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1980 to 1990 Bill Clinton is guilty of criminal conspiracy part 4

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  • dick.mcmanus
    In 1986, Castillo attempted to report what he had discovered, hoping to launch a full scale investigation and shut down the smuggling operation. On several
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 9, 2014

      In 1986, Castillo attempted to report what he had discovered, hoping to launch a full scale investigation and shut down the smuggling operation. On several occasions he met with Edwin Corr, the American ambassador to El Salvador, to tell him about the operation. Later Corr stated that Castillo ran a covert White House operation which was overseen by North and that he should stay out of that operation.


      In January 1986, Castillo met the Bush at a cocktail party at the ambassador's house in Guatemala City. When Castillo tried to warn Vice President Bush about the cocaine trafficking involving the Contras, Bush "just shook my hand, smiled and walked away." 

      Castillo was then ordered by the Pentagon to terminate his investigation of Grasheim. When Castillo continued to pursue the North investigation, he was suspended for three days in 1990. In 1991, he was transferred to San Francisco where he worked undercover, investigating the Hell's Angels in Oakland. In June 1992, after further conflicts, Castillo resigned from the DEA. Before stepping down, Castillo attempted to give the government more information which he had gathered on North. He secretly met with FBI agent Mike Foster, who was assigned to special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh.

      He told reporters and Senate investigators of numerous known drug traffickers who used hangers controlled by Oliver North and the CIA in El Salvador's Ilopango military airbase. "By the end of 1988," said Castillo, "I realized how hopelessly tangled the DEA, the CIA, and every other US entity in Central America had become with the criminals. The connections boggled my mind."

      In a February 1989 memo to his DEA superior in Guatemala, Castillo summarized his findings, which implicated a half dozen pilots and other drug smugglers who were associated with the contra network at El Salvador's Ilopango military airport. In addition, Castillo's memo on drug trafficking implicated senior Salvadoran Air Force officers who protected North's operation and sold fuel to North's pilots.

      Iran-contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh described these cash drops in a brief section of his final report in 1993. Walsh's probe found that another $467,000 went in bags from Southern Air Transport's (SAT) petty cash fund in Miami to pay salaries and buy gas for North's Contra air re-supply operations based at El Salvador's Ilopango airport. SAT, a onetime CIA-owned airline, was then reimbursed through money transfers from North's Swiss accounts.


      Senior DEA agent Cele Castillo said, ". . . On August 15, (1986) I met with Jack McCavett , the CIA station chief in El Salvador. Again, I repeated my evidence {of drug smuggling} against the Contras. McCavett denied any connection between the CIA and the Ilopango operation. . . .Three days later, McCavett called me into his office and pulled $45,000 in cash out of his desk drawer.   McCavett then said, “I've got money left over from my budget I need to spend. Take this for your anti-narcotics group. Go buy them some cars.”  McCavett didn't mention the Contras, but Castillo suspected he was trying to buy him off.  “The CIA had never given the DEA this kind of gift," Castillo says.

      CIA officer Randy Kapasar in Guatemala knew Castillo was investigating the Contras. Kapsaar said, “Cole, (meaning Cele Castillio) how do you think the Contras are gonna make money? They've got to run dope, that's the only way we can finance this operation.”  The CIA IG’s report rebuts this by saying, "Contrary to Castillo's claims, this (CIA) officer emphatically denies that he had any knowledge of Contra drug trafficking activities at Ilopango or elsewhere.  . . . He also denies that he ever asked Castillo to back away from any narcotics investigation."  It cites several other officers who were at Ilopango at various times and said they never noticed anything.

      About this time, Castillo recruited a Salvadoran Hugo Martinez worked at Ilopango, writing flight plans for the private planes streaming in and out of the airport's civilian side. That included my flights in and out of the airport.  As a result Castillo wrote agent reports containing not only the names of traffickers, but their destinations, flight paths, tail numbers, and the date and time of each flight.


      “Hundreds of flights each week delivered cocaine to the buyers and returned with money headed for the great isthmus laundering machine in Panama. I could have started a weekly newsletter: Ilopango Doper.  When I ran Hugo's list of names through the computer, they all came back as narcotics traffickers in DEA's files.”"I wrote a string of reports on the Contras through the end of March {1986} with the stream of intelligence Hugo and Aparecio {another informant} generated."


      Castillo had arranged a cocaine purchase from a guy in order to arrest him, and learned he was was a member of the Guatemalan Congress.   Before arresting the guy, Castillo took this case to Robert Stia, DEA attache to Guatemala.

      ". . . Stia called Larry Thompson, the third-ranking State Department official at the embassy, to ask how I should proceed {the top two officials were out of the country}. Stia returned with Thompson's instructions: Drop the pursuit. We were not there to embarrass the Guatemalan government, he said. We were there to help them."

      Ultimately Castillo spoke to the US Ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr. He writes. "I'll never forget Corr's response. 'It's a White House operation, Cele. Stay away from it..'"

      Castillo persisted with his investigations and arrests. One raid uncovered a huge cache of weapons and US military field radios at the house of William Brasher, a well-known smuggler. Castillo turned on one of the confiscated radios. It was tuned to the embassy frequency.  Castillo transmitted on this radio and someone chatted back and forth with him in English with an American  accent.  The license plates on Brasher's Jeeps were registered to the US Embassy. 

      Two days after the raid some people from the embassy just walked in and took the evidence, radios and license plates.

      Castillo had called in Richard Rivera, a US Customs agent in Mexico City, to trace the weapons and identify the seller. Rivera replied that he have been ordered by his bosses ordered him to pack up his investigations from Central America, particularly anything related to the Iran-Contra Affair, and ship them to headquarters.
      (Source:  Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War by
      Celerino Castillo



      Felix Ismael Rodríguez

      Rodríguez was born into a wealthy, landowning family, in Cuba.  He maintained close ties with Vice President Bush and upper level CIA officials. In December 1985, Rodriguez attended the Christmas party at Bush's White House office, and was introduced to the staff.

      Weeks later Rodriguez met in Bush's office with Colonel Sam Watson, Gregg's deputy in El Salvador, and Colonel James Steele (a member of a group of US Army Special Forces advisers to the Salvadoran Army) to discuss counter-insurgency. Four months later Rodriguez again met with Gregg and Bush as well as with North in Bush's office. In August 1986 Rodriguez met with Bush and Gregg to complain about the quality of arms shipments from Secord's arms supply operation. Later that same month Donald Gregg met with Alan D. Fiers, (the CIA boss of the Central American Operations/Task Force) with the recommendation to purchase military equipment from Rodriguez rather than retired General Secord.  Gregg advised Fiers not to purchase any planes from Secord.


      Fiers stated in a sworn deposition to the Iran-Contra committees that he knew that Contra leader Eden Pastora was involved in cocaine trafficking. He also said that many members of Fiers' CIA staff and his friends were also involved in drug smuggling.


      CIA contract agent Luis Posada Carriles was a Contra leader who later transferred to El Salvador to manage the day-to-day operations at the CIA’s hanger/area at the El Salvador’s Ilopongo air force base near San Salvador. Chi Chi Quintero was the base commander of the Contra air base, Santa Elena, Costa Rica.

       (Source: THE CIA: "COCAINE IMPORTING AGENCY, Chapter 5 and The Crimes of a President byJoel Bainerman, 1992)




      John F. Hull visited Washington in July 1983 and visited the Indiana US Senator Dan Quayle and his legislative assistant, Robert W. Owen. Owen introduced Hull to Oliver North.  In November 1983 Owen began working for Hill & Knowlton, Robert Gray and Company, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm known for its close ties to the Reagan Administration and US intelligence bodies. In April 1984 Contra leader Adolfo Calero, head of the Nicaraguan Democratic Front, the largest Contra group, asked H&K, Gray and Company to represent the Contras.  Owen was given the assignment and came up with plans to raise money in the US through non-profit organizations and companies to purchase weapons for the Contras.


      Owen worked primarily with Neil Livingstone at Hill & Knowlton, Gray and Company.  In the mid-1970s Livingstone was a CIA contact agent and vice president of Air America.  This was a CIA front company that operations in Laos and elsewhere.   He later purchased, with four partners, Air Panama, and from there he moved to stints at various security companies.  Between 1961 and 1992, Gray and Company did most of their work under contacts for US national and international intelligence community. The company spread propaganda directed a American and it was implicated in the BCCI scandal, the October Surprise, the House page sex and drug scandal, Debategate, Koreagate, and Iran-Contra.  Former CIA official Robert T. Crowley, says

      "Hill and Knowlton's overseas offices," he acknowledged, "were perfect cover for the

      ever-expanding CIA.”   Owen and Livingstone traveled frequently to Central America to meet with the Contras in 1984



      CIA contract agent Hull's 8,000 acre ranch along the Nicaraguan border in Northern Costa Rica serves as the main supply base for the contras on the Southern Front of Nicaragua from 1982 till 1986. Hull receives $10,000 a month from Oliver North.  In return, he helped feed and supply the Contras attacking Nicaragua. Hull's business partner, Bruce Jones, was also revealed as a CIA contract agent. (Newsday, 5/10/87). 


      In a CBS documentary broadcast in April 1986, a former contra pilot identified John Hull’s ranch as a "major transshipment plant for military supplies and drugs". The following month a lawyer Daniel Sheehan and the Christic Institute named John Hull, Ted Shackley, Thomas G. Clines, Richard V. Secord, John K. Singlaub, Robert W. Owen, Rafael Quintero, Albert Hakim, Adolfo Calero, Pablo Escobar, Jorge Ochoa and 18 others as major figures in a racketeering network involved in drug trafficking and arms smuggling.


      Sen. John Kerry's Foreign Relations narcotics and terrorism subcommittee releases a 1,200-page report, Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy, including five witnesses implicated Hull's ranch was used for gun and drug smuggling operations. One eyewitness tells the subcommittee that Hull supervised the transfer of drugs into a plane before its return journey to the United States.

      In January 1989, however, Costa Rican authorities finally acted. They indicted Hull for drug trafficking, arms smuggling and other crimes. Hull was jailed, a move that outraged some U.S. congressmen. A letter, signed by senior Democrat Lee Hamilton and others, issued a veiled threat to cut off U.S. economic aid if Hull were not released.  Costa Rica complied, freeing Hull pending trial. But Hull didn't wait for his day in court.

      In July 1989, he hopped a plane, flew to Haiti and then to the United States.  In April, 1991, Costa Rica submitted a formal request to the U.S. State Department to extradite Hull. This request was blocked by President George H. W. Bush.  [Tico Times, 3/23/90 and Lost History by Robert Parry, 1999) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhullJ.htm


      In July 1984 Robert Owen procured South African arms for the Contras. In late October he returned to Central America, met with Hull, and made an arrangement whereby he would get $10,000 a month in return for his assistance on the southern front.

      In summer or fall 1985 Owen served as a courier for North, delivering Swiss bank account numbers to representatives of the Taiwan government in Washington so they could make "Contra contributions." In February 1985 he went to Central America with a letter from North assuring the Contra leaders that they would soon receive $20 million. Owen knew what type of people he was dealing with and of some Contra leaders' ties to drug runners. Oliver North was also informed.

      On April 1, 1985, Owen described to North Costa Rican rebel leader Jose Robelo's "potential involvement in drug running." Owen told North that another Contra leader, Sebastian Gonzalez, was "now involved in drug running out of Panama." North wrote during an August 9, 1985, meeting with Owen that the "DC6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into US." On February 10, 1986, Owen informed North that another Contra plane, a DC-4, was armed at one time to run drugs, and part of the crew had criminal records.   (Source: The Crimes of a President by Joel Bainerman, 1992)


      Another North aide, Lt. Col. Robert Earl, recalled that in 1986, CIA officers on the ground were worried because these Cubans were knee-deep in "corruption and greed and drugs." 


      In a 1989 memo to North's aide Robert Owen, DEA agent Cele Castillo wrote that the El Salvador embassy was giving visas to these people even though they were documented in government computers as being narcotics traffickers.


      Oliver North's handwritten notes on July 12, 1985, recounted a warning from one CIA officer in the field that "$14M (million) to finance came from drugs."






      Now I am going to tell you about the Arkansas State Justice system and how the US Justice Department protected the illegal CIA’s support to the Contra and CIA drug trafficking.


      President Clinton named Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld (Republican) as the next U.S. ambassador to Mexico.  I find it suspicious that Clinton would nominate a Repbublican. (John C. Lawn, "No Drug Softies on the Reagan Team," Los Angeles Times (Washington Edition), June 27, 1997, p. A12).


      In 1982, Asa Hutchinson, age 31, took office as US Attorney in Fort Smith, Arkansas.   I find it interesting that the Reagan administration appoints such a young lawyer as US Attorney.   I am guessing that a person usually becomes an Assistant US Attorney when they are this young.


      In 1982, Barry Seal had moved his flying business to Mena, AR from the Opelousas airport in Louisiana. That year federal law enforcement officials were already aware that Seal was running "an international smuggling organization" that was "extremely well organized and extensive." Agents for the DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs, and IRS were watching him. They brought Hutchinson evidence that Seal was "involved in narcotics trafficking and the laundering of funds derived from such trafficking."  Hutchinson called a meeting to coordinate local surveillance.

      Among those attending this meeting were an Arkansas DEA agent, a US Customs official, and US Treasury/IRS Special Agent William "Bill" C. Duncan.  At the time, this was highly secret information, known only to a handful of state and federal investigators and a few politicians.


      Louisiana State Police Sergeant Jack Crittendon told journalist Mara Leveritt that in early 1982, he and his partner were building a case against Seal.

      The local sheriff Al Hadaway and his deputy Terry Capehart (sp?),  were investigating from the very  outset, and were surveilling everyone coming and  going, taking photographs and diligently giving their material to the FBI in Little Rock.

      By 1983, IRS agent Bill Duncan had gathered what he believed to be substantial evidence of the crime. He and an Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch who was also monitoring Seal's enterprise, took their evidence to Hutchinson. They asked him to subpoena 20 witnesses they had identified to testify before a federal grand jury. To Duncan's surprise, however, Hutchinson seemed reluctant. Ultimately, Hutchinson called only three of the 20 witnesses the investigators had requested. 

      IRS Agent Duncan said:   "I had found Asa Hutchinson to be a very aggressive US attorney in connection with my cases," Duncan said. "Then, all of a sudden, with respect to Mena, AR it was just like the information was going in, but nothing was happening, over a long period of time. But just like with the 20 witnesses and the complaints.  I didn't know what to make of that. Alarms were going off..."We were astonished that we couldn't get subpoenas. We were astonished that Barry Seal was never brought to the grand jury, because he was on the subpoena list for a long time. And there were just a lot of investigative developments that made no sense to us."

      Duncan and other police investigators did not know that Seal was a confidential informant DEA was investigating him in Louisiana and Arkansas.    They had been investing Seal for about a year and a half after his move to Mena, Arkansas — and about midway through Hutchinson's term as US Attorney.  This was contrary to law enforcement protocol.


      Between March 1984 and February 1986, records indicate that Seal flew repeatedly to Colombia, Guatemala, and Panama, where he met with Jorge Ochoa, Fabio Ochoa, Pablo Escobar, and Carlos Lehder, leaders of the Medellin Cartel that at the time controlled an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine entering the United States.

      Arkansas State police officer Russell Welch has kept watch on Seal's drug-running from the beginning. IRS undercover Special Agent Bill Duncan tracked money laundering in Mena banks.  Both investigators have worked carefully and relentlessly for over ten years against a backdrop of Federal and State-level resistance.

      Welch said, "Barry Seal was a cocaine smuggler. He used the Mena airport. He used other places too, but he based his operation - starting in 1982 and through 1983 - to smuggle cocaine, not for anybody but Barry Seal, he based it at the Mena airport. That is not even debatable."

      Welch will later describe the airport, pointing to one hanger he says is owned by a man who "doesn't exist in history (but is connected) to a safe house in Baltimore in 1972." Another is owned by someone who "smuggled heroin through Laos back in the seventies." Still another is "owned by a guy who just went bankrupt. So what's he do?  (He) Flies to Europe for more money." Welch points to a half dozen Fokker aircraft parked on an apron, noting that "the DEA's been tracking those planes back and forth to Columbia for a while now."

      The Dutch built, Fokker 27 and Fokker 50 are turboprop airplane that can carry up to 62 passengers over a range of 1,243 miles at a typical speed of 329 mph.

      Investigator Welch stated that in 1987 some new players came to the airport that did not have anything to do with Seal, and Rich Mountain Aviation and the Mena Airport was going strong.  
      After that he would go to the airport and hear people talking about the State Department, C-130's in Africa and Miami and Australia.  He saw men dressed in El Salvadorian military uniforms frequently at a local motel.  Arabs in native dress were commonly seen at the airport.  Some of these new people talked about their activity with Oliver North's deal at Southern Air Transport.
      It was after 1987 that he started having trouble with the Arkansas State Police for drug investigations that I was doing at the Mena Airport.  In 1987 that the assistant director of the Arkansas State Police allowed the business manager from Rich Mountain Aviation to look through my investigative files - files for which Rich Mountain Aviation was the target. 
      This is when he saw uniformed State Police officers coming to the airport and visiting with known smugglers.  Then his supervisors began giving him direct orders to stop drug investigations at the airport.  Drug evidence that he had sent to the lab for trace testing, was returned to him and wasn’t tested. 
      In 1991, Welch was poisoned with military grade anthrax.  The anthrax was put inside envelopes that were sent to him from State Police headquarters in Hope, Arkansas. Welch was lucky because his doctor had been in the Army and was very familiar with the symptoms of an anthrax infection. Russell Welch survived after being hospitalized.
      You will recall the anthrax letters mail in the days soon after the 9/11 attacks in New Yori city, and that they contained militarized anthrax that can only be made in a US military lab or subcontractor.  

      Polk county, Arkansas Prosecutor Charles White and assistant deputy prosecutor Charles Black, told Governor Bill Clinton in 1988 about the drug trafficking at Mena Airport in Arkansas, and asked that Clinton provide a million dollars to coordinate the evidence and prosecute. Clinton said he would get back to Black, and then never did. later Bill Clinton stated these prosecutors did conduct an investigation.   Which was a lie because they had not finished an investigation.


      Bill Duncan asserted that he had over 25 specific instances of money laundering in Mena area banks, (including Union Bank of Mena,) from over 7,000 pages of evidence on the Mena case.


      According to the depositions: Kathy Corrigan Gann a scared secretary at Rich Mountain Aviation reported the use of cashier's checks to avoid filing the IRS’s currency transaction reports; the first cases of money laundering were used to build Seal's hangar in Mena airport; a local bank vice president admitted under oath that Rich Mountain Aviation had laundered money with them.

      According to IRS agent Duncan, secretaries at the Mena Airport told him that when Seal flew into Mena, “there would be stacks of cash to be taken to the bank and laundered.” One secretary told him that she was ordered by Fred L. Hampton, the owner Rich Mountain Aviation, to obtain numerous cashier’s checks, each in an amount just under $10,000, at various banks in Mena and surrounding communities, to avoid filing the federal Currency Transaction Reports required for all bank transactions that exceed that limit. In November 1982, a Mena airport employee carried a suitcase containing more than $70,000 into a bank. “The bank officer went down the teller lines handing out the stacks of $1,000 bills and got the cashier’s checks.”"

      Duncan stated that on exiting the grand jury room, a secretary was furious when she was very upset and told him that she had “not been allowed to furnish her evidence to the grand jury.” 


      Q. You talked to her about her evidence given to the grand jury?


      Duncan:  Yes. I had taken two sworn statements - recorded sworn statements prior to the grand jury, and those transcripts were furnished to the US Attorney.


      Q. And what did she say about the evidence that she was allowed to give the grand jury as it might have been different from the evidence that you wanted her to give to the grand jury?


      Duncan. She basically said that "she was allowed to give her name, address, position, and not much else.


      Q. Mr. Duncan, are you saying that the prospective witness was not permitted in your judgment to give evidence of the money laundering to the grand jury?


      Duncan. That's what this witness told me.


      Duncan state: "I talked to (one of the witnesses called to testify at the grand jury), his name was Jim Nugent, who was a Vice-president at Union Bank of Mena, who had conducted a search of their records and provided a significant amount of evidence relating to the money laundering transactions. He was also furious that he was not allowed to provide the evidence that he wanted to provide to the grand jury."


      Q. What was the result of the grand jury inquiry into the money laundering investigation which you had conducted?


      Duncan: There was never any money laundering indictments.


      Bill Duncan was also not called to testify at the grand jury.  It is very unusual for the chief investigator not to be call to testify before a grand jury to explain the evidence.

      Asa Hutchinson left the US attorney's office in October 1985, to make what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid for the US Senate. His successor, J. Michael Fitzhugh, appeared no more zealous than Hutchinson to pursue information regarding Seal.  As a result, neither Seal nor his associates in Arkansas were indicted.


      In July 2001, the US Senate voted by 98 to 1 to confirm US Representative Asa Hutchinson as the new director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. George W. Bush, Jr. was helping to keep a lid on all the nasty secrets of the Bush/Cheney involvement in the international drug trade. (see The Bush-Cheney Drug Empire).

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