Jan.1981 to Dec. 1988 The Reagan Years and the shadow CIA - part 4
D. Lowell Jensen According to a number of scholarly works and hearing records, he intervened personally to stop prosecution of a number of figures heavily involved in drug trafficking and other serious crimes including Honduran strongman Jose Bueso-Rosa. Jensen was one of two or three central players in covering up the Department of Justice's theft of the PROMIS software from the Inslaw Company founded by Bill Hamilton.
Steven Trott - An Assistant Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, was involved in the Iran-Contra. Not only did Trott, intervene in some major cases connected to drug trafficking in South Florida, he was also charged with personally containing the investigation led by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts into drug trafficking by the CIA and Contra supporters. Trott is now an Associate Justice, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
On appeal it was learned of the CIA had memorandum summarizing the CIA's continuous "use" of Wilson and his companyas a contact, an expert, a supplierat least thirteen distinct times from 1972 through 1977. In a different memoranda it was detailed at least nine contacts between Wilson and CIA employees between 1973 and 1976, and described twelve "cover" companies with which Wilson was associated, including World Marine, Inc., a top secret Navy firm that Wilson managed after he left the CIA.
After spending 17 years in federal prisons, Wilson's conviction was vacated on October 27, 2003 and the judge made the following comments; " America will not defeat Libyan terrorism by double-crossing a part-time, informal government agent The government's preparation, presentation, and preservation of false evidence are not the process that is due from the government... As Justice Sutherland observed, while a prosecutor "may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones."
Barry Seal the key to understanding the corrupt George HW Bush
In 1965, Adler Berrimen "Barry"Seal went to work flying for the CIA-friendly, Howard Hughes-owned company, Trans World Airlines, becoming, at age 26, the youngest pilot certified to fly Boeing 707s. While "working" for TWA, Seal volunteered for hazardous duty to fly into battle zones in Vietnam with explosives and war material.
Theodore Shackley had been in charge of the covert anti-Castro operations in Miami, but after the Bay of Pigs, he was moved to Southeast Asia, along with Felix Rodriguez, Ed Wilson, Oliver North, John Singlaub and Richard Secord.
Secord coordinated clandestine flights of supplies, personnel -- and, some say, heroin and opium -- to various points in Asia and Europe. Barry Seal was a pilot for some of those flights. Secord also helped plan bombing runs against Laotian opium warlord Vang Pao's rivals, in exchange for Pao's help in keeping the communist North Vietnamese out of Laos. Various pilots for Air America have alleged that they were flying opium deliveries that Shackley had personally authorized. (Source: Inside the Octopus: The Barry Seal Story by Preston Peet)
The Secret History of the Alabama Guard
The Alabama Guard, we had discovered while writing Barry and the Boys, is rich with the secret history of American covert operations over the last half-century, as far back as 1961, when it was used to "sheep-dipped", (playing the role of an member of the Air National Guard) for CIA pilots returning from Guatemala, their base during the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Among those pilots was a young man, Barry Seal, who will one day become famous as the biggest drug smuggler in American history.
Although much about the Alabama Guard during this time period still remains veiled, James Harrison, a former member and one of the last remaining living American pilots who flew missions over the Bay of Pigs, stated American pilots flew combat missions on the last day of the invasion. Barry Seal stated he flew close air support mission in support of ground troops at the Bay of Pigs from Central America. Seal said. "I didn't train anyone, frankly," he said. "I was expected to fly combat."
From an Air Guard base in Montgomery, Barry Seal participated in Caribbean and Central American operations which included the assassination on May 30, 1961 of Dominican Republic dictator Raphael Trujillo. His limo was ambushed returning from a rendezvous with his mistress. Seal worked for General Reid Doster, who assembled a CIA Air Force that eventually numbered 80 fliers. Seal's Alabama Guard work took him, two months before the Bay of Pigs invasion, to Guatemala
(Source: Daniel Hopsicker http://www.barryandtheboys.com/
On July 1, 1972, Barry Seal was arrested in New Orleans and accused of sending C4 explosives to anti-Castro Cubans in Mexico. A DC-4 was seized at the Shreveport Regional Airport loaded with almost seven tons of plastic C-4 explosives, 7,000 feet of explosive primer cord and 2,600 electric blasting caps. James Miller, Richmond Harper, Marlon Hagler and Murray Kessler were also arrested with Seal. Kessler's partner, Manny Gambino, was kidnapped around the same time the others were arrested. His corpse was later found in a New Jersey garbage dump.
The DC-4 was owned by James Boy, a known associate of the CIA. Boy's aircraft were later used to fly Oliver North's mercenaries in and out of Honduras. The man who organized the entrapment of Seal and his friends was Cesario Diosdado, an official with the United States Customs.
It took the authorities over two years to bring Barry Seal to trial. When the trial finally got underway in June, 1974, government prosecutors promptly introduced into evidence an automatic weapon that had nothing at all to do with the charges against the defendants. A mistrial was declared and Seal and his fellow defendants were released. According to Pete Brewton (The Mafia, CIA & George Bush), as soon as Seal was freed he "began working full-time for the CIA, travelling back and forth from the United States to Latin America." Daniel Hopsicker claims Seal was now "sheep-dipped" into the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as an agent for the Special Operations Group. Seal worked under Lucien Conein, who ran secret missions for the DEA since Sept 1972. Egil Krogh, who was employed by Richard Nixon as liaison to the FBI and the DEA, later admitted that he placed Cronein in the Office of Narcotics in the White House. George H.W. Bush was CIA Director from November 1975 to January 1977.
According to Deborah Seal, her husband became involved in drug smuggling in 1975. On December 10, 1979, Barry Seal and Steve Planta were arrested in Honduras, after arriving from Ecuador with 40 kilos of cocaine. Newspapers reported that $25 million worth of cocaine was confiscated and the men were charged with having 17 kilos of cocaine in their possession. Seal spent nine months in prison before being released without charge.
While in prison, Barry Seal met William Roger Reeves, a fellow drug smuggler who worked for the Ochoa family of Medellin. In 1981, Reeves, Ochoa's business manager in New Orleans, introduced Seal to Felix Bates. As a result Seal began a close relationship with the Colombians and became part of what became known as the Medellin Cartel. Established in 1980, the Medellin Cartel began when Jorge Ochoa convinced the major cocaine families to contribute $7 million each for the formation of a 2,000-man army in order to destroy the Marxist revolutionary group M-19, that was causing the drug barons problems in Colombia.
Drug barons such as Jorge Ochoa and Pablo Escobar now began working together. It has been estimated that the cartel made up to $60 million per month and its leaders joined the list of the world's richest men. The CIA watched this development with interest. It decided that the Medellin Cartel could be used to help defeat communism throughout Latin America. According to Lesley Cockburn, CIA officer, Felix I. Rodriguez, persuaded the Medellin Cartel to make a $10 million contribution to the Contras.
By 1982 Barry Seal was bringing in drugs to the United States on behalf of the Medellin Cartel. Seal moved his base of operations from Louisiana to Mena, AR, an obscure airport in the secluded mountains of western Arkansas. Seal told friends that he once made $1.5 million on a single cocaine flight. Seal worked directly for Sonia Atala, the CIA protected drug baron It is also claimed that Seal's fleet of planes to ferry supplies to Contra camps in Honduras and Costa Rica. His planes also made return trips to airstrips in the mountains of Colombia and Venezuela. "His well-connected and officially-protected smuggling operation based in Mena accounted for billions in drugs and arms". (source: The Big White Lie by Michael Levine and Partners in Power by Roger Morris and Sally Denton):).
Seal also obtained two new multi-million dollar Beech Craft King Air 200s. According to author Daniel Hopsicker, these aircraft were purchased by a Phoenix-based corporation that acted as a "front" for John Singlaub. This company also owned Southern Air, a CIA proprietary connected to William Casey, Richard Secord, Felix I. Rodriguez and George H. W. Bush.
Seal also owned a Lear jet. It had previously been owned by Reggie and Bill Whittington. In 1981 the brothers were arrested and charged in Florida with importing 400,000 pounds of marijuana and evading taxes on $73 million. The Lear jet was then passed on to Seal. It was registered as being owned by Intercontinental Holding, a CIA front company in the Cayman Islands that had been established by Paul Helliwell.
In March, 1984, Seal was indicted at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for smuggling Quaaludes and laundering money. Former undercover narcotics investigator Stan Hughes stated, "When Barry got busted on the Quaalude thing, and I heard about their being government intervention to save his ass, I didn't believe it at first. But talk to any smuggler, and they'll tell you: they can always buy their way out of a dope deal." (Source: Barry and the Boys by Daniel Hopsicker).
In an attempt to avoid an expected 10 year sentence, Seal made contact with Vice Pres. George H. W. Bush. He then appeared before a secret session of Bush's Task Force on Drugs in Washington where he testified that the Sandinistas were directly involved in drug trafficking into the United States. Seal claimed that the Medellin Cartel had made a deal with the Sandinistas, awarding them cuts of drug profits in exchange for the use of an airfield in Managua as a trans-shipment point for narcotics.
This news was welcomed by President Ronald Reagan who wanted to launch an all out war on the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was now put under pressure to enlist Seal as an undercover informant with a special emphasis on the "Nicaraguan connection".
Seal agreed to organize a sting operation (false flag information warfare operation) where he managed to get a photograph of Pablo Escobar helping Nicaraguan soldiers to load 1,200 kilos of cocaine on a C-123 military cargo plane. Soon afterwards Reagan went on television with the photograph to denounce the "Sandinistas as drug smugglers corrupting American youth".
As a result of Seal's cooperation in setting up this sting, the judge in Florida reduced his sentence from ten years to six months probation. The judge praised Seal for his work against the Sandinistas and pointing out that "when an informant puts his life on the line to help the forces of law and order, they deserve just compensation".
Seal also offered to provide information to the DEA implicating federal officials in the Iran-Contra scandal.
In December 1984, Seal was arrested in Louisiana after flying in a cargo of marijuana. After paying a $250,000 bond, Seal was released and returned to drug smuggling. In return Seal provided information that resulted in the US government obtaining 17 criminal convictions. Seal told investigators that between March 1984, and August 1985, he made a quarter-million dollars smuggling up to 15,000 kilos of cocaine while working for the DEA, and another $575,000 when the DEA let him keep the money from one shipment." (Source: Barry and the Boys by Daniel Hopsicker).
Barry Seal appeared before Judge Frank Polozola in Baton Rouge on 20th December, 1985. Found guilty of two drug felony convictions, Polozola was sentenced to six months supervised probation. A condition of the sentence was that he had to spend every night, from 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., at the Salvation Army halfway house on Baton Rouge's Airline Highway strip. Judge Polozola barred him from carrying a gun or hiring armed guards. Barry Seal told his friends "they made me a clay pigeon".
Barry Seal was asked by his close friend, Rene Martin, if he feared being killed by the Ochoa family. Barry Seal replied that he was not afraid of the Colombians because he had not implicated senior members of the organization. Seal was more worried the shadow CIA.. This view is supported by Lewis Unglesby, Seal's lawyer. He confirmed that the man Seal was willing to testify against was George H. W. Bush.
On 19th February, 1986, Barry Seal returned to his Salvation Army hostel he was gunned down/killed. Over the next few days the police received information that enabled them to arrest several men for the killing of Barry Seal. This included Miguel Velez, Bernardo Vasquez, Luis Quintero-Cruz, John Cardona, Eliberto Sanchez and Jose Renteria. A seventh, Rafa Cardona, managed to escape back to Colombia. He was murdered later that year.
Eliberto Sanchez and John Cardona were deported and never appeared in court for the crime. Nor did Jose Coutin who supplied the weapons for the killing of Seal. However, he was not charged with any crime and instead testified in court against Miguel Velez, Luis Quintero-Cruz and Bernardo Vasquez. According to Lesley Cockburn (Out of Control) Coutin was a CIA asset. Seven people were arrested in connection with Seal's assassination. But only four men were charged with the crime, and only three were convicted. The fourth Colombian charged who were also guilty of at the least of conspiracy to commit murder, were just extradited to Columbia.
One of those originally arrested, Jose Renteria, took photographs of the dead Seal in the car. When his camera was confiscated by an FBI agent at New Orleans airport, it was opened and the film inside exposed, destroying evidence.
While being interrogated, Renteria claimed that Coutin was linked to Oliver North. However, this information was never produced in court as Jose Renteria was not charged with the murder and was instead deported to Colombia. Seven people were arrested in connection with Seal's assassination. But only four men were charged with the crime, and only three were convicted. The fourth Colombian charged who were also guilty of at the least of conspiracy to commit murder, were just extradited to Columbia.Miguel Velez, Luis Quintero-Cruz and Bernardo Vasquez were found guilty of Barry Seal's murder and sentenced to life terms without parole
Further evidence comes from Dee Ferdinand. She told Daniel Hopsicker that her father, Al Carone, was a CIA paymaster and a Colonel in Army Intelligence, paid off a contract by those of killed of Barry Seal. According to FAA investigator, Rod Stich, Carone was Oliver North's bagman.
Richard Sharpstein, defense attorney for one of Seal's assassins, Miguel Velez, says: "All three Colombians who went on trial always said they were being directed, after they got into this country, on what to do and where to go by an `anonymous gringo,' a US military officer, who they very quickly figured out was Oliver North,"
There was apparently another reason why George Bush wanted Seal dead. According to friends, Seal had a copy of a videotape of a 1985 DEA cocaine sting which had netted George Bush's two sons, George and Jeb, picking up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport.
On 5th October, 1986, a Sandinista patrol in Nicaragua shot down a C-123K cargo plane that was supplying the Contras. That night Felix Rodriguez made a telephone call to the office of George H. W. Bush. He told Bush aide, Samuel Watson, that the C-123K aircraft had gone missing. Eugene Hasenfus, an Air America veteran, survived the crash and told his captors that he thought the CIA was behind the operation. He also provided information that several Cuban-Americans running the operation in El Salvador. This resulted in journalists being able to identify Rafael Quintero, Luis Posada and Felix Rodriguez as the Cuban-Americans mentioned by Hasenfus.
It was the beginning of the Iran-Contra scandal. The C-123K cargo plane that had been shot down had previously been owned by Barry Seal. Eugene Hasenfus, later claimed it was sheer coincidence that a plane once owned by Seal was now part of a secret network led by Oliver North.
The official cover-up of Seal's CIA affiliation
Three Colombians were convicted of his murder, and while their cartel connections have been revealed to the world, their connection to Oliver North's Enterprise has not. The 'shooter team' was armed by somebody with long experience with shooter teams, Miami CIA asset Jose Coutin, whose Miami gun shop also supplied weapons to the Contras.
Sam Dalton was the New Orleans attorney who represented the Colombian hit men who killed Seal in the penalty phase of their trial. Sam Dalton subpoenaed the CIA about what he suspected was its complicity in Seal's assassination in a court of law.
Through discovery, his investigation gained access to the contents of the trunk of Barry Seal's Cadillac on the night he died, and discovered that a cover-up was underway. "The FBI went into the Baton Rouge Police Department and literally and physically seized the contents of that trunk from the Baton Rouge Police. In fact, the Baton Rouge Police probably would have had to draw their guns to keep possession of that trunk. And, actually, by law, the Baton Rouge Police should have done that, but they didn't."
What was there about Barry Seal that led the FBI and the CIA to refuse to cooperate with state officials in the most publicized assassination in Louisiana history? Dalton wanted to know. And so he began a legal battle to gain access to the evidence seized. Even he sounds surprised that he was, eventually, at least partly successful.
"They (the CIA and FBI) wouldn't even honor the subpoena," he states, by the trial judge for the return of the seized evidence. The state judge threatened to hold them in contempt, that they partially complied." In the stuff taken from Seal's truck, was found VP George Bush's private phone number. " "Barry Seal was in direct contact with George Bush."
Seals attorney, Lewis Unglesby made a phone call using this phone number and a female voice answered: 'Office of the Vice President.'" He pretended to be Seal and said, "This is Barry Seal,"
"Just a moment, sir," the secretary replied. "Then a man's voice came on the line, identifying himself as Admiral somebody, and said to me, 'Barry, where have you been?'"
"Excuse me, Sir, "Unglesby replied, "but my name is Lewis Unglesby and I'm Barry Seal's attorney."
There was a click, Unglesby relates. The phone went dead. "Seal just smiled when I looked over at him in shock."
The Admiral in question might well have been Admiral Daniel Murphy, assigned to work in the Office of the Vice President, from which numerous reports state Contra operations were masterminded.
What do you think would have happened if your unlisted phone number had been found with the body of the biggest drug smuggler in American History? You would be at the police station under interrogation by the police.
Attorney Sam Dalton offers another bombshell. "Lieutenant ______ caught Seal smuggling drugs red-handed at the docks, and the DEA and the CIA showed up, and told the state police to butt out, and took over the operation." Its not known if the DEA or CIA ever made efforts to charge Seal for this crime, but we wouldn't bet on it.
"Barry's involvement in Contra re-supply began way before the commonly accepted date of 1983," this source told us in a matter-of-fact tone.
Terry Reed was a successful businessman in technology manufacturing and an experienced pilot. Reed met Barry Seal who used the Rich Mountain Aviation at the Inter-Mountain Regional Airport as a base of operations. "Seal and I became very close, became friends, throughout the course of my 15 months of training there. Barry was a very intelligent... As John Cummings said, he was an excellent pilot, a very intelligent businessman." Nella, Arkansas, was a secluded spot just outside of Mena,AR and is where the CIA trained contra pilots. Terry Reed was hired (CIA contract pilot) as a flight instructor. He also became a CIA contract agent to run a CIA front company that made weapons. The CIA ran two covert operations out of Mena: the training of contra pilots in flight and aerial delivery techniques and the transportation of arms and munitions from Arkansas to Central America. These operations were codenamed operation "Centaur Rose" and "Jade Bridge". (Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA by Terry Reed and John Cummings, pgs. 28, 61 -62 and 64)
Aki Sawahata was Terry Reed's CIA case officer. Sawahata's CIA front company Overseas International (OSI) was incorporated in 1984 and specialized in exporting bulky commodities to Japan. (Ibid. p.68-69)
Many of the planes used for the training program at Rich Mountain Aviation were stolen. The aircraft laundering system was used. The "N" or identification, number of a Government aircraft was given to a stolen aircraft of the same make and model to disguise its identity. (Ibid. p.86)
William Cooper, a long time CIA contract pilot was a colleague of Reed's at the Nella flight school. His plane was shot down over Nicaragua and sparked the Iran-Contra affair. There were many odd features to the plane crash. The standard operating procedure for covert flights is that planes are stripped of all data plates, the planes serial numbers are removed, and pilots and crew carry no identification. Cooper's plane was identified by its serial number and his identity was revealed to the US media. (Ibid. p.295)
The Iver Johnson Arms Inc. was sold to the CIA and transferred from New Jersey to Arkansas (AR) where it manufactured weapons components for the contras. Due to scrutiny aroused from a contract previously held by Iver Johnson with the US Navy, Brodix Manufacturer, a Mena, AR based corporation, was hired to cast the weapons parts manufactured by Iver Johnson. The CIA was extremely active in Arkansas (AR) in the mid 1980s. Terry Reed started a company Reed, Kerr, and Associates. His company made machine tooled parts using automation equipment. (Ibid. pgs.53-54 and 60)
Luis Posada Carriles, code-named Ramon Medina, worked as the camp commander of the flight school in Nella, AR. He was later transferred to El Salvador to manage the day-to-day operations at the Ilopongo air force base. Luis Posada Carriles was a terrorist and the US refused to prosecute him for years and is still harboring as of 2011. (Ibid. p.94)
Barges on the Arkansas River were used to transport arms and drugs into and out of AR. Safe transit was insured by the US Army Corps Engineers who controlled the river. The Army and National Guard donated weapons parts to the Contras. The National Guard does not just give away weapons. Someone at the Department of Defense had to approve this. (Ibid. p.111)
The CIA recruits potential assets for operations by giving them an initial tip off and instructing them to place a `looking for employment' add in the classifieds of a local paper. If the CIA has a continued interest they will then contact the person. Terry Reed was instructed to follow this procedure for involvement in Florida. Classified ads are a part of the communication system of the CIA. (Ibid. p.118)
The State of Arkansas charged the CIA ten percent of its profits in exchange for using the state for covert operations such as airplane modifications, contra training camps, and arms and drug shipments. (Ibid. p.125-6)
Razorback Metal Processors was an Arkansas firm that handled metal plater for the weapons components produced by Iver Johnson. Choate Machine and Tool handled plastic injection molding for Razorback. Many of the parts and components produced were sent to the National Guard to return material appropriated for the Contra war effort. (Ibid. p.141)
The Arkansas Development and Finance Authority (ADFA) was formed by Governor Bill Clinton to act as a bonding firm for the state to finance industrial expansion. Its mission was to lend money at preferred rates either to local companies looking to expand or to recruit out of state manufacturing firms to relocate to Arkansas. ADFA replaced the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC), a task force appointed by the Governor to attract outside industry through negotiation with private financial institutes. It is alleged that the 10% profit received from the CIA financed the ADFA. (Ibid. pgs. 142-144)
A meeting was called at Fort Robinson, an Army Facility outside Little Rock, "to get some problems ironed out," and Reed states he attended this meeting that included " the Governor (Bill Clinton) and his aide, the guest list included Max Gomez (aka CIA officer Felix Rodriguez), John Cathey (aka Oliver North) , resident CIA officer Akihide Sawahata." The man in charge, who would call the shots, called himself Robert Johnson. Johnson was really, CIA agent William Barr, later appointed US Attorney General by George Bush]. (Ibid. p. 234).
Barr is quoted by Reed as saying "Our deal was for you to have ten percent of the profits, not ten percent of the gross," Johnson (Barr) sternly admonished Clinton. 'This has turned into a feeding frenzy for your good ole boy sharks. We know what's been going on. Our people are professionals. They're not stupid. They didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, as you guys say. This ADFA (Arkansas Development Finance Authority) of yours is double-dipping. Our deal with you was to launder our money. You get ten percent after costs and after post-tax profits. No one agreed for you to start loaning our money out to your friends through your ADFA, so that they could buy machinery to build our guns. That wasn't the deal... That's why we're pulling the operation out of Arkansas. It's become a liability for us. We don't need live liabilities."
After setting up his manufacturing company in Arkansas, Terry Reed was hired to set up a tool-manufacturing firm in Mexico to front for the CIA. The CIA wanted him to set up some kind of permanent facility in Mexico for the production of arms and other activities. Reed's start-up plan was to penetrate the existing machine tool operation through a stock purchase or merger to avoid official scrutiny. Reed used his business experience to develop a supply pipeline that stretched from the U.S. and Europe through Asia and Mexico. Reed later discovered that the warehouse established in his name was being used to funnel cocaine. Operation Z was codename for a weapons plant under construction at the Morelia Airport in Mexico. (Ibid. pgs.181-194 and (p.352)
Gomiya, a Japanese corporation that specialized in exporting restricted computer technology to China, was recruited as an investor in Machinery International by Reed for the sale of stock in Mexican Maquinaria International SA stock. Machinery International was a holding company incorporated in the US. Frank Fujikawa, the director of Gomiya USA and responsible for many illegal trade links, entered into a partnership with Reed. Machinery International was owned 55 percent by the CIA's front Southern Air Transport (SAT), 25 percent by Reed, ten percent by the Hungarian firm Cordtec, and 10 percent by the Japanese. (Ibid. p.219)
Terry Reed wrote in his book, Compromised about his participation in these activities. He stated that he did not want any part of trafficking in drugs. Because Oliver North and the boys did not trust Reed to keep his mouth shut, they set him up on phony criminal charges. After fearing for his life, he and his wife went underground, assumed a new identity.