The narcotics industry has a turnover,
estimated to be in excess of $1 trillion per annum.
Put more simply, it is the largest industry in the world. Ongoing international measures to eradicate this industry
have largely proved futile, despite the billions spent. For example, the death in Columbia - at the hands of law
enforcement officers - of drug baron, Pablo Escobar, and the US capture of
Panamanian middle-man, Manuel Noriega, didn’t interrupt the flow of Columbian
cocaine one iota. On the contrary,
shipments to the United States and elsewhere, increased sharply in the wake of
these so called Drug Enforcement “victories.”
Meanwhile, information has
surfaced that paints a damning picture of intelligence agency involvement in the
narcotics industry. Sworn
affidavit’s in this writer’s possession finger the Central Intelligence
Agency for engaging in narcotics trafficking on an almost industrial scale. Some observers - perhaps with an element of merit - have,
meanwhile, opined that the CIA’s long-term involvement with the narcotics
industry resulted from their support of nations that strongly adhered to the
anti communist philosophy.
Under this rubric, drug barons
the world over were aided and assisted in the production, transportation and
distribution of narcotics, and the proceeds were used to arm resistance
movements. So long as there was a
“red menace” to fight, those dope peddlers – large and small – who
co-operated with the CIA’s cold war strategy, remained immune to prosecution.
With the collapse of communism in the late nineteen eighties this
rationale evaporated. Curious then,
that the narcotics industry has not declined along with communism?
One the contrary, all the indications point to continued growth and
Drugs have become a
self-perpetuating industry that continues to create billionaire’s overnight.
It is, by far, the most Laissez
Faire enterprise of them all, enjoying spectacular financial returns for
relatively modest investment. Arguably,
reason enough, to ensure that continuing calls to legalise some types of soft
drugs remain doomed to failure at the political level.
Why kill the Golden Goose that effortlessly lays so many golden
History increasingly suggests
that the hidden reality was that it was not so much a “war on drugs,” as a
“war for drugs.” A war,
moreover, aimed at winning the hearts and minds of those who live in embattled
regions of the globe, by silently impoverishing, stupefying and killing those at
home. The innocent,, as always, are the major casualties of any
OPERATION WATCH TOWER
What follows is drawn from an
affidavit signed by Col. Edward P. Cutolo; a letter written by his close friend,
Paul Neri - an employee of America’s huge National Security Agency; and an
additional supporting affidavit signed by PFC William Tyree - a soldier under
Cutolo’s command. Collectively,
they amount to a powerful indictment of the Central Intelligence Agency and
senior Pentagon officers who knowingly engaged in large scale narcotics
More alarming still, are
Cutolo’s and Tyree’s allegations concerning a black operation suitably named
“George Orwell” – that utilised US Special Forces to spy on well-known
American politicians, members of the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and the
Catholic church in New York and Boston. The
“product” of this covert surveillance was used for the purpose of blackmail.
Colonel Edward P. Cutolo was
commanding officer of the US 10th Special Forces (airborne), 1st
Special Forces stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
Possessing a distinguished record as a military officer, Cutolo doubtless
had seen many peculiar things and undertaken numerous classified missions.
Despite this, he would rue the day, in December 1975, he was approached
by the CIA’s Edwin Wilson and Frank Terpil.
The two CIA officers introduced
Cutolo to two highly sensitive missions unlike anything he had undertaken
previously. According to his close
friends and comrades, Cutolo’s later investigation into the legality of these
missions would lead to his death under suspicious circumstances.
Other senior military officers who investigated Cutolo’s death also
soon died under questionable circumstances.
As we shall see, all were believed to have been murdered by Mike Harari,
an alleged Israeli assassin who would come to prominence a decade later for his
role in the now infamous Contragate affair.
Cutolo begins his sworn
affidavit by saying: “In December, 1975, I spoke with Colonel “Bo” Baker
concerning a classified mission he commanded during that month, inside Columbia. The mission was known as “Watch Tower.” Continuing, he states “Following a lengthy discussion with
Col. Baker, I was introduced to Mr. Edwin Wilson and Mr. Frank Terpil.
Both Wilson and Terpil were in the employ of the Central Intelligence
Agency. Both Wilson and Terpil
inquired if I was interested in working for short periods of time in Columbia,
and I acknowledged that I was.”
Cutolo thereafter commanded the
second and third Watch Tower missions. The
second mission took place in February 1976 and lasted a total of 22 days.
The purpose of the mission was to “establish a series of three
electronic beacon towers beginning outside of Bogata, Columbia, and running
northeast to the border of Panama.” With
the beacons in place and activated, aircraft could fix on their signal and fly
undetected from Bogata to Panama, landing at Albrook Air Station.
All told. 30 “high performance aircraft” flew the covert route to
The aircraft were met by
Panama’s Colonel Manuel Noriega - who would later become head of state, prior
to experiencing a US invasion tasked to arrest and imprison him for laundering
drug money. Accompanying Noriega
were a number of officers of the Panama Defence Forces (PDF), CIA agent, Edwin
Wilson, and Israeli agent Mike Harari. Cutolo
adds that Harari had the authority from the “U.S. Army Southern Command in
Panama to be in the A.O (Area of Operations).”
Nor does Cutolo beat around the bush when explicitly stating “The cargo
flown from Columbia into Panama was cocaine.”
Cutolo continues his affidavit
by outlining the third Watch Tower mission which he commanded.
This occurred during March 1976, and lasted 29 days, safely cycling 40
cocaine carrying aircraft through to Panama.
On this occasion members of one of his Special Action Teams (SATs),
located at Turbo, Columbia were attacked by a large gang of local bandits and
were extracted by helicopters that entered Columbian airspace without authority.
Cutolo adds that the third mission was “met in the previously related
fashion by those named – Noriega, Edwin Wilson, Mike Harari et al.
William Tyree’s affidavit
dated 6 September 1990, powerfully corroborates Colonel Cutolo’s statements. Tyree, however, was able to provide additional direct
testimony on the First Watch Tower mission, which he participated in.
At that time he was assigned to the 1st/17th Air
Cavalry Division located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
In Tyree’s own words, the mission was to “insert three SPECIAL ACTION
TEAMS (SATs) inside Columbia. Once
the SATs were in place they would activate electronic beacons which aircraft
could follow through a specific corridor out of Columbia and into Panama where
the aircraft, which were loaded with cocaine, would land at Albrook Air
Station.” Tyree adds the “mission lasted 24 days and approximately 37
aircraft of various descriptions flew out of Columbia and into Panama, all
following the SATs electronic beacons.”
Tyree goes on to state “I
personally witnessed members of the Panamanian Defence Force (PDF) help unload
the bales of cocaine from the aircraft onto the tarmac of Albrook Air Station.
Among the PDF officers were Colonel Manuel Noriega, Major Roberto
Diaz-Herrera, Major Liz del CID, and Major Ramirez.
These men were always in the company of an American civilian identified
to me by other personnel involved in the operation as Edwin Wilson, of the CIA.
Another civilian in the company of Wilson, I have since learned, was
Israeli Mossad agent Michael Harari.”
Of additional interest are
Tyree’s comments regarding Edwin Wilson providing (presumably classified?)
military style mustard coloured files to Noriega and his fellow PDF officers.
Tyree states the files originally belonged to the CIA, Naval Intelligence
Service (NIS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The information contained in the folders appeared to have come from all
over the world and included: a) Coastal defences of other countries, some of
which appeared to be allies of the U.S. b) written information, diagrams, naval
charts and reconnaissance photo’s etc. Tyree
judged the information was of a type and quality required to “institute a
major naval operation anywhere in the world.”
Other folders related to the “US Navy and various battle groups,
including number of personnel, number of aircraft, type of armaments and whether
a vessel had conventional or nuclear capability.”
It is impossible to say with any
authority why Wilson handed over this type of sensitive information to Noriega.
Panama is not famous for its Navy, which, in any event, certainly does
not possess the capability to project itself around the world.
One can only speculate that such information was to be sold or bartered
by Noriega to foreign powers, and may have constituted part payment for
assistance with the cocaine trafficking? On
this aspect, we are unlikely to ever know.
OPERATION GEORGE ORWELL
In any event, after the Watch
Tower missions, Col. Cutolo returned to normal duty, and Tyree was later
reassigned to another location and command.
There the matter would have rested for evermore had not a curious
sequence of events occurred two years later.
By 1978, Colonel Cutolo assumed
command of the 10th Special Forces Group (airborne) at Fort Devens,
where he recognised two soldiers - PFC William Tyree and Sgt. John Newby –
both of whom had operated under his command during Watch Tower, and who now were
assigned (in Tyree’s case re-assigned) to his command.
1978 also saw the return of Edwin Wilson with another deep black covert
operation on offer. This was known
as Operation George Orwell.
During a meeting with Cutolo,
Edwin Wilson explained that “it was considered that Operation Watch Tower
might be compromised and become known if politicians, judicial figures, police
and religious entities were approached or received word that U. S. troops had
aided in delivering narcotics from Columbia into Panama.”
Based on that possibility, Cutolo, formed twelve separate Special Action
Teams (SATs). Their mission was to
implement Army regulation 340-18-5 (file number 503-05).
Cutolo’s authority for this action came directly from FORSCOM via
In effect, Operation Orwell was
tasked with implementing intense “surveillance of politicians, judicial
figures, law enforcement agencies at the state level and of religious groups.”
The underlying purpose was to provide the “United States government and
the Army” with advance warning of the discovery of Watch Tower to enable them
to “prepare a defence.” Cutolo further states that he “was under orders not to
inform Colonel Forrest Rittgers, commanding officer of Fort Devens,” of this
mission. The reason was to give
Colonel Rittgers a “margin of plausible deniability” in the event that Fort
Devens personnel were “caught in the act of implementing surveillance.”
Cutolo goes on to reveal that he
instituted surveillance against “Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Edward King, Michael
Dukakis, Levin H. Campbell, Andrew A Caffrey, Fred Johnson, Kenneth A. Chandler,
Thomas P. O’Neil, to name a few of the targets.”
Additionally surveillance was placed on “…the Governors residences of
Massachusetts, Manine, New York and New Hampshire. The Catholic cathedrals of New York and Boston were placed
under electronic surveillance also. In
the area of Fort Devens, all local police and politicians were under some form
of surveillance at various times.” As
part of the operation, Cutolo recruited “a number of local state employees who
worked within the ranks of local police and court personnel.
Private Tyree, in his sworn
affidavit, confirms what Cutolo has revealed about Operation George Orwell,
including that it was initiated under Army regulation number 340-18-5, file
number 503-05. He states that “I
was involved in 10 separate surveillance missions in the New England area, all
under this same operation.” He
adds “… surveillance was instituted to monitor civilian targets to
determine: a) if Operation Watch Tower had been discovered.
B) the probability that an investigation or governmental inquiry would be
requested as a result of such a discovery.”
Tyree goes on to reveal that he, personally, participated in surveillance
against the Mayor of Lunenbourg, Massachusetts, a community close to Fort Devens.
A second local target was “John Droney, District Attorney, Middlesex
County, Massachusetts.” Tyree continues by providing detailed information about
criminal wrongdoing by Droney, together with details of his sexual proclivities
Moreover, Tyree additionally
states that his friend, Sergeant John Newby, had engaged in surveillance against
“…Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.
Sgt. Newby also stated to me just prior to his death in October 1978,
that he had been involved in some surveillance of ‘some judges’ in the New
Englad area.” These included
“… Levin H. Campbell, Andrew A Caffrey and Fred Johnson.”
He then goes on to reveal that Major Arnett, who was assigned to Fort
Bragg, North Carolina (home of the Green Berets) had “commanded a team that
allegedly maintained surveillance on Senator Jesse Helms.” The connection betwee, Kennedy, Kerry and Helms, Tyree
states, was that “all three were critical of the U. S. involvement in Latin
America.” Had they learned of
Watch Tower “they would undoubtedly use that information to pull the U.S., out
of Latin America, which in turn might effect the security of that area and
eventually the U.S.”
Meanwhile, Cutolo states that
” Sgt. Newby “had received threats just prior to his parachuting accident
that claimed his life in October 1978. It
was at that time that (then) SP4 Tyree began to report threatening phone calls.
I saw a pattern and still believe a pattern exists.”
Clearly, by this time, Col. Cutolo was fearful for his own life, too.
“I gave Colonel Baker the original copy of this affidavit.
I gave true copies to Hugh B. Pearce, and to Paul Neri of the national
Security Agency and instructed each person to deliver the affidavit to the
authorities in the event that something occurs to me.”
According to the Paul Neri’s accompanying letter, in 1980, Colonel
Cutolo died “while on a military exercise in England. Just prior to his death he notified me that he was to meet
with Michael Harari, an Israeli Mossad agent.
It is my belief, though unsubstantiated, that Harari murdered Col. Cutolo
because of the information Col. Cutolo possessed.”
Neri then reveals that in the event of Cutolo’s death, he was to
discretely contact Col, Bo Baker. In
turn, Col. Baker enlisted the aid of Col. Nick Rowe – all three were Special
Forces officers with exemplary records. The
three of them thereafter set out to “prove that Harari murdered Col.
Cutolo…” Colonel Nick Rowe was
killed soon afterwards. On 21 April 1989 he was shot to death by automatic fire from
an M-16 assault rifle in Manilla, Phillippines.
Neri reveals that “Harari was in the Phillippines for three days just
prior to and after Col. Rowe’s murder.”
Chief Warrant Officer (WCO) Hugh
Pearce, who also received a copy of Cutolo’s affidavit, also died in June
1989, as a result of a helicopter accident.
Pearce had commenced to help the others with their enquiries. Prior to his death he had directed Col. Rowe to an address at
Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and state politican, Larkin Smith.
Both Col. Rowe and CWO Hugh Pearce died prior to a scheduled meeting with
Smith – both having previously agreed to “go public” and call for a
“full investigation into the events described in Col. Cutolo’s affidavit”
following the arranged meeting. Smith, died in August 1989 - in an airplane accident.
Others to conveniently die included Colonel Bo Baker and Colonel Robert
Bayard – who was murdered in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1977, just prior to his
meeting with Israeli Mossad officer David Kimche.
Clearly, protecting the big
secret of Operation Watch Tower has assumed priority.
This is, in fact, hinted at in Cutolo’s affidavit, when he earlier
speaks of El Salvadoran Archbishop Romero.
Cutolo states that Romero “… is in receipt of physical evidence
supporting several allegations that the United States is currently with
Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama covertly training and sponsoring
freedom fighters attempting to overthrow the current regime in Nicaragua.”
Cutolo’s then states that “… these freedom fighters are also being
supported from funds arising from Operation Watch Tower in part.”
Cutolo closes this paragraph by saying “This information made it
necessary to protect Operation Watch Tower and Operation Orwell regardless of
the cost.” Needless to say, he
was at that time, unaware that he and his closest colleagues would form part of
But soon he would grow aware of
the threat on his own life. “I
have detailed pertinent events in this affidavit should something happen to me. The lug nuts have been loosened on my car tires twice in the
past week. I have had someone
tamper with my car and I have received telephone calls at my home where no one
answered at the other end. I have
seen other men involved in Operation watch Tower meet accidental deaths after
they were also threatened.”
Cutolo simply had too much
direct knowledge of Operation Watch Tower to survive, especially since he began
having doubts about its legality. During
an earlier meeting with the CIA’s Edwin Wilson, Cutolo states:
“Edwin Wilson explained that Operation watch Tower had to remain secret
and gave these reasons: 1) If it becomes public knowledge it would undermine
present governmental interests as well as those in the future.
2) There are similar operations being implemented elsewhere in the world:
Wilson named the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Southeast Asia and Pakistan.
Wilson stated in both areas of the world the CIA and other intelligence
agencies are behind the illegal narcotics flow to support forces fighting to
overthrow communist governments, or governments that are not friendly towards
the United States. Wilson named
several recognised officials of Pakistan, Afganistan, Burma, Korea, Thailand and
Cambodia as being aware and consenting to these arrangements, similar to the
ones in Panama. 3) Wilson cited the
military coup in Argentina in 1976, the coup in Peru in 1978, the fall of the
Somaza government in Nicaragua in 1979 and the growing civil war in El Salvador
as examples of the need for Operations like Watch Tower.
As these operations funded the ongoing efforts to combat Terrorism and
defeat actions directed against the United States or matters involving the
In any event, Wilson hadn’t
yet concluded his narcotics lecture to Cutolo, as he “… explained that the
profits from the sale of narcotics was laundered through a series of banks. Wilson stated that over 70% of the profits were laundered
through the banks in Panama. The
remaining percentage was funnelled through Swiss banks, with a small remainder
being handled by banks within the United States.”
Cutolo adds “Wilson indicated that a large portion of the profits are
brought into the banks of Panama without being checked.
I understood that some of the profits in Panamanian banks arrived through
Israeli couriers. I became aware of that fact from normal conversations with
some of the embassy personnel assigned to the embassy in Panama.”
Cutolo then reveals that an
associate of Wilson’s also “aided in overseeing the laundering of funds,
which was then used to purchase weapons to arm various factions that the CIA saw
as friendly towards the United States. The
associates name is Tom Cline.” Wilson
then tells Cutolo that “most of Operation Watch Tower was implemented on the
authority of Clines.” Tom Clines
worked under Theodore Shackley – both of whom were heavily implicated in gun
running activities during Iran-Contra; itself a notorious
drugs-for-money-for-guns operation under President Ronald reagan and Vice
President George Bush.
In fact, Cutolo later reveals in
his affidavit that the illegal activities of Mike Harari were protected by a
number of U. S. VIP’s. Cutolo was
told by Pentagon “…contacts, of
the record…” that these VIP’s included Director of CIA, Stansfield Turner
and former CIA Director George Bush. Both,
in Cutolo’s words “shielded” Harari from “public scrutiny.”
The same contacts also told Cutolo that “Watch Tower” was a
sanctioned mission and that “United States military authorities confirmed to
me that Operation Watch Tower occurred and gave their approval.”
Cutolo, also learned that “… Harari was a known middleman for matters
involving the United States in Latin America,” adding that the Israeli
assassin “acted with the support of a network of Mossad personnel throughout
Latin America and worked mainly in the import and export of arms and drugs
Motivation in this regard is a
contentious issue. Paul Neri stated
his belief that Wilson, Clines and Terpil were acting without authority and for
their own personal enrichment. Clearly,
this is not the case. Cutolo is
certain that both operations were sanctioned at the highest level. Of course, this does not hinder some of those involved with
these missions from profiting on the side.
The indications are that so long as “skimming” was kept at reasonable
levels, no questions would be asked by those higher up the chain of command.
Indeed, Cutolo’s affidavit
reveals an intriguing sidebar to Operation George Orwell that is only too
believeable in regard to the big bucks world of black budgets.
The surveillance product garnered by Operation George Orwell had uses
other than keeping loose mouths shut. According
to Cutolo, he “…was notified by Wilson that the information forwarded to
Washington D.C., was disseminated to private corporations who were developing
weapon systems for the Dept. of Defense. Those private corporations were encouraged to use the
sensitive information gathered from surveillance on U.S. Senators and
Representatives as leverage to manipulate those Congressmen into approving
whatever costs those weapon systems incurred.”
Three weapon systems were
mentioned to Cutolo in this respect: “1) Am Armored vehicle.
2) An aircraft that is invisible to radar.
3) A weapon system that utilises kinetic energy.”
He adds that he got the impression all three were for “…use by NASA
or for CIA purposes.” Wilson also
informed Cutolo, that “Operation Orwell
would be implemented nationwide by 4 July 1980.”
He then adds that as of the date of
this affidavit [11 March 1980], “2,400 police departments, 1,370 churches, and
approximately 17,900 citizens have been monitored under Operation Orwell.
The major churches targeted have been Catholic and Latter Day Saints.”
Others targeted included “suspected members of the Trilateral
Commission and the Bilderberg Group,” including former Presidents Gerald Ford
and Jimmy Carter and George Bush. Cutolo
notes that he did not have personal knowledge “that Ford, Carter or Bush were
Anyone who took an active
interest in these operations were soon to experience extreme rigor mortis.
In his covering letter, Paul Neri mentions the death of Supergun builder
and “Pentagon Scientist” Dr. Gerald Bull, who was shot dead outside his
apartment in 1990 – as an example of the deadliness of Mossad officer Mike
Harari. Neri also casts dark
glances at the role of President George Bush in this whole affair, noting that
Bush “knew or should have known about Operation Watch Tower.”
He then adds that “With Mr Noreiga no longer in power, the Bush
Administration has helped install one president and two Vice-Presidents in
Panama who will continue to launder the drug money the CIA receives from drug
operations world wide..."”
Neri continues “How much
longer, and how many more will be murdered, die accidentally or be discredited
through incarceration so that poppies and cocca leaves can fund the secret war
of the CIA? Will Latin America be
the next secret CIA war as was the case in Vietnam?
And how many of our service people will die there?”
Neri’s allusion to Vietnam was
not without meaning in terms of massive narcotics trafficking by the CIA. Colonel Bo Gritz,  the most decorated Special Forces
officer from the Vietnam era, received a copy of Cutolo’s affidavit.
Some years later he would travel to Burma and meet with warlord Khun Sa
– the leading producer of Heroin in Southeast Asia. What Gritz discovered was fully documented and recorded on
video camera. Gritz’ story will
form part two of this article, along with the associated story of U.S. Prisoners
of War. In this case, the term
“Missing in Action” has far more sinister connotations in the view of many,
who believe that the POWs/MIAs are used a “drug mules” by an unscrupulous
CIA, engaged in its global dope and guns business.
Many of the names you have come across above will be reappear in part
TO US INVOLVEMENT IN DOPE TRAFFICKING
The history of how the US became
involved in narcotics trafficking dates back more than a 150 years.
Prominent families of great wealth – often members of secret societies
such as Yale’s “secretive Order of the Skull and Bones - pounced on the
Opium trade to generate wealth and influence.
One of the founder families of the Skull and Bones were the Russells.
To this day, the Russell Trust is the legal entity of the Order of the
Skull and Bones.
In 1823, Samuel Russell
established “Russell and Company. He
acquired his Opium supplies in Turkey and smuggled it to China aboard fast
Clippers. By 1830, Russell
bought-out the Perkins Opium syndicate of Boston and established the main Opium
smuggling enterprise to Connecticut. His
man in Canton, was Warren Delano Jr., grandfather of Franklin Roosevelt who was
US President during the WW11 years. Other
Russell partners included the Coolidge, Perkins, Sturgis, Forbes and Low
By 1832, Samuel Russell’s
cousin, William Huntington, formed the first US chapter of the Order of the
Skull and Bones. He attracted
membership to the Order from the most powerful and influential American
families. These membership roster read like a Who’s Who of America:
Lord, Whitney, Taft, Jay, Bundy, Harriman, Weyerhauser, Pinchot, Rockerfeller,
Goodyear, Sloane, Simpson, Phelps, Pillsbury, Perkins, Kellogg, Vanderbilt,
Bush, and Lovett – to name some of the more prominent.
Significantly, Skull and Bonesmen have always had a very close and
enduring association with the US intelligence community.
Former US President and Bonesman, George Bush, was a one time Director of
Central Intelligence. Interestingly,
the by-product of Opium, Heroin, was a trade name of the Bayer Company – still
a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry – that launched its highly
addictive product in 1898.
The intelligence connection
unsurprisingly dates back to Yale College, where four Yale graduates formed part
of the “Culper Ring” – one of the first US intelligence operations
established in great secrecy by George Washington to gather vital intelligence
on the British throughout the War of Independence.
By 1903, Yale’s Divinty School had established a number of schools and
hospitals throughout China. Mao
Zedong was a member of the staff. By
the 1930’s such was the clout of Yale’s Chinese connection that US
intelligence called on “Yale in China” to assist them in intelligence
Historically, Heroin and Cocaine were
legally available to purchase but were outlawed by the League of Nations – the
forerunner to the United Nations – and the USA in the 1920’s.
Following prohibition consumption of these drugs began to spiral.
Even so, the wars years 1939-46 saw addiction virtually eradicated in
Europe and North America – a happy state of affairs that would not last long.
THEN ALONG CAME THE
historically under French control was captured by the Japanese during WW11.
At the conclusion of the war, France regained control over Vietnam,
Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. But
independence movements had begun fighting to evict the French.
This ultimately resulted in the Vietnmin orchestrated battle of Dien Bien
Phu which resulted in French defeat and eventual withdrawal from Indochina.
They were to be immediately replaced the United States.
In the interim, the French had
developed a wide-ranging intelligence apparatus throughout the region.
This was financed by Opium. Maurice
Belleux, former head of SDECE, the French equivalent of the CIA, confirmed this
during a remarkably frank interview with historian, Prof Alfred McCoy.
Belleux told McCoy that “French military intelligence had all their
covert operations from the control of the Indochina drug trade.”
This covered the French Colonial war from 1946 through to 1954.
Bellereux revealed how this
worked. French paratroopers
fighting with hill tribes scattered throughout the region, collected raw Opium
and transported it aboard French military aircraft to Saigon.
Here, it was handed over to the Sino-vietnamese Mafia for distribution.
Also heavily engaged in the Opium traffic were Corsican crime syndicates
that shipped the Opium to Marseilles for refining into Heroin.
From here it was distributed to Europe and the United States – becoming
known as “The French Connection.” It
was a case of the underworld working hand in glove with French government –
both of whom benefited financially from the joint arrangement.
The shared profits were channelled through Central bank accounts under
French Military intelligence control. The
SDECE master-spy closed his interview by stating that he believed the CIA “had
taken over all French assets and were pursuing something of the same
The words ‘Vietnam war’ are
something of a misnomer. More
correctly, the US involvement in the entire region should be called the
Southeast Asia war. While the
fighting in Vietnam reached the media on a daily basis, the secret war in
Cambodia, Laos and Thailand remained secret and continued right through the
nineteen eighties. This was the
CIA’s own hot little war, fought with the assistance of local tribesmen and
“off the books,” American soldiers and airmen, who once captured were
abandoned by a chillingly ungrateful and cynical secret government.
The American military strategy
in Vietnam was unique. Although
American military superiority gave them the ability to win the war in
approximately one year, they were expressly forbidden from doing so by US
foreign policy makers. This
doctrine was spelled out in National Security Council Memorandum 68 – which
was the template for the “cold war.” This
was the same policy that forbade Allied victory in Korea, as explained by
Colonel Phillip Corso, former Head of Special Projects Branch/Intelligence
Division/Far East Command, in testimony to Congress in 1996.
Upon returning from Korea, Corso was assigned to the Operations
Coordinating Board of the White House National Security Council, and discovered
the “No Win” policy. He was
appalled by it.
But if winning militarily was
not a US objective, securing control of the regions Opium production most
certainly was. Little time passed
before the CIA had a stranglehold on the Opium trade.
This resulted in a massive increase in Opium production followed by a
surge in Heroin addiction in North America and Western Europe. Paralleling this was a enormous growth in Heroin addicts
amongst US combat troops in Vietnam. Fully
one third of all combat forces were hooked on “China White” – courtesy of
the men from Spooksville, Virginia.
Drug dealing was rampant amongst
South Vietnamese military commanders. One
of the principal figures was General Dang Van Quang – the Military and
Security Assistant to President Nguyen Van Thieu.
Quang developed a network of dope trafficking via Vietnamese Special
Forces operating in Laos.
Laos - a CIA fiefdom - was a
principal Opium producer under the nominal control of General Vang Pao –
leader of the Meo tribesman fighting the CIA’s secret war.
Vang Pao would collect raw Opium grown throughout Northern Laos and
transport it aboard the CIA’s “Air America” helicopters to Long Thien. A massive, sprawling US built complex, Long Thien was known
as “Spook Heaven” by some, or “Alternate 20” by others. It was here that General Pao’s raw Opium was processed into
top grade No 4 China White heroin. At
this point, direct CIA involvement in the “product” ceased.
Meanwhile, the CIA provided Vang Pao with his own airline known to
insiders as “Air Opium,” that would transport it to Saigon, landing at the
giant US military Ton Sohn Nut Air Base. Thereafter
part of the bulk was divvied up among Quang’s network for sale to US
servicemen hooked on the drug. The
rest was shipped to the Corsican syndicate in Marseilles for delivery to Cuba
– a transhipment point controlled by Mafia boss Santos Trafficante - and
thence to the United States. A
regular variation of the delivery route occurred when sealed bags of Heroin were
stitched inside the dead bodies of GI’s returning home for military burial.
Back at home, US policy makers
didn’t give a flying damn about the growing drug problem among US servicemen.
The view of disregard was best stated by Secretary of State, Henry
Kissinger. “Military men are
dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy,” Kissinger told
Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein.
We may also pose a related chain of
thought in this respect. If
military men are “dumb, stupid animals” to be used and abused as “pawns”
for foreign policy, are ordinary tax-paying citizens viewed any differently when
it comes to the wholesale supply of Heroin to America’s inner cities?
An addict population, arguably, more than adequately caters to one of
requirements of NSC 68 – that of establishing “domestic tranquillity.” In
any event, the proceeds from dope sales were laundered through the Nugan Hand
bank in Australia and used to finance the CIA’s secret war throughout the
Following the US backed invasion
of Cambodia in May 1970, another Heroin pipeline was established.
Previously inaccessible regions of Cambodia ideal for Opium cultivation
were immediately brought on-line. The
smuggling pipeline was operated by the Vietnamese Navy who had established bases
at Phonom Penh and throughout the Mekong river. Within a week of the Cambodian incursion, an armada of
Vietnamese and US Navy craft – totalling 140 vessels – under the command of
Captain Nyugen Thaanh Chau crossed into Cambodia.
This was “hailed as a ‘tactical
coup’ and a great ‘military humanitarian fleet,’” the armada immediately
went to work smuggling “vast quantities of Opium and Heroin into South
Said to be the biggest pusher in South
Vietnam, General Quang - following the US withdrawal from Vietnam – quietly
relocated to Montreal, Canada, via the US Army’s military base, Fort Chaffee
in Arkansas. Quang’s entry to
Canada is said to have resulted from quiet but intense pressure from the United
The apparent face-value
dichotomy between the CIA’s international, decades long dope trade and the
Drug Enforcement Agencies (DEA) “war on drugs,” is illusory.
During a radio interview in 1991, historian Alfred McCoy outlined what he
called “… the institutional relationship between the DEA and the CIA.”
Back in the 1930’s the forerunner of the DEA – the Federal Bureau of
Narcotics (FBN) was established to curtail the use and sale of narcotics.
The FBN was the only US agency
that had agents working in covert roles prior to WW11.
With the arrival of WW11, key agents from the FBN were transferred to the
newly established Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – fore-runner of the CIA
– to teach OSS personnel the “clandestine arts.”
This relationship continues to present times, McCoy states.
The result is that where the CIA are running drug operations in various
parts of the world, the DEA officially goes to sleep.
This has led to the realisation
that the DEA is principally tasked with prohibiting the flow of drugs from other
than CIA “approved” sources - and that successive US "war on
drugs" programmes are, de facto, engaged in killing off the competition.
Whether this is purposeful policy or not, the result is clearly the same.
Taken to its logical conclusion, CIA approved and protected traffickers
will increasingly gain greater and greater control over the global dope
business, making the US government the biggest dope peddler in the world.
Meanwhile, some believe this has already occurred and was always part of
the long-term plans drawn up by covert policy planners, as they cast jealous
eyes toward the planets raw materials – of which narcotics is one of the most
MARKETS – ERADICATING COMPETITION
In 1973, President Richard Nixon
declared his “war on drugs.” Heroin
entering the United States was produced by two principal Opium monopolies: those
controlled by the CIA in Southeast Asia, and from Turkey – a close US ally.
Nixon’s “war on drugs” closed the Turkish connection that flowed
through Marseilles under the control of the Corsican crime syndicates.
This created an ever greater demand for Heroin produced in the Golden
Triangle region of Southeast Asia – especially Burma.
Earlier, in 1949, the region
became an armed redoubt for fleeing Chinese nationalist forces – under the
command of Chiang Kai-Shek - following their rout by Mao’s Red Army.
The CIA established a massive support operation that used these former
Chinese forces to collect intelligence inside China, engage in pitched battles
with communist forces and act as a “trip-wire” to a feared communist
invasion of Southeast Asia. To
finance this secret little war, the CIA required the type of black funds that
come from the large scale sale of narcotics.
It was here that the old OSS “China hands” did their duty, by turning
the region into largest single Opium producer of the world, accounting for close
to 1000 tons by 1961.
Today, the Burmese “growing
fields” remain under the watchful control of the CIA backed warlord, Khun Sa. It is here that out story comes full circle.
In Part One we revealed the contents of an affidavit signed by Colonel
Cutolo regarding his direct knowledge and involvement of US military sanctioned
Cocaine trafficking from Bogata, Columbia to Panama.
The senior US Special Forces commanding officer of the entire region at
that time was Colonel Bo Gritz. Gritz
was one of those who quietly involved himself in the investigation of Cutolo’s
death and those of other officers.
In 1978, Gritz, a long time
campaigner for US Missing in Action/Prisoners of War (MIA/POWs) from the Vietnam
era, was informed by Ross Perot that three American POWs were now held by Khun
Sa and that the warlord had agreed to hand them over.
Perot made arrangements to gain access to Khun Sa's headquarters in the
remote hills of Shanland, via high level contacts in the Chinese government.
Gritz knowing he could get in and out a lot faster by utilising his
network of contacts in the region, set off with a few hand-picked ex Special
It took Gritz and his team three
days to negotiate their way through the wild and remote territory of Shanland.
Eventually meeting with a bewildered Khun Sa, Gritz was told that there
had never been any US POW's. However,
during their conversation, Gritz asked why Khun Sa was so heavily involved in
Opium, pointing out how many problems this caused for America.
The reply was astonishing. Khun
Sa stated that his entire Opium supply - 900 tons
for 1989 - was bought by the US government. The warlord then stated he wanted to change production as he
hated Opium, and if Gritz could get the US to provide just one tenth of what it
spent in the war on drugs in the region, he would shift production to other
Gritz took this suggestion back to the
US government and was amazed to learn that the offer was spurned. The former Green Beret Colonel also discovered that he would
become a target of US dirty tricks if he didn't back away from the Opium
subject. Ignoring these threats,
Gritz travelled back to Burma for a second meeting with Khun Sa, five months
later. This time he took a video
recorder and asked Khun Sa to name the names of those responsible on camera.
Khun Sa instructed his secretary
to read the names from his diary, but stipulated that the names he was going to
reveal were old ones and not those he was presently doing business with.
The US government officer responsible for buying the Opium crop was
Richard Armitage - a high level and well known administration official.
Armitage was working, the secretary read, with an individual named Santos
Trafficante, who operated as Armitage's "traffic manager." Gritz was well aware of who Trafficante was - the legendary
Florida "Boss" of the Mafia.
During a 1991 lecture, Gritz
pointed out the economics of Khun Sa's Heroin pipeline on the US government.
The warlord was paid $300,000 per ton from the US government, but the
product sold on the street for $1 million per pound.
"No one wants him out of business," Gritz observed wryly.
Once more returning to America,
Gritz attempted to get someone in the administration - including Vice President
George Bush - to take note of his information.
His approaches were forcefully spurned.
As a gesture of goodwill to the US government, Khun Sa wrote a letter to
President Bush offering him free and gratis one ton of No 4 pure Asian heroin.
This was the warlords way of offering an incentive with the US to reach
an agreement aimed at converting production from Opium to another crop.
Bush didn't respond to the letter.
Disgusted, Gritz began actively
campaigning to alert Americans just what their government were doing in their
name. This eventually resulted in
Gritz being arraigned on criminal charges for using a false passport during his
visit to Burma. Pleading guilty to
the charge, but pointing out that this was standard procedure in the world of
"black operations," the jury found him innocent.
Since that time Gritz has become an outspoken critic of successive
governments - and their duplicitous, secret policies - and as a consequence has
suffered at the hands of a wretchedly biased media.
Despite this, Gritz central
story was not abandoned. Others had
taken up the call from behind the scenes. Quiet
investigations into the hidden activities of Richard Armitage, began in earnest.
An immensely powerful "insider," Armitage had arranged for
Colonel Dave Brown to been placed next to the president, as a military liaison,
on a daily basis. The purpose of
this move was in the words of one individual familiar with these events to
"subtly influence his thinking daily."
Moreover, "other actions of this type had been instituted in key
departments and agencies."
With the president effectively
muzzled, Armitage and his small coterie of Washington movers and shakers
believed they were untouchable. To
a large extent they were. Already
the Assistant Secretary of Defence, Armitage was nominated, in February 1989, by
a grateful President Bush to become Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern
Affairs. This move was blocked and
Armitage was, instead, nominated for the post of Secretary of the Army.
Behind the scenes, a virtual war
was in progress as the department of Justice and the FBI fought to indict
Armitage for his narcotics and other criminal activities.
These measures were powerfully resisted by Attorney General Thornburg, a
political appointee of President Bush. Significantly,
however, Armitage was also under scrutiny by Federal Investigators working for
the President's Commission on Organised Crime, with a focus on foreign organised
criminal activity in gambling and drug trafficking.
This resulted from Armitage's
close association with a Vietnamese female, Ngdyet Tui (Nanette) O'Rourke. The latter was at the centre of an extremely large scale
gambling ring operated by US based Vietnamese.
O'Rourke was awarded US citizenship, according to one source, under
"highly suspect circumstances." She
was also suspected of being a prostitute. As investigators developed their case, they came to believe
that Armitage's association with O'Rourke dated back to his service in Vietnam,
when he is thought to have operated a shady bar with her in Saigon.
There were also suspicions that O'Rourke operated as Armitage's
Another source who was involved
in these investigations noted that " nearly every Vietnamese woman involved
in major gambling operations on the East Coast [of America] is married to an
American who is either CIA or has connections to the agency," - including
O'Rourke's husband. Meanwhile, yet
another investigator who believed Armitage was "dirty" was frustrated
in his investigations by Frank Carlucci, the Secretary of Defence, and other
powerful patrons. In 1975 during
Armitage's CIA tour in Vietnam, Carlucci was the no2 man in the CIA.
Because of the numerous high
level obstructions, investigations into Armitage's criminal activities were
curtailed, but not before some damaging information had been gathered. Not least of this was Armitage's special relationship with
O'Rourke. Investigators discovered
a photo, believed to have been taken professionally, showing a naked O'Rourke
posing in her bedroom with a partly undressed Armitage.
This, and other factors, led investigators and, in fact, some very
influential political insiders, to conclude that O'Rourke was really working for
North Vietnamese intelligence, and that the photo had been used to blackmail
Armitage into becoming a spy.
Such was the strength of the
information developed on Armitage that he was forced to abandon his nomination
for Secretary of the Army, and, in fact, all other official US government posts. Subsequently, Defence officials stated privately that
Armitage will never again be permitted to darken the doors of the Department of
Defence. Known as "Mr
Phu" (literally meaning "Mr. Rich") amongst the Vietnamese
community, Armitage, despite his disgrace was still able to count on the
enormous power of his political patrons and avoided criminal prosecution. Knowing far too much about US government "dirt"
during the previous three decades provided him with an instant "do not go
to jail" card.
By 1992, the Opium crop from
Khun Sa's region of the Golden Triangle had reached a staggering 300,000 tons.
Whereas this had always been difficult to convey due to mountainous
terrain, a high speed tarmac road had been built allowing trucks to move the
drug at high speed to government run airports in Thailand.
From here, refined Heroin is flown direct to the US and other western
If Frank Carlucci - formerly No
2 in the CIA hierarchy - was one of Armitage's principal "protectors"
during his "difficult" years, we can also legitimately ask who else
might have been protecting the disgraced one time CIA officer. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, George Bush reigned as the CIA's No
1 honcho, following his appointment by President Gerald Ford as Director of
Central Intelligence. This might
make for a small world, but clearly a very dirty one, too.
In the final analysis, the CIA's
ongoing activities on behalf of a small clique of powerful individuals clearly
does amount to a secret government that uses democratic structures as a little
more than a useful facade to hide behind. Drugs,
a phenomenally profitably product have financed much of the secret governments
secret activities. Weapons, too,
are another useful and highly profitable tool extracted from the public purse.
The over-riding yet covert policy, apparently, is to continually create
nasty wars overseas and at the same time, keep the folks back home drugged up to
their eyeballs. Or rather, those
sections of society that are viewed as a bothersome adjunct to the self elected
elite masters who rule from the shadows.
The kicker to the whole story,
is not just that it's done in your name and the name of freedom and democracy -
captivating slogans that mean less than nothing to those who utter them - but
it's your money, your tax dollars, that continues to finance the entire scam. Maybe one reason why the slang term for drugs is dope?
Drugs and the media – the unmentionable secret.
When Gary Webb, an enterprising
and courageous investigative reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, published
his story in 1996, powerful shock-waves rumbled east across America for the best
part of a year. Webb had earlier
spent a year peeling away the nasty secret of crack cocaine, and how it came to
prominence in Los Angeles.
The three part article was
titled “The Dark Alliance,” and named names – especially those who were
formerly senior figures in the CIA backed Contra movement.
Webb expected and received the whole-hearted support of his editor and
fellow Mercury News reporters. The
newspaper even dedicated a web-site to the series of article and published
electronic copies of important corroborating documents.
Meanwhile, the shock waves reached Washington. Unstoppable, they flowed onwards to Langley, Virginia.
In time, an even more disturbing
counter shock wave rolled back westwards, from Washington DC picking up impetus
from Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA. Gary
Webb had uttered the unutterable. He
had spoken a simple truth. A truth,
moreover, that was already well known to a great many journalists, politicians,
academics, military officers, intelligence personnel and other insiders for
decades past. The truth spoken was
that the Central Intelligence Agency had engaged in the wholesale distribution
of illegal narcotics.
Within a year, Webb’s
colleagues in the Mercury News reversed their earlier support and began to
denounce him. Such was the power of
the signal returning-back from the East Coast, that many of the Mercury News
other journalists began to fear that their career advancement – especially to
the more prestigious news corporations of America – may be ruined.
It was a classic case of guilt by association.
Worse still, Webb’s previously stalwart editor also denounced him and
published an editorial in the Mercury News, saying the quality of Webb’s
corroboration of the Dark Alliance series was poor.
The clear message was that the truth that was spoken had, in fact, not
been spoken. Orwell called this
For daring to speak the truth,
Webb was punished by being re-assigned to a small town, backwater office of
Mercury News – far away from the limelight of head office.
Webb kept his job, or, at least, a kind of living death voodoo concoction
of a job. No one can blame Webb for
accepting the posting. He has a
family to feed and under the circumstances, his chances of securing another job
elsewhere in the media were surely limited.
The editor clearly also kept his job, but we can and must blame him for
rendering journalistic integrity to Ceaser.
Some of Webb’s erstwhile colleagues have meanwhile, no doubt moved on
to higher and better positions in those all too desirable national news
corporations. Here they may write
copy all day, on any subject they choose, so long as it is not one of the
unmentionable subjects. Without an
independent and courageous Fourth Estate, there is no protection against the
subtle and consistent campaign to destroy democracy in all but name.
When Webb first set out on his
life-changing investigation, he was blissfully unaware of the enormous threat he
would soon pose to the national security and political establishments of the
United States. His story threatened
to reveal a sinister policy that dated back to WW11: the covert US control of
the global narcotics industry spanning four decades.
This was just one of a great many unpalatable secrets that must not be
told. There are many others.
 The moral to Webb’s story is
don’t expect the major media to inform you of what is really going on in the
world. They won’t.
To paraphrase Walter Mattheu’s one-liner uttered to perfection in the
movie JFK: “These dogs don’t hunt.”
Least-ways not anymore. The
old media “blood-hound” is, today, curled up on a rug in front of the
salary fire. His muscles have
wasted, his belly is full and his nose has forgotten how to twitch – and his
arm twitching dreams are of earlier days
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