3rd article below is description of actual live military training exercises conducted on US cities, including by up to five Navy ships, a full scale military invasion
Obviously, just as total communism (i.e. total economic security and fairness) must equal total economic surveillance and total tyranny (to stop cheaters and blackmarketers), likewise total physical security --- the war on terrorism or possible terrorism or even thoughts of violence, Cheney's 1% rule, zero tolerance for kids with plastic butter knives and tweezers and teenagers with aspirin, criminalizing insults, imaginary threats, war on "drugs", mandatory drug prescriptions --- child-proofing the entire adult world --- this also equals total tyranny. (Not to say that some economic security and surveillance is not important in a democracy, especially over government-created "corporate persons" which exist inside the UCC, just like some police protection and security is useful.)
(Despite the fact that Alex Jones is associated with the John Birch Society, I have included links to a few of his useful video clips on this page. Morales, a lefty Episcopal Priest, appeared in one of Jones' right wing documentaries, Matrix of Evil.)
THE WAR AT HOME:
U.S. MILITARY CIVIL DISTURBANCE PLANNING
By Frank Morales http://warat.home.xs2.net/
note: This article is pre-Bush. Now America is under "Northcom" and North America is considered a war theater by the Pentagon. see below
Also note that the "Battle in Seattle" involved staged rioting "anarchist" provocateurs who it was revealed on Seattle TV were provided with FREE housing by the city and got protection by the military forces who joined police to lock down the city (Zone of Repeal of First Amendment), while on the other hand, peaceful, middle-aged, middle-class civil protesters with signs opposing un-American international fronts (such as NAFTA and the WTO) were treated like enemy forces, beaten, kicked, shoved, arrested, and sent to a naval brig.
ORIGINS OF OPERATION GARDEN PLOT:
THE KERNER COMMISSION
(An edited version of this article currently appears in CovertAction Quarterly, #69 Spring/Summer 2000 http://covertaction.org)
GET THE BOOK:
"POLICE STATE AMERICA--US MILITARY CIVIL DISTURBANCE PLANNING"
I hate to invite cult worship of Alex Jones, but these are some particularly good videos.
Who Sponsors Terrorism?
Who Sponsored 1993 bombing?
Ronald Reagan and other officials w Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden
Dan Rather and other leaders ask you to surrender rights
Discussion with US Marine, ex-cop
Turning kids into snitches
Scanning children into Fed databases
Military Commissions Act Does Affect US Citizens
Interesting talk on propaganda
Bringing the War Home
by Ron Ridenhour with Arthur Lubow
Santa Luisa is burning. The power stations have been bombed. The local armories are in flames and the ammunition stocks have been destroyed. The riots began a day ago, after a policeman shot an antiwar demonstrator, and now thousands of people are milling in the streets, blocking off traffic, breaking plate glass windows, ambushing police cars. Sirens scream in the night as revolving red beacons spasmodically illuminate the glass-strewn streets. It looks like war in Santa Luisa, and the small college town is not unique: Riots are pulsating up and down California, spreading through several of the large Eastern and Midwestern states. Years of antiwar rhetoric reverberate in an ominous new note. The war has come home.
For it is a war: There is another side. As soon as the demonstrator is shot, before the first hint of public reaction, police forces have begun whirring up. They have checked their computerized lists of local radical troublemakers. They have telephoned to make sure that National Guard and Military Police forces are standing by. When the violence ignites they are ready -- detaining local radicals, mobilizing searchlight-equipped observation helicopters, coordinating U.S. Army troops with the National Guard, rolling armored tanks through the city, evacuating civilians. In four days, they have blitzed through the town, shredded the radical movement, established a curfew and imposed martial rule. After four days of war, Santa Luisa is quiet.
Close observers of the antiwar movement will be surprised that they have never heard of the Santa Luisa riots. But that's not surprising at all: There never were any riots in Santa Luisa. In fact, there never was a Santa Luisa. It is just a nightmare -- a fictional creation of the Pentagon, the Justice Department and local police departments. It is their imaginative scenario of the revolution they thought would blossom from the race riots and antiwar protests of the late Sixties and early Seventies. As fiction, it would be merely an historical curiosity, except for one thing -- it was the spawning ground of another nightmare, this one fact, not fiction. The Santa Luisa scenario is a game plan used by an elaborate and insidious structure that has developed over the last seven years, an intermeshing of Army, National Guard and local police forces, led by the most right-wing public officials and military men, designed to decimate leftist dissent but capable of crushing anything.
Four years ago Senator Sam Ervin's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights revealed that Military Intelligence had established an intricate surveillance system covering hundreds of thousands of American citizens. Committee staff members had seen a master plan -- Garden Plot -- that gave an eagle-eye view of the Army - National Guard - police strategy. But they weren't eagles, and the plan was too general to seem alarming. "We could never find any kind of unifying purpose behind it all," Britt Snider, who was then the subcommittee's main man on military intelligence, told a reporter four months ago. "It looked like an aimless kind of thing." The subcommittee issued a report condemning the Pentagon's monitoring of the "peaceful activities of non-violent citizens" whose only offense was "to stand on their hind legs and exercise the rights they thought the Constitution guaranteed." The subcommittee had seen the tail of the monster and they proclaimed it monstrous.
Developed in a series of California meetings from 1968 to 1972, Cable Splicer is a war plan that has adapted for domestic use procedures used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
Senator Ervin's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights discovered the computer in 1971, a full year after beginning its admirable investigation of the massive domestic operations of Military Intelligence. "At no time," its staff report states, "during the first year of the Subcommittee's investigation did either the Army or the Department of Defense admit that a computer on civilian political activity existed within the Pentagon's domestic war room." The subcommittee discovered computerized files on 18,000 of the celebrated and the obscure, on people such as Senator George McGovern and former Massachusetts Gov. Francis Sargent down to ordinary citizens who had, sometimes unknowingly, become "associated with known militant groups."
How does the Pentagon define "militant groups"? Documents from their war games sessions provide some idea. At the Cable Splicer III After Action Conference, held in California in May 1970, Los Angeles Police Department Captain Don Miller observed that militant groups are easy to identify since they "are normally organized according to political beliefs and/or ethnic backgrounds." Generalizations are accurate, noted Lynn "Buck" Compton, the Los Angeles prosecutor of Sirhan Sirhan, because there's "really very little difference between the Sirhans, the [Jerry] Rubins, the [Bobby] Seales, the [Abbie] Hoffmans, and the people of that stripe in that all resort to physical violence to achieve political goals." In a "revolutionary criminology" lecture listing activities that "require police action," Los Angeles Police Department Inspector John A. McAllister mentioned "loud, boisterous or obscene" behavior on beaches, "love-in type gatherings in parks where in large numbers they freak out," disruptions of "legitimate activities by gangs of noisy and sometimes violent dissidents," peace marches, rock festivals (where "violence is commonplace and sex is unrestrained") and "campus disruptions -- which in fact are nothing more than mini-revolutions." The guests at the Cable Splicer conference listened and learned.
The Civil Emergency Management Course Manual at the San Luis Obispo school is a virtual handbook for the counterrevolution. Examining the motives behind "revolutionary activity," the manual author finds the causes legitimate, the frustration often well-justified, the "revolutionaries" basically sincere. That is exactly why the threat is so dangerous.
Thumbing through the pages of Cable Splicer last summer, Congressman Clair Burgener (R-Calif.) shakes his head in disbelief. Burgener is a staunch conservative who attended Governor Reagan's Cable Splicer II kickoff conference over six years earlier. He has never heard of Cable Splicer. "I've read Seven Days in May and all those scare books, and...." He hesitates, searching for words. "And they're scary!" He never knew that the brief public relations luncheon he barely remembers was connected to a series of military-police war games. "If this was going on in this spirit," he says, "they were certainly pulling the wool over the eyes of the invited guests." He reads for half an hour and then leans back in his chair. "Well, I'll be damned!" he exclaims. "This is what I call subversive."
In the office of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, chaired by Senator John Tunney since Ervin's retirement last year, chief counsel Doug Lee devotes over four hours to the three big loose-leaf binders. First he chuckles occasionally, and then his chuckles turn to giggles of amazement. "Incredible," he mutters again and again. "Unbelievable." Giggle. "These guys are crazy!" Giggle. "We're the enemy! This is civil war they're talking about here. Half the country has been designated as the enemy." And in another Senate office, Britt Snider, who worked for Ervin on Military Intelligence and is now with Senator Frank Church's Select Committee on Intelligence, thumbs through the papers and observes, "If there ever was a model for a takeover, this is it."
Military Operations in Urban Terrain
by Frank Morales (Operation Urban Warrior)
[domestic repression; military]
You know, you never hear of suburban war," said Zulene Mayfield of the Chester (Pennsylvania) Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL), "always urban war. Why is that?"
She and scores of other American citizens are up in arms (so to speak) over the recent series of urban war games executed by the Marines and Special Forces in some 20 cities across the U.S., code- named "Operation Urban Warrior." On May 13, 1999, "acting under the cloak of darkness, 100 Army Special Operations troops descended on two vacant public housing complexes in three training exercises and terrified nearby residents and surprised even the housing director.... Residents of the areas around the two projects, some of whom were notified hours beforehand of a law enforcement training exercise, said they found the experience startling and intimidating." Defining the exercise as a law enforcement training exercise was appropriate, since most of the troops were dressed as police.
"This is beyond reasoning, people are traumatized and terrified, Vietnam vets are experiencing flashbacks," said Mayfield. Many in the Chester community are angry "with the arrogance of all parties involved," and are determined to "deal with the local government, which has been totally unresponsive." On June 1, the citizens of Chester marched to the home of Mayor Dominic Pileggi, who refused, or was unable, to answer questions about the military invasion. Targeting their local Congressman, Bob Brady, the public housing residents of Chester are trying to get some answers as to why their community was subjected to "no- notice" exercises using real ammunition and explosives. And despite the military's disclaimer that they are using "less than lethal" bombs and bullets, this is little consolation to the terrified residents of Chester. As Mayfield sees it, "if they are using disintegrating bullets, why are the windows blown out?"
Angered by "the misrepresentation of the proposed training exercise," Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory, wrote President Clinton, stating that "on the night of March 4 , residents of the uptown neighborhoods were stunned by the sudden appearance of 12 low- flying helicopters without lights, in possible violation of FAA regulations. There were snipers on rooftops shooting live ammunition at fake targets. Explosive devices were set off, creating a tremendous amount of noise. Given these conditions and the large number of military personnel in the area, neighborhood residents were in fear. Many of them called 911 to get what scant information was available, and many of them called me at home. I could hardly hear some of them because of the noise."
The Army was also rebuffed in San Francisco in February when protests shut down a portion of the exercise which was to involve "five ships, 6,000 sailors and Marines, and four days of simulated combat using helicopters and F- 18 bombers, tens of thousands of blank rounds of small arms fire, and simulated explosions."7 Other cities that have experienced the little- or- no- notice drills include Jacksonville, Florida; Chicago; the Corpus Christi area of Texas; New York; Charleston, South Carolina; and Oakland, California, which, unlike its neighbor across the bay, welcomed the military. "If San Francisco didn't want it, we're happy to accommodate," said Stacey Wells, press secretary to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.
Operation Urban Warrior's internet home page recently ended public access to its website sector on "marines prepared for protesters."
Frank Morales is an Episcopal priest and independent researcher and pamphleteer who is active on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Here is a pre-Sept 11 proposal, from a foreign policy expert in the Brookings Institute writing for the CFR (Council on Frgn Relations) (Dick Cheney was once a Director there, as well as many other high officials in successive cabinets, and many media heads):
The key to fighting apathetic internationalism is persuading the public to act on its internationalist preferences.(?)http://www.Takeoverworld.info/apathy.htm
But how to raise the political stakes in foreign policy?
A renewed threat to American security would clearly do the trick. So might a recession.
Wikipedia version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_and_Contra's_cocaine_trafficking_in_the_US
Old news -- but a lotta ppl still think this is some 'conspiracy theory'. A lotta ppl still think this gang of thugs can protect us from terrorists or fight a drug war or promote morality.
CIA Admits Tolerating Contra-Cocaine Trafficking in 1980s
by Robert Parry - The Consortium online magazine, June 8, 2000
In secret congressional testimony, senior CIA officials admitted that the spy agency turned a blind eye to evidence of cocaine trafficking by U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels in the 1980s and generally did not treat drug smuggling through Central America as a high priority during the Reagan administration.
"In the end the objective of unseating the Sandinistas appears to have taken precedence over dealing properly with potentially serious allegations against those with whom the agency was working," CIA Inspector General Britt Snider said in classified testimony on May 25, 1999. He conceded that the CIA did not treat the drug allegations in "a consistent, reasoned or justifiable manner."
Still, Snider and other officials sought to minimize the seriousness of the CIA's misconduct a position echoed by a House Intelligence Committee report released in May and by press coverage it received. In particular, CIA officials insisted that CIA personnel did not order the contras to engage in drug trafficking and did not directly join in the smuggling.
But the CIA testimony to the House Intelligence Committee and the body of the House report confirmed long-standing allegations dating back to the mid-1980s that drug traffickers pervaded the contra operation and used it as a cover for smuggling substantial volumes of cocaine into the United States.
Deep in the report, the House committee noted that in some cases, "CIA employees did nothing to verify or disprove drug trafficking information, even when they had the opportunity to do so. In some of these, receipt of a drug allegation appeared to provoke no specific response, and business went on as usual."
Former CIA officer Duane Clarridge, who oversaw covert CIA support for the contras in the early years of their war against Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government, said "counter-narcotics programs in Central America were not a priority of CIA personnel in the early 1980s," according to the House report.
The House committee also reported new details about how a major Nicaraguan drug lord, Norwin Meneses, recruited one of his principal lieutenants, Oscar Danilo Blandon, with promises that much of their drug money would go to the contras. Meneses and Blandon were key figures in a controversial 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News that alleged a "dark alliance" between the CIA and contra traffickers.
That series touched off renewed interest in contra-drug trafficking and its connection to the flood of cocaine that swept through U.S. cities in the 1980s, devastating many communities with addiction and violence. In reaction to the articles by reporter Gary Webb, U.S. government agencies and leading American newspapers rallied to the CIA's defense.
Like those responses, the House Intelligence Committee report attacked Webb's series. It highlighted exculpatory information about the CIA and buried admissions of wrongdoing deep in the text where only a careful reading would find them. The report's seven "findings" accepted by the majority Republicans as well as the minority Democrats absolved the CIA of any serious offenses, sometimes using convoluted phrasing that obscured the facts.
For instance, one key finding stated that "the CIA as an institution did not approve of connections between contras and drug traffickers, and, indeed, contras were discouraged from involvement with traffickers." The phrasing is tricky, however. The use of the phrase "as an institution" obscures the report's clear evidence that many CIA officials ignored the contra-cocaine smuggling and continued doing business with suspected drug traffickers.
wikipedia: Hitz also said that under an agreement in 1982 between Ronald Reagan's Attorney General William French Smith and the CIA, agency officers were not required to report allegations of drug trafficking involving non-employees, which was defined as meaning paid and non-paid "assets," pilots who ferried supplies to the contras, as well as contra officials and others.
The finding's second sentence said, "CIA officials, on occasion, notified law enforcement entities when they became aware of allegations concerning the identities or activities of drug traffickers." Stressing that CIA officials "on occasion" alerted law enforcement about contra drug traffickers glossed over the reality that many CIA officials withheld evidence of illegal drug smuggling and undermined investigations of those crimes.
Normally in investigations, it is the wrongdoing that is noteworthy, not the fact that some did not participate in the wrongdoing.
A close reading of the House report reveals a different story from the "findings." On page 38, for instance, the House committee observed that the second volume of the CIA's inspector general's study of the contra-drug controversy disclosed numerous instances of contra-drug operations and CIA knowledge of the problem.
"The first question is what CIA knew," the House report said. "Volume II of the CIA IG report explains in detail the knowledge the CIA had that some contras had been, were alleged to be or were in fact involved or somehow associated with drug trafficking or drug traffickers. The reporting of possible connections between drug trafficking and the Southern Front contra organizations is particularly extensive.
"The second question is what the CIA reported to DOJ [Department of Justice]. The Committee was concerned about the CIA's record in reporting and following up on allegations of drug activity during this period. In many cases, it is clear the information was reported from the field, but it is less clear what happened to the information after it arrived at CIA headquarters."
In other words, the internal government investigations found that CIA officers in Central America were informing CIA headquarters at Langley, Va., about the contra-drug problem, but the evidence went no farther. It was kept from law enforcement agencies, from Congress and from the American public. Beyond withholding the evidence, the Reagan administration mounted public relations attacks on members of Congress, journalists and witnesses who were exposing the crimes in the 1980s.
In a sense, those attacks continue to this day, with reporter Gary Webb excoriated for alleged overstatements in the Mercury News stories. As a result of those attacks, Webb was forced to resign from the Mercury News and leave daily journalism. No member of the Reagan administration has received any punishment or even public rebuke for concealing evidence of contra-cocaine trafficking. [For details on the CIA's internal report, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]
Besides confirming the CIA's internal admissions about contra-drug trafficking and the CIA's spotty record of taking action to stop it, the House committee included in its report the Reagan administration's rationale for blacking out the contra-cocaine evidence in the 1980s.
"The committee interviewed several individuals who served in Latin America as [CIA] chiefs of station during the 1980s," the report said. "They all personally deplored the use and trafficking of drugs, but indicated that in the 1980s the counter-narcotics mission did not have as high a priority as the missions of reporting on and fighting against communist insurrections and supporting struggling democratic movements.
"Indeed, most of those interviewed indicated that they were, effectively speaking, operating in a war zone and were totally engaged in keeping U.S. allies from being overwhelmed. In this environment, what reporting the CIA did do on narcotics was often based on one of two considerations: either a general understanding that the CIA should report on criminal activities so that law enforcement agencies could follow up on them, or, in case of the contras, an effort to monitor allegations of trafficking that, if true, could undermine the legitimacy of the contras cause."
In other words, the CIA station chiefs admitted to the House committee that they gave the contras a walk on drug trafficking. "In case of the contras," only monitoring was in order, as the CIA worried that disclosure of contra-drug smuggling would be a public relations problem that "could undermine the legitimacy of the contra cause."
The House report followed this CIA admission with a jarring and seemingly contradictory conclusion. "The committee found no evidence of an attempt to 'cover up' such information," the report said.
Yet, that "no cover-up" conclusion flew in the face of both the CIA inspector general's report and the report by the Justice Department's inspector general. Both detailed case after case in which CIA and senior Reagan administration officials intervened to frustrate investigations on contra-connected drug trafficking, either by blocking the work of investigators or by withholding timely evidence.
In one case, a CIA lawyer persuaded a federal prosecutor in San Francisco to forego a 1984 trip to Costa Rica because the CIA feared the investigation might expose a contra-cocaine tie-in. In others, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators in Central America complained about obstacles put in their path by CIA officers and U.S. embassy officials. [For more details, see Lost History.]
In classified testimony to the House committee, CIA Inspector General Snider acknowledged that the CIA's handling of the contra-cocaine evidence was "mixed" and "inconsistent." He said, "While we found no evidence that any CIA employees involved in the contra program had participated in drug-related activities or had conspired with others in such activities, we found that the agency did not deal with contra-related drug trafficking allegations and information in a consistent, reasoned or justifiable manner."
Even in this limited admission, Snider's words conflicted with evidence published in the CIA inspector general's report in October 1998. That report, prepared by Snider's predecessor Frederick Hitz, showed that some CIA personnel working with the contras indeed were implicated in drug trafficking. The tricky word in Snider's testimony was "employees," that is, regular full-time CIA officers.
Both the CIA report and the House report acknowledged that a CIA "contractor" known by the pseudonym Ivan Gomez was involved in drug trafficking. In the early 1980s, the CIA sent Gomez to Costa Rica to oversee the contra operation. Later, Gomez admitted in a CIA polygraph that he participated in his brother's drug business in Florida.
In separate testimony, Nicaraguan drug smuggler Carlos Cabezas fingered Gomez as the CIA's man in Costa Rica who made sure that drug money went into the contra coffers.
Despite the seeming corroboration of Cabezas's allegation about Ivan Gomez's role in drug smuggling, the House committee split hairs again. It attacked Cabezas's credibility and argued that the Gomez drug money could not be connected definitively to the contras. "No evidence suggests that the drug trafficking and money laundering operations in which Gomez claimed involvement were in any way related to CIA or the contra movement," the House report said.
What the report leaves out is that one reason for this lack of proof was that the CIA prevented a thorough investigation of Ivan Gomez's drug activities by withholding the polygraph admission from the Justice Department and the U.S. Congress in the late 1980s. In effect, the House committee now is rewarding the CIA for torpedoing those investigations.
In one surprise disclosure, the House committee uncovered new details about the involvement of Nicaraguan drug smuggler Oscar Danilo Blandon in trafficking intended to support the contras financially. Blandon, a central figure in the Mercury News series, said he was drawn into the drug business because he understood profits were going to the contra war.
In a deposition to the House committee, Blandon described a meeting with Nicaraguan drug kingpin Norwin Meneses at the Los Angeles airport in 1981. "It was during this encounter, according to Blandon, that Meneses encouraged Blandon to become involved with the drug business in order to assist the contras," the House report stated.
"We spoke a lot of things about the contra revolution, about the movement, because then he took me to the drug business, speaking to me about the drug business that we had to raise money with drugs," said Blandon. "And he explained to me, you don't know, but I am going to teach you. And, you know, I am going to tell you how you will do it. You see, you keep some of the profit for you, and some of the profit we will help the contra revolution, you see. Meneses was trying to convince me with the contra revolution to get me involved in drugs. Give a piece of the apple to the contras and a piece of the apple to him."
Blandon accepted Meneses's proposal and "assumed the money he had given Meneses was being sent by Meneses to the contra movement. However, Blandon stated that he had no firsthand knowledge that this was actually occurring," the House report said.
Though Blandon claimed ignorance about the regular delivery of cocaine cash to the contras, other witnesses confirmed that substantial sums went from Meneses and other drug rings to the contras. A Justice Department investigation discovered several informants who corroborated the flow of money.
One confidential informant, identified in the Justice report only as "DEA CI-1," said Meneses, Blandon and another cohort, Ivan Torres, contributed drug profits to the contras.
Renato Pena, a money-and-drug courier for Meneses, also described sharing drug profits with the contras, while acting as their northern California representative. Pena quoted a Colombian contact called "Carlos" as saying "We're helping your cause with this drug thing. We're helping your organization a lot."
The Justice report noted, too, that Meneses's nephew, Jairo, told the DEA in the 1980s that he had asked Pena to help transport drug money to the contras and that his uncle, Norwin Meneses, dealt directly with contra military commander Enrique Bermudez.
The Justice report found that Julio Zavala and Carlos Cabezas ran a parallel contra-drug network. Cabezas said cocaine from Peru was packed into hollow reeds which were woven into tourist baskets and smuggled to the United States. After arriving in San Francisco, the baskets went to Zavala who arranged sale of the cocaine for contra operatives, Horacio Pereira and Troilo Sanchez. Cabezas estimated that he gave them between $1 million and $1.5 million between December 1981 and December 1982.
Another U.S. informant, designated "FBI Source 1," backed up much of Cabezas's story. Source 1 said Cabezas and Zavala were helping the contras with proceeds from two drug-trafficking operations, one smuggling Colombian cocaine and the other shipping cocaine through Honduras. Source 1 said the traffickers had to agree to give 50 percent of their profits to the contras.
The House report made no note of this corroborating evidence published in the DOJ report.
The broader contra-cocaine picture was ignored, too. The evidence now available from government investigations over the past 15 years makes clear that many major cocaine smuggling networks used the contra operation, either relying on direct contra assistance or exploiting the relationship to gain protection from U.S. law enforcement.
Sworn testimony before an investigation by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, in the late 1980s disclosed that the contra-drug link dated back to the origins of the movement in 1980. Then, Bolivian drug lord Roberto Suarez invested $30 million in several Argentine-run paramilitary operations, according to Argentine intelligence officer Leonardo Sanchez-Reisse.
The Suarez money financed the so-called Cocaine Coup that ousted Bolivia's elected government in 1980 and then was used by Argentine intelligence to start the contra war against Nicaragua's leftist government. In 1981, President Reagan ordered the CIA to work with the Argentines in building up the contra army.
According to Volume Two of the CIA report, the spy agency learned about the contra-cocaine connection almost immediately, secretly reporting that contra operatives were smuggling cocaine into South Florida.
By the early 1980s, the Bolivian connection had drawn in the fledgling Colombian Medellin cartel. Top cartel figures picked up on the value of interlocking their operations with the contras. Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans played a key matchmaker role, especially by working with contras based in Costa Rica.
U.S. agencies secretly reported on the work of Frank Castro and other Cuban-American contra supporters who were seen as Medellin operatives. With the Reagan administration battling Congress to keep CIA money flowing to the contras, there were no high-profile crackdowns that might embarrass the contras and undermine public support for their war.
No evidence was deigned good enough to justify sullying the contras' reputation. In 1986, for example, Reagan's Justice Department rejected the eyewitness account of an FBI informant named Wanda Palacio. She testified that she saw Jorge Ochoa's Colombian organization loading cocaine onto planes belonging to Southern Air Transport, a former CIA-owned airline that secretly was flying supplies to the contras. Despite documentary corroboration, her account was dismissed as not believable.
Another contra-cocaine connection ran through Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega, who was recruited by the Reagan administration to assist the contras despite Noriega's drug-trafficking reputation. The CIA worked closely, too, with corrupt military officers in Honduras and El Salvador who were known to moonlight as cocaine traffickers and money-launderers.
In Honduras, the contra operation tied into the huge cocaine-smuggling network of Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros. His airline, SETCO, was hired by the Reagan administration to ferry supplies to the contras. U.S. government reports also disclosed that contra spokesman Frank Arana worked closely with lieutenants in the Matta Ballesteros network.
Though based in Honduras, the Matta Ballesteros network was regarded as a leading Mexican smuggling ring and was implicated in the torture-murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena.
The CIA knew, too, that the contra-cocaine taint had spread into President Reagan's National Security Council and into the CIA through Cuban-American anti-communists who were working for two drug-connected seafood companies, Ocean Hunter of Miami and Frigorificos de Puntarenas in Costa Rica. One of these Cuban-Americans, Moises Nunez, worked directly for the NSC.
In 1987, the CIA asked Nunez about allegations tying him to the drug trade. "Nunez revealed that since 1985, he had engaged in a clandestine relationship with the National Security Council," the CIA contra-drug report said. "Nunez refused to elaborate on the nature of these actions, but indicated it was difficult to answer questions relating to his involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he had performed at the direction of the NSC."
The CIA had its own link to the Frigorificos/Ocean Hunter operation through Felipe Vidal, a Cuban-American with a criminal record as a narcotics trafficker. Despite that record, the CIA hired Vidal as a logistics coordinator for the contras, the CIA report said. When Sen. Kerry sought the CIA's file on Vidal, the CIA withheld the data about Vidal's drug arrest and kept him on the payroll until 1990.
These specific cases were not mentioned in the House report. They also have gone unreported in the major news media of the United States.
Now, with the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committees joining with their Republican counterparts, the official verdict on the sordid contra-drug history has been delivered a near full acquittal of the Reagan administration and the CIA. The verdict is justified as long as no one reads what's in the government's own reports.