in the United States by rather obvious CIA-tied drug importers: Wally Hilliard, Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof.

These and a number of other latter-day scandals listed in the timeline below most certainly make one wonder if anything has changed since the end of the Cold War. In the end we have to conclude that we just don't know, but with this article and the sources provided in it, at least we have some historical perspective to move forward from.

Afghan opium almost fully taking over the heroin market from the older Golden Triangle in the years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The "War on Drugs" and the "War on Terror", two Bush family-ran efforts that have only made things exponentially worse. And one can't help but wonder how it is possible that the Taliban was an infinitely more effective drug war fighter than the U.S. government. More on the Afghan opium situation here.

It's important to understand that there's little evidence that the CIA ever went "rogue". Throughout the decades presidents, national security advisors and often also secretaries of state have authorized just about every CIA operation. This most certainly includes pro-big business coups that brought murderous "anti-communist" dictators to power. These coups have been documented rather well over the years by various parliamentary investigations, such as the Church Committee, the Hamilton and Inouye-led committees into Iran Contra and the closely-related Kerry Committee looking into Contra drug trafficking. A present-day elite-backed NGO as the National Security Archive actually has continued the work of these committees by filing FOIA requests and writing additional reports.

The only Cold War presidents who really did their best to not authorize such operations that involved replacing moderate governments with violent dictators and death squads have been John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter, although both continually were under significant pressure by top cabinet members, advisors, and Eastern Establishment and Christian conservative pressure groups to sail more hardline routes. Kennedy was by far the most stubborn in this sense. Coincidence or not, we all know what happened to him and his brother.

Where do elites fit into CIA drug trafficking?

Establishment at its finest: October 25, 1996, Hadrian Award Ceremony, organized by the wife of William Buckley, Jr.: 1001 Club member and alleged Knights Templar descendant Karim Aga Khan IV (right) with David Rockefeller, who. during the ceremony stated that the Aga Khan had been a Harvard roommate of Senator Jay Rockefeller. Michel David Weill of Lazard (1001 Club) was present and, like Rockefeller, gave a speech. Lord Jacob Rothschild (1001 Club family) couldn't attend, but left a note for the Aga Khan. Cyrus Vance of the Pilgrims Society and Rockefeller Foundation also gave an address.

An interesting aspect of these "above-CIA" elements having authorized all CIA operations is that this brings "the elite" more into view, because elites have not exactly limited themselves to the CIA directorship, deputy directorship, and the top of the operations department. The positions of secretary of state, national security advisor and defense secretary are all held decade after decade by leading and trusted members of the superclass. There's plenty of evidence to show that persons picked for these positions, have been fully aware that the CIA has been in the drug business. This most certainly goes for the most connected individuals that have occupied these positions: Rockefeller/Bechtel friends (which, as ISGP demonstrates in its intro article, have dominated U.S. politics since World War II) as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and George Shultz. CIA directors Allen Dulles, John McCone and Richard Helms fall into this same category of powerful Rockefeller friends.

More information on this Cold War Rockefeller network at the top of government can be found in ISGP's Pilgrims Society article. What is particularly relevant here is that if we consider the idea that many of these top government officials have been in the know of CIA drug trafficking, then all of a sudden it starts to make sense that we can tie the very elite 1001 Club membership of Prince Bernhard to a number of high level money laundering and drug trafficking cases. We're talking about such 1001 Club members (in bold) as:

  1. David Rockefeller and the Bechtels, who, through their friendship with successive CIA directors Allen Dulles, John McCone and Richard Helms (David Rockefeller received full briefings from CIA division chiefs, with both he and Bechtel serving as CIA fronts), not to mention long-time 40 Committee chairman Henry Kissinger, should have been aware of CIA drug trafficking operations
  2. Robert Vesco, the alleged CIA-tied drug trafficker and money launderer
  3. Tibor Rosenbaum, the Mossad asset, Edmond de Rothschild (1001 Club) associate, and chairman of the International Credit Bank (ICB) of Geneva, which laundered billions in profits of the Jewish-American mafia
  4. BCCI founder Aga Hasan Abedi, a product of the Pakistani ISI and western elites
  5. top-level Rothschild banker Alfred Hartmann, who was deeply involved in the BCCI and other major scandals as Iraqgate, the Russian IMF money laundering scandal (as vice chair of the Bank of New York-Inter Maritime Bank in Geneva, headed by Mossad agent and William Casey associate Bruce Rappaport), the Savings and loan crisis, and seemingly even the Banco Ambrosiano collapse
  6. the Rothschilds themselves with their rather extensive ties (along with the Israelis) to Russian oligarchs in turn with top-level connections to the Solntsevskaya mafia and Uzbekistan crime boss Gafur Rakhimov, a reported major trafficker of Afghan heroin
  7. Edmond Safra, the Zionist banker close to the Rothschilds who was linked to the laundering of Iran Contra and Medellin Cartel proceeds, followed by similar accusations - alongside Solntsevskaya and Zionist Russian oligarchs - involving billions of dollars in IMF loans to Russia
  8. the Aga Khans, said to be involved in Afghan heroin with MI6 who are very close Rockefeller and Rothschild friends
  9. the royal house of Liechtenstein can be linked to accusions of laundering money for the Medellin Cartel, Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko (1001 Club), Ferdinand Marcos on the Philippines, and Germany's leading CDU political party through Peter Frommelt, a relative of 1001 Club member Egmond Frommelt and 1001 Club member Herbert Batliner, both close associates of Prince Bernhard, the Mossad's Tibor Rosenbaum, and the house of Liechtenstein.

We also shouldn't forget about drug trafficking charges involving South-East Asia heroin and Colombian cocaine against the Russian-Zionist Alfa Group of Mikhail Fridman and other oligarchs. These charges deserve to be mentioned separately from the Rothschild connections to Russia, in part because Fridman can be found on the global advisory panel of the Council on Foreign Relations, putting him direct contact with the Rockefeller clique of globalists.

Then there's the earlier-mentioned Far West Ltd. corporation, with its alleged involvement in Afghan heroin and South American cocaine trafficking. With prominent Saudis as Prince Turki al Faisal and Adnan Khashoggi and Americans as vice president Dick Cheney and former CIA director William Webster apparently involved in this partnership, this case also crosses the boundary from pure intelligence into the superclass.

With all these strange connections of high society and the historical CIA ties of the Rockefeller clique in particular within the Eastern Establishment, it is very interesting to see that the "liberal CIA" network of the past few decades, which still largely revolves around foundations as Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie, has become so supportive of a small clique of authors, publications and whistleblowers bringing attention to historical CIA trafficking. To this day I myself cannot tell if this has to do with managing dissent or if it represents a genuine desire for change. All I can do is hope it's the latter.

CIA drug trafficking timeline: 1940s - 21st century

    1942 - 1970s: During World War II the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and the OSS build up relations with leaders of the American-Sicilian mafia - Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Joe Adonis, and Frank Costello - in order to prevent sabotage in East Coast ports and gather intelligence on Mussolini's Italy before the Allied invasion.

As for U.S. persons involved in the Burma campaign, OSS/OPC/CIA leaders Paul Helliwell and Frank Wisner are instrumental in setting up the Sea Supply Corporation, with CAT president Claire Chennault, an old OSS friend of Helliwell, proposing the initial plan to contain communist China with the use of forces loyal to General Chiang Kai-shek. Tommy Corcoran, as a Washington lobbyist, serves as an important liaison between Chennault and the CIA. [12]

Yale-educated historian Alfred W. McCoy first exposed these operations to the U.S. senate in 1972, immediately followed by his book The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, which appeared later that year.

Despite the fact that this early CIA-mafia cooperation has been described as unprofessional, limited and very short-lasting, we find these same mafia elements, including Louisiana crime boss Carlos Marcello, as a background story to Lee Harvey and Jack Ruby in the 1963 JFK assassination. Parallel to this, we know that FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover was pretending that organized crime, including these mafia bosses, didn't exist until forced to admit to it by attorney general Robert Kennedy.

In 1967 it is revealed that Rosenbaum's Geneva-based International Credit Bank has been laundering $7 to $8 billion dollars for the Jewish-American crime boss Meyer Lansky (a major Zionist himself) through Lansky's money laundering expert John Pullman. Investors Overseas Services (IOS), eventually taken over by notorious drug trafficker, money launderer and suspected CIA asset Robert Vesco, was closely tied to the ICB money laundering scheme. [22] And coincidentally, until controversy arose around him, Vesco was another member of the 1001 Club, along with Prince Bernhard, Europe's royal families, Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, BCCI money launderers, and the Aga Khans (suspected of heroin trafficking), Rockefellers and Rothschilds. 1973 - 1980: Top CIA officers and key CIA assets as Paul Helliwell, William Colby, Ted Shackley, General Richard Secord, Rafael Quintero and Thomas Clines appear in the Australian Nugan Hand Bank affair, a CIA heroin money laundering scheme that began during the Vietnam War.

Almost hilariously, this entire gang had set up and operated what became Air America, the opium smuggling, CIA airliner of the Vietnam War. Then, in the 1980s, we find some of the same names emerging in arms for drug shipments to the Contras. [23]
1978 - July 1983: Existence of the investment firm Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong (BBRDW) in the Pacific region, including Hawaii. While mainstream media reports acknowledged the CIA ties of the firm's founder Ron Rewald, the suggestion they aroused is that they were exaggerated for Rewald's personal gain and that it were primarily his con games that affected the savings of a number of high level military and CIA officials. The only source to (later on) really dig into the firm has been author Rodney Stich. He interviewed Rewald after he got out of jail in 1995 and from him received a batch of secret bank documents that reportedly revealed that vice president George H. W. Bush, CIA director William Casey, CIA/DOD employee Richard Armitage and Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos maintained secret accounts at the bank. [24]

Paul vanden Boeynants with his closest Cold War ally, the fascist "Black Baron".

1970s - November 1981: Former Belgian prime minister and defense minister Paul Vanden Boeynants, a notorious Opus Dei-affiliated figure accused of involvement in horrendous child torture networks who helped set up Belgium's National Bureau for Drugs in the 1973-1975 with help from the CIA, in November 1981 was publicly implicated in a scheme in which his company Boucheries Ghysels was smuggling hash and cocaine in frozen meat from Spain to Belgium. It appears information was available that the trafficking had been going on for at least three years at that at point. Several co-founders and heads of the Gendarmerie's National Bureau for Drugs were also accused of involvement in child abuse networks, along with accusations of domestic spying on leftist groups on behalf of the CIA.

The two chief investigators of the affair, Major Guy Goffinon and BOB adjutant Herman Vernaillen, each narrowly survived an assassination attempt, carried out by individuals with close ties to the Americans, underground Nazi militias used in the CIA's Strategy of Tension, Paul Vanden Boeynants himself and, once again, elite child abuse networks. Baron Benoit de Bonvoisin, a friend of Vanden Boeynants accused of similar sadistic child torture practices, was said to be involved in the cover-up. [25] De Bonvoisin was maintaining a fascist CIA- and P2-linked underground and at the very least knew Ted Shackley through the notorious and super-secretive Cercle group. Vanden Boeynants and De Bonvoisin also maintained ties to the Israelis in their sordid business. 1970 - 1980s: Plenty of questions have been asked about a company called First Intercontinental Development Corporation (FIDCO). Carol Marshall in her book 'The Last Circle': "Again I asked myself, why was an international arms dealer on the board of F.I.D.C.O . a CIA-NSC front corporation, which offered three billion dollars to rebuild Beirut to President Amin Gamayel of Lebanon, whose chief of finances (Sami el Khouri) was shipping tons of heroin [from Turkey and through Lebanon's Beqaa Valley] to Sicily for reexport to America, want to invest in "a method for induction and activation of cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes?"" [26] There have been suspicions that Khouri was protected by the CIA, but this is not proven. [27]

A key person in FIDCO was CIA and/or National Security Council asset Robert Booth Nichols, who entered in CIA-backed arms deals with Contra forces, along with Wackenhut. This included a 1981 negotiation with General Eden Pastora, who within a year was briefly put in charge of the Contra forces in Costa Rica, forming a southern front against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. Interestingly, Pastora was only briefly supported by the CIA due to his opposition to getting involved in the drug trade and working with ultraright reactionaries. Nevertheless, Pastora was paid through CIA asset and Medellin Cartel partner Manuel Noriega of Panama. [28] Similarly, Nichols, who was groomed by the Yakuza in Hawaii, since the 1970s has been suspected by law enforcement of involvement in "the illegal transportation of narcotics through the "Golden Triangle."" [29]

Some of the drug trafficking appears to have involved his Meridian International Logistics partner Eugene F. Giaquinto, who, according to FBI transcripts was "associated with John Gotti, boss of the Gambino LCN [La Cosa Nostra] family and Edward Sciandra, underboss of the Buffalino LCN family [and] described Robert Booth Nichols as his "government man" . higher than the CIA." [30] Giaquinto was a president at MCA, controlled by 1001 Club member and Hollywood kingpin Lew Wasserman, who maintained his own ties to Jewish and Italian organized crime members, as well as the Bronfmans and the Reagan administration.

This CIA-Saudi aspect of this network is based on the Safari Club network that was founded in the late 1970s and maintained by George H. W. Bush, Ted Shackley, Richard Helms and Frank Carlucci, with key Saudis involving intelligence chief Kamal Adham, his protege Prince Turki al Faisal and Bandar Bush. The CIA money laundering bank, the Nugan Hand, was also linked into the BCCI network since 1976. [32] The 1972 founder of the BCCI, Aga Hasan Abedi, is also known to have met with CIA director William Casey on a regular basis at the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. and over a period of three years. [33]

Carlos Lehder, one of the leaders of the Medellin Cartel, would have made a particularly natural ally of the CIA. Half German, half Colombian, Lehder was a Hitler admirer and a co-founder of the Medellin Cartel-financed Muerte a Secuestradores (MAS) militia that combated the Marxist M-19 and FARC guerrillas. According to Lehder, the Medellin Cartel donated roughly $20 million to the CIA-backed Contras during the 1980s. [36] On top of that, in 2017 even Pablo Escobar's oldest son, Juan Sebastian Santos Marroquin, stated that his father worked with the CIA:

During his trial in the early 1990s, numerous witnesses/drug traffickers accused Noriega of drug trafficking, along with ties to George H. W. Bush, Colonel Oliver North and other CIA Contra figures. [38] As the torture-murder of Hugo Spadafora in particular revealed, Noriega also was an extreme human rights violator who, similarly to the drug cartels and the CIA, had no problem torturing his enemies to death. [39]

General Policarpo Paz Garcia.

The airline company of Matta-Ballesteros, SETCO, is crucial to Colonel Oliver North and the CIA in the 1983-1985 period not only in supplying the Contras with arms, but also in the trafficking of cocaine on return trips to the United States. Predictably, Paz Garcia himself becomes deeply involved in the drug traffic, receiving his cut from Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel. [46]

Roughly six months later, On November 1, the FBI arrests a group of men working with Bueso in a plot to assassinate Honduran president Roberto Suazo, who was less than enthusiastic about the CIA-backed Contra forces being maintained in his country [47], and reinstate Alvarez as head of the Army. The upcoming coup is financed with $40 million in cocaine shipments to Florida, which are intercepted by the FBI after being made aware of the plot by an informant the coup plotters tried to recruit in their scheme.

Interestingly, after the coup becomes public knowledge, the Reagan administration refuses to extradite General Alvarez to Honduras while Colonel Oliver North, soon to become a public figure in the Iran-Contra affair, personally lobbies the U.S. Justice Department and State Department to be lenient on Bueso, which they eventually are. Bueso gets away with a five-year sentence in a minimum security prison in the U.S. Lower level coup plotters are less fortunate.

Things start to make additional sense when we realize that both General Alvarez and General Bueso were students at the notorious School of the Americas. In 1980 - shortly after the "cocaine coup" of General Policarpo Paz García, whose minister of culture was Alvarez's brother - the two generals set up the Battalion 3-16 death squad, together with Argentinian ultra-rightists and the CIA. Alvarez in particular is known to have been very close friends with the CIA station chief in Honduras. [48] From 1981 to 1984 Alvarez and Bueso also regularly met with U.S. ambassador John Negroponte, who completely ignored the widespread human rights abuses of Battalion 3-16. While Negroponte denied the existence of Honduran death squads in the international media, the State Department under Alexander Haig and then George Shultz attacked domestic left-wing Honduran groups that tried to expose Battalion 3-16 and even forced its own people to lie to congress about the real situation in the country. [49] Reagan completed the party by awarding both Alvarez and Bueso the Legion of Merit.

Manuel Noriega (center) and Mossad officer and right-hand man Mike Harari (behind him, with sunglasses). Noriega was extremely fond of the Mossad and trained with Israeli special forces. He also was an employed CIA asset and at the center of Medellin and Cali Cartel cocaine transshipments to the U.S. These cartels maintained similar CIA, MI6 and Mossad ties.

1980 - 1989: Separate from Manuel Noriega's earlier-discussed CIA ties that go back to the 1970s and even before that, in 1980 the right-hand man of the Panamanian dictator becomes Michael "Mike" Harari. Harari is the Mossad anti-terrorism specialist who hunted down and killed the Black September terrorists. After some "collateral damage" in one of these operations in 1973, Harari came to Panama where he is said to have struck up a friendship with President Omar Torrijos and his intelligence chief Noriega. However, according to Harari himself he already met Torrijos in 1968 while Torrijos was still a major in charge of security at Panama Airport. A local Mossad agent persuaded Harari to meet with Torrijos. After a 12-hour conversation in which Harari was told about Torrijos' admiration for Israel the two became friends. Coincidentally, months later Torrijos staged a coup [53] in which he got rid of elected president Arnulfo Arias, a nationalist determined to wrestle back control of the Panama Canal from the United States.

In 1980 Harari comes back to Panama as the Mossad's "regional representative" for Central America - after the insurance market turned out to be too boring for him. Of course, the Mossad ties have officially always been denied. With the relatively moderate and decidedly pro-Sandinista [54] Torrijos conveniently out of the way in July 1981 due to a suspicious plane crash, Harari comes to work exclusively with Noriega, who that same year becomes the primary partner of the emerging Medellin Cartel.

It has always been debated whether or not Harari was involved in Noriega's drug business, but it is quite unrealistic to assume that he wasn't. Harari was enlisted in the CIA's BLACK EAGLE operation that involved Contras paying for weapons with Medellin Cartel cocaine. Also at least one Israeli newspaper has reported that U.S. authorities considered Harari "one of the world's biggest drug lords." In addition, he is said to have aided Mossad Colonel Yair Klein in arming and training the Medellin Cartel [55], which makes sense considering Noriega's partnership with the cartel. Of course, Harari's name also prominently features in the Cutolo affidavit as a key link in shipping Medellin Cartel cocaine to the United States. However, the Cutolo affidavit is considered highly unreliable by ISGP for a number of reasons.

What Harari certainly does for Noriega is create the Special Anti-Terror Security Unit (UESAT), an elite special forces palace guard that infiltrates different government departments, spies on everyone, carries out assassinations, and only answers to Noriega himself, with members benefitting in Noriega's illegal schemes. UESAT combines bodyguard work with secret police, intelligence, and special operations work. UESAT also successfully shields Noriega from DEA infiltration for a very long time. [56]

In addition, Harari is responsible for Noriega's overseas security, is involved in most major arms deals, and as "Mr. 60 Percent" cashes in on any foreign corporation looking to do business with Noriega. [57] He successfully moves back to Panama after the December 1989 U.S. invasion and disappears from the scene as the Cold War comes to an end.

In anticipation of congress blocking CIA and Pentagon support to the Contras, which succeeds in December 1982 with the first Boland Amendment, by August 1982 Casey and allies have set up a covert and privately-run scheme to train, advise and arm the Contra armies. This operation is called EAGLE, soon renamed to BLACK EAGLE, and remains in place until late 1985.

While CIA director William Casey set up the operation, he runs it through the office of vice president George H. W. Bush, a former CIA director and supporter of Casey's plans. In August 1982 CIA veteran Donald Gregg becomes Bush' national security advisor and apparently is specifically assigned to Bush in order to run BLACK EAGLE. Gregg's old friend from the Vietnam War, Felix Rodriguez, another CIA veteran, becomes the special envoy of Bush and Gregg in Central America. While his primary base of operations is Ilopango Airport in El Salvador, whose commander, General Juan Bustillo, is a close friend, Rodriguez is active throughout Central America, meeting with army commanders and sometimes even heads of state.

The Israelis, and most notably Casey associate Mike Harari, the Mossad agent who is the right-hand of Panamanian dictator and Medellin Cartel partner Manuel Noriega, is also brought on board of operation BLACK EAGLE. The Israelis break away in late November 1985, largely in protest over the arrest of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. This break-up will spell the end of the BLACK EAGLE project, largely replacing it with Colonel Oliver North's Enterprise network that has become infinitely more known due to the Iran-Contra affair.

North is closer to Casey than he is to Bush and Gregg. His equally privately-ran Enterprise network emerges as major competitor of the BLACK EAGLE project ran by Rodriguez, whom he can't stand - and vice versa. On more than one occasion North has to ask Gregg to keep Rodriguez in line.

All this information basically comes from one source, a lengthy November 3, 1988 Rolling Stone magazine article. It appears to have been a rather thorough investigation, however:

"The ROLLING STONE investigation [is] based on congressional and court documents and more than fifty interviews with government diplomats, career military officers and intelligence agents, including key Black Eagle operatives.

"Ever since the iran-contra scandal broke, in late 1986, the vice-president and members of his office have vehemently denied their involvement. . Bush has stuck to his basic story, insisting that he and his staff were exonerated by the Iran-contra committee. That investigation, however, focused on North's Enterprise operation and its Iranian connections. It made only oblique reference to the Supermarket and no mention at all of Black Eagle." [58]

It should be clear that the BLACK EAGLE network stands at the root of a number of CIA- and Contra-related drug trafficking operations that were active before Oliver North's Enterprise network began to divert funds from covert weapons sales to Iran which were subsequently used to buy weapons for the Contras. The first arms sale to Iran did not take place until August 1985 and therefore the extreme focus on the "Iran Contra scandal" with Oliver North at the center appears to be little more than a smokescreen to obscure the older BLACK EAGLE project of Casey, Bush, Gregg and Rodriguez.

Even is somehow the BLACK EAGLE name turns out to be disinformation, it should be clear that Bush's national security advisor Gregg most certainly was talking on an almost daily basis to Rodriguez, who was stationed at Ilopango. Bush, Gregg and Rodriguez absolutely lied about their association and involvement in the whole Contra affair.

To make matters even worse, at one point Rodriguez hired Luis Posada Carriles in the Contra schemes. Posada was a notorious CIA-backed anti-Castro terrorist and the mastermind behind the bombing of the Cubana de Aviacion Flight 455 in 1976, which killed 73 people. In one more denial, Bush claimed not to be aware who Posada was, which is a stretch considering Posada bombed the Cuban airliner while Bush was CIA director, with Castro accusing the CIA and the CIA denying involvement. [59]

Seal is first spotted at Mena's Rich Mountain Aviation in 1981, but only makes it his main operation in the spring of 1982 when local authorities force him out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he has been bringing in cocaine since 1976. Even before that, in his teens growing up in Louisiana, Seal was involved in David Ferrie's Civil Air Patrol, along with Lee Harvey Oswald, running operations against Cuba. Certainly if a 1963 photo unearthed by Daniel Hopsicker from the home of Seal's widow indeed shows Seal with the CIA's Felix Rodriguez and future CIA director Porter Goss, his drug smuggling from the 1970s also has to be analyzed in great depth as well. With all the earlier-discussed CIA and Mossad ties to cocaine coups and the Medellin Cartel (not to mention the Cali Cartel), one has to assume Seal somehow was part of this network from very early on.

Going back to the 1980s, in a related operation to Mena, Seal buys two pieces of land that together are well over 100 acres near Nella, Arkansas, where subsequently it appears mercenaries are being trained to fight alongside the Contra armies in Central America. This remote piece of land features an airstrip from which apparently these mercenaries, along with arms, are flown out.

In March 1983 Seal (once again) is arrested, this time in relation to cocaine import into south Florida. Local DEA and judicial authorities in Louisiana and Florida, or Arkansas for that manner, have zero interest in turning Seal into an informant, and thus he is convicted for cocaine trafficking in February 1984. Then, all of a sudden, in March 1984, Seal is allowed to testify in a closed-door session in front of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS), the national drug task force headed by George H. W. Bush, where he tells stories of the communist Sandinistas - the no. 1 enemy of the Reagan administration - working with the Medellin Cartel in bringing in cocaine into the United States. Bush's NNBIS forces the DEA to allow Seal to continue his activities and pick him up as an informant. By June 1984 Seal runs his famous sting operation against the Sandinista government, which Reagan soon uses on national television to remove the congressional ban against aiding the Contras, in the process destroying Seal's cover and blowing the DEA's most important operation against the Medellin Cartel.

However, looking deeper at Seal's sting (he photographed himself with Medellin Cartel leaders Pablo Escobar and an Ochoa brother at a Nicaraguan airport, but provided a questionable Sandinista government link) and one has to conclude that it almost certainly was little more than a CIA-NSC propaganda scheme ran by Colonel Oliver North to force congress into lifting the ban against military aid to the Contras. [61] And with North involved, it means that everyone else in the BLACK EAGLE project and related Contra-support operations stood right behind him: vice president George H. W. Bush, Donald Gregg, Felix Rodriguez and William Casey. Amazingly, it has actually been reported that "Seal was recruited to find pilots for Black Eagle flights." [62] More evidence might be welcome, but this certainly makes all the sense in the world.

Due to the Reagan administration's leak of Seal's sting operation against the Sandinistas, not only did it torpedo the most important DEA operation ever into a drug cartel, it also put a price on Seal's head. Hitmen of the Medellin Cartel gunned Seal down in February 1986, a death which would only serve to bring more attention to the emerging Mena affair.

Contra leader, CIA asset and American Security Council contact Adolfo Calero was similarly tied to the activities of Danilo Blandon and Rick Ross. [63] In addition, Calero's brother-in-law, Troika Sanchez, "was caught in Costa Rica with pillows full of cocaine." [64]

Gary Webb killed himself in December 2004. Much is made of his death, with widespread claims in the conspiracy community that he was "suicided", in no small part because he shot himself twice in the head during his suicide. Fact is, Webb lost the high-paying aspect of his career, was divorced, and had to sell his house the week before his death. On top of that, it happens that people who commit suicide by handgun have to shoot themselves more than once to get the job done.

For example, Frank Nitti, Al Capone's successor of the Chicago Outfit, killed himself rather publicly in 1943. Apparently due to hesitation, the first shot only hit his fedora hat. The next entered his jaw and exited the top of his head. Still Nitti was conscious, necessitating a third shot through the temple.

The Kerry Committee of 1986-1989 that looked into allegations of Contra drug trafficking, reported to be aware of five inside witnesses who implicated Hull's ranch as a key transit point for Colombian marijuana and cocaine toward the United States. [65] According to a witness in the November 1986 report of Michael Bromwich, one of three government lawyers for its case against Oliver North, cocaine was shipped through Hull's ranch in a load shrimp, coming from a company called Frigorificos de Puntarenas, whose owner was a State Department-financed Contra supporter who eventually was prosecuted for drug trafficking. [66] Tellingly, the Kerry report reads, "the State Department had in fact chosen companies operated by drug traffickers to supply the Contras." [67] Then, in May 1990 the imprisoned Medellin Cartel boss Carlos Lehder, a major ultraright Contra and death squad supporter with Hitler sympathies, stated that Hull "was taking about 30 tons of cocaine into the United States a year." [68]

Costa Rica rancher John Hull, supported by the Reagan-Bush administration in his Contra support activities. Widely accused of involvement in CIA-Contra cocaine trafficking.
We can go on. According to the deposition of Oliver North partner Rob Owen to the Kerry Committee, Hull received $10,000 per month from Contra leader Adolfo Calero, the American Security Council asset we tied in the previous section to the CIA crack cocaine affair and whose brother-in-law, Troika Sanchez, "was caught in Costa Rica with pillows full of cocaine." Oliver North is the one who introduced Calero to Hull.

Hull himself has admitted that the CIA posted five sentries on his ranch and that that was all the aid he ever received from the U.S. government. [69] He never admitted to having received $10,000 per month from Calero. He also forgot to mention a $375,000 government loan to build a "lumber mill", which, of course, he never did. Owen tried to arrange another fraudulent $500,000 loan for Hull, but this one fell through. [70]

Hull did explain that it was in 1983 that he was introduced to Colonel Oliver North at the White House through the office of Indiana senator Dan Quayle and more specifically through Quayle's legislative assistant Rob Owen. [71] Quayle was an acquaintance of vice president George H. W. Bush and in 1988 was selected as Bush's running mate. While Quayle, a conservative hawk, during the 1980s was known to occasionally visit Bush for a chat, neither friends nor enemies could figure out at the time why Bush picked the slightly senile Quayle as his vice president. [72] Things really begin to make sense when we see that Rob Owen, Quayle staff assistant in the 1980 - November 1983 period, went to work for North in the CIA-NSC's Contra support network, along with Hull. Suspicions exist that Quayle and Owen were tied to the CIA before this time, with claims existing about Quayle that he had been introduced to Reagan's CIA director William Casey through the CIA's Beurt SerVaas, who, like Hull and Owen, hailed from Quayle's home state of Indiana. [73]

Even more incredible, strong evidence through multiple witnesses and an audiotape has emerged that Camarena was murdered on orders of "the Cuban", i.e. Felix Rodriguez, a long-time protege of Ted Shackley in the CIA who in the 1980s, according to CIA colleague Donald Gregg, was "in charge of what is left of the paramilitary capability at CIA." Rodriguez was said to socialize at parties with these drug lords and Mexican government officials, to be the one largely in charge of these cartels, and even to have conducted the initial interrogation of Camarena in order to figure out the details of his DEA assignments.

Also reportedly present at these parties were Mexico's Interpol director and the chief of Direccion Federal de Seguridad (Federal Security Directorate), a CIA-trained FBI-like agency in Mexico and separately described as the "eyes and ears of the cartels."

Even if interior minister Manuel Bartlett was not present at the same meeting where Camarena was tortured to death, we know that the DFS fell under his authority, that DFS head Jose Antonio Zorrilla Perez was a protege of Bartlett, that the DFS aided in the capture of Camarena, and that the DFS had assigned 10 guards to cartel boss Raphael Caroi Quintero at the time. [78]

We tried to find if there was a record of Lang having an account, maybe under an alias, or if there was a romantic angle" [Kuhlmann hired a team of private investigators . compartmentalized company with assets all over the world.] One of his stops was in Macau, where Deak's office manager vanished without a trace after the collapse. Kuhlmann entered the paper-strewn offices to find the manager's girlfriend sitting at her boyfriend's old desk. She opened a drawer and pulled out a photo she'd found there: a grainy black-and-white snapshot of Nicholas Deak, lying bleeding on his office floor, just minutes from death. The photo, seemingly taken by Lang, had never been made public. Shortly thereafter, two of Kuhlmann's investigators reported that Lang had met with two Argentineans in Miami before her bus trip to New York.

Then again, Nieves also was a good friend of the CIA's Enrique Prado, a reported youth friend and assassin for the well-connected Florida mafia boss Alberto San Pedro, a major cocaine importer. Despite these connections, Prado slipped through the CIA background checks and became a protege of the Cofer Black, the well-connected head of the CIA's Counter-Terrorist Center (CTC) who so miserably failed to prevent 9/11. Despite this, Black and Prado thrived after 9/11 by operating CIA assassination teams against suspected terrorists through Blackwater USA. [81]

Coincidentally, the C-123 he is piloting is the exact same plane used by Barry Seal [83], who was murdered earlier that year, to fly Medellin Cartel cocaine into the U.S. under the clear protection of Colonel Oliver North, George H. W. Bush, Donald Gregg, Felix Rodriguez and William Casey from the BLACK EAGLE and ENTERPRISE operations. This same group was overseeing the operation Hasenfus was part of.

In addition, two phone numbers found in the wreckage apparently belonged to the earlier-mentioned Costa Rican CIA station chief Joe Fernandez [84], who in 1995 set up Guardian Technologies with the notorious Colonel Oliver North and employed the (also) earlier-mentioned questionable DEA special agent Robert Nieves.

Interestingly, Batliner has been a member of the Prince Bernhard's 1001 Club, along with the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Bechtels, Mobutu Sese Seko, and the House of Liechtenstein, to which Batliner was rather close. In addition, Egmond Frommelt, a key banker for the Liechtenstein royal family, has been another member. Almost certainly Batliner's partner-in-crime Peter Frommelt is a close relative of Egmond and even if somehow that isn't the case both sat on the board of the in 1984 founded BiL Treuhand Aktiengesellschaft (AG), a firm that was part of the private banking and asset management group of the House of Liechtenstein. [86]

In other words, it seems relatively safe to assume that 1001 Club member Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein was aware of the drug laundering activities of these individuals, even more so because the Evlyma Trust of Batliner and Peter Frommelt used to be owned by Mossad asset and 1001 Club member Tibor Rosenbaum, whose Geneva-based BCI bank laundered over $7 billion for the American mafia. Prince Bernhard at one point sold a family castle to the trust.

If we consider then that Aga Hasan Abedi and Rothschild banker Alfred Hartmann were key managers of the BCCI and that other accused drug traffickers as Robert Vesco and the Aga Khans were also 1001 Club members, and we have to start worrying that the international liberal elite has aided CIA drug trafficking to an extent.

With regard to the Zionist-Russian Mafia, Safra's alleged involvement in the diversion of over $1 billion in IMF loans to Russia also involved the top Zionist/Russian mafia "boss of bosses" Semion Mogilevich [89], Zionist oligarchs Boris Berezovsky (Yeltsin's right-hand), Berezovsky's protege Roman Abramovich, and Michael Cherney (big-time friend of neocons, CIA directors, the Mossad top and a known acquaintance to some degree of Mogilevich) , Yeltsin himself, and the Geneva-based Bank of New York-Inter Maritime Bank of Bruce Rappaport, a Mossad asset and former golfing partner of CIA director William Casey. The number two man in the bank, Dr. Alfred Hartmann, was a 1001 Club member and Rothschild banker who already was tied to the BCCI, Iraqgate and other scandals. [90] The Rothschilds themselves also build up ties to Russian oligarch and mafia circles - as these circles include a high number of Zionists. Safra, at the very least knew Rappaport through the Yad Avraham Institute. [91] Then again, as a billionaire member of the board of overseers of B'nai B'rith International, together with Edgar M. Bronfman (chair) and Max Fisher (highest level connections in the US and Israeli governments), Safra quite possibly knew everyone just mentioned..

Safra's name is also mentioned in the ISGP-published ATLAS dossier as a money launderer for "Nebula" leader Felix Przedborski, a Zionist mafia boss/oligarch accused of smuggling diamonds, arms, narcotics and nuclear materials in coordination with Israel and the Russian Zionist mafia. As ISGP figured out, Przedborski's estate in Antibes on the Mediterranean coast bordered the estates of Boris Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili, the two key Russian oligarch with access to Yeltsin (and Israel), with Roman Abramovich having his estate down the street.

In 2006 Karzai gave a speech and Q&A to the Council on Foreign Relations. He spoke about the "association between the terrorists [Taliban] and the drug dealers" that was causing all the problems and conveniently argued that back in 2000 the Taliban's "profit of selling drugs was going down" and therefore temporarily ceased production to drive up prices for the next year. "The next year the poppies would have come back in full strength," Karzai assured his listeners. If so, that still doesn't explain why the Taliban was able to stop 90 percent of opium production in one year while it increased 50 percent from its previous high under U.S. rule. Then again, how serious can we take Karzai when, during the same CFR meeting, he asks: "What is the finished product called? Heroin?" It took a few seconds, but then nervous laughter started to emerge from the audience. [95] It's beyond ridiculous, of course, a question like that.

But how serious can we take Karzai anyway knowing that his brother, Ahmed Walid Karzai, ran a CIA-backed militia and has repeatedly been accused of involvement in the drug trade? [96] In August 2009 former ISI general Hamid Gul even referred to him as "the biggest drug baron of Afghanistan." [97] And here we have his brother and the U.S. government explaining to the world that it might take decades before Afghanistan's poppy problem is under control. That's a little odd.

Karzai's brother wasn't the only CIA and DEA-backed drug kingpin in Afghanistan. After the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. detained three top opium kingpins of the Helmand and Kandahar provinces: Haji Bashir Noorzai, the chief of Kandahar after Mullah Omar went into hiding Haji Bagcho Sherzai, and Haji Juma Khan. [98] Noorzai helped "uncover huge numbers of terrorist weapons, including [400 once U.S.-supplied] Stinger missiles." In return, he was allowed to (re)build his opium empire. However, in April 2005 Noorzai was lured to New York City with promises that he wouldn't be arrested - and promptly arrested on heroin importation charges. [99] In 2009 he was served with a lifetime sentence. Sherzai was given a similar life sentence in 2012 on a conviction of narco-terrorism in relation to the Taliban insurgency. The U.S. government's relationship with Khan, however, goes deeper and has lasted longer, possibly to this day.

Soon after the U.S. invasion, Haji Juma Khan was released, became an "informant" of the CIA and DEA, "received a large amount of cash from the US government", and quickly managed to become "Afghanistan's biggest drug kingpin". [100] He used the proceeds to sell weapons to the terrorist Taliban, pay off its leaders, and bribe members of Karzai's government. Khan was arrested in 2008 by a trap set by the DEA's top agent in Afghanistan. This has raised some eyebrows, not the least because as late as 2006 Khan visited the United States to talk with representatives of the CIA and DEA. [101] One suspicion for his arrest has been that Khan's financing could be linked to two terrorist attacks on American targets another that he simply was becoming too big and famous. However, his DEA contact, Edward Follis, simply explained he had Khan arrested to save him from a planned drone-strike that the DOD was trying to get Follis on board with. In Follis words: "I'd always envisioned the inevitable endgame being HJK in my custody — in a federal prison cell — continuing to provide valuable and actionable intel that could save American lives, perhaps lead us to UBL [Osama Bin Laden]. " [102] It seems Osama bin Laden, safely tucked away under the ISI's watch in Pakistan, has served as an excuse for everything: from starting the War on Terror to working with the biggest opium traffickers.

Juma Khan's judicial files were sealed in 2012. In 2018, after spending 10 years in the terrorist-proof Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, he quietly walked out of prison again under unknown terms. Quite possibly this happened because Khan has always tried to play ball with the United States, more than some of his peers. [103]

It actually appears as if the United States has only been eliminating drug lords who have been working with pro-Al Qaeda / Taliban insurgents, meaning that over 90 percent of the opium crop has been deliberately left untouched. [104] This would explain pictures and reports of U.S. soldiers guarding poppy fields.

A more recent key man of Jacob Rothschild, his son Nat, and also Sir Evelyn and Lynn Forester de Rothschild, is the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who, interestingly, in December 1999 is known to have been present at a meeting in Israel with top representatives of the Ukrainian government Semion Mogilevich, a notorious chief of the Russian Solntsevskaya mafia Vadim Rabinovich, a suspected chief of Solntsevskaya in Ukraine and Michael Cherney, a Mossad and CIA-linked oligarch with deep ties to Russian mafias as Solntsevskaya. Mogilevich, Rabinovich and other Solntsevskaya leaders, as well as key oligarchs, were all in the possession of secondary Israeli passports.

In June 2013, Peter Mandelson, the Rothschild family's primary UK friend and representative, replaced Evgeny Novitsky on the board of the Russian oligarch company Sistema, which also has important ties to Russia's think tank world. According to U.S. ambassador to Russia John Beyrle, in documents leaked by Wikileaks, Novitsky "controlled the Solntsevo [Solntsevskaya] criminal gang." In addition, the long-time chairman of Sistema, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, has shared the board of the Russian Geographical Society with Vladimir Putin, Pyotr Aven of the Alfa Group, Oleg Deripaska and Alisher Usmanov - with most likely other ties existing. As discussed, Aven and Deripaska have been linked to Solntsevskaya.

In case of the oligarch Alisher Usmanov, he is known to be a life-long friend of Uzbekistan crime boss Gafur Rakhimov, an ally of Solntsevskaya mafia bosses Sergei Mikhailov and Semion Mogilevich and described as "allegedly a major trafficker of heroin into Europe." Usmanov and Rakhimov have dealings with Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov and his daughter Gulnara, along with another important Uzbek mafia boss, Salim Abduvaliyev. The brutal Karimov regime is the embodiment of the Uzbek mafia. And it might be a coincidence, but in 2008 Nat Rothschild was photographed at a party with Gulnara Karimov, who, granted, has appeared at many establishment events in the West.

Looking in addition at the deep involvement of Rothschild banker and 1001 Club member Albert Hartmann in the BCCI, Iraqgate, the Mossad-linked Russian IMF loans money laundering scandal, the Savings and Loan scandal and Banco Ambrosiano - or the Rothschild family's extremely close ties to the Haut de la Garenne and Jeffrey Epstein child abuse scandals, one wonders what dark secrets the Rothschild family has been hiding over the decades. It's entirely possible that they're at the very least aware of drug money laundering by some of their Russian or Uzbekistan associates.

    Early 2006 - January 2011: Time period that the "ATF"'s "gunwalking" programs were in operation (including Operation Fast and Furious from 2009 to 2011), in which about 2,000 firearms, including AK-47s and Barrett .50 sniper rifles, were sold to Mexican drug cartels through a number of intermediaries. The official cover story for these programs was that they were attempts to track the guns and in that matter hopefully be able to arrest the top leadership of various cartels.

In this period Stratfor was in touch with Fernandez de la Mora, a Texas-based Mexican diplomat with allegedly deep ties to CISEN (Mexico's domestic intelligence agency). [112] In a private June 13, 2010 email, De la Mora himself stated to his Stratfor contact:

"It is not so much a message for the Mexican government as it is for the Sinaloa cartel and VCF [Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Organization / Juarez Cartel] themselves. Basically, the message they want to send out is that Sinaloa is winning and that the violence is unacceptable. They want the CARTELS to negotiate with EACH OTHER. The idea is that if they can do this, violence will drop and the governments will allow controlled drug trades.

"Unfortunately, CDJ [Cartel de Juarez / Juarez Cartel] is not ripe for this kind of activity, as the major routes and methods for bulk shipping into the US have already been negotiated with US authorities. In this sense, the message that Sinaloa was winning was, in my view, intended to tell SEDENA [Mexican military] to stop taking down large trucks full of dope as they made their way to the US. These large shipments were Sinaloa's, and they are OK with the Americans.

"The argument is that most of the violence remains related to the local market, and that SEDENA should focus on smaller gangs and fringe groups that try to cross smaller quantities.

"Again, this is just my own reading of the situation. A few weeks after the announcement was made, no more multi-ton shipments were seized. However, I don't think this was the reason. Rather, I would submit that Sinaloa has figured out other routes, ways, etc. for their big shipments." [113]

DEA working with Mexican police. or Mexican drug cartels?

Not directly involving the CIA, but still revealing is a declaration provided by Gold's Gym-linked bodybuilder Larry Pollock. According to him, the DEA (as well as the Mexican people) is fully aware that the Mexican police, at least the one of Tijuana, is one-and-the-same with the drug cartels (which would make the government responsible for the situation), while still cooperating with these cartels in getting rid of American drug dealers in Mexico, even ones that only sell steroids.

In 2007, during the well known anti-steroid Raw Deal Operation [114], Pollock, then running the steroid company Stallion Labs in Mexico, was grabbed by the Tijuana / Arellano-Felix Cartel in what appeared to be a SWAT raid. The DEA was present.

Pollock was brought to a variety of safe houses where he and others were tortured, and he also was put in contact with his U.S.-based family for an additional $1 million ransom. This was after the cartel, in the presence of the DEA, had broken open the safe at his Stallion Labs which already contained a million dollars.

After more than two weeks of torture, witnessing other victims of the cartel get tortured to death and his own body bag laying ready in the garage, Pollock and a boy he was with managed to escape from a safe house in the middle of the night. Eventually he was transported back to the U.S. border by Mexican citizens. After being questioned by the FBI, and the Mexican "police" trying to get him back, the DEA took Pollock with them, with one of the officers remarking to him, "You weren't supposed to come back." [115]


Mike Ruppert and those less reliable CIA drug trafficking cases

Remember when in November 1996 Mike Ruppert famously confronted CIA director John Deutch with the following words:

"I will tell you director Deutch, as a former Los Angeles narcotics detective, that the Agency has dealt drugs throughout this country for a long time.

"Director Deutch, I will direct you to three specific Agency operations known as AMADEUS, PEGASUS and WATCHTOWER. I have WATCHTOWER documents heavily redacted by the Agency. I was personally exposed to CIA operations and recruited by CIA personnel, who attempted to recruit me, in the late 70s, to become involved in protecting Agency drug operations in this country. I have been trying to get this out for 18 years. I have the evidence."

This confrontation, which came in the aftermath of the August 1996 "Dark Alliance" exposes of Gary Webb on CIA drug trafficking, instantly established Ruppert as an authority in the emerging online conspiracy community. As impressive as his little speech may sound, Ruppert essentially is a confirmed disinformer when he began arguing for a stand-down order by Cheney on the morning of 9/11 - apart from his family's national security background or peculiar characters such as Pentagon-no-planer Barbara Honegger that he allied himself with. What is interesting here, is that Ruppert has managed to dig up three alleged CIA drug trafficking operations that to this day remain unconfirmed.

AMADEUS, the most unlikely code name of them all, has been pushed by Dee Ferdinand-Carone, along with SANDMAN and RED MIST, other alleged CIA operations that have never been confirmed. Certain important aspects of the Ferdinand-Carone narrative do not check out. Equally interesting, Ruppert was brought in contact with Ferdinand-Carone through "liberal CIA" asset David MacMichael, at one point a researcher of the Rockefeller-Clinton-backed Christic Institute. The March 1980 Cutolo affidavit is tightly linked to the murder trial of special forces veteran Bill Tyree, who allegedly also knew the father of Dee Ferdinand-Carone. The affidavit also included information on a certain conveniently named CIA domestic spy operation called ORWELL, also of unconfirmed existence. The alleged CIA operation PEGASUS was "exposed" by Gene "Chip" Tatum, along with another unverified CIA operation called RED ROCK. Tatum, most certainly another CIA insider, has been cooperating in his exposes with Stew Webb and Ted Gunderson, two extremist conspiracy disinformers with similarly deep insider CIA and FBI ties.

Below all three cases - Ferdinand-Carone, Cutolo and Chip Tatum - are listed. A lot of elements from these cases are true, but we simply cannot rely on a variety of details and code names provided. Other questionable cases of CIA drug trafficking are listed here as well, starting with the Christic Institute's investigation of the La Penca bombing and Contra support network.

    May 29, 1986:Daniel Sheehan and his elite "liberal CIA"-backed Christic Institute, on behalf of journalists/victims Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, file their lawsuit in a Miami court, accusing a network of CIA officers and CIA assets of having carried out the May 1984 La Penca bombing in Costa Rica and of involvement in cocaine trafficking to finance the Contra effort.

One gets the impression that the case might have been deliberately botched, which would make a degree of sense because the Christic Institute was backed by major "liberal CIA" foundations, including the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation and the New World Foundation of Hillary Clinton and Vernon Jordan, while Daniel Sheehan went on to become a chief Laurance Rockefeller and Disclosure Project lawyer who has been spreading nothing but disinformation on the UFO phenomenon and new age issues.

A key issue with the case has been that after years of apparent research and testimony of dozens of alleged witnesses, Sheehan, Avirgan and Honey couldn't even prove that Amac Galil, whom they accused of planting the bomb on behalf of Ted Shackley's two-decades old "Secret Team" [116], even existed. [117] Without this crucial fact, the case never stood a chance. Apparently Avirgan and Honey didn't approve of Sheehan's focus on Ted Shackley and preferred to focus on the more direct John Hull tie. However, considering they couldn't prove Amac Galil even existed, the case was doomed from the get-go. Meanwhile, Sheehan & Co. were upset that they couldn't spent several more years looking into this "Secret Team" in various corners of the globe, from the Golden Triangle, to Afghanistan and South America. [118]

Another peculiarity is that at least two Christic Institute staffers later also became involved in spreading disinformation. One, David MacMichael, informed Mike Ruppert in late 1993 of the existence of the largely bogus Dee Ferdinand-Carone testimony. Post-9/11 MacMichael became involved in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), of which at least one prominent member, Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, has been spreading Pentagon-no-plane theories. Various other VIPS members are part of the "liberal CIA"-backed clique of NSA whistleblowers. Another former Christic Institute staffer, Peter Lemkin, has been active on key conspiracy forums in spreading disinformation as no-plane-at-Pentagon theories for 9/11. Sheehan, meanwhile, through his Romero Institute - a more modest follow-up of the Christic Institute - is still receiving funding from major "liberal CIA" foundations for his new age exploits, while it is also known that Sheehan has been hobnobbing with elites as David Rockefeller and Ted Turner at his very own new age fair, the State of the World Forum. Even George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev were part of this forum.

What has to be said is that the Christic Institute lawsuit was filed months before the Iran-Contra affair became public and that the activities of many defendants in the Christic Institute lawsuit still came under scrutiny: General John Singlaub, General Richard Secord, Rob Owen, John Hull, Adolfo Calero and others. Also, by March 1990, Costa Rica demanded that President George H. W. Bush extradite John Hull so he could face trial in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican prosecutor made the exact same charges against the same individuals as the Christic Institute, in addition accusing "the C.I.A. of using [a domestic spy network] to plant false leads to sidetrack the investigation of the bombing at La Penca." [119] As explained earlier in this article, Bush kept Hull safe and free in the United States.

It's hard to say if Brenneke's specific statements are true, but certainly the generalities appear to be correct. The main problem is that while he backed up the testimonies of U.S. Treasury criminal investigator Bill Duncan and police investigator Russell Welch, it's not clear exactly how he ended up on the scene in the Mena affair. He just was there all of a sudden. Russell Welch, for example, explained to have never heard of him before. This sudden appearance remains suspect. I'm also not sure if his claim that he laundered $10 million per month for the P2 Lodge at its height of activity is going to hold up under careful scrutiny. And the fact that he mentioned Donald Gregg as his handler of drug trafficking shipments is also less spectacular than one might think, due to already widely existing suspicions against Gregg in the Contra affairs through the BLACK EAGLE operation (whether under that name or not). He also appears as a witness in the Colonel Robert Wilson affidavit, which makes me even more suspicious.

While in some general ways the Cutolo affidavit appears accurate - much of it having been reported in newspapers - there are some issues with the details. One major problem, for instance, is that the code names of operations WATCHTOWER and ORWELL have never been independently confirmed. This aspect almost certainly is disinformation.

Another is the date of the alleged drug trafficking crimes: according the affidavit, Mossad chief Mike Harari was personally meeting with pilots that flew in Colombian cocaine into Panama. While Harari did spent time in Panama in 1973 where he forged relations with Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, it appears he only stayed a brief while to hide out for a failed assassination attempt by his team in Norway. Granted, nobody seems to know what Harari was doing until late June 1976 when he successfully helped bring an end to a terrorist kidnapping in Uganda. Harari didn't come back to Panama until the turbulent 1980-1989 period, when accusations along the lines of WATCHTOWER would have been much more credible.

Another issue is that in early 1976 the Bolivian and Colombian cocaine cartels were just up and coming. As far as we know, Barry Seal was about the only CIA-linked individual flying for these cartels since 1976 - and he didn't make use of covert special forces teams to accomplish his goals.

This letter to the US Justice Department is to make it clear about our deepest concern in wishing to help eradicate drugs and for all the American people as well as the world to know the truth that for the past (15) years they have been misled to look upon us as the main source of all the drug problems.

1. The refusal of the United States government to accept our "SIX YEARS DRUGS ERADICATION PLAN" presented at the Congressional Hearing by Congressman Mr. Lester Woff after his visit to Thailand in April 1977, was really a great disappointment for us. Even after this disappointment, we continued writing letters to President Carter and President Reagan forwarding our sincere wish to help and participate in eradicating drugs. We are really surprise and doubtful as to why the US government refuses our participation and help to make a success of the drugs eradication program.

Furthermore, why the world has been misled to accuse me as the main culprit for all the drug trades. while in reality, we are most sincere and willing to help solve the drug problems in South East Asia. Through our own secret investigation, we found out that some high officials in the US government's drugs control and enforcement department and with the influence of corrupted persons objected to our active participation in the drugs eradication program of the US government so as to be able to retain their profitable self-interest from the continuation of the drug problems. Thus, the US government and the American people as well as the world have been hoodwinked.

2. During the period (1965 - 1975) CIA Chief in Laos, Theodore Shackly, was in the drug business, having contacts with the Opium Warlord Lor Sing Han and his followers. Santo Trafficano acted as his buying and transporting agent while Richard Armitage handled the financial section with the Banks in Australia. Even after the Vietnam War ended, when Richard Armitage was being posted to the US Embassy in Thailand, his dealings in the drug business continued as before. He was then acting as the US government official concerning with the drug problems in Southeast Asia. After 1979, Richard Armitage resigned from the US Embassy's posting and set up the "Far East Trading Company" as a front for his continuation in the drug trade and to bribe CIA agents in Laos and around the world. Soon after, Daniel Arnold was made to handle the drug business as well as the transportation of arms sales. Jerry Daniels then took over the drug trade from Richard Armitage. For over 10 years, Armitage supported his men in Laos and Thailand with the profits from his drug trade and most of the cash were deposited with the Banks in Australia which was to be used in buying his way for quicker promotions to higher positions.

Within the month of July, 1980, Thailand's english newspaper "Bangkok Post" included a news report that CIA agents were using Australia as a transit-base for their drug business and the banks in Australia for depositing, transferring the large sum of money involved.

Verifications of the news report can be made by the US Justice Department with Bangkok Post and in Australia.

Other facts given herewith have been drawn out from out Secret Reports files so as to present to you of the real facts as to why the drug problem is being prolonged till today.

3. Finally, we sincerely hope in the nearest future to be given the opportunity to actively take part in helping the US government, the Americans and people of the world in eradication and uprooting the drug problems.


CIA Drug Smuggling and Dealing: The Birth of the Dark Alliance

After the publication of a 1996 news article in The San Jose Mercury written by Webb, who exposed the complicity of the CIA in the L.A. crack epidemic of the 1980s, Waters called for an investigation. She questioned whether the U.S. government paid or organized operatives to smuggle, transport and sell crack to Americans. Ultimately, this inquiry was stonewalled.

Webb was eventually transferred to a different beat and removed from investigative reporting. In 2004, he was found in his apartment with two bullet holes in the back of his head. His death was declared a “suicide.”

An investigation by former U.S. Sen. John Kerry also found individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.”

The timing of the MOU was also quite the cowinkydink.

In late 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan authorized covert aid for the Contras via the CIA. Just two months later, the CIA and the attorney general carved out an exemption for CIA assets and agents that were dealing drugs in a new MOU.

The secret MOU was in effect for 13 years, from 1982 until 1995. This covered the entire Contra war in Nicaragua and the era of deep U.S. involvement in counterinsurgency activities in El Salvador and Central America.

The MOU was evidently very successful in protecting these drug traffickers and CIA assets.

Based on statements in Michael Bromwich’s recently released investigation, CIA Station Chief for Central America Alan Fiers said he recalled of only one instance when the CIA passed Contra and narcotics-related information to the DEA.

The Kerry Committee was baffled by the lack of intelligence reporting of drug trafficking activity. Despite finding widespread trafficking throughout the war zones of northern Costa Rica, the Kerry Committee was unable to find a single case that was made on the basis of a tip or report by an official of a U.S. intelligence agency.

The reason is now clear: The CIA knew of their drug trafficking, but the MOU protected them from having to report it to law enforcement.

The 1982 MOU that exempted the reporting requirement for drug trafficking was no oversight or misstatement.

“There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, or on the payroll of, the CIA were involved in drug trafficking,” Kerry said.

Simply stated, the attorney general consciously exempted reporting requirements for narcotics violations by CIA agents, assets and contractors. And the CIA director was pleased because intelligence sources and methods involved in narcotics trafficking could be protected from law enforcement.

Remarkably, the committee’s findings went virtually unreported when they were released.

Allegations in the Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Case

Numerous witnesses in the trial of Mexican drug lord El Chapo have testified. One of the most damning allegations to emerge from the trial is the claim that Guzman paid former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto $100 million to stop looking for him while he was on the lam. The revelation came from Alexander Cifuentes, a former cartel member who used to be Guzman’s most trusted secretary.

Cifuentes said Peña Nieto first wanted $250 million from Guzman in order to agree to stop hunting “the most wanted man in the country,” the The New York Times reported. Guzman offered $100 million instead, which Nieto took, according to The Times.

In January 2019, Vicente Zambada Niebla, a high-ranking functionary in the Sinaloa drug cartel, offered more insights into similar capture. He is the son of the Sinaloa cartel leader.

Niebla claims that for years he worked secretly as an “asset” and spy for the DEA, swapping information about his rivals in exchange for the ability to run his business freely.

While American authorities have acknowledged that Niebla met with federal agents, they have long denied there was any quid pro quo agreement.

In a recent ruling, Judge Brian M. Cogan, who is hearing the Guzman case, said that Zambada’s claim regarding his cooperation with the Americans cannot be mentioned at the trial.

Under that agreement, the Sinaloa cartel under the leadership of Jesus Zambada’s father, Ismael Zambada and ‘Chapo’ Guzman were given carte blanche permission to continue to smuggling tonnes of illicit drugs into the U.S., and they were protected by the U.S. government from arrest and prosecution in return for providing information against rival cartels, Niebla’s lawyers wrote as part of his defense.

“Indeed, the United States government agents aided the leaders of the Sinaloa Carte,” his lawyers said.

Zambada also testified that in 2007 he met with a group of “high-level politicians” and representatives from Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company, to discuss a scheme to ship 100 tons of cocaine in a tanker vessel owned by the firm.


CIA Drug Smuggling and Dealing: The Birth of the Dark Alliance

After the publication of a 1996 news article in The San Jose Mercury written by Webb, who exposed the complicity of the CIA in the L.A. crack epidemic of the 1980s, Waters called for an investigation. She questioned whether the U.S. government paid or organized operatives to smuggle, transport and sell crack to Americans. Ultimately, this inquiry was stonewalled.

Webb was eventually transferred to a different beat and removed from investigative reporting. In 2004, he was found in his apartment with two bullet holes in the back of his head. His death was declared a “suicide.”

An investigation by former U.S. Sen. John Kerry also found individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.”

The timing of the MOU was also quite the cowinkydink.

In late 1981, U.S. President Ronald Reagan authorized covert aid for the Contras via the CIA. Just two months later, the CIA and the attorney general carved out an exemption for CIA assets and agents that were dealing drugs in a new MOU.

The secret MOU was in effect for 13 years, from 1982 until 1995. This covered the entire Contra war in Nicaragua and the era of deep U.S. involvement in counterinsurgency activities in El Salvador and Central America.

The MOU was evidently very successful in protecting these drug traffickers and CIA assets.

Based on statements in Michael Bromwich’s recently released investigation, CIA Station Chief for Central America Alan Fiers said he recalled of only one instance when the CIA passed Contra and narcotics-related information to the DEA.

The Kerry Committee was baffled by the lack of intelligence reporting of drug trafficking activity. Despite finding widespread trafficking throughout the war zones of northern Costa Rica, the Kerry Committee was unable to find a single case that was made on the basis of a tip or report by an official of a U.S. intelligence agency.

The reason is now clear: The CIA knew of their drug trafficking, but the MOU protected them from having to report it to law enforcement.

The 1982 MOU that exempted the reporting requirement for drug trafficking was no oversight or misstatement.

“There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, or on the payroll of, the CIA were involved in drug trafficking,” Kerry said.

Simply stated, the attorney general consciously exempted reporting requirements for narcotics violations by CIA agents, assets and contractors. And the CIA director was pleased because intelligence sources and methods involved in narcotics trafficking could be protected from law enforcement.

Remarkably, the committee’s findings went virtually unreported when they were released.

Allegations in the Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Case

Numerous witnesses in the trial of Mexican drug lord El Chapo have testified. One of the most damning allegations to emerge from the trial is the claim that Guzman paid former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto $100 million to stop looking for him while he was on the lam. The revelation came from Alexander Cifuentes, a former cartel member who used to be Guzman’s most trusted secretary.

Cifuentes said Peña Nieto first wanted $250 million from Guzman in order to agree to stop hunting “the most wanted man in the country,” the The New York Times reported. Guzman offered $100 million instead, which Nieto took, according to The Times.

In January 2019, Vicente Zambada Niebla, a high-ranking functionary in the Sinaloa drug cartel, offered more insights into similar capture. He is the son of the Sinaloa cartel leader.

Niebla claims that for years he worked secretly as an “asset” and spy for the DEA, swapping information about his rivals in exchange for the ability to run his business freely.

While American authorities have acknowledged that Niebla met with federal agents, they have long denied there was any quid pro quo agreement.

In a recent ruling, Judge Brian M. Cogan, who is hearing the Guzman case, said that Zambada’s claim regarding his cooperation with the Americans cannot be mentioned at the trial.

Under that agreement, the Sinaloa cartel under the leadership of Jesus Zambada’s father, Ismael Zambada and ‘Chapo’ Guzman were given carte blanche permission to continue to smuggling tonnes of illicit drugs into the U.S., and they were protected by the U.S. government from arrest and prosecution in return for providing information against rival cartels, Niebla’s lawyers wrote as part of his defense.

“Indeed, the United States government agents aided the leaders of the Sinaloa Carte,” his lawyers said.

Zambada also testified that in 2007 he met with a group of “high-level politicians” and representatives from Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company, to discuss a scheme to ship 100 tons of cocaine in a tanker vessel owned by the firm.


Nugan Hand

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marionumber1
Junior Member
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Post by marionumber1 on May 17, 2021 12:49:12 GMT -6

From p.831-832 of the 1999 edition of TUE:

While Camaro specialized in this area, Sisman branched out and handled a fair amount of drug dealing. The Children in Westchester used drugs provided by the R. R.-Sisman link and, to some extent, were part of the dope distribution network. (A Yonkers resident has said he occasionally picked up hard drugs from David Berkowitz's apartment.) This narcotics pipeline, Vinny stated, accounted for the presence of Berkowitz and Michael Carr at Sisman's brownstone.

The drug operation, while not large by organized crime standards, managed to accomplish its purpose. Coke was its prime substance and was said to have arrived in New York from South America, via Florida.

Heroin from Southeast Asia was also shipped, Vinny said. "They used hospital and medical connections. [Name withheld] told me they used a hospital and another company in Hawaii as two places that got the shit ready to come to the U.S.— to New York and maybe other places. The heroin was supposed to go into blood or plasma shipments and other hospital accomplices would then handle it here."

Once again, we were looking at medical links.

Vinny, incarcerated in a New York prison, sent me the names and phone numbers of several Hawaiian locations, including a large hospital and a quarrying company. An FBI agent confirmed via the Bureau's Honolulu office that the addresses and phone numbers were in fact accurate. The list did not originate with Berkowitz.

Admin Horan
Administrator

Post by Admin Horan on May 20, 2021 8:28:23 GMT -6

According to our sources, "another company in Hawaii" is mos def IBI--the company Berkowitz handled guard dogs for--and their partner, Neptune Worldwide Movers and Storage--the company Fred Cowan worked for. Both companies are also "customs brokers." That means, they SELF INSPECT. In fact, not only does customs not inspect their shipments, in those days at least, a customs broker "inspected" or otherwise vouched for shipments so Customs didn't have to. Amazon is basically a self-regulated customs broker.

The particular shipment of heroin in question was sent from Thailand inside the furniture packing crates of an international businessman who was moving from Thailand to Hawaii. The furniture shipment originated with Transpo, who stopped off in Australia, then proceeded to Honolulu. When the Transpo ship unloaded in Honolulu, one of furniture cases got "broken." While sitting in the self-inspected Neptune/IBI warehouse. Whilst in said self-inspected warehouse, the heroin was transferred to.

According to our sources, some of it went inside crates of X-ray and/or other delicate hospital equipment being sent to the mainland for repairs. IBI has specialized in that kind of cargo for decades. Some of it ended up in crates being shipped "to the United Nations." Neptune has had an exclusive contract to move ALL UN personnel in and out of New York, in cooperation with IBI. (Since the 1970s, these companies have merged, blah blah blah. But in the 70s, they, along with Transpo, had various arrangements. ) So, with all these international do-gooders fleeing Indochina like rats leaving a sinking ship, Neptune was BUSY moving them back to their home countries, to New York, whatever. New governments in that area were sending new diplomats to new posts at the UN. Etc. Any REALLY valuable cargo, like said businessman's enormous collection of jade sculptures, antique furniture, etc, were probably physically shipped by IBI. The CIA, to the extent that they pulled of Indochina, had all their stuffed shipped to wherever by Transpo, Neptune, and IBI.

And some of the heroin was supposedly shipped in containers of blood and blood products. from HAWAII? Well, ever since WWII, when the US needed every drop of blood it could get, and since blood needs to be as fresh as possible, Hawaii has been a MAJOR source of donated blood. WWII. Korea. Vietnam. Peacetime. MAJOR source. And with its strictly limited shelf life, that Hawaiian blood supply has required a HEFTY distribution infrastructure.

So, if some of the heroin, which left Thailand in 1975, was being shipped to New York by IBI and Neptune, that's the docks, warehouses, etc where both Berkowitz and Cowan worked. If some of it was shipped to hospitals and blood banks, that's the SPECIFIC job that John Arthur Getreu was doing at Stanford Memorial Hospital and Donna Lauria was doing at Empire State Ambulance (HQ at the hospital where her mother had some unspecified job in the administration.)

Donna Lauria's father was suspected of being under pressure from the mafia. Her "ex" boyfriend was named Vinny. And he was supposedly tied to the mafia. Was that why she dumped him? Is he Maury's "Vinny?"

I always wondered if Donna's mother was one of Maury's sources.

What about the "Hawaiian quarry?" Sounds like the kind of hole in the ground that the Newhall family (Chowchilla bus kidnapping, rich young Satanist punks, Dr Ohta, etc) owned. The quarry where "Satanic sacrifices" were taking place at the time fo the Arlis Perry murder belonged to or was affiliated with them, I think. I'll check on that some more. Scott Newhall, the editor in chief of the San Francisco Chronicle, was, obviously, a Newhall. Reynolds Metals also does/did a lot digging in a lot of dirt all over the world.

Also, Hawaii, especially during Vietnam, was the BIGGEST and busiest US military hospital complex in the world. A LOT of our boys of interest were all patients there in 1966ish. "What are YOU going to do back in the World? As a former Green Beret?" "Well, it's either go to work at this new chain called Taco Bell, or go into smuggling. How about you?" "Smuggling. In fact, there are some people right here in this hospital. " Or something like that. Maybe.

All of the big "drug smuggling" stories we've heard on the news are the ones that got BUSTED. What happened to the 500 pounds of China White? It didn't go to Frank Lucas. Lucas had had his own hookup, Lu Chai Rubiwat (by way of Sgt Ike Atkinson,) until Lucas and Atkinson were busted. In January 1975. Right before this 500 pounds left the docks for Honolulu. Boy. You talk about a lucky break. You're sitting on this gigantic gold mine of heroin, with no one to buy it, and suddenly, your main competition is miraculously busted. And by "you," I mean two American generals who are CIA contractors, and by "your competition," I mean, a US Army sergeant. Talk about a universe of meaningless coincidences. Talk about a plate of shrimp.

And why haven't we heard of this ginormous shipment (the second biggest single shipment of refined heroin in history, so far was we know) until now? Simple. It never got busted.

Never got busted. No one turned rat. Not successfully, anyway. I wonder how "they" managed that?

Admin Horan
Administrator


TIL on 1973, Frank Nugan founded the Nugan Hand Bank with only $80 in the company's bank account and just $5 in paid-up capital while claiming its capital was $1 million

Nugan Hand Ltd. was founded in Sydney in 1973 by Australian lawyer Francis John "Frank" Nugan and former U.S. Green Beret Michael Jon "Mike" Hand. According to writer Alfred W. McCoy, the bank was formed with a fraudulent claim of $1m in share capital: "With only $80 in the company's bank account and just $5 in paid-up capital, Frank Nugan wrote his own company a personal check for $980,000 to purchase 490,000 shares of its stock. He then covered his massive overdraft by writing himself a company check for the same amount."[4] Kings Cross restaurateur Bernie Houghton was also involved in the bank from the beginning.[5]

It attracted investors by promising interest rates up to 16% and services such as anonymity, tax-free accounts and specialist investment assistance, along with money laundering for some of the most dubious clients.

Several high-ranking US military personel were recruited.

Its investments weren't in typical fields but in unconventional investment opportunities such as gun running and attempts to corner various commodities markets, such as Malaysian rubber and Indonesian oil. Involvement in drug running was also rumored.

One witness, a former Nugan Hand director, stated that Hand threatened bank executives: "If we didn't do what we were told, and things weren't handled properly, our wives would be cut into pieces and put in boxes and sent back to us"

About the ending of this bank:

The bank's collapse was precipitated by the death of its founder Frank Nugan in the early hours of 27 January 1980. Nugan (who was facing charges of stock fraud) was found shot dead by a .30-calibre rifle in his Mercedes-Benz outside Lithgow, New South Wales. An inquest later returned a verdict of suicide. However, questions remain unanswered in regard to the lack of fingerprints on the weapon and the probability that the police who found Nugan had prior knowledge of his death.[13]

Afterwards, three investigation committees were gathered about this bank.


At first, Frank Nugan managed the Nugan Hand [Bank’s] relationship with Riley, but when Michael Hand returned in March 1976, he took over the relationship. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was during the period when he was close to Hand when Riley moved into Southeast Asian heroin.

The drug related activities of Murray Riley and the Nugan Hand group were investigated by the Commonwealth-New South Wales Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking, which concluded that Riley organised five shipments of heroin into Australia in April, June, August, September-October, and November-December 1976, mostly in false bottom suitcases. For each importation the facilities of the Nugan Hand group of companies were used to transfer the purchase money from Sydney to Hong Kong. Over one hundred pounds of heroin was involved, and much of this was shipped on to the US. Riley was also involved in two heroin importations in July and September 1977. (p.66)

To fill in some details, Frank Nugan who was born in Griffith, was the Australian partner in the Nugan Hand Bank, a bank that was set up to hide money made from arms smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering and tax avoidance. “By 1977, Nugan Hand and its associates dominated the Australian drug trade in a way that had never been achieved before.” (11) Dirty money was then laundered through a dizzying array of shelf companies from the Bank to the Nugan Group, which was Frank Nugan‘s vegetable and fruit packing company.

The Nugan Group, it is important to emphasize, was intimately connected to the Mackay story as they “operated a major 5-acre factory complex in Griffith,” and in 1977 “an independent audit turned up secret accounts in the group’s books in the names of local pot growers with the cheques for thousands of dollars made out to member of the Trimboli and Sergi families.” In light of this troubling turn of events (for the Nugan Group), Frank Nugan set out to remove the auditors, and hired ex-NSW detective Fred Krahe to intimidate irksome members of their board of directors. Although ultimately unsuccessful in forcing the auditors to resign, this was the type of task that Fred Krahe excelled in, as his “reputation as an underworld enforcer and hit man [had] earned him the nickname of the ‘Killer Cop.'” (12)

Later in 1978, “[w]ith assistance from the US embassy, Frank Nugan succeeded in closing down” an investigation of Nugan Hand Bank that was set up by the Narcotics Bureau. (13) Similarly, Frank has also worked hard to stave off a NSW Corporate Affairs investigation in the Nugan Group, however, eventually…

… conspiracy charges over the secret accounts were laid against Frank Nugan, Ken Nugan, several Nugan Group employees, and ex-detectives Fred Krahe and Keith Kelly. After a committal hearing before Clarrie Briese SM, the charges against Krahe and Kelly were dismissed and they were awarded costs. The other defendants were committed for trial, a fate that Frank Nugan avoided by suicide. (p.114)


Dunemessiahdotnet

‘On 11 November 1975 we saw the culmination of the most blatant act of external interference in Australia’s internal affairs and its autonomy as a nation and a democracy. The dismissal of the Whitlam Government was orchestrated by a combination of forces inside and outside Australia – namely the United States of America…the Australian press has virtually ignored the biggest political history event in Australia.’

– Former Australian Cabinet Minister Peter Staples in Parliament November 20th, 1986

Before Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning there was another whistle-blower whose actions saw him face the full force of a vengeful state apparatus caught red handed in nefarious activities. His name was Christopher Boyce. An unknown to Australians, Boyce holds the key to understanding the most alarming and successful attempt to undermine Australian sovereignty. The sabotage wasn’t committed by the Soviet Union, China or even Imperial Japan, but our strongest ally.

Christopher Boyce – Whistleblower, convicted of Treason

This obscure story made it to the big screen in the form of The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) which starred Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn. The film dramatizes the story of Christopher Boyce (The Falcon) and his childhood friend turned drug dealer Dalton Lee (The Snowman) as they descend into a world of criminality, selling secrets to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and ultimately their conviction for treason. It is Boyce’s initial motivation for these acts that is of interest here. Courtesy of his FBI father, Boyce worked for a private aerospace company called TRW in California. Part of the US military industrial complex, TRW created spy satellites. His job was in the ‘Black Vault’ communications area of the firm, where he would often receive misdirected CIA Telex messages. The content of these messages shattered his world view and changed his life. The communications discussed a security threat to the United States (US) – namely Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and his Labor Government.

When Boyce was asked by Australian journalist Ray Martin on the Australian 60 Minutes program, why he had sold on secret documents to the USSR, he said he did it because ‘my government was deceiving an ally, perhaps had been an ally for two world wars, [an] English speaking parliamentary democracy. I thought it was indicative of what my country had sunk to’. Boyce had discovered that the noble idea of shared intelligence among allies was in practice a one-way sham. An informal intelligence alliance supposedly exists between five western countries, “the Five Eyes “ namely Australia, Britain, Canada, NZ and the US. The secret intelligence and signals sharing agreement, United Kingdom – United States of America Agreement (UKUSA), originated in 1947 but was borne from allied collaboration in World War II. It is more commonly known as SIGINT, for Signals Intelligence, and is essentially an Anglo-Saxon intelligence exchange club. Incredibly, no Australian Prime Minister even knew of its existence until 1973. It was an agreement between intelligence services and the public. Elected governments had no right to know. On top of this, Australia was expected to share but not receive, as Boyce explains ‘ when I went to work for the project, the initial security briefing that I had, I was told that, in fact, we weren’t going to live up to that agreement, and that we hadn’t been’.

During Boyce’s treason trial in 1977, whenever he sought to bring up his motivations, the prosecution made strenuous objections to his disclosure and the presiding judge upheld them. His statements on the US betrayal of Australia, though briefly mentioned in some sections of the media, were not dwelt upon or investigated. Instead the focus of the trial was on information Boyce passed along concerning an abandoned project called the Pyramider Project. Boyce claimed at the trial that this TOP SECRET file sat on top of a filing cabinet in the TRW vault for 36 days straight. After two years of passing along information, Boyce’s relationship with the Russians ended much to his relief. For their part the Soviet Union had stopped using Boyce as an information source because the detail he provided was consistently already known or useless as was Boyce’s intent. In defense of Boyce, former CIA analyst Victor Marchetti notes the hypocrisy of keeping information from allies that enemies already know:

The information is already in the hands of the Soviets…So they have the information, so who are we keeping it from? We are keeping it from the American public and Australian public in order to prevent embarrassment.

One of the projects, Argus, according to Boyce was specifically designed to prevent Australians from information gathered through its Rhyolite Project. Boyce was sentenced to 40 years jail and eventually released in 2002. For much of this time – his escape, bank robberies and recapture aside – he was in solitary confinement. Boyce’s punishment for speaking to 60 Minutes was that he was locked in a cell with neo-Nazi prisoners and brutalized.

WHY? WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN AUSTRALIA?

‘There is increasing and profoundly disturbing evidence that foreign espionage and intelligence activities are being practiced in Australian on a wide scale. I believe the evidence is so grave in its detail and alarming in its implications that it demands the fullest investigation…Nothing less it at stake than Australia’s security and integrity as a sovereign nation.’

– Gough Whitlam in Parliament, 1977

Gough Whitlam. Australian Prime Minister 1972-1975

Democracy. Just Democracy. Australian statesman Gough Whitlam had come to power in 1972 a victory that saw the Labor party removed from 23 years in the wilderness of opposition. Whitlam, a former lawyer was very much an establishment figure and admirer of the US. He was also at the head of a political party introducing a raft of progressive legislation. Many of modern Australia’s legal, cultural and financial benefits stem from this period. Achievements of his government included the establishment of the following institutions: the Trade Practices Commission, the Australian Film Commission, the National Film and TV School, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Consumer Affairs Commission, the Australian Heritage Commission, a National Employment & Training Scheme, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and the National Health Care Scheme. Labor also introduced a ‘no-fault’ divorce Family Law Act provision, ratified the Racial Discrimination Act, introduced a new ‘Australian’ national anthem, lowered the voting age to 18, abolished university tuition fees, opposed apartheid in South Africa and drafted the Aboriginal Rights Act. State grants were provided for nation building projects such as urban renewal, flood mitigation, leisure and tourist facilities and the building of sewerage systems in un-serviced urban areas. The government also sought to introduce and fund a national highway system and ‘a standard-gauge railway line linking Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Alice Springs’.

Labors foreign policy stance was not welcomed by our allies. When the government openly criticised the US bombing of North Vietnam, it earned the personal ire of the American president Richard Nixon and senior diplomat Henry Kissinger. Ultimately Whitlam ended Australian involvement in the Vietnam War, ended conscription, abolished the racist White Australia Policy and re-established diplomatic and trade relations with China. While all these social and political changes ruffled conservative feathers, it was Whitlam’s insistence that his personal staff not be vetted or harassed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) that really got tongues wagging. ASIO is the Australian equivalent of the FBI performing domestic counterintelligence. As a result of this request, it led to a political officer from the American Embassy taking aside Labor staffer Richard Hall and warning him, ‘your Prime Minister has just cut off one of his options.’

During its terms of office Whitlam’s Government was beset by troubles. A relentless and aggressive media campaign against the government, faked scandals, a global economic crisis and rising unemployment all contributed to the pressure. In 1975, the Liberal-Country Party opposition sensed blood and threatened to block the money supply unless a new election was called immediately, one they thought they had a chance of winning. Supply Bills are, almost without exception, allowed to pass through the senate as a normal convention, regardless who is in power for without them a government cannot function. The oppositions blocking of supply was a ruthless, pragmatic form of politics with the sole intention of gaining power. A political stand-off ensued and no agreement could be made between the government and the opposition. Then in a political first and to the shock of the nation, the elected Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam was sacked by the Governor General on November 11th 1975. Parliament was dissolved and Malcolm Fraser, the opposition leader, was asked to form a caretaker government. This unprecedented act is recorded in Australian textbooks with a euphemism – it is known as the ‘Constitutional Crisis’. Ultimately, Fraser went on to win the next election in his own right as the Labor party had been torn to pieces by events during its terms. At the time it was unlikely Fraser was going to become Prime Minister the democratic way. Some senior members of his own coalition were threatening to break ranks and allow the supply bills through. As the CIA reported to US President Ford on November 8th 1975, three days before the sacking:

Disenchanted Australians are swinging, at least temporarily, in support of Whitlam’s Labor party. They agree with the Prime Minister and blame the Liberal-Country coalition for the mess… [Frasers] ability to force an election has clearly been weakened.

Mike Costello, a chief aide to Labor leaders said in reference to undue influence in the sacking, ‘I don’t have any doubt about that. Fraser could not have held the line [on the budget] for another day or two’. The Governor Generals decision was perfect timing for Malcolm Fraser and the US.

KERR, A CIA CUR

‘Covert intervention is usually designed to operate on the internal power balance…typically these local allies know the source of the assistance but neither they nor the United States could afford to admit its existence…on the whole the agency has been remarkably successful in finding individuals and instrumentalities with which and through it could work in this fashion’.

. – Richard Bissell, the CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans, 1968

Sir John Kerr , Governor General of Australia. 1974-1977

Who could sack the democratically elected government in a stable, first world country? In this scenario, the representative of the British Queen in Australia – Governor General Sir John Kerr. The textbook view in Australia is that John Kerr, for reasons unclear, overstepped the conventions of his role. The role of Governor General in Australia is considered primarily a ceremonial and formal role. While the Governor General has a wide range of powers, they are only supposed to be used with the consent of the Australian parliament. Kerr was far more than just an overreaching functionary though, as a cursory examination of his past shows.

In Christopher Boyce’s treason trial he stated that he often overheard agents at TRW refer to the Governor General as ‘our man Kerr’. This fits with Kerr’s historical connections with the intelligence community. In World War II, Kerr worked for the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs, an Australian spook agency which held close ties to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the precursor to the CIA – and the British Intelligence establishment. Though the younger Kerr had been a member of the Democratic Labor Party he had always been of a far right political persuasion. After the war he joined the Australian Association of Cultural Freedom, an offshoot of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. The congress was outed as being created and funded by the CIA in 1966-67. The CIA’s own website boasts of its creation in 1949-50 and in helping ‘ to solidify CIA’s emerging strategy of promoting the non-Communist left’. Later on Kerr would become the founding president of Law Asia. What is Law Asia? An organization who received funding from the Asia Foundation – another CIA front. Kerr has since claimed that it was a ‘tenuous indirect link’ between the CIA and Law Asia. That is clearly misdirection as US State Department memo (July 8, 1966) shows when its discusses CIA funding of the organization and their concerns for the ‘vulnerability of the Asia Foundation cover’. Asia Foundations cover was publicly blown in 1967. Kerr would make two trips to the US to secure funding for Law Asia. Victor Marchetti and John Marks, two former high level CIA/State Department analysts confirm the nature of these CIA fronts in their 1974 non-fiction classic CIA and the Cult of Intelligence:

Another organisation heavily subsidised by the CIA was Asia Foundation. Established by the agency in 1956, with a carefully chosen board of directors, the foundation was designed to promote academic and public interest in the east. It sponsored scholarly research, supported conferences and symposia, and ran academic exchange programs…Although the foundation often served as a cover for clandestine operations, its main purpose was to promote the spread of ideas.

Much of the workings of the American clandestine services in this period are known through the moral compass and efforts of whistle-blowers within the CIA. As such it is important to establish their credibility. Marchetti and Marks book was notable for the large amount of censored (blank) pages – 168 passages – where the CIA had successfully obtained court orders to have the information redacted. To highlight this censorship the passages were stubbornly retained in the published book with a bold DELETED in place of the text. William Colby, the most infamous Director of the CIA, said in his autobiography Honourable Men: My Life in the CIA that Marchetti as an ‘executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence ‘had seen some of the most secret aspects of our intelligence operations’ and Marks ‘had almost as much access to sensitive intelligence material ‘ in his role in the State Department Intelligence and Research Bureau. The ‘honourable’ William Colby will appear again in this story.

William Colby, Director of Central Intelligence Agency 1973-1976

Kerr plainly had long standing ties with both the US and British intelligence communities. As author and Labor staffer Richard Hall puts in his book The Secret State ‘the CIA did not need to telephone instructions from Washington – the input was already there’. Award winning Australian Journalist John Pilger points out that Kerr had as much influence from his British spy connections as the US. In particular Mi6 – the British Secret Intelligence Service – who operated their own base in Kowandi, South of Darwin, with the assistance of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). For many years an unverified agency it is now known that ASIS is the Australian version of the CIA. ASIS which was formed in 1952 proclaims on its website, it exists to ‘protect and promote Australia’s vital interests through the provision of unique foreign intelligence services as directed by government’. Decide for yourself the veracity of that statement. Pilger explains how this multi-agency relationship was utilised, ‘In approaching Mi6 about Whitlam, the Americans wanted to invoke the British/Australian old boy network. Between 1974 and 1975 the number of calls from British intelligence to ASIS almost doubled.’

This squares with the testimony of Joseph Trento, American journalist and author, who had interviewed CIA officers involved with the intrigues at the time. Trento told this to the Sydney Morning Herald on 6th February 1988:

I have the word of officials in the CIA and former officials who gave me their version of what happened and the extreme concern they had over Whitlam and the only conclusions one could make is that the actions that Kerr took were so extreme that it would take far more than what you describe as a constitutional crisis to cause him to do what he did. There are other ways out.

This is what I was told by a deputy director of the CIA. He told me ‘Kerr did what he was told to do’. He did not tell me – and I asked him – that Kerr worked for the CIA. He did not tell me that Kerr did any favours for the CIA, that there was any quid pro quo. Simply that Kerr did what the British told him to do.

This is not ancient history Law Asia is still active in Australian politics and directing the political and public discourse as can be seen by anyone who visits a newsagent. Quadrant magazine doesn’t even deny its heritage as benefactors of the Congress of Cultural Freedom on its website:

Critics have alleged that in the 1950s Quadrant enjoyed some kind of funding through the Congress for Cultural Freedom from the US Central Intelligence Agency if so none of its editors ever knew of or were influenced in any way by such funding.

WHY DID ANYONE CARE ABOUT AUSTRALIA?

‘The Massive American 647 satellite surveillance programme which reports back to Nurrungar, thence by a landline to Pine Gap, then through the TRW system at Los Angeles on to Langley, the CIA headquarters. The communications vault in Los Angeles, where Boyce worked, was the linchpin of this Australian US-Link.’

– Richard Hall, Secrets of State

Pine Gap, US Spy Base in Australia

Since World War II, the US has had a strong interest in the affairs of domestic Australian politics. As Britain’s influence on Australia has declined, the States’ has increased. Britain no longer demands we send troops to support colonial wars, Australia sends troops to America’s colonial wars instead. In the 1970s, as now, Australia was essential to US hegemony in South East Asia. While not being a regional power, Australia is an important strategic outpost. Smack bang in the middle of the Australian desert is a facility, owned, staffed and run by foreign military intelligence forces.

This US Military Installation is commonly known as Pine Gap and exists because on 9th Dec 1966, Australia signed an agreement with the United States to ‘establish a joint research space defense facility in Australia’. This is an Orwellian description, the giant golf balls are for spying. Spying on Australia, spying on Asia and everywhere in the region. Initially set up to facilitate Project Rhyolite, which was a covert satellite system spying on China and Russia, its operations soon became more diverse. The massive and illegal carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War, known as Operation Menu was conducted from Pine Gap and its sister installation Nurrungar. Make no mistake Pine Gap is an essential part of the US war machine. James Jesus Angleton, a legendary figure in the CIA and chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff from 1954 to 1975, said in a defensive 1977 ABC interview that Pine Gap ‘represents one of the greatest bonanzas to Australia’. Pine Gap had been instrumental in co-ordinating the attacks against Cambodia, Vietnam and in supplying information to Israel during the Yom Kippur war. This also made Alice Springs a nuclear target.

The concern for the United States was Article 13 of the Pine Gap Agreement. It states that nine years after signing, a years notice by any party could be given to quit the agreement. That means the period between 9th Dec 1975 to 9th Dec 1976. The constitutional coup that dismissed Whitlam happened on 11th November 1975. If another 24 hours had passed, an election could not have been held until the New Year. Fearing, without just cause, that the Labor government was going to dissolve the agreement, the United States felt that new leadership or a change of government might secure the facility. It was necessary to prevent the notice being given that the agreement would be dissolved. As it happened, Whitlam’s replacement Malcolm Fraser, beneficiary of the coup, renewed the contract with an Exchange of Notes on October 19th 1977. This is the reason the United States overthrew Australian democracy. The fear that Whitlam and the Labor party would have cancelled the spy base agreement.

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

‘It is precisely because America is our principal ally that Australia must be satisfied that American agents are not acting in a manner contrary to our interests as a nation…our dignity and self-respect as a nation, no less than our national security, demand that the parliament exercise its supremacy in scrutinizing the activities of foreign intelligence service operating in this country.’

– Gough Whitlam in Parliament, 1977

Clyde Cameron, Whitlam Cabinet Minister

How did they do it? By the book. US Intelligence agencies have an impressive history of subverting foreign democracies to their own ends. The list is exhaustive, but perhaps the most famous is the military coup against Chile’s democratically elected President Salvador Allende on September 11th, 1973 and the subsequent regime of torture and forced disappearance of thousands of internal dissidents. US support and instigation of the coup is well documented and was known as Operation Condor. By subverting Chilean institutions and creating an economic crisis they encouraged the military in Chile to take over by force. As declassified US State Department memorandums show, President Nixon wanted the CIA ‘to make the [Chilean] economy scream’. They had they the same plan for Australia. As we will see later ASIS and ASIO contributed to the Chilean tragedy. Clyde Cameron, Cabinet Minister in the Whitlam government, had this to say of the similar plans for Australia in this period:

What I do know is that as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Kerr had been in communication with chiefs of the Armed Forces. I know the Governor-General’s office had been in touch with the American embassy. They contemplated the possibility of a general strike in which there would be a revolt of the trade union movement resulting in a complete shutdown of all power or gas supplies or transport, all activity, even the waterworks, the sewage, everything would have been cut off. The country couldn’t have lasted any more than 24 hours. So, it was decided that the army would be put on red alert so [that] in the eventuality of that sort of thing happening they would be able to move in. And in the event of the army finding that the whole matter had gone beyond their control … because what could the army do? They couldn’t man the power stations and the water-works and the sewage plants and all the transport facilities with the kind of army we’ve got. And it was then decided that they would call on the Americans to send in the Pacific Fleet and would stand ready to take and bombard Sydney.

The September 11, 1973 US Sponsored Military Coup in Chile

Unsurprisingly, during the coup of November 1975 the Australian army was recalled to barracks, troops were reportedly issued with live ammunition and Army experts were assigned to ride the engine cabs on NSW railways. According to former Whitlam Minister Joe Riordan, Kerr had radio communications equipment installed at Government House in case he did have to call in the army.

SETTING THE AGENDA

Tirath Khemlani, Pakistani Con Man who helped bring down the Whitlam Government

The Labor Government had many woes in this period and was often embroiled in scandal. The media campaign against the Labor Government was unending. Australian journalists Joan Coxsedge and Ken Coldicutt, in their book on the efforts to bring down the Whitlam government Rooted in Secrecy sum up the media environment of the time ‘an unparalleled campaign of personal vituperation, hinting at incompetence, dissension, corruption and private scandal within the ranks of government’. The domestic issue of convenience that led to the downfall of the Whitlam government was the ‘Loans Affair’. This supposed scandal led the opposition parties to believe they held the moral high ground and could block money supply in the parliament. Due to economic woes mostly relating to global economic issues (US spending on the Vietnam War in particular) the government was having trouble funding its social and nation building promises and was being hounded by the media for its supposed economic mismanagement. Inflation and rising unemployment was becoming a problem before Whitlam even got into power. Australia wasn’t alone in its poor economic outlook. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) said at the time, ‘the present recession in OECD countries is the most serious since the war‘. Since oil prices at the time were extremely high, it was the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that had the wealth. Rather than go through traditional US and European sources, Labor decided to borrow short term money through middle eastern countries without the consent of the Federal Loans Committee. Seeking loans from OPEC in the midst of this global economic crisis was in itself a sound policy and had been done by many other OECD countries without much fuss in their homelands. Unfortunately for the government and ministers responsible, they ended up going through up a middle man by the name of Tirath Khemlani. A Pakistani born commodities trader, Khemlani was a ‘shadowy figure who seemed to live on aeroplanes and claimed to exist on potato chips and dried chickpeas’. He was also never able to come up with the $4 Billion loan. When the deal fell apart, documents were leaked to the press and senior Whitlam Ministers became the focus of a media frenzy. When Khemlani returned to Australia for a tell-all ‘locked in a cheap Canberra hotel room’ with opposition member and future prime minister John Howard, he was able to provide ‘the pretext needed to block supply and bring down the Whitlam government’.

The Loans Affair broke in 1975 and cost the job of the Minister for Minerals and Energy Rex Connor. A similar loans scandal would end the career of the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Dr Jim Cairns. The dismissal of these senior and outspoken Ministers Connor and Cairns was an early coup for CIA. Former CIA analyst, Vietnam veteran, All American Football player and winner of the Congressional Medal of Freedom turned whistle-blower, Ralph McGehee, had this to say of US involvement in the troubles:

one CIA National Intelligence Daily report admitted that some of the most incriminating evidence in that period against the ministers in the Whitlam government may have been fabricated.

Ralph McGehee (Left), Highly Decorated CIA Officer and Whistleblower

This straight arrow hero’s opinion of the true nature of his former employer is illuminating:

The CIA is not now nor has it ever been a central intelligence agency. It is the covert action arm of the President’s foreign policy advisers. In that capacity it overthrows or supports foreign governments while reporting “intelligence” justifying those activities. It shapes its intelligence, even in such critical areas as Soviet nuclear weapon capability, to support presidential policy. Disinformation is a large part of its covert action responsibility, and the American people are the primary target audience of its lies.

Ray Cline, head of CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence (1962-1966) and later Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1969-1974) said in an interview with the now defunct National Times:

The CIA would go so far as to provide information to people who would provide it to the surface in Australia…say they stumbled onto a Whitlam error which they were willing to pump into the system so it might be to his damage…if we provided a particular piece of information to the Australian intelligence services, they would make use of it.

Ultimately, the government sought to obtain its loan from the United States as was expected. A victorious Malcolm Fraser then committed his new government to strong defence spending (to stop communism) cuts to taxes, reducing social spending and culling the public services. Though even with Fraser’s economic rationalism, unemployment still rose as did inflation, just as it had under Whitlam. Fraser allowed Australian uranium to be mined and exported, a key policy concession for the US as Australia possesses 31% of the worlds supplies. As for Australia’s mineral wealth, as of 2013, 83% of Australian mining profits go to overseas investors, a much more comfortable situation for foreign corporations than Connor proposed all these years ago.

Dr Jim Cairns, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in Whitlam Government

HANDLING THE UNIONS

The period boasts an impressive array of CIA crimes against Australia. This includes blackmail, dissemination of fraudulent documents about Whitlam ministers, infiltration of the media, universities and the law courts. As was revealed in the press at the time the CIA also funded the National and Liberal parties of Australia. A former Liberal politician, Edward St John, explained that funds were not given directly but ‘passed through a number of special trusts, or through multi-national corporations…to look like a normal political donation’. Deep cover agents would pose as ‘businessman, students, newsmen, missionaries or other seemingly innocent visitors’ to staff these fronts. Some of the fronts included the the already mentioned LawAsia and Congress for Cultural Freedom, the International Commission of Jurists and the National Union of Australian Students (NUAUS) before CIA funding was withdrawn in 1967.

Of particular importance for the CIA was the infiltration of trade unions. Whitlam Minister Clyde Cameron said at the time of the sabotage efforts that ‘the CIA is not only seeking to subvert officials and members of the trade union movement, but is actually concerning itself in the affairs of the government itself’. Christopher Boyce supports this assertion and concluded as a result of his experiences ‘either central intelligence directly or through intermediaries would have to have infiltrated the hierarchy of your trade unions at some level’. He described one such event relating to the Pine Gap installation:

We had hardware, software and personnel ship out of Alice Springs, and there was worry over strikes at your airports. They had to do with pilots and air controllers…a twix [telex] came from Pilot [CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia] “pilot will continue to suppress the strike, continue shipment on schedule”.

Clyde Cameron recalled on public radio in 1986 how Whitlam’s Attorney General Lionel Murphy had attended:

A meeting of world leaders in the fields of finance and commercial interests in which a top American businessman, who has a very close connection with the CIA, made the statement that `we’ [meaning the corporate world] have no trouble with governments, we can manage them, we can handle governments, but the difficulty always is handling the Trade Union movement.

Richard M. Bissell, Jr. – CIA Deputy Director for Plans

Trade Unions were infiltrated, according to Cameron, via the Leadership Grants Scheme in which they were ‘invited to go to America for up to six weeks at a time, funded and given the first class hotel accommodation with first class return fares in order to brainwash them into inculcating in their thinking process’. Infiltration and manipulation of a target countries internal institutions and power centers is a standard US intelligence community tactic. Richard Bissell, the CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans, said this to the US Council of Foreign Relations in 1968:

We are involved in a total war…foreign policy is not “something left over” after the consideration of labours role in Asia, Africa and Latin America has been taken out. In fact, our foreign policy cannot be successful unless it specifically includes and gives high priority to the activities of worker organisation in these vast areas.

Bob Hawke, Australian Prime Minister 1983-1991

Demonstrations and work stoppages in Australia did occur during the period of the November 1975 coup but they were in support of Whitlam’s government. Still, Pro-US trade union leaders called for restraint from the demonstrators. They didn’t want support for a ‘nationwide general strike’, according to CIA’s National Intelligence Daily (Nov 12th, 1975). One of these Pro-US leaders was Bob Hawke, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (1969-80). Hawke had been seen by the CIA as a successful successor to Whitlam in the Labor party for some time. It should come as no surprise that a former US Labour Attaché to Australia, Robert Walkinshaw, befriended Hawke. Nor should it now be a surprise that Walkinshaw was outed as a CIA agent by whistle-blower and undercover operative Philip Agee. Hawke commented on this relationship to Labour Attaches in 1977:

I’ve never known them to try in any way to traduce people…I’ve met them all the way back to Walkinshaw and I’ve never been aware of any sort of activity that would make me identify them as CIA agents. That proves nothing of course.

Bob Hawke eventually became Prime Minister in 1983. A National Security Agency and US Cryptologic History Review in 1999 references Hawke’s ascension in friendly terms:

…when party leader Bob Hawke took control, he excluded the left wing of the party and repudiated the anti-US planks of the party platform…soon after his election he publicly declared that the US would continue to enjoy access to defence facilities in Australia, including Alice Springs (also known as Pine gap). His public statement in support of the facility revealed the bases purpose “…the provision of early warning by receiving from space satellites information about missile launches – and the occurrence of nuclear explosions “. It was more than the US wanted him to say, but was received with relatively good graces in view of his strong support for the joint effort.

Walkinshaw, after his stint in Australia moved on to work with a certain Ambassador Green in Indonesia.

THE COUP MASTER

– Activist Joan Coxsedge issuing a prophetic warning to Whitlam (ABC Lateline 1973)

US Ambassador to Australia Marshall Green, 1973-1975

In 1973, two years before the Australian coup, the US sent a new Ambassador to Australia. The man was Marshall Green, a high level policy maker for the US in South East Asia and someone who had lectured at the CIA associated think-tank , the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Since Australia was normally seen as a backward posting, to have someone of the new ambassadors stature was surprising. Coxsedge’s warning to Whitlam was because Green also had a tendency to be in countries which ‘sprouted coups’, including a military coup in South Korea in 1961 and the murderous coup in Indonesia 1965-66 which killed between 500,000-1,000,000+ persons (there are various historians estimates). One of the great ironies of the Indonesian Coup is that the Indonesian secret police had such poor information that the CIA provided them with lists of individuals with communist sympathies ( members of the Indonesian PKI party) to be disposed of . Green confirmed in an August 10th, 1966 Airgram to Washington that the list(s) provided by the US embassy ‘is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership’. Green had originally endorsed on December 2, 1965 a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the Indonesia Kap-Gestapu movement, who were an ‘army-inspired but civilian-staffed action group still carrying burden of current repressive efforts targeted against PKI.’ Greens 1973 statement on his role in the slaughter in Indonesia shows little remorse, ‘what we did we had to do, and you’d better be glad we did because if we hadn’t Asia would be a different place today’. Clyde Cameron made this comment on Marshall Greens intrigues:

His method of operation was to make close contact with the military of a particular country, those who own and control the media, and to generally infiltrate the sections of government where policy or decision making takes places.

Clyde Cameron met Ambassador Green when he first arrived. Cameron cheekily caught him off guard by asking what they would do if the Australian government decided to nationalise the resources industry. Green answered ‘oh, we’ll move in’ before gathering his composure and clarifying `the days of sending in the marines has passed but there are plenty of other things we could do’. Secretary of the Australian Department of Defence, Arthur Tange, confirms in his view that Green was sent to Australia to cause trouble:

[Greens]…appointment was no compliment to Australia. Green was sent because of apprehension about Whitlam’s policies and [US President] Nixon’s resentment at the statements of some of his wilder ministers…Indeed one high-ranking American told me that Green was given to sending somewhat alarmist reports to Washington. This of course is a fairly normal practice of competent trouble-shooters who are disappointed by the meagre trouble upon which to apply their skill.

Indonesian Military Coup 1965-67

During the Whitlam years, US diplomatic staff exceeded 300, a very high number. We should consider how many of these staff actually routinely worked for the CIA. As Richard Bissell, CIA strategist explains:

Local allies find themselves dealing always with an American and an official American – since the cover is almost invariably as a US government employee there are powerful reasons for this practice, and it will always be desirable to have some CIA personnel housed in the embassy compound.

Marshall Green left Australia in September 1975, a few months before the coup, and retired a few years later devoting his time to committees and writing books on combating global overpopulation.

THE CIA’s BANK

An infamous example of the CIA de-stabilisation effort is the story of the meteoric rise and collapse of the Australian Nugan-Hand Bank. The bank was founded in 1973 by Australian businessman Frank Nugan from Griffith, NSW (notorious for its links to the Australian mafia and the drug trade) and Michael Hand, a former Green Beret. Nugan-Hand Bank goes down in history as a money launderer, drug trafficker and international arms dealer. Its criminal dealings were exposed in 1980, leading to Royal commissions, criminal task force investigations and the revelation of an intricate web of connections with intelligence community figures.

Michael Hand (Centre) and Frank Nugan (Right) of the Nugan-Hand Bank

The CIA has a history of using international banks for its operations. Nugan-Hand inherited the mantle of the CIA’s bank from the disgraced Bahamas based Castle Bank and Trust Ltd of Nassau. Castle was founded in the 60s by Paul Helliwell, former CIA agent and lawyer who had helped set up another infamous company, Civil Air Transport (Air America). Helliwell had also been instrumental in setting up the CIA’s Operation Mongoose , the ‘worlds to-date major terrorist operation’ against Cuba, and he had business connections with mobster Meyer Lansky. The bank came under scrutiny from the US Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion in 1975 and was exposed as a CIA conduit. However the case against the bank was dropped because as the Washington Post (April 24, 1980) reported ‘it now appears that pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency, rather than any legal problem, was what caused the justice department to drop what could have been the biggest tax evasion case of all time’. Castle collapsed in 1977 taking Creedence Clearwater Revival and Hugh Heffner’s money with it.

CIA owned Airline ‘Air America’ . Motto: ‘Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, Professionally’

Yet another well-known case is the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Founded in 1972, this international bank funded many nefarious regimes including Saddam Hussein and the Mujahedeen (Taliban) in Afghanistan. BCCI’s corruption made it to the big screen in the fictionalised form of 2009’s The International. A 1992 report to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations stated that ‘BCCI’s criminality included fraud by BCCI and BCCI customers involving billions of dollars money laundering in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas …support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies’. The same report alludes to CIA involvement but with deliberate vagueness:

The CIA developed important information on the BCCI, and inadvertently failed to provide it to those who could use it. The CIA and former CIA officials had a far wider range of contacts and links to BCC and BCCI shareholders, officers and customers than has been acknowledged by the CIA.

Victor Marchetti commented on Australian radio in 1980 that the CIA has a variety of assets or organisation it uses. In some cases, as in Air America, it is entirely owned and operated by CIA. In other cases, the company are independent but run by former intelligence and defence employees. They are different organisations, but have mutual goals:

Nugan-Hand, from what I know about it, seems to fall into this latter category…it doesn’t seem to be a proprietary in the full sense of this word, that is, owned and controlled by the agency, nor does it seem to be a simple front organisation. It seems to be more of an independent organisation with former CIA people connected with it, and they’re in business to make money, but because of their close personal relationship with the agency they will do favours for the agency…if Nugan-Hand is what is seems to be, this is just the one of the kinds of organisations that Bissell would advocate as being used to facilitate operations overseas.

The aforementioned CIA Director William Colby was one of Nugan-Hand’s attorneys. Colby is perhaps best remembered or shamed for his oversight of the Phoenix Program in the Vietnam War. This well documented but almost unknown atrocity was described by one of its own CIA interrogators, K Barton Osborn, before Congress as ‘a sterile and de-personalised murder program’. Other notable employees and associates of the Nugan-Hand bank included ‘some of the most famous names in US national security circles’ including Admiral Earl Yates (US pacific command, former) General Leroy Manner (Pentagon counter insurgency specialist, former), General Edwin Black (Commander US forces in Thailand, former) Walter McDonald (CIA Deputy director for Economic research, former) and Dale Holmgen (Chairman of Civil Air Transport ‘Air America’). One of the critical figures in Nugan-Hand was actually a ‘civilian’ on the surface. He was a US businessman called Bernie Houghton who had considerable ties with the allied intelligence community. Known as a ‘camp follower’ of the US’s Asian wars Houghton had spent three years in Vietnam during the war reportedly selling slot machines and opium. Houghton had been able to settle in Australia with the clearance of ASIO and once, upon coming back to Australia once without a re-entry visa, produced a personal reference from the NSW State Director of ASIO to satisfy immigration agents. Houghton later became well known for his ownership of bars in Sydney’s King Cross area and a celebratory bust would be constructed of him for his work and contribution to the area. As the Australian Joint Task Force on Drugs declared, Houghton definitely had links with US Intelligence agencies. He recruited Admiral Yates to the bank, knew a covert CIA operative called Edwin Wilson (who we will see is important in the coup) and also knew former Major-General Richard Secord, a covert operations specialist in the US Air-force and someone who would be involved in the scandal of the Iran-Contra Affair.

The number of senior bank employee’s associated with Air America is also telling. Air America or Civil Air Transport (CAT) was the CIA’s primary asset in fighting indochinese communism through alignment with local militia’s and drug trafficking . Michael Hand himself had been a CIA operative fighting with the Hmong guerrillas in Laos. The Hmong had a reputation for drug trafficking during the Indochinese conflict and were supported and armed by US Forces during the war. It is no accident that heroin epidemics in the second half of the 20th Century coincides with massive CIA sponsorship of anti-communist fighters. Obvious examples include Corsican gangs in Marseille, France after World War II Burmese drug traffickers allied with the anti-communist Nationalist Chinese Army various anti-communist local forces in the Golden triangle of Laos, Cambodia and Thailand during the Vietnam War and the mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Alfred McCoy in his magnum opus The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade is well versed in the history:

From 1960-1970, the CIA created a secret army of 30,000 Hmong tribesman to battle Laotian communists…since the Hmong’s main cash crop was opium…CIA’s Air America [was allowed ] to collect opium from…scattered highland villages. In late 1960, the CIA’s various covert action clients opened a network of heroin laboratories in the golden triangle. In their first years of operation, these laboratories exported high grade no. 4 heroin to US troops fighting in Vietnam. After their withdrawal, the golden triangle laboratories exported directly to the United States, capturing one third of the American heroin market.

In case you are thinking history Professor McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a crank, take notice of this reference by lawyer Joseph Nellis, a congressional investor on the US House Select Committee on Narcotics, ‘ I think he knows more about heroin production in southeast Asia than any man living. His book is an outstanding example of intelligence in this area’. McCoy goes on to clarify the relationship between CIA and local drug lords:

Critics who look for CIA agents to actually dirty their hands with drugs in the line of duty are missing the point. In most covert actions the CIA avoids direct involvement in combat or espionage and instead works through local clients whose success usually determines the outcome of the agency’s operation.

It was in Laos while working for the CIA that Michael Hand befriended an Air America pilot called Kermit Buddy King. King would move to Australia to sell real estate pushed by American crooner Pat Boone, where he lived in a nice house in a remote area with a landing strip. Problems emerged when his mistreated Thai housekeeper made accusations of drug trafficking in Australia involving King and Hand. King would later fall to his death from the tenth floor of his Sydney apartment building.

Confirmation of the CIA’s involvement with drug trafficking has arisen from congressional investigations but a mostly compliant press accepts the party line and avoid undue focus on these elements. Indeed part of the revelations in the Iran-Contra affair, during the Reagan administration, was CIA involvement with drug lords in South and Central America. The administration, denied the necessary funds for the secret war against the socialist Nicaraguan government, allied itself with drug smugglers to help fund the US supported Nicaraguan rebels known as the Contras. The majority of press coverage however focused on the bypassing of congress and the illegal arms sales to embargoed Iran. For its activities in Nicaragua the US would be convicted of international terrorism by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a 1986 judgement and ordered to pay reparations. US Activities the ICJ deemed against international law included the economic embargo, mining Nicaraguan waters, supporting paramilitaries and killing, kidnapping and wounding Nicaraguan citizens. Former CIA analyst David MacMichael, who provided important testimony at the ICJ trial, told British Journal The Independent:

Once you set up a covert operation to supply arms and money, it’s very difficult to separate it from the kind of people who are involved in other forms of trade, and especially drugs. There is a limited number of planes, pilots and landing strips. By developing a system for supply of the Contras, the US built a road for drug supply into the US.

Celerino Castillo III, DEA Whisteblower

In 1989 The Kerry Committee Report of the US Sub Committee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations found that the State Department had paid drug traffickers in the affair. US investigative Journalist Gary Webb wrote about these drug-Contra connections, the inflow of drugs to US cities and the crack epidemic in the extremely detailed Dark Alliance series of articles in 1996 for San Jose Mercury News, and later put them into a book on the subject that is also being turned into a film. In 2004, a depressed and much vilified Webb was found dead from suicide – according to the coroner – with two bullet holes in his head. There were others. Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Agent and Vietnam Veteran Celerino Castillo III, author of Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War wrote a statement for the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence where he listed his involvement with various CIA agents in the drug war:

The key to understanding the “crack cocaine” epidemic, which exploded on our streets in 1984, lies in understanding the effect of congressional oversight on covert operations…As my friend and colleague Michael Ruppert has pointed out through his own experience in the 1970s, CIA has often bypassed congressional intent by resorting to the drug trade (Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,etc).

Castillo was later dubiously arrested and sentenced for selling arms without a permit.

In 1980 Nugan-Hand bank would sign a preliminary agreement with the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands (near the Caribbean) to take over a former US naval base. Supposedly this was to settle refugees from Indochina and they sought funds from the UN Refugee Commission for the purpose. The Commonwealth-NSW Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking investigating the bank mentioned that one of the possible reasons for the agreement was that ‘ the proximity of the Caribbean and central America to a number of South American drug source countries makes them a natural transit point for illicit drug shipments destined to the North American market’.

After the bank was exposed director Frank Nugan was found dead from a gun shot (self inflicted according to the coroner) in his car in Sydney on 27th Jan 1980 with William Colby’s card in his pocket, a bible, and a meat pie bag with a US Congressman’s name on it. Further searches of his files revealed a handwritten note (transcribed below) referencing an arms deal with South Africa to keep what is now known as Zimbabwe under the minority rule of the white elite:

Military weapons Rhodesia
Pay in Gold
Recoilless Rifles
Mortars 60/80 ml
M79 Grenade launches [sic]
Quad .50 Caliber machine guns

Nugan-Hand Bank was involved in everything it seems but real banking. Jonathon Kwitny, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and Pulitzer Prize nominee is the best source for information on the scandal and his book The Crimes of Patriots remains the most detailed independent investigative source easily available to the public. Kwitny concluded ‘the Nugan-Hand Bank never did any banking. It never hired any bankers’ but it had an elite group of salesmen. In every sense it was an ‘un-bank’. One the banks former directors, retired US Admiral Earl P. “Buddy” Yates, who refused to be interviewed by Kwitny did write a reply to the book declaring his innocence. He summarised Kwitny’s investigative work as arguments taken from ‘communist-fed, anti-American sources’ which has served to benefit only ‘the Soviet Union and the KGB disinformation service’.

There were however several official Australian reports and investigations into the Nugan-Hand Bank. These include The Commonwealth-NSW Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking , the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking 1981-1983 (known as the Stewart Commission) and the Corporate Affairs Commission. These investigators often had their hands tied, served political interests or initially just lacked from competent investigators. Kwitny claims the initial inspectors at the Corporate Affairs Commission, allowed themselves to be ‘shoved around and intimidated by Michael Hand, until the evidence was dissipated’. For instance in December 1980, the Australian Tax Office investigative section where the Nugan-Hand records were kept was broken into. Despite its global connections neither the CIA, DEA or FBI would provide any information and the DEA would in fact deny any investigation had ever been done into Nugan-Hand. The Joint Task Force felt aggrieved enough to complain that no help was received from the US after requests for information on Nugan-Hand, despite the fact that:

It will be seen from the report that at times those links [to US intelligence organisations] appear to have been an intrinsic part of the then ongoing activity and have the appearance of the US intelligence community itself.

And in its final report the Corporate Affairs Commission lamented:

That there is a Nugan-Hand file maintained by the United States Department of Justice…is beyond dispute…without access to the material actually deleted it is difficult if not impossible to conceive of the reason for classification and deletion of the subject material.

To add to the absurdity of US agency denials, the DEA’s office in Chang Mai, Thailand was next door to the Nugan-Hand Branch . According to the book Rooted in Secrecy, the Nugan-Hand employee and the DEA Chief ‘answered phones for each other and played cards together’. The 1983 Joint Task Force report has a unique section called ‘Nugan Hand in Thailand’. This entire ten page chapter is marked DELETED. As for the Stewart Commission, according to Kwitny it was a whitewash of US involvement so error ridden that in referring to a CIA covert operative named Edwin Wilson, who was implicated in the investigation, it actually referred to him as a US Congressmen. Presumably they meant congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas, who helped supply the mujahedeen in Afghanistan and earnt himself a Tom Hanks movie, Charlie Wilson’s War. For their part the CIA, the inventors of plausible deniability, denied any involvement and made the following statement about involvement with Nugan-Hand:

The agency rarely comments on such allegations but in this case we emphatically deny the charges. The CIA has not engaged in operations against the Australian Government, had no ties with the Nugan bank, and does not involve itself in drug trafficking.

While the CIA has officially denied all involvement with the Nugan-Hand Bank, the United States Galveston Daily News, in 1982, citing an Associated Press report reported on allegations of US political sabotage in Australia:

In one published report, Joseph Flynn, described as a CIA contract employee, claimed he manufactured some of the evidence cited in the financial scandal under direction of former CIA agent Edwin Wilson.

Former CIA Analyst Ralph McGehee concurs with this conclusion:

It is quite obvious that information was being leaked about ministers Rex O’Connor and Jim Cairns and some of it was being forged which is a standard CIA process. Jim Flynn, who was associated with elements who were involved with the Nugan-Hand bank, he said that he was involved in manufacturing the cables and leaking them to the press. Now he would not be a very credible source except that he worked for Nugan-Hand.

When the Nugan-Hand bank collapsed in January 1980, it had some $50 million in debt. Nugans colleague, Michael Hand, disappeared without a trace in 1981, presumably under a new identity, never to appear again.

TASK FORCE 157

The US had been concerned about the direction of Australian politics for some time. A declassified National Security Memorandum in 1974 by Henry Kissinger (the US Secretary of State) for senior planners and the Director of CIA specifically refers to:

The implications of changes in the Australian Government for future relations between Australia and the United States…The prospects for keeping U.S. defense installations in Australia and the policy options for trying to prolong installations in Australia and the policy options for trying to do so.

One of the paragraphs in the memo is censored with a big black mark, the statement considered too revealing for public scrutiny. Kissinger, statesman extraordinaire, architect of the September 11 Chilean Military Coup, and winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace prize is an important figure in the crisis. It was Kissinger who reportedly set up the secretive ‘Task Force 157’ in 1966. Originally called the Naval Field Operations Support group (NFOSG) it was a joint CIA – US Navy Intelligence group designed for clandestine intelligence gathering but soon segued into extensive covert operations. Task Force �’, named after someones office number, has been accused of being the primary force behind the Australian destabilisation campaign. Investigative American journalist John Trento claims that Task Force 157 specialised in infiltrating trade unions.

Edwin Wilson, CIA Agent, Convicted Arms Dealer

The aforementioned Edwin Wilson is one its most well known figures and possibly the most important agent involved in the effort to destabilise the Whitlam government. Wilson had a reputation as a rogue CIA agent. He got his start in the US Marines and the special operations division of the CIA before transferring to the NSFOG in 1971. Wilson came into the public spotlight in 1983 when he was convicted of illegally selling weapons to Libya. Wilson died in 2012, and this sarcastic obituary by conservative paper The Economist speaks for itself:

He worked actively for the CIA for 15 years, destabilizing European labour unions by using anything – Corsican mobsters, plagues of cockroaches – and setting up his front companies. The work was “a hell of a satisfaction” to him. He left, officially, in 1971, but only for Task Force 157 of the Office of Naval Intelligence, another super-secret outfit. Then, in 1976, he went “freelance”.

In his later years, Wilson provided weapons to Libyan dictator Colonel Qaddafi as well as training the Colonels soldiers and agents in espionage. According to Jonathon Kwitny this included providing ‘bombs disguised as household trinkets using explosives that could slip through airport metal detectors’. Apparently Wilson was ‘carrying out assassinations in his spare time, mostly for Qadaffi, but also out of pique’ using anti-Castro Cubans from the CIA’s JM/WAVE program. Kwitny explains:

The reason the task force was created was that the CIA involvement with covert operations had handcuffed the agency in doing its original and necessary work – gathering and transmitting intelligence…indeed from all one can learn about it Naval Task Force 157 seems to have been the very model of the kind of intelligence agency the United States needs – until CIA cowboy Ed Wilson got in it.

Much of the public exposure of Task Force 157 comes from former members approaching the press in the aftermath and bitterness of its closure. Official denial of their involvement in the low paid navy intelligence operation has meant they have been denied recognition, since they were ‘civilians’ and cannot get certain government benefits. Wilson himself claimed to be only paid $35,000 a year, however it is well known that he became a millionaire through his various business dealings.

While the issue of CIA espionage was bought up time and time again in parliament by Whitlam and Labor politicians it got no traction. The new Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser proved unwilling to investigate it beyond ‘a personal reassurance’ from then US President Jimmy Carter that the CIA were not involved. West Australian ‘Toe-Cutter’ Senator Reg Withers of the Liberal Party said the opposition should ‘stop looking under their beds at night’ and long standing independent conservative Senator Brian Harradine ridiculed the ‘raising of the CIA bogey’ which had sought to ‘undermine the anti-communist effort’.

Perhaps the most compelling document regarding the CIA’s intent in Australia is the sinister ‘Shackley Cable’ which was tabled into the Australian parliamentary record. Sent to the Director General of Australia’s spy agency ASIO by an agent in Washington it relays the concern of one Ted Chackley (sic), the chief of Asia Division CIA. Theodore Shackley, coincidentally, was a friend of Michael Hand of the Nugan-Hand bank and they worked together for the CIA in Laos. After Shackley left the CIA, Hand sent him this personal correspondence on November 27, 1979:

Dear Ted…the opportunity of meeting you again on different terms was very enjoyable and I sincerely trust that something worthwhile businesswise may surface and be profitable for both of us.

Ted Shackley, “The Blonde Ghost”, CIA Deputy Director of Covert Operations

The Shackley cable reflects the agency’s concern about the Pine Gap agreement, media accusations of CIA funding of Australian Political Parties and the growing Australian intolerance for ‘our mutually beneficial relationship’. Whitlam’s primary mistake at this time had been to threaten to reveal that Richard Stallings, who had set up the Pine Gap base, of being a CIA spy, after it was revealed in the Australian Financial Review. Whitlam had learnt during the Loans Affair that Pine Gap had been the source of leaked information about the governments’ activities. At the time, the ‘retired’ Stallings had been staying at the Canberra flat of the National Party Leader, Doug Anthony. Stallings, according to Victor Marchetti, was himself ‘very upset’ about how the Pine Gap installation had been infiltrating trade unions and funnelling the opposition political parties. The sinister implications for Australian democracy are clear from the following cable excerpts:

CIA cannot see how this dialogue can continue with continued reference to CIA can do other than blow the lid off those installations in Australia…CIA feels grave concern as to where this type of public discussion may lead. The DG [ASIO Director General] should be assured that the CIA does not lightly adopt this attitude… [the] Ambassador is fully informed of this message.

The cable was sent on November 10th, 1975, the day before Gough Whitlam was dismissed by Governor General John Kerr. Journalist Brian Toohey wrote that the ‘hard line warrior Theodore Shackley, was convinced that Whitlam was a threat to the western alliance’ and that ‘ASIS failed to persuade the Americans of its absurdity’. Senator Cavanagh, addressing the senate in 1976 on the subject of the Governor General said ‘ I believe that something has happened to change his attitude entirely within a very short period…the question of why an individual in whom so many people had confidence should make such an about-face deserves thorough investigation’.

Before the cable, on November 9th 1975, Governor Kerr, already aware of the intelligence communities concerns visited the Australian Defence Signals Directorate headquarters at Watsonia for a briefing a bizarre action for a person whose role is primarily ceremonial. Kerr had also been briefed by Arthur Tange, the Australian Head of the Defence Department on November 6th. Tange, a ‘mandarin’ of Australian public servants, wrote in his memoir that he had notice of the Shackely cable but decided it was the work of a ‘ham fisted American intelligence official’ and ‘not a matter of concern’. He was assured Washington ‘could be relied upon to hose him down’. Tange’s major concern, of course, as he notes, was the Soviet Union reading our newspapers and finding out that the Australian public had found out the CIA were actively engaged in espionage against us. ASIO eventually took the message to Whitlam, perhaps the agencys’ most honourable action during the period.

WHAT ABOUT AUSTRALIA’S INTELLIGENCE AGENCY?

‘ASIO has always been a compliant service for the American CIA. They have always done that.’

– Clyde Cameron, Whitlam Cabinet Minister

Australia’s domestic spy agency is called the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) and its foreign counterpart is the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIS) . ASIO’s website describes its mission as being ‘to gather information and produce intelligence that will enable it to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia’s national security.’ So what was ASIO doing while an Australian government was being overthrown? The answer at best is nothing and at worst, collaborating. To understand why it is necessary to examine the relations between national security agencies around the world. Intelligence agencies have ‘ties that bind’. In essence they are more loyal to each other than to their respective countries, even during the cold war. A perfect example is ASIS involvement in Chile at the time. Gough Whitlam admitted to parliament in 1977:

It has been written – I cannot deny it- that when my government took office Australian intelligence personnel were still working as proxies and nominees of the CIA in destabilizing the government of Chile.

Even when Whitlam ordered the agents to return home in March 1973, they ignored his direction, staying on in Chile for several months. As for ASIO it was spying on Chilean exiles in Australia and Chilean immigration to Australia was deliberately cutback as hopefuls were screened with the collaboration of the Chilean security services. The brutal Chilean security service was known as DINA (the Chilean National Intelligence Directorate) and was so bold as to assassinate the former Chilean ambassador – Orlando Letelier – in Washington DC on September 21st, 1976.

D.I.N.A – The Chilean Secret Service

Understandable then that many Chileans did not want their names listed in the Australian phonebook until recently. Arthur Tange, defence department head wrote somewhat pedestrianly in his Defence Policy Making Review, ‘Whitlam it seemed had a deep antipathy to the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in destabilising left-wing governments’. It was a discussion between Christopher Boyce and his friend Daulton Lee about US involvement in Chile that led to their eventual treason and conviction. Boyce recalled at his trial that he had remarked to Lee, ‘if you think that’s bad, you should hear what the Central Intelligence Agency is doing to the Australians’.

The name of the CIA agent who supervised the destabilization of the Chilean government was none other than Ted Shackley. US Ambassador Edward Korry has stated that it was Shackley and the CIA’s mission ‘to do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty’. The Australian intelligence agency helped. Covert operations like those in Australian and Chile are usually done with the full knowledge of the host country. Victor Marchetti identifies the collaborative role of the power structures within a target country with this candid and revealing statement:

I mean, the CIA did not take these actions upon itself…what you in Australia must understand is that you are more to blame than the CIA because you want a certain administration in control. The first question I tell all foreign journalists when they bring out this point is ..I ask them ‘look, you find out where the loyalties of your intelligence services lies. Do they lie with the country as a whole, for better or worse, or to the establishment of your country? … They tend to have more in common with each other and their establishments which they represent than they do with their own people.

John Marks & Victor Marchetti , high ranking State Department and CIA Whistleblowers

Whitlam knew some of this. In referring to the Shackley Cable he made the following comment, that ‘implicit in the CIA’s approach to ASIO’ was an understanding that ASIO had ‘obligations of loyalty to the CIA itself before obligations to the Australian government’. A telling example is the file kept on outspoken Deputy Prime Minister Jim Cairns during the Whitlam government, warning his activities (anti-war speeches) could lead ‘to a fascist cult of the personality’. To get a sense of the coziness of intelligence services from allied countries consider these words in a personal letter from Sir Brigadier General Charles Spry (Director General of ASIO 1950- 70) to a bed-ridden CIA Director Jim Dulles in 1969:

I shall never cease to be grateful to you for the initiation and development of relations between your service and mine. I consider, without reservations, that this was the turning point which has enabled ASIO to reach the level of sophistication which it now enjoys. Jim Angleton [Jesus James Angleton, head of CIA counterintelligence] and others have continued to assist us. I always consider you as the no 1 Honorary Australian in our Organization and Jim no. 2

During the terms of the Whitlam Government there were two CIA station chiefs. The station chief in Australia from 1972-1975 was a man named John Walker who had previously run the Israeli CIA station. Walker was close to Colin Brown, the Deputy Deputy Director of ASIO. So close in fact that Mrs Walker left her husband to marry Mr Brown.

ASIO served its institutional and historical role of assisting other intelligence agencies by ensuring attention was misdirected in the middle of the worst political sabotage against Australia. ASIO analysts released articles for the media to publish with pointed to the extremism of left leaning groups (communists, environmentalists, aboriginal campaigners) and their supposed threat to Australia. Of 67 titles released in the period, only two were concerned with extreme right groups. To put this disparity in context, one of these right wing groups was the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (CRB). The CRB were followers of Ante Pavelic, the Croatian fascist leader who in World War II helped Nazi Germany murder several hundred thousand Serbs, Jews and Romani. In the 1960’s and 1970’s Germany and then Australia was home to the headquarters and training centres for this organisation also known as ‘Ustacha’ or ‘Ustase’. The CRB organised a campaign of terror throughout Europe (often on Australian Passports), assassinating Yugoslavian communist officials, blowing up planes and for over a decade bombing Yugoslavian business, embassies and social clubs in Sydney and Melbourne. The group and its followers were also heavily implicated in the later disintegration of Yugoslavia into separate states and the civil war and horrors that followed. If you are wondering what ASIO did about this group, the answer is nothing.

Logo of Ustase (the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood)

It was ASIO’s willingness to allow our citizens to conduct a global terror operation from Australia that led to the infamous Murphy Raid. Attorney General Lionel Murphy raided ASIO headquarters on March 16th 1973 after concerns reached him from the Commonwealth Police that the visiting Yugoslavian Prime Minister was to be assassinated. ASIO had been unable or unwilling to provide him with files on the CRB despite all their activities. The Murphy Raid did not make the Americans happy. An elected official asking for withheld information from an organisation he oversaw was meaningless compared to the US right to dominance. The legendary CIA figure and cold war warrior James Jesus Angleton revealed this in a 1977 interview with the ABC:

Our attitude toward Whitlam was at two levels: number one, he was elected by Australians for better or for worse. In my own view for worse but it did not affect our relationship until his Attorney General Murphy barged in and tried to destroy the delicate mechanism of internal security which has been built on patiently since the end of World War II…[after the Whitlam Coup] we received assurances that the antics and cowboy tactics were not to be of concern to us.

James Jesus Angleton – Chief of CIA Counterintelligence

‘Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune’. – Professor Noam Chomsky

Consigned to the bin of conspiracy theories, the history of CIA espionage in Australia is more intricate and nebulous than can be detailed in this blog. Even so, the topic matter has required a lengthy article. I felt this to be necessary and unavoidable. With assertions of this nature, as Noam Chomsky suggests above, the burden of proof is so much more onerous than if I was simply to declare ‘ after World War II, the KGB had spies in Australia’. No-one would question that contention because ‘hey, we know they are the bad guys’. All too often the public and the media in western society accepts vague excuses of national security and patriotism as a reason not to question authority or the completely foreseeable consequences of our own deliberate and exploitative actions. Terrible deeds done by our military, intelligence agencies or government are deemed sacrosanct or at worst nobly misguided. Our (Western Society) display of power is never evil or complicit, by definition, because we wear the white hat. Powerful interests control our media and public discourse, and not just in mainstream journalism. Consider the omnipresence of advertising, magazines, TV, music, movies, shops and products in our every waking moment. Inevitably these are owned by a few sources. Consider the listed interntional company Serco. Here in Australia they run prisons , hospitals, transport and immigration detention centres. Globally they also are involved in nuclear physics laboratories, leisure centre’s, IT infrastructure, waste, educational facilities, air traffic control as well as being a major arms manufacturer thus almost completing the circle of influence on our minds and bodies. By being presented a view of the world through the narrow prism of a few sources, owned by a powerful few, we see the world in the way they want us to see it. This is what Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky describe as the ‘manufacture of consent’.

There have been numerous accusations made by highly credible commentators about this coup. In addition to those already noted they include Philip Agee, ex-CIA saboteur come whistle-blower, K Barton Osborn (ex CIA agent and military intelligence commander in Vietnam), P L Kealy (computer programmer in the research bases), Geoffrey Eames (Legal advisor to the Central Land Office in Alice Springs and now Judge of the Supreme Court) and the Attorney General of South Australia at the time, Peter Duncan. CIA ‘agents of influence’ are quite clear in their descriptions of the efforts. Frank Snepp, former Chief Analyst for the CIA based in Saigon during the Vietnamese War said ‘there was a complete alteration of our attitudes towards the Australians when the Whitlam Government came into power. I was told by my superiors that Australia might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators’. Ralph McGehee, who worked for Ted Shackely in Vietnam is blunt about the CIA involvement in Whitlam’s dismissal:

Well, my views are as though what’s the problem? I mean, we had a whole series of Agency spokesmen said, `oh, yes, there was an Agency role in the overthrow of the Whitlam government’. I just don’t know why Australians can’t accept that.

The world is complex and real understanding and the ability to change it requires that we know the history and context of each human story. We should remember that states, corporations and institutions are not moral agents but artificial modern human constructs that should serve to better humanity not hinder it. That would also require transparency, self-scrutiny and a thorough examination of our belief structures. I would encourage anyone who has bothered to read this to explore further (via the bibliography) into the many detailed investigative works that were sourced for this article. I’ll depart with the words of a morally courageous spook that turned from the dark to the light, Victor Marchetti, on the Nugan-Hand Bank as a CIA asset:

..you know , it’s like they say, if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, pretty soon you can come to only one conclusion: it is a duck .

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