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[From the 'Political Graveyard,' which also has links to details on each of the cases as well as others going back to World War I]

Rep. Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr. (1914-1972) Democrat. Disappeared while on a campaign flight from Anchorage to Juneau, Alaska, October 16, 1972, and presumed dead in a plane crash; no bodies were found.

Rep. Nicholas Joseph Begich (1932-1972) of Anchorage, Alaska. Democrat. Disappeared while on a campaign flight from Anchorage to Juneau, Alaska, October 16, 1972, and presumed dead in a plane crash; no bodies were found.

Rep. George Washington Collins (1925-1972) Democrat. Husband of Cardiss Collins. Died in an airplane crash during landing approach at Midway Airport, Chicago, Cook County, Ill., December 8, 1972.

Rep. Jerry Lyle Pettis (1916-1975) Republican. Died in a plane crash near Banning, Riverside County, Calif., February 14, 1975.

Rep. Jerry Lon Litton (1937-1976) Democrat. While running for U.S. Senator, died in the crash of a private plane, shortly after takeoff from the Municipal Airport Chillicothe, Livingston County, Mo., August 3, 1976.

Rep. Ralph Frederick Beermann (1912-1977) of Dakota City, Dakota County, Neb. Republican. Died in an airplane crash at the Municipal Airport in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa, February 17, 1977.

Senatorial candidate Richard D. Obenshain (1936-1978) of Richmond, Va. Candidate for U.S. Senator from Virginia 1978, but died before election. Killed in a plane crash in August 1978.

Rep. Lawrence Patton McDonald (1935-1983) Democrat. Killed when Korean Airlines jet on which he was a passenger was shot down by the Soviet military, At Sea over the Sea of Japan on September 1, 1983; his remains were never recovered.

Jim Waltermire (1949-1988) Secretary of state of Montana, 1980-88. While returning from a campaign appearance, was killed in a plane crash near Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Mont., April 8, 1988.

Ambassador Arnold Lewis Raphel (1943-1988) U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, 1987-88; died in office 1988. Killed when a plane in which he was a passenger was blown up in midair by terrorists, near Bahawalpur, Pakistan, August 17, 1988.

Rep. George Thomas Leland (1944-1989) -- also known as Mickey Leland -- of Houston, Harris County, Tex. Democrat. Died in an airplane crash near Gambela, Ethiopia, August 7, 1989.

Rep. Larkin I. Smith (1944-1989) Husband of Sheila Smith. U.S. Representative from Mississippi 5th District, 1989. Died in an airplane crash, August 13, 1989. Interment at Floral Hills Cemetery, Gulfport, Miss.

Senator Henry John Heinz III (1938-1991) Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pa. His widow later married John Forbes Kerry. Republican. U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, 1977-91; died in office 1991. Died in the crash of a small plane at Merion, Montgomery County, Pa., April 4, 1991.

John Goodwin Tower (1925-1991) of Wichita Falls, Wichita County, Tex.; Dallas, Dallas County, Tex. Republican. Nominated for Secretary of Defense in 1989, but defeated amid allegations of heavy drinking and womanizing. Killed in a plane crash near Brunswick, Glynn County, Ga., April 5, 1991.

Gov. George Speaker Mickelson (1941-1993) Son of George Theodore Mickelson. Born January 31, 1941. Republican. Governor of South Dakota, 1987-93. Died in a plane crash, April 19, 1993.

Sec. Ronald Harmon Brown (1941-1996). U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Democrat. Killed in a plane crash, during a storm, in Croatia, April 3, 1996.

State Rep. Cecil Franklin Weeding (1934-1998) Born in Miles City, Custer County, Mont. Killed in a plane crash near Lodge Pole, Blaine County, Mont., April 6, 1998.

Former State Rep. Grover C. Robinson III (c.1944-2000) of Pensacola, Escambia County, Fla. Member of Florida state house of representatives, 1972-84. Died in a helicopter crash at Lake Manapouri, New Zealand, March 28, 2000

Former State Sen. Thomas Allgood, Sr. (c.1929-2000) Born in Augusta, Richmond County, Ga. Lawyer; member of Georgia state senate, 1977-91. Killed in the crash of a single-engine airplane, during takeoff from Daniel Field, Augusta, Richmond County, Ga., August 4, 2000.

Former state rep. Charles B. Yates (c.1939-2000) of Edgewater Park, Burlington County, N.J. Democrat. Member of New Jersey state senate, 1978-82. Killed, along with his family, in the crash of a small plane he was piloting, near Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes County, Mass., October 6, 2000.

Gov. Melvin Eugene Carnahan (1934-2000) -- also known as Mel Carnahan -- of Rolla, Phelps County, Mo. Democrat. Died, in a plane crash while running for U.S. Senator, October 16, 2000. Interment at Carson Hill Cemetery, Near Ellsinore, Carter County, Mo.

Jasper Baxter (c.1956-2001) of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pa. Democrat. Twice a candidate for Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Was conducting a seminar on the 93rd floor of 2 World Trade Center, when an airliner hijacked by terrorists was deliberately crashed into the building, causing an explosion, fire, and collapse of the structure, killing thousands, in New York, New York County, N.Y., September 11, 2001




[In Florida, unlike the case of TWA 800, a witness who saw what appeared to be a missile shooting down a plane is put on the stand by the government, rather than being dismissed as deluded]

SUN SENTINEL: At first, it looked like a flare in the sky on a clear afternoon in the Florida Straits. It was only after a second plane exploded in a ball of fire that a cruise ship officer realized he was witnessing a missile attack by a Cuban MiG back in 1996. Bjorn Johansen testified at the trial of five reputed Cuban spies, recounting his view of the deadly shooting of two planes flown by a Miami-based Cuban exile group. Gerardo Hernandez, accused leader of the Wasp Network spy ring, faces a possible life prison term if convicted of sending crucial information to Cuba about the operation of the group Brothers to the Rescue before the shoot down, which killed all four fliers in the group's two planes. "Basically, I saw something I thought looked like a flare, and I saw some relatively big pieces fall from the sky," Johansen, the first officer of the cruise ship The Majesty of the Seas, said of the first plane. The Majesty of the Seas was six to seven miles from a fishing boat in the midst of falling debris from the first plane, Johansen testified. He heard nothing, but the falling wreckage convinced him he wasn't seeing a flare. Six minutes later, he saw a small plane, a jet fighter, a missile, an explosion, more falling material and a 30-second fire on the water. SUN SENTINEL

MAY 2000

SUNDAY HERALD, SCOTLAND: A FORMER CIA agent who claims Libya is not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing is being gagged by the US government under state secrecy laws and faces 10 years in prison if he reveals any information about the terrorist attack. United Nations diplomats are outraged that the US government is apparently suppressing a potential key trial witness. Diplomats are now demanding that the CIA agent, Dr. Richard Fuisz, be released from the gagging order. Fuisz, a multi-millionaire businessman and pharmaceutical researcher, was, according to US intelligence sources, the CIA's key operative in the Syrian capital Damascus during the 1980s where he also had business interests. One month before a court order was served on him by the US government gagging him from speaking on the grounds of national security, he spoke to US congressional aide Susan Lindauer, telling her he knew the identities of the Lockerbie bombers and claiming they were not Libyan. Lindauer, shocked by Fuisz's claims, immediately compiled notes on the meeting which formed the basis of a later sworn affidavit detailing Fuisz's claims. One month after their conversation, in October 1994, a court in Washington DC issued an order barring him from revealing any information on the grounds of "military and state secrets privilege".

When contacted by the Sunday Herald ht, Fuisz said when asked if he was a CIA agent in Syria in the 1980s: "That is not an issue I can confirm or deny. I am not allowed to speak about these issues. In fact, I can't even explain to you why I can't speak about these issues."

. . . Fuisz's statements to Lindauer support the claims of the two Libyan accused who are to incriminate a number of terrorist organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which had strong links to Syria and Iran.

SUNDAY HERALD, SCOTLAND: THE two Libyans accused of downing Pan Am 103 could not have planted the bomb, according to a devastating scientific report submitted by one of the Crown's star witnesses. The report threw the prosecution case into disarray and forced the adjournment of the Lockerbie trial on Thursday for 12 days. The report concludes that the Semtex bomb was attached to the inside of the aircraft in the cargo hold and was not concealed, as the prosecution case alleges, within a cassette player packed into a suitcase which was stored within a luggage container in the cargo hold . . . Senior Crown Office sources have admitted to the Sunday Herald that the report submitted to the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, just days before the trial started provided such startling new evidence that the prosecution had no alternative but to seek an adjournment to consider the future of the trial. In a stunning own goal for the prosecution, Edwin Bollier, who is listed as prosecution witness number 548, delivered a detailed analysis of the explosion to the Lord Advocate, claiming the Crown's version of the bombing was scientifically impossible.

APRIL 2000

Pan Am 103

SUNDAY HERALD, SCOTLAND: The Pan Am baggage handler who was in charge of loading luggage onto Flight 103 has admitted for the first time that he knew US intelligence agencies used the airline to smuggle drugs and that their covert operation could have been penetrated by terrorists who planted the bomb on board Flight 103.

The claims made on the eve of the Lockerbie trial by Roland O'Neill, from Frankfurt, could throw allegations that Libya was behind the bombing into complete disarray . . . O'Neill's admissions back up long held suspicions that Palestinian terrorists operating in Germany were behind the bombing. The extremists, it is claimed, penetrated the US drugs operation and swapped a bag containing drugs on the flight bound for America for a bag carrying Semtex.

On the eve of the Lockerbie trial, O'Neill invited the Sunday Herald yesterday to his Frankfurt home because he wanted to explain how he has been tormented for the last 12 years by the fear that he could have unwittingly placed the explosives on board the aircraft. O'Neill was told for the first time yesterday by the Sunday Herald that he had failed four key questions during a lie detector test investigating his role in the Lockerbie bombing. The result of the test pointed towards O'Neill being the man who ordered that the bomb be placed on the plane.

O'Neill insisted that he did not lie in the polygraph but he did admit that he knew the Drug Enforcement Agency - an arm of US intelligence - was using Frankfurt as a route to smuggle heroin into America as part of a secret plan to finance the freeing of US hostages in Beirut.





MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL: The former Memphis cafe owner who claimed to have hired the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has died in Union City, Tenn. Loyd Jowers, 73, who was found liable along with other "unknown conspirators'' in King's 1968 assassination by a Shelby County Circuit Court jury last December, died at the Baptist Memorial Hospital Saturday after lapsing into a coma . . . Jowers ran the bar and grill near the Lorraine Motel and said he hired King's assassin - but not James Earl Ray - at the request of a local produce dealer with ties to a New Orleans Mafia don. Jowers refused to say more without a grant of immunity from prosecutors.

Jowers's version of events figured prominently in Ray's lawyer William Pepper's book Orders to Kill, which set forth a massive conspiracy involving the FBI, local police, military intelligence and organized crime. That account caught the attention of the King family who were persuaded that it was true. King's younger son, Dexter, subsequently visited Ray in prison, embraced him and announced that he and his family believed Ray was innocent.

. . . A month before Ray pleaded guilty in early 1969, after being held for weeks in a specially prepared jail cell, a waitress from Jim's Grill stepped forward with information that Jowers as involved in the murder and had found a gun behind the cafe. The waitress later told authorities she'd been paid to make up the story. In December 1993, Jowers told ABC news reporter Sam Donaldson in a nationally televised interview that he received $100,000 from the late Frank C. Liberto, a Memphis produce merchant, to arrange King's murder. The FBI had investigated and discounted in 1968 a tip involving Liberto.

A congressional committee re-examining King's murder a decade later found that Ray shot King and that there was nothing to allegations involving Liberto. It said that while the FBI had clearly violated his rights, neither it nor any other government agency was involved in the murder.


AUG 2000

AIRWISE NEWS: The head of the Egyptian pilots' federation yesterday accused US investigators of withholding key evidence in the crash of Egyptair Flight 990 off the US coast last October, according to Reuters. Walid Murad called for the release of radar images and the evidence of two pilots who said they saw missiles in the area where the plane went down, killing all 217 people on board.

He told reporters that US investigators said they were denying access to the radar images because they contained military secrets. "This is a weak excuse," he said . . . Egyptair flight 990, headed for Cairo from New York, suddenly plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on October 31. Information from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders led to assertions by some US investigators that relief co-pilot Gamil al-Batouti deliberately caused the crash. Egyptian officials have rejected that line of inquiry and worked on a theory that the plane's elevator panels on the tail, which control whether the nose points up or down, may have jammed. Murad said the Egyptian pilot's federation demanded the recovery of the remaining parts of the aircraft and the completion of an investigation to determine whether there were technical problems in the tail section.


REUTERS: The chief pilot of EgyptAir believes a bomb or missile downed the national carrier's Flight 990 by blasting off the aircraft's tail. Tarek Selim rejected theories that a suicidal pilot or mechanical glitch caused last month's crash off the U.S. East Coast. "There are two possibilities that would cause the tail unit to split off. Either a bomb was attached to the tail or it was hit by a missile," Selim told the state-owned Al-Ahram English-language weekly before heading off to New York to join Egyptian crash experts.

"I flew the Boeing 767, which is one of the best aircraft, for 12 years without any major problems," he said. "Any problem, and I mean any problem, apart from an explosion, can be handled and the plane will remain under control . . . In case of a serious emergency, all the pilot has to do is say 'Mayday' and the distress call will be heard by all airports ... but they did not have the chance to utter this word."


FOX NEWS: The expression apparently uttered by [EgyptAir's] relief pilot was, "Tawakilt ala Allah," which is a common phrase that can mean, "I put my faith in God," or "I entrust myself to God." In the Arab world, the phrase is used often, especially at the start of a journey or a task. It can be used by someone about to begin something as simple as cooking a meal. Intelligence officials said that the phrase has no known connection to any political or terrorist groups.

In the Egyptian scenario, the co-pilot's comment could have been a worried response to some as-yet undetermined mechanical breakdown that a few seconds later caused him to disengage the autopilot. The Egyptians said that the pilot's urgent words to his co-pilot, "What's going on?" could have referred to his concern over the same undetermined problem.

Ethnic Forensics

FROM KARI ANN: The entire text in English translation of the Egyptian pilot's words were broadcast on one of the network news programs last evening. The words of the pilot, May Allah protect and comfort him, are the words of witness to the faith of Islam, the Shahadah, which converts take when they become Muslims. "I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." I know, because I took this oath in June 1997, and I love and respect Islam.

As for suicide, it is strictly forbidden by Islam, as it is also by Roman Catholicism. However, clinical depression can rear its head in any unfortunate person's mind. But the gentleman in question was apparently a very intelligent, sensitive man who took his daughter from Egypt to America for health treatments, and was almost certainly conscientious enough to take care of himself.

[Says Ibrahim Hooper, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, "The mere utterance of this kind of phrase would in no way indicates criminal behavior or criminal intent . . . If the inference was by a Christian pilot who said, 'God help me,' we wouldn't even have this conversation."]



Bookshelf: The Oklahoma City bombing revisited




DEMOCRACY NOW - A Salt Lake City lawyer searching for the truth behind his brother's death has uncovered a wealth of new information that could implicate the FBI in the Oklahoma City bombings. The documents he dug up suggest the FBI knew about the plot to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in advance but did little to prevent it. Jesse Trentadue's brother Kenney Trentadue was found dead in his prison cell in Oklahoma City in August 1995. The FBI calls it a suicide, but Jesse maintains Kenney was beaten to death during an interrogation. Jesse believes the FBI mistook his brother for the missing second suspect in the Oklahoma City bombings - the so-called "John Doe #2." His research also suggests that the bombing was not the work of one or two men, but involved a wider network connected to the far-right white supremacist movement.

Released: August 01, 2007

JAMES RIDGEWAY, MOTHER JONES - Jesse believes that McVeigh's contact was [Andreas] Strassmeir, a fixture in many Oklahoma City theories. There has been much speculation, aired most recently on the BBC show Conspiracy Files this year, that Strassmeir had ties to U.S. and German intelligence and might (along with his government contacts) have had advance knowledge of the plot. In February 2007, Jesse filed a declaration in court signed by Nichols stating, "McVeigh said that Strassmeir would provide a 'safe house' if necessary. McVeigh...said that Strassmeir was 'head of security at some backwoods place in Oklahoma.'" Strassmeir left the country in early 1996; he was later questioned on the phone by the FBI.

Kirk Lyons, Strassmeir's U.S. attorney, who has defended a number of far-right figures over the years, says the reality is far simpler; Strassmeir came to the United States to take part in Civil War reenactments, liked it here, and, hoping to find a bride, ended up at Elohim City. Lyons insists that Strassmeir was never a spy, except in the minds of conspiracy theorists. ("These silly right-wingers think I am Mossad," he says. "I've given up arguing with these nutsy cuckoos.")

Reached at his home in Berlin, Strassmeir told me that he met McVeigh once, at a gun show in 1993, but that they never spoke again. He said he had no intelligence affiliations and had no clues to the Oklahoma City attack before it happened; but there were definitely informants at Elohim City, he added, and sometimes surveillance planes flew overhead - probably, he thought, to check out the marijuana fields that "some of the rednecks" had planted. . .

The oklahoma City bombing prefigured 9/11 in many ways. There were the missed clues; the federal informant who actually had contact with the conspirators; the turf-conscious agencies failing to share and act on vital information; and in general, a domestic-intelligence program incapable of translating surveillance into action. Just as they would misunderstand the nature of Al Qaeda, the FBI and other agencies never viewed the far right as a political movement with the strategic and tactical ability to deliver a major attack. Intelligence on these groups suffered from the broader inadequacies of domestic intelligence, especially in the use of untested freelance informants recruited under threat of prosecution. But with federal police forces and the Justice Department responsible for policing themselves, and the details of their work often shrouded in secrecy, the system remained unaccountable. The bombing "grew out of a definable social movement the authorities didn't understand," says Leonard Zeskind, a researcher who has tracked the far right for more than 30 years. "It went unsolved because of the character and gross mismanagement of the investigation. It was an outrageous crime, and the size of the crime magnifies the level of incompetence.". . .


MCCURTAIN DAILY GAZETTE- (Editor's note: David Paul Hammer, an inmate on federal death row, provided a manuscript to this newspaper several months ago with the agreement we would not publish excerpts from it without his permission. Last week Hammer authorized us to release details of his manuscript, saying he expects a book to be published soon and his death sentence to be carried out next year at Terre Haute, Ind.)

J.D. CASH - A death row inmate who had extensive contacts with convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh over a 23-month period has completed a manuscript that includes details of many heretofore unpublished secrets he claims McVeigh passed to him before his death by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.. . . Hammer's manuscript is completely at odds with the official version of events the FBI has put forward to explain the Oklahoma City bombing. It is also much different from the version McVeigh provided two reporters from his hometown newspaper who later wrote the book American Terrorist. In that book, McVeigh took credit for much of the crime. The manuscript provided this newspaper details a wide array of conspirators who formed a cell of revolutionaries that McVeigh told Hammer helped build and deliver the truck bomb that killed 168 men, women and children in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. . .
Hammer told this newspaper that McVeigh hoped until the very end that members of the far-right would somehow "bust" him out of the penitentiary. In the fresh account that Hammer provides, McVeigh says the men who assisted him in the bombing were persons with close connections to Elohim City - a Christian Identity enclave in eastern Oklahoma near Muldrow. In a chapter titled, Blood Makes the Grass Grow, Hammer writes: "On October 12th 1993, McVeigh and Terry Nichols drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Elohim City. They were met there by (Andreas) Strassmeir, who Tim called 'Andy', or 'Andy the Krout.'

"Strassmeir, who not only ran security for the Reverend Millar but (was) also the community's firearms and paramilitary instructor, escorted Tim on a tour of the compound. A short time later, a meeting was convened to discuss a "direct action against the federal government." Those in attendance included McVeigh, Nichols, Strassmeir, Richard Guthrie and Pete Langan.

McVeigh and Strassmeir emerged as leaders at this meeting, where vague ideas of retaliation were discussed. McVeigh's goal was simple, to plant a seed. A mission would be developed, but for now it was left at ... "we need to raise money; select a suitable target ... plan and act.". . .

While Hammer's detailed manuscript contains considerable attention to dates and locations he says McVeigh provided him, it also includes references to three men that the inmate says McVeigh told him were central to the conspiracy - men with close ties to the U.S. military. Unfortunately, McVeigh, Hammer writes, went to his death claiming he did not know the true identities of these men - only their code names. The role these men played, according to McVeigh's account, was the strangest and most difficult part of the tale to establish with independent evidence.

One of these men, McVeigh claims, contacted him shortly after his discharge from the army. Referring to him only "the major," McVeigh said he was invited to work with the shadowy figure during a meeting the two had at Camp McCall. Camp McCall is located on the grounds of Fort Bragg, N.C.

At this meeting, McVeigh - who was still smoldering after being passed over for a spot in the elite Army Special Forces - was told of an off-budget defense department project the Major wanted to invite him to join. The Major said McVeigh would be involved in gathering intelligence for the government on members of the radical rightwing in the U.S., specifically members of the KKK and Aryan Nations.

Hammer wrote that McVeigh told him he was aware of the far-right's methods of robbing banks and armored cars for the so-called "cause" - the shorthand description of the white power agenda some in the most violent wing of the movement adhered to. It was these tactics, McVeigh said, that he was also encouraged to use. Within a matter of months of the '93 Elohim City meeting, Guthrie, Langan and McVeigh were robbing banks and gathering explosives and a vast arsenal of weapons.


MCCURTAIN DAILY GAZETTE- (Editor's note: David Paul Hammer, an inmate on federal death row, provided a manuscript to this newspaper several months ago with the agreement we would not publish excerpts from it without his permission. Last week Hammer authorized us to release details of his manuscript, saying he expects a book to be published soon and his death sentence to be carried out next year at Terre Haute, Ind.)

J.D. CASH - A death row inmate who had extensive contacts with convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh over a 23-month period has completed a manuscript that includes details of many heretofore unpublished secrets he claims McVeigh passed to him before his death by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.. . . Hammer's manuscript is completely at odds with the official version of events the FBI has put forward to explain the Oklahoma City bombing. It is also much different from the version McVeigh provided two reporters from his hometown newspaper who later wrote the book American Terrorist. In that book, McVeigh took credit for much of the crime. The manuscript provided this newspaper details a wide array of conspirators who formed a cell of revolutionaries that McVeigh told Hammer helped build and deliver the truck bomb that killed 168 men, women and children in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. . .
Hammer told this newspaper that McVeigh hoped until the very end that members of the far-right would somehow "bust" him out of the penitentiary. In the fresh account that Hammer provides, McVeigh says the men who assisted him in the bombing were persons with close connections to Elohim City - a Christian Identity enclave in eastern Oklahoma near Muldrow. In a chapter titled, Blood Makes the Grass Grow, Hammer writes: "On October 12th 1993, McVeigh and Terry Nichols drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Elohim City. They were met there by (Andreas) Strassmeir, who Tim called 'Andy', or 'Andy the Krout.'

"Strassmeir, who not only ran security for the Reverend Millar but (was) also the community's firearms and paramilitary instructor, escorted Tim on a tour of the compound. A short time later, a meeting was convened to discuss a "direct action against the federal government." Those in attendance included McVeigh, Nichols, Strassmeir, Richard Guthrie and Pete Langan.

McVeigh and Strassmeir emerged as leaders at this meeting, where vague ideas of retaliation were discussed. McVeigh's goal was simple, to plant a seed. A mission would be developed, but for now it was left at ... "we need to raise money; select a suitable target ... plan and act.". . .

While Hammer's detailed manuscript contains considerable attention to dates and locations he says McVeigh provided him, it also includes references to three men that the inmate says McVeigh told him were central to the conspiracy - men with close ties to the U.S. military. Unfortunately, McVeigh, Hammer writes, went to his death claiming he did not know the true identities of these men - only their code names. The role these men played, according to McVeigh's account, was the strangest and most difficult part of the tale to establish with independent evidence.

One of these men, McVeigh claims, contacted him shortly after his discharge from the army. Referring to him only "the major," McVeigh said he was invited to work with the shadowy figure during a meeting the two had at Camp McCall. Camp McCall is located on the grounds of Fort Bragg, N.C.

At this meeting, McVeigh - who was still smoldering after being passed over for a spot in the elite Army Special Forces - was told of an off-budget defense department project the Major wanted to invite him to join. The Major said McVeigh would be involved in gathering intelligence for the government on members of the radical rightwing in the U.S., specifically members of the KKK and Aryan Nations.

Hammer wrote that McVeigh told him he was aware of the far-right's methods of robbing banks and armored cars for the so-called "cause" - the shorthand description of the white power agenda some in the most violent wing of the movement adhered to. It was these tactics, McVeigh said, that he was also encouraged to use. Within a matter of months of the '93 Elohim City meeting, Guthrie, Langan and McVeigh were robbing banks and gathering explosives and a vast arsenal of weapons.




J.D. CASH, MCCURTAIN DAILY GAZETTE - A hotel record obtained by the McCurtain Daily Gazette indicates the director of the FBI's Terrorist Task Force and founding commander of the Hostage Rescue Team, Danny Coulson, checked into a hotel in Oklahoma City - hours before terrorists struck the Murrah building on April 19, 1995. Additional evidence obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request notes the FBI sleuth was in Oklahoma City as part of a secret project set up by former Attorney General Janet Reno. Known only to a handful of agents in the Criminal Division of the FBI, Reno had months earlier ordered the FBI to form a special task force to gather intelligence on suspected terrorists operating inside a myriad of America's so-called right-wing religious and militia groups . . . Since the bombing, officials at the Department of Justice have repeatedly assured victims that the FBI had no advance knowledge of any plot to bomb the Murrah federal building. Thus, evidence of the pre-bombing arrival of the FBI's Terrorism Task Force - ahead of the terrorists - would be a monumental disaster for an agency whipsawed by scandals last year after the discovery of thousands of pages of eyewitness statements that had not been released to bomber Timothy McVeigh's attorneys in the same case . . . The Embassy Hotel receipt - submitted by the FBI's "top gun" in the agency's long running war against terrorists - belies statements recorded in his book, No Heroes: Inside the FBI's Secret Counter-Terror Force, co-authored with Time Magazine's Elaine Shannon. Published in May of 1999, Coulson wrote that he was in Fort Worth the morning of the 19th, when the bombing occurred in Oklahoma City. He said he and his wife were down in the Lone Star state, house-hunting and staying with friends . . . On the 19th, Coulson noted on his travel records that his investigation in Oklahoma City was related to "MC-111." Several days later, Coulson's voucher indicated his assignment in Oklahoma was "MC-117" - the official FBI case number assigned to the bombing of the federal building. The Gazette learned that FBI MC-111 (MC stands for "major case") evolved from VAAPCON - a project Reno started in 1994. At Reno's instruction, the FBI began gathering intelligence on right-wing religious groups and cults that espoused the same hate rhetoric found at Pastor Butler's Aryan Nations in Idaho and at Christian Identity enclave Elohim City in Oklahoma. But critics charge that in practice, Reno and the FBI took the project much further - gathering a vast database of intelligence on people active in the anti-abortion movement with absolutely no history of criminality. Reno said she suspected some of these groups were doing more than preaching racial separatism and anti-abortion politics. She told senior FBI agents to look into the possibility that a conspiracy was at work inside the so-called Christian-right movement in America, a conspiracy possibly linked to the surprising growth of the armed militia movement . . . Deep inside the bowels of the Criminal Division of the FBI during this period, VAAPCON was reportedly not well received. Some agents questioned whether it went beyond constitutional bounds in spying on citizens just because of their religious affiliations or stated beliefs.

JIM McLEAN, HERALD, SCOTLAND: Gore Vidal, the commentator and author, said yesterday he had seen evidence which proved that at least five FBI undercover agents knew about the Oklahoma bomb before it went off, killing 168 people. But the FBI opted not to prevent the blast to protect their identities and maintain their deep-throat infiltration of militia groups, he claims. The federal building in Oklahoma was destroyed on April 19, 1995. Vidal made his allegations yesterday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, sponsored by The Herald. His allegations strike at the core of the US government, the role of the security services and the decision to execute Timothy McVeigh after revelations that his lawyers had been denied access to 4000 FBI documents on the case. Several critics of the execution believe McVeigh did not act alone. Vidal, 75, believes McVeigh was involved in the bombing, but had accomplices in carrying out the most serious act of terrorism and mass murder so far in the US. He identified "a researcher" as his source for the allegations of FBI compliance in the bombing. Vidal revealed: "He knows at least five of the people who were involved in the making of the bomb and its detonation. It may well be that McVeigh did not do it. He was involved.

JULY 2001

JON DOUGHERTY, WORLD NET DAILY: The U.S. district judge who presided over both Oklahoma City bombing trials never read a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms informant's file that could have provided jurors with important information about others allegedly involved in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building April 19, 1995. According to a recently unsealed transcript of a closed-door session between U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch, attorneys for the Justice Department and attorneys for Terry Nichols, Matsch admitted that he had received ATF informant Carol Howe's sensitive informant file months earlier but never read it, in the waning days of Nichols' trial in Denver, Colo . . . Howe, a paid ATF informant, had reported to her handler, Special Agent Angela Finley, that a plot to stage violence against the U.S. government was being devised by members of a racist community called Elohim City, in northeastern Oklahoma, months before the Murrah attack. The information was contained in Howe's ATF informant file, which was kept secret by the agency and maintained by members of the Tulsa ATF office. MORE

JUNE 2001

Sgt. McVeigh was an outstanding soldier. He did what he was told, anticipated what had to be done [and] took pride in his work. - Capt. Jesus Angel Rodriguez, McVeigh's commanding officer during the Gulf War, testifying at his sentencing hearing

The Oklahoma City police and the FBI have confirmed there is another bomb in the Federal Building. It's in the east side of the building. They've moved everybody back several blocks. - Suzanne Sealy, CNN, April 19, 1995

Hours after a bomb ripped apart the federal building, some rescue workers were stopped from searching for survivors while federal officials removed boxes of documents. "You'd think they would have let their evidence and files sit at least until the last survivor was pulled out," one angry rescue worker told The News. The worker and a firefighter said that 10 to 12 hours after the 9 a.m. blast April 19, federal officials began limiting the number of rescue workers in the building to a dozen, confining them largely to the lower right side of the battered structure. - NY DAILY NEWS

An internal FBI memo indicates FBI agents suspended their search for the elusive Oklahoma City bomb suspect John Doe No. 2 in the critical weeks soon after the April 1995 blast, belying assurances by federal officials at the time that the search was continuing. The memo, the existence of which is publicly disclosed for the first time here, undercuts the government contention that federal agents have done everything they can to find the mystery suspect . . . In the memo, San Francisco-based FBI agent Thomas Ravenelle writes that he's discontinuing efforts to investigate a lead relating to attempts to find and identify John Doe No. 2 "in view of the fact that the Oklahoma City Command Post has directed all offices to hold [John Doe No. 2] leads in abeyance." - Digital City, Denver  BRASS CHECK

MAY 2001

TELEGRAPH, LONDON: One of the missing FBI documents in the Timothy McVeigh trial, the discovery of which caused postponement of the Oklahoma bomber's execution, points to a possible second bomber, according to reports. If this evidence is confirmed, it will prove to be a huge embarrassment to John Ashcroft, the Attorney-General, and to the FBI, which has stated repeatedly that McVeigh acted alone. Mr. Ashcroft said last week that he was certain none of the documents handed over only days before McVeigh's scheduled execution on May 16 linked anyone else to the crime. A so-called "lead sheet", an FBI record of an eyewitness report, supports claims that a witness called the FBI two days after the bombing, which killed 168 people, to say he had seen McVeigh with another man in a car park near the federal building in Oklahoma City an hour before it was bombed. One witness at the trial, Morris John Kuper Jr., said he saw two men answering the descriptions of McVeigh and of a second, unidentified man known as "John Doe No 2.” MORE &pg=/et/01/5/28/wmcv28.html

ANDREW GUMBEL, INDEPENDENT, LONDON: For six years, there have been suspicions that Timothy McVeigh did not act alone when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City. Today, The Independent reveals he was part of an underground network of white-supremacist guerrillas dedicated to the overthrow of the American government, and explains how the group kept its role hidden for so long. Known as the Aryan Republican Army, the network came to light five years ago when its leaders were arrested for 22 bank robberies committed across the Midwest from late 1993 until several months after the April 1995 bombing. They were prosecuted and imprisoned for the robberies, but their links to the Oklahoma bomb never came out in court . . . It is now believed the ARA financed and helped to stage the bombing, the worst peacetime atrocity on US soil, which claimed 168 lives including 19 children. There is also evidence that McVeigh, who faces death by lethal injection at a US penitentiary in Indiana next Wednesday, was part of the robbery gang and participated in at least the planning stage of some of the hold-ups. The Independent's Review section today demolishes the theory that McVeigh was alone in Oklahoma City on the morning of the bombing. It shows why many of the claims made by McVeigh in a series of interviews for the recently published book, 'American Terrorist,' do not stand up to scrutiny. It also explains why the Federal Bureau of Investigation and government prosecutors gave up their efforts to find his accomplices . . . The links between the ARA and McVeigh were established in 1993 and continued regularly until the time of the bombing. All of them led frantically itinerant lifestyles, driving cross-country and staying in motels under assumed names, but on several occasions were in the same place at the same time on similar business. In January 1995, all of them abruptly left Kansas for a six-week stint in Arizona where there is evidence that a trial fertilizer bomb was exploded in the desert. The ARA developed the notion of "leaderless resistance", a cell-based guerrilla structure in which individual members knew next to nothing about each other. Operating out of a safe-house in eastern Kansas, it also developed contacts with various far-right groups including a white supremacist religious compound in Oklahoma, Elohim City, which has long been suspected of involvement in the bombing. STORY 1 | STORY 2

JAMES RIDGEWAY, VILLAGE VOICE: The FBI's belated disclosure comes at a time when Louis Freeh is stepping down as head of the FBI, and after both Clinton and Reno have left office. While the FBI says the papers are insignificant, press reports claim they involved the government's questioning of witnesses about a John Doe No. 2, an unknown person the government originally thought was involved in the plot. These documents may not help McVeigh, but they almost surely will affect Terry Nichols's case, perhaps even leading to a new trial. Nichols is in jail for life on federal offenses and is awaiting prosecution in Oklahoma that could end with a death sentence.

ANDREW GUMBEL & MARY DEJEVSKY, INDEPENDENT, LONDON: Timothy McVeigh deliberately encouraged newspaper stories about his guilt in the Oklahoma City bombing from the earliest days of his case to deflect attention from other possible suspects, a new book by his trial lawyer shows. According to Stephen Jones, who represented McVeigh until his sentencing in 1997 and now feels unrestrained by any lawyer-client confidentiality, his client's strategy was always to be the focus of as much public indignation as possible so the world would believe he was some kind of demon terrorist mastermind who acted alone. "If no one else is arrested or convicted," Mr. Jones quotes McVeigh as telling him, "then the revolution can continue." As early as May 1995, less than one month after the bombing that ripped apart the federal government office building in Oklahoma City and killed 168 people, The New York Times reported that McVeigh had confessed his guilt to at least two people. At the time the assumption was that he had said too much to his cell mates. But the new book reveals that it was Mr Jones himself who briefed The New York Times ­ at the express instruction of his client. The second person cited in the article was another member of the defense team.

JENNIFER BROWN, AP: Kathy Graham Wilburn has spent six years finding out as much as she can about Timothy McVeigh, the man who murdered her grandsons in the Oklahoma City bombing. Wilburn is using her research to help a film company make a documentary, A Cry for Justice: The Untold Story Behind the Oklahoma City Bombing, that contends the attack was the work of a wider conspiracy. The documentary is due for release after McVeigh's execution on May 16 . . . The documentary says McVeigh and Nichols had help from a right-wing network. It includes interviews with bombing survivors, witnesses, FBI officials and former right-wing terrorists . . . Wilburn believes four or five men helped McVeigh and Nichols plan and finance the bombing, even accompany McVeigh to Oklahoma City. She thinks the plot was hatched in Elohim City, a right-wing compound in Oklahoma.

It would have been absolutely impossible and against the laws of nature for a truck full of fertilizer and fuel oil... no matter how much was used... to bring the building down... The damage could not have resulted from a van parked outside. I don't care how fancy an explosive was used. What did in that building... was an inside job... I believe that demolition charges in the building placed at certain key concrete columns is the primary damage to the Murrah Federal Building." - Samuel Cohen, inventor of the neutron bomb

The FBI is confirming that there is another bomb in the building... They are warning everyone to get as far back as they can. They are trying to get the bomb defused right now...LATER: The second explosive was found and defused. The third explosive was found and they are working on it as we speak. I understand the second and third bombs were larger than the first. - - KFOR, Oklahoma City, on the day of the blast. These oft broadcast accounts were later dismissed as errors.

For a simplistic blast truck-bomb, of the size and composition reported, to be able to reach out on the order of 60 feet and collapse a reinforced column base the size of column A-7 is beyond credulity. - General Benton K. Partin, US Air Force (ret) Former head of the Air Force's conventional weapon's R&D Lab

General Partin's assessment is absolutely correct. I don't care if they pulled up a semi-trailer truck with 20 tons of ammonium-nitrate; it wouldn't do the damage we saw there. - Dr. Roger Raubach, physical chemist formerly on the Stanford University faculty

The Partin letter states in very precise technical terms what everyone in the business knows: No truck bomb of ANFO out in the open is going to cause the kind of damage we had there in Oklahoma City. In 30 years of blasting, using everything from 100 percent nitrogel to ANFO, I've not seen anything to support that story." - Sam Gronning, a licensed, professional blaster based in Casper, Wyoming.

Agricultural fertilizer prills when made into an ANFO device had very poor explosive characteristics. They would not detonate efficiently because of their high density, lack of porosity and heavy inert coatings of anti-setting agents. - Altas Powder (supplier to professional blasters)

The grade of ammonium-nitrate used in the manufacture of binary explosives is required to be at least 99% pure, contain not more that 1.15% moisture, and have a maximum ether-soluble, water-insoluble acidity, sulfate, and chloride contents of 0.10, 0.18, 0.02, and 0.50 percent, respectively. - U.S. Army Technical Manual TM 9-1910

ANFO is easy to make if you know how to do it but it takes years of experience to work with safely... It is almost impossible for amateurs to properly mix the ammonium-nitrate with the fuel oil. Clumps of ANFO would inevitably fail to detonate." - Jeffrey Dean, Executive Director of the International Society of Explosive Engineers

[Senior FBI chemist Frederick] Whitehurst's accusations of bias and even manufactured evidence have called into question several high-profile government cases, including the Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center bombings. - Wall Street Journal 9/19/95


APRIL 1998 


In a story concerning the intention of House Judiciary Committee chair Henry Hyde to use an old law allowing his group to looking closely into Justice Department expenditures, The Chicago Tribune said:

"Abner Mikva, a former White House counsel, federal judge and Chicago area congressman, said Congress must move cautiously. Justice handles sensitive investigations, from terrorism to organized crime, and many techniques must remain secret."

The Trib then quotes Mikva making this extraordinary comment:

"If chairman Hyde starts asking about all the dollars they spent in Oklahoma City, that can compromise some very, very delicate information. . How much of that does he really want to get into?"

The FBI claims there is no evidence of criminal activity associated with the crash of TWA 800. Which makes you wonder why it told the House Aviation Committee some weeks back that it "is not prepared to share all the information and evidence it has collected."


. . . That 475 family members of Oklahoma City bombing have filed lawsuits against the federal government in the incident. One such suit claims that the government "knew or should have known" that the Murrah Building was the target of a bomb attack. Another claims the government possessed "detail prior knowledge of the planned bombing of the Murrah Building yet failed to prevent the bombing from taking place.

July 1997


  • A Ryder employee who saw two persons come in to rent the truck used in the bombing and provided the information used for sketches of John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.
  • Another Ryder employee who told the FBI two men had come to rent the truck, arriving in a Jeep Cherokee.
  • A Denny's waitress who recalls seating McVeigh and two other men for brunch three days before the bombing.
  • The owner of the Dreamland Motel in Junction City KS who heard 3 male voices inside McVeigh's room four nights before the bombing.
  • A German illegal alien named Andrea Strassmeir whom McVeigh called at Elohim City two weeks before the bombing. The FBI never interviewed him before he fled back to Berlin.
  • Tulsa banker Kyle Hunt who is certain he saw McVeigh driving a big yellow car in OKC several blocks from the Murrah building, a half hour before the blast. There were two other persons in the car.

 The OKC story is far from over. One of those not permitted to testify in the McVeigh trial was a federal government informant named Carol E. Howe. Howe, who was prepared to report a much larger conspiracy based out of a white supremacist center called Elohim Cty, was kept from testifying by Judge Richard Matsch who said her testimony "might confuse the jury." Howe passed a number of lie detector tests while serving as an informant. Elohim City, a 1,000 acre spread in eastern Oklahoma, has not only been headquarters for a mixture of Nazis, drug dealers, and bank robbers, it appears to have enjoyed immunity from federal intervention. According to Howe and others, the compound was also used to help launch the OKC bombing.  Instead of testifying, Howe found herself charged with conspiracy associated with bomb threats and possession of bomb-making components. But in a Tulsa courtroom for a pretrial hearing recently, her case took a remarkable turn. According to J. D. Cash of the McCurtain Daily Gazette, who has done some of the best reporting on the bombing, an FBI agent stunned everyone by reluctantly admitting that the Rev. Robert Millar, spiritual leader of Elohim City, was also a government informant. Wrote Cash: "Millar's status as a confidential informant began in the fall of 1994. The FBI admitted in court that Millar was a paid confidential informant, although the amount of his paycheck was not revealed. When [FBI agent] Rickel disclosed this startling information, a senior FBI agent and several US attorneys bolted from the courtroom in an agitated state."  

May 1997

OKC investigative reporter JD Cash of the McCurtain Daily Gazette reports FBI harassment of defense witnesses in the bombing trial. According to Cash, the FBI grabs defense witnesses as they arrive at the Denver airport, tries to lure them with offers of better hotel and food, etc, and then sequesters away from the defense team. At least one witness says she was forced to change her story after hours of questioning. Cash and others believe the feds are trying to cover up broader involvement in the bombing as well as government foreknowledge of the attack..

April 1997

OKLAHOMA CITY: An Oklahoma state legislator is out raising money to support a petition drive for a county grand jury investigation into the OKC bombing. Charles Key's efforts -- spurred by serious questions as to what the federal government knew about a potential attack and when -- are possible because Oklahoma is one of two states where citizens of a county can impanel a grand jury by successfully ciruclation a petition. Despite strong opposition from the state media and the federal government, the state supreme court has upheld the right to a grand jury. Among the questions Key wants answered: why was not one of the ATF field agents assigned to the buildng present at the time of the blast?

March 1997

There is growing evidence that the feds were tipped off to the Oklahoma City bombing before it occurred. Some believe the incident may have been a sting operation that went awry. So unbelievable has the government been in its response to these concerns that more than 30 relatives of those killed in the bombing are suing the federal government for negligence. Among the evidence: six witnesses who saw a bomb squad nearby before the bombing and a warning phone call to the fire department five days earlier.

There is also concern about the government's disinterest in the links between accused bomber Timothy McVeigh and a neo-nazi center called Elohim City. Far from investigating, the government has indicted (on unrelated charges) a woman who served as its informant in the neo-nazi operation, and who had allegedly passed on information about plans to attack three federal buildings in Oklahoma. A white supremacist leader, Richard Wayne Snell, who had been involved in an earlier plot to blow up the Murrah building in 1983 and who had been condemned to death in another case, told prison guards that there would be a bombing on the day of his death. He was executed the day the Murrah building was blown up.

February 1997

Things not OK in OKC

There is growing evidence that federal authorities had advance warning of a possible bomb attack on the Oklahoma City federal office building, but failed to act promptly enough to foil it. Both the McCurtain Daily Gazette, a small award-winning paper in Oklahoma, and 20/20 have raised serious questions about how much was known before the blast.

According to J.D.Cash, a reporter for the Gazette, the ATF had informants inside a 1000-acre cult compound in western Arkansas where some of the plans were made for attacks on the OKC and Tulsa federal buildings. The cult believes that its members are the true descendants of the 'lost tribes,' that Jews are impostors and that blacks are 'mud people.'

Monthly reports on the planning, says Cash, was provided the Tulsa office of ATF and their informant was subjected to regular polygraph tests. Those involved include at least two persons not yet indicted or named as suspects by the federal government. One of them is a German citizen whose familiy is well connected in German political circles. Says Cash, "there was plenty of evidence of a sting operation that had gone sour. That's what all of this is about."

Cash also reports that "two very important and credible witnesses" have said that several ATF employees in the bombed building were told via pagers in advance not to come into the office on the day of the attack and that the OKC fire department also got a warning to expect terrorist activity in the near future.

Asks Cash: "What did they know and when did they know it? Did they use this building as bait for a high profile sting operation? I believe they did."

There is other astounding evidence floating around OKC. For example, there are witnesses who claim to have seen bomb squad vehicles at the building an hour and a half before the blast, and a private detective who says he saw bomb squad personnel and dogs searching the area around the building a half hour before the explosion.

A state legislator's call for a county grand jury investigation has attracted broad support although it has been vehemntly attacked by the Daily Oklahoman and by federal officials. Radio station KTOK asked its listeners what they thought; 90% wanted county grand jury investigation.

A recent hearing before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee heard testimony about dozens of alleged suicides of military personnel men in which the military or civilian investigators are charged by family members with having failed to investigate the matter properly and falsely claiming the deaths to be self-inflicted.



BCCI: The scandal
that got away . . . .

With the settlement of civil fraud charges against Clark Clifford and Robert Altman, the puny and often diverted investigation into the American branch of the BCCI scandal effectively comes to an end. Under the deal, the pair will have to surrender $5 million in stock in First American Bankshares, which had been illegally controlled by BCCI as part of the biggest banking scandal in world history. They will, however, get to keep $10-15 million in proceeds obtained during their tenure as First American attorneys.

Despite such sums, the Clifford/Altman aspect of the BCCI affair was only a minor part of the story. According to one journalist who investigated BCCI's American operations, up to 100 politicians and lawyers in Washington might be found criminally liable if the case were fully pursued. One reason it wasn't may have been the fact that trails in the case led to both Republicans and Democrats. For example, in 1988, a few days before the supposedly surprise arrest of five BCCI officials, some of the world's most powerful drug dealers quietly withdrew millions of dollars from the bank. Some government investigators believe the dealers were tipped off by sources within the Reagan administration. Again in 1991 the acting US Attorney in Miami found himself rebuffed by the Bush Justice Department in his efforts to indict BCCI and some its principal officers on tax fraud charges.

BCCI got its start in the US with the help of Jackson Stephens, then board chair of Worthen Bank in Arkansas, which would later keep Bill Clinton's 1992 primary campaign afloat with a multi-million dollar line of credit. He was described during that campaign by the New York Post as a man who was to "Clinton what Bert Lance was to candidate Jimmy Carter."

Stephens first got to know Mochtar Riady -- of Clinton fundraising fame -- in 1977 when Riady was considering buying Bert Lance's interest in the National Bank of Georgia. That year, according to journalist Alexander Cockburn, Stephens "brokered the arrival" of BCCI to this country, and steered BCCI's founder, Hassan Abedi, to Lance -- whose bank was eventually taken over by a BCCI front man -- Ghaith Pharaon. Pharaon later sold his bank to First American. Pharaon has been fined $37 million by the Federal Reserve Board and is still a fugitive. Later, Stephens joined Mochtar Riady in the purchase of a BCCI subsidiary in Hong Kong.

There are interesting ties wherever you turn in the BCCI matter. For example, former special prosecutor Robert Fiske worked with Robert Bennett, now Clinton's lawyer, on the Altman-Clifford case, as did later Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick.

The BCCI scandal cheated depositors out of over $10 billion worldwide. Many of these were lower income people now being paid off at 15 and 25 cents on the dollar for damage done by a illegal operation willingly used not only by hundreds of drug dealers and other criminals from various countries but by the intelligence services of five nations (including the CIA) and at least one government, Pakistan, seeking to finance its nuclear weapons development.

Things always moved a little too smoothly in the BCCI investigation, leaving scores of unanswered questions and, so far as can be determined, hardly anyone to blame. One exception, Swaleh Naqvi, BCCI's number two man, was given a mild sentence -- over the objections of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He later told prosecutors that he had never explained to Altman and Clifford who really owned First American.

Naqvi's plea bargain with Justice in the major bank fraud appeared to have been what the Wall Street Journal called "sweetheart justice." Said the Journal:

"When drugs and money laundering arrive, political corruption cannot be far behind. If we had an explanation of how BCCI got away with its illegal purchase of First American, we could afford to dismiss such ambiguous connections as lawyer-client relationships. But we have no such answer, and are left to speculate why, in the Naqvi plea-bargain, the Justice Department does not seem to be pressing for one."

The American media has studiously downplayed the story to the end. The New York Times, for example, put the Altman-Clifford settlement on its business page.



From a 2/15 AP dispatch from Corpus Christi:

"It was a scary sight to some South Texas residents: Black helicopters [sic] swooped in and dropped helmeted soldiers into the downtown area, even causing a fire in Kingsville. Those weren't foreign invaders in Kingsville and Port Arkansas, however. The soldiers were part of the Army's Delta Force, a counterterrorism unit from Fort Bragg, N.C. And they'll probably be back this week. An Army spokeswoman said there may be maneuvers this week in Kingsville, Corpus Christi and around Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio."

A representative for the Army said "they're practicing skills of getting in and out of urban areas and special operations for the missions they're responsible for."

In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the Police Patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered. -- George Orwell, 1984

For the past few years, the media has enjoyed using reports of black helicopters as proof of wild-eyed paranoia abroad in the land. The only problem is that the unmarked craft actually existed (either black or olive green appearing black against a sunny background). Now the point is no longer debatable -- at least not by traditional establishment standards. In a front page New York Times story about a secret North Carolina CIA base that has trained over 18,000 foreign intelligence agents, Tim Wiener writes:

"Black helicopters thud over tree tops at dusk ('They scare the soup out of you,' said Deborah S. Reed, the local registerer of deeds) ..."

Perhaps one of our distinguished journalism reviews will now explain why the media felt so justified in deriding those who made such sightings.


APRIL 2009



CBS: In a little-noticed message to Congress Tuesday, President Clinton again acted to protect the secrecy of military operations at the facility that has come to be known as Area 51, reports CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller . . . Area 51 is not mentioned by name in the presidential notice. Instead, it is referred to mysteriously as "the United States Air Force's operating location near Groom Lake, Nevada." In the message, Mr. Clinton informs Congress that, acting under the authority of Presidential Determination 99-37, he was exempting that facility "from any federal, state, interstate or local hazardous or solid waste laws that might require the disclosure of classified information concerning that operating location to unauthorized persons."



JASON VEST, VILLAGE VOICE: The [Area 51 environmental] lawsuits have yielded mixed results: While the workers and survivors of workers at Area 51 still don't know what they were exposed to (they've never sued seeking damages, just information), a judge has ordered the EPA to inspect the facility for compliance with federal environmental law .... Even though [plaintiffs' lawyer Jonathan] Turley's not privy to the EPA's reports, his clients say that since the EPA has been allowed in, the methods by which Area 51 gets rid of hazardous waste have "dramatically changed." The problem, says Turley, is the military's other secret bases. "Area 51 was the crown jewel of black facilities-the military has fought hard to protect it as kind of an enclave of secrecy," he says. "But there are other black facilities, and I'm not convinced the military has learned its lesson. The officers who committed these crimes have not been punished. And the president of the United States has intervened to protect them from [prosecution for] these criminal acts."

Groom Lake: Whatever is going on at Groom Lake, Nevada, is so secret that the Air Force refuses in an environmental court case to even say whether it ever disposed of an automobile battery there. Said the Justice Department, answering the question "would cause grave damage to national security and possibly a loss of life." The suit charges that environmental laws have been broken at Groom Lake and that six unnamed plaintiffs have developed cancers and skin problems related to the burning of stealth bomber jet wastes. The Air Force also tried to declare that a manual that had been circulated on the Internet and to the press should be considered classified even though it bears no markings to that effect. Said an Air Force representative: "Our position is that a secret is still a secret, even if it appears on the front page of the New York Times in a World War II-sized headline




SIMON JEFFERY, GUARDIAN, UK - Princess Diana warned of a plot to kill her in a car crash 10 months before her death, it was claimed today. In a letter that her former butler, Paul Burrell, says she told him to keep "just in case", she writes that a crash was being planned so Prince Charles could remarry. Diana names who or what she believes is masterminding a car crash. For legal reasons, that detail is omitted from a version of the letter published today in the Daily Mirror, which is serializing Mr Burrell's book about his life with the princess.

She writes: "[Word omitted] is planning 'an accident' in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry."

Diana died in the early morning of August 31 1997, after the Mercedes she was traveling in crashed at high speed in the Pont D'Alma underpass in Paris.

A French inquiry in 1999 blamed chauffeur Henri Paul - who died along with Diana and her boyfriend Dodi al Fayed - for the crash. The inquiry concluded that he had taken a cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs, and was driving too fast.

But Mr Burrell's decision to go public with the letter will provide a spur to those who believe that something more sinister than dangerous driving was responsible for the princess's death.



GUARDIAN (LONDON): George Mitchell, the former American senator who strived to bring peace to Northern Ireland, has made an extraordinary intervention to help end the long-running dispute between Mohamed Al Fayed and the security services over an alleged plot surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, two years ago. In an unprecedented move he is liaising between the Pentagon and the Harrods owner over top secret files held by the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Mr. Mitchell is proposing that Robert Tyrer, a chief of staff in the US defense department, would use his security clearance to review the top secret files to see if there is any evidence that would help the French authorities still looking at Princess Diana's death in a car crash in Paris two years ago. Mr. Tyrer would then report back to Mr. Mitchell's office. He would not reveal the details of the papers, but he would disclose whether there was any reference to a plot by the security services or whether such allegations are considered a fabrication.

GUARDIAN STORY:,,74245,00.html


GUARDIAN: [The NSA] has told the Guardian that it is holding reports from foreign intelligence [on Princess Di's death] - thought to include MI5 and MI6 - under both top secret and secret categories. It revealed their existence after the Guardian filed a request under the US freedom of information act. The reports cannot be released because of "exceptionally grave damage to the national security." .... The existence of documents on Diana, Princess of Wales has always been claimed by the owner of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son, Dodi, died with the princess in a car crash in Paris in 1997. He believes reports which claim that up to 1,056 page references to Diana exist in some 39 documents held by the NSA.





Insight Magazine reports interesting new developments concerning the George Wallace shooting including evidence of the degree to which Nixon was directly involved in the aftermath. A newly released tape includes this exchange between Nixon and Chuck Colson five hours after the shooting:

NIXON: Is he a left-winger, right-winger?
COLON: Well, he's going to be a left-winger by the time we get through, I think.
NIXON: Good. Keep at that, keep at that.
COLSON: Yeah, I just wish that, God, that I'd thought sooner about planting a little literature out there. It may be a little late, although I've got one source that maybe. . . .
NIXON: Good.
COLSON: You could think about that. I mean, if they found it near his apartment that would be helpful.

Nixon had been obsessed with Wallace and even put 75 IRS agents on an "Alabama Project" to dig up dirt on Wallace, friends and relatives.

And he was not the only one on the case. After the shooting, the Secret Service was at would-be assassin Arthur Bremmer's apartment within an hour. When FBI agents arrived they found the Ssers -- who claimed they were on an "intelligence-gathering mission." A turf war between the two agencies ensued.



More buried treasure: Robert Parry's remarkable investigation into the October Surprise continues with still more evidence that Bush, Casey and perhaps past and present CIA officials took part in an deal with the Iranians not to release its American hostages before the 1980 election. Parry's story is based on previously unreported information in the files of the bipartisan congressional task force that discounted the notion of an October Surprise. Says Parry: "To the task force, the possibility that former and current CIA officers conspired with Republicans and foreign intelligence services to unseat a president of the United States was unthinkable. If true, it would have meant that elements of the CIA mounted a silent coup d'etat that undermined American democracy to put in place a president who would unleash the spy agency.

"But certainly what followed in the 1980s pleased the CIA's hard-liners. Under President Reagan's CIA director William Casey, CIA covert operations proliferated. Dozens of cashiered CIA officers were brought back on contract. Billions of taxpayer dollars were poured into CIA projects. The CIA was also spared Carter's nagging about human rights, as CIA-trained units launched death-squad operations throughout Central America and Africa." For more on this story see The Consortium

More October surprise: You may not have heard that when asked in May 1993 if there was an October Surprise former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said, "Of course." Alexandre deMarenches, the man who ran French intelligence in 1980, privately mocked the House taskforce that pooh-poohed the ideaand let stand the sworn testimony of his biographer that he had arranged meetings between Reagan's campaign chief William Casey and Iranians in Paris in October 1980. Digging through the House task force files, investigative reporter Parry found that, in response to the task force's request, the Russian secretary of state security, Nikolay Kuznetsov, had sent a report stating that Casey, George Bush and other Republicans had met secretly with Iranian officials in Europe during the 1980 presidential campaign. The Russians depicted the hostage negotiations that year as a two-war competition between the Carter White House and the Reagan campaign to outbid one another for Iran's cooperation on the hostages. The Russians asserted that the Reagan team had disrupted Carter's hostage negotiations after all, the exact opposite of the task force conclusion.





HERE ARE A FEW OF THE PEOPLE who have expressed doubts about the official version of the JFK assassination:

- Lyndon Baines Johnson
- Richard Milhous Nixon
- Don Hewitt of CBS
- U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Assassination
- Stephen Rosenfeld, Washington Post ["That the assassination probably encompassed more than a lone gunman now seems beyond cavil."]
- Chief Justice Earl Warren
- Senator Ted Kennedy
- Attorney General Bobby Kennedy
- Senator Richard B. Russell (member of Warren Commission)
- Rep. Hale Boggs (member of Warren Commission)
- Texas Governor John B. Connally and his wife, Nellie
- Presidential assistant Kenneth O'Donnell (at Dealey Plaza during the shooting)
- Presidential assistant David Powers (at Dealey Plaza during the shooting)
- Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill
- Senator Richard Schweiker
- Senator Gary Hart
- Senator Russell B. Long
- Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker
- President of France Charles de Gaulle


BBC - A new documentary exploring the death of John F Kennedy claims his assassin was directed and paid by Cuba. Rendezvous with Death, based on new evidence from Cuban, Russian and US sources, took three years to research. One source, ex-Cuban agent Oscar Marino, said Havana had exploited Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested but shot dead before he could be tried. . . According to Oscar Marino, the Cubans wanted Kennedy dead because he opposed the revolution and allegedly sought to have its leader Fidel Castro killed. Mr Marino told film director Wilfried Huismann that he knew for certain the assassination was an operation run by the Cuban secret service G2, but he declined to say whether it had been ordered by Mr Castro.

BRASS CHECK - In case you didn't notice - and I didn't until I picked up "I Heard You Paint Houses" - the mystery of the 'disappearance' of Jimmy Hoffa has been solved. He was done in by long time friend, Teamster official, and veteran hit man Frank Sheeran and his body was cremated in a mob-controlled funeral parlor.

But that's not the most interesting part of Sheeran's life story. Sheeren was a major mob figure. US Attorney, Rudy Giuliani listed him as a member of 'The Commission' along with people like Tony Salerno, Tony Provenzano, and Carmine Persico.

In addition to his Sheeran's other skills, he was a skilled hit man who, according to his own account, killed people with the same nonchalance people change socks. It wasn't unusual for him to be sent to kill two different people in two different cities over a single weekend.

Sheeran's biography "I Heard You Paint Houses" was written by Charles Brandt a former prosecutor and Chief Deputy Attorney General of Delaware, and a nationally recognized expert on cross-examination and interrogation techniques. Brandt was rigorous in his efforts to document Sheeran's life story.

Some fascinating new information that appears in the account of Sheeran's life...

- Chicago boss Sam Giancana was often accompanied at meetings with Jimmy Hoffa by none other than Jack Ruby. Dan Moldea got independent confirmation of this and it appears in his 1978 book 'The Hoffa Wars.'

- David Ferrie was New Orleans boss Carlo Marcello's personal pilot. Sheeran recalls an incident where he was instructed to deliver an empty truck to a airfield in Maryland. Another truck appeared filled with soldiers who loaded uniforms, weapons and ammunition aboard Sheeran's empty rig. David Ferrie was present (he arrived by private plane) and provided Sheeran with paperwork to help him avoid being detained by police. He instructed Sheeran to deliver the truck and its contents to E. Howard Hunt and a group of anti-Castro Cubans in Jacksonville.

- The method of recruiting deranged individuals to use as assassins and then arranging for them to be killed on the spot is discussed knowingly by Sheeran. The mob used it occasionally when they wanted to kill someone at a large public gathering and/or were not able to get the person alone.

- Sheeran was ordered to deliver a package which he believed contained three rifles to Campbell's Cement in Baltimore, MD. David Ferrie and a member of the Genovese crime family, who Sheeran knew but would not name for Brandt, picked up the delivery. A few days later John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

- When Kennedy was assassinated, Jimmy Hoffa complained bitterly when Harold Gibbons, a Teamster official, flew the flag at half staff at the union's national headquarters. Hoffa was to carry a life long grudge about the incident. During Kennedy's televised funeral, Hoffa said to a Nashville TV audience: "Bobby Kennedy is just another lawyer now."

- Sheeran states that New Orleans DA Jim Garrison who charged Clay Shaw and others with the Kennedy assassination was actually in the employ of Carlos Marcello and had often done the mob favors for example prosecuting a critic of Jimmy Hoffa named Walter Sheridan on trumped up charges. Sheeran further states that 'friendly' DAs are often employed to help flush out potentially damaging witnesses for elimination. As Kennedy assassination students know, many witnesses died in the course of the Garrison prosecution including David Ferrie. . .

- The use of private pilots to take hit men to and from assassination scenes to create airtight 'alibis' is described several times during the book. This method was used in the murder of Jimmy Hoffa. Pilots in such cases were instructed not to look at their passengers. . .

Sheeran reports that the Kennedys, especially Bobby Kennedy, had earned the bitter resentment of the national syndicate for the following reasons:

- Joe Kennedy Sr. was a long time associate of Italian crime figures and had worked together with them during Prohibition

- Joe Kennedy Sr. received active cooperation from Sam Giancana in rigging the Chicago presidential vote, giving his son John victory in Illinois and thus the presidency.

- In exchange for this service, Joe Sr. had promised that Bobby Kennedy would stop his 'mad dog' prosecution of organized crime. Instead of stopping, Bobby who was appointed Attorney General by his brother, turned up the heat on them substantially. Bobby Kennedy's prosecution of organized crime was unprecedented in American history and did enormous financial damage to the Mob the scope of which is still being felt today.

- Organized crime lost assets worth many billions of dollars when Cuba fell to Castro. (Interestingly, the Bush family lost quite a bit of money from the Castro takeover too. ) Mafia figures were furious with Kennedy over his refusal to support the Bay of Pigs invasion with air cover as the anti-Castro Cubans and the CIA.

- Jimmy Hoffa was so incensed by the Kennedys he actually opened discussions with a hit man to have Bobby Kennedy murdered. The plot was exposed before it could be carried out. Later, it was decided by organized crime that rather than kill Bobby and face the retaliation of Jack Kennedy, it was better to 'go to the top' and kill John instead. Lyndon Johnson it was correctly assumed would likely replace Kennedy as Attorney General and would not have the same interest in pursuing organized crime.


ZOGBY - Forty years have passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, as his motorcade rolled by the Texas School Book Depository building. A year later, the Warren Commission investigating the assassination determined that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, committed the crime. Doubt still remains in the minds of many Americans. In September 3­ 5, 2003 polling by Zogby International, nearly three in five (57%) likely voters said a conspiracy of at least two or more gunmen was responsible for the slaying. Just over one in five (22%) said they believe the government's position of a single gunman. Ten percent had yet another theory, and 11% were not sure.


In writing her obituary, the Washington Post and the New York Times brushed over the death of Judith Campbell Exner in a manner that successfully concealed the real story of this woman. The New York Times did such a heavy-handed job of dismissing Exner's relationship with Jack Kennedy that it was forced to published a subsequent editor's note in which it said it "should also have reflected what is now the view of a number of respected historians and authors that the affair did take place."

But as with the current president, this was all far from just about sex. What the Post and Times didn't want to bring up was evidence that Exner was central to the first real mob involvement in an American presidential campaign -- the beginning of a new era of politics that would culminate in a president raised in the mob-ridden town of Hot Springs becoming the godfather of the most corrupt administration in our history.

The Times didn't have to look any further for the story than its own ex-staffer Seymour Hirsch, whose book, "The Dark Side of Camelot," devotes a whole chapter to Exner who was involved with both Kennedy and mobster Sam Giancana and became a conduit between the two, ferrying both messages and large sums of money. The later was used in part to rig the vote count for Illinois in the 1960 election.

This story has been subject to Orwellian excision by the major media, part of the glasnost interruptus of American political history.




THANKS TO A special grant from the Center for Journalist Mediocrity, we occasionally like to check and see whether any of the press poodles are getting restless. So we sent a link to Sally Denton's favorable piece on Kitty Kelley to Poynter Online which dubs itself "Everything You Need to Be a Better Journalist."

Actually we sent it twice, but nada. . . .

Which is interesting since if Kelley's book on the Bushes had been reported by journalists rather than merely trashed, the recent campaign might have been a bit different. As with Gary Webb, a maliciously misleading picture of Kelley - which Denton challenged - has been drawn by professional colleagues and then adopted by others whose favorite keys on their computers are Control-C.

But perhaps Poynter pointer Jim Romenesko needed the space for another slap at Webb or another career assist for the pompous Tavis Smiley, late of NPR. (The first time we ever saw Smiley was at a forum at which he announced at one point, "I'm not going to sit here and take it anymore." What was fascinating was that he didn't budge an inch, leading us to surmise that this guy's got a real future in Washington.)

Romenesko did feature a piece by one of Webb's editors at the cowardly San Jose Mercury News which had deserted Webb when his series on the role of the CIA in the drug trade came under heavy fire from the Washington establishment. Earlier it had pointed to Howard Kurtz' article in the Washington Post which claimed. "The lesson, which has been proven many times since then, is that just because a news outlet makes sensational charges doesn't make them true, and just because the rest of the media challenge the charges doesn't make them part of some cover-up."

This both misstates the story and slanders the writer. For example, contrary to the impression left by Kurtz and others, here is part of an interview of Webb on Dateline as the controversy heated up. Webb was asked:

"On the basis of what you've learned to you believe there was a conscious decision, a meeting where someone sat down and say, 'We're going to poison the youth of black America and here's how we're going to do it?'"

Webb replied:

"No, no I don't. These guys were looking to raise money and I don't think it matter to them where they did it. . . They just went to where they could raise the money."

Journalists like Kurtz have created a fake Webb that is easy to bash and, as they say, oh what tangled Webbs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

But then media critic Kurtz seems to have a mild obsession about the CIA. Googling him for the story we found 20,000 links for his name and the CIA. That seemed like a lot, so we compared it to Walter Pincus, who actually covers the CIA for the Post. He had only 19,600. Maybe Howie would get his facts better if he got back on his assigned beat .

Local heroes

DON WYCLIFF, PUBLIC EDITOR, CHICAGO TRIBUNE - It has been almost a month since he died and I haven't been able to get Gary Webb out of my mind. . .

I have a confession to make: I still think Gary Webb had it mostly right. I think he got the treatment that always comes to those who dare question aloud the bona fides of the establishment: First he got misrepresented - his suggestion that the CIA tolerated the contras' cocaine trading became an allegation that the agency itself was involved in the drug trade. Then he was ridiculed as a conspiracy-monger - joked one commentator, Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post, "Oliver Stone, check your voice mail." In the end, Webb was rendered untouchable.

I know that I risk being marked down as something of a nut for saying I think Webb was fundamentally right. As my friend and former Commentary page columnist Salim Muwakkil said in one of his pieces on this issue: "To connect the CIA with crack - a drug with race-specific overtones - is considered a mere variation of the old theme of black genocide and is thus deemed irrational in mainstream discourse."

But try thinking of it from a black American's point of view. The CIA was tasked with helping the contras, a group President Ronald Reagan had declared the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers. So intent was the Reagan-Bush administration on assuring the survival and success of the contras that it attempted an illegal bargain with the hated mullahs of Iran in order to benefit the Nicaraguans.

Now, you're a CIA agent who must decide whether to blow the whistle on some of your charges for supplementing their budget by trading in cocaine on the side - or just turn your head and not "see" anything. Between the contras, beloved of the president, and some black gangsters in L.A. (we won't talk about the zoned-out, zonked-out end users), who is the more expendable?

I am reminded here of the climactic chapters of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," in which a seething Harlem goes up in flames. It happens not because of anything the protagonist and his cherished "Brotherhood" do. It happens because the leadership of the Brotherhood elects to do nothing, to cease expending any energy at all on Harlem and its problems. Who is the more expendable? I think Gary Webb had it figured out just right.


LA TIMES - Gary Webb, an investigative reporter who wrote a widely criticized series linking the CIA to the explosion of crack cocaine in Los Angeles, was found dead in his Sacramento-area home Friday. He apparently killed himself, authorities said. Webb had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Sacramento County coroner's office. He was 49.

His 1996 San Jose Mercury News series contended that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine from Colombian cartels in Los Angeles' black neighborhoods and then funneled millions in profits back to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras. Three months after the series was published, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said it conducted an exhaustive investigation but found no evidence of a connection between the CIA and Southern California drug traffickers.

Major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, wrote reports discrediting elements of Webb's reporting. The Los Angeles Times report looked into Webb's charges "that a CIA-related drug ring sent 'millions' of dollars to the Contras; that it launched an epidemic of cocaine use in South-Central Los Angeles and America's other inner cities; and that the agency either approved the scheme or deliberately turned a blind eye."

"But the available evidence, based on an extensive review of court documents and more than 100 interviews in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington and Managua, fails to support any of those allegations," The Times reported. Months later, the Mercury News also backed away from the series, publishing an open letter to its readers, admitting to flaws. "We oversimplified the complex issue of how the crack epidemic in America grew," wrote the paper's executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, adding, "I believe that we fell short at every step of our process - in the writing, editing and production of our work.". . . Webb continued to defend his reporting, most notably in a 548-page book, "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion," which was published in 1999.


CHRISTOPHER REED, GUARDIAN, 1996 - In 1992, when reports were appearing in the alternative press about alleged drugs and arms smuggling flights into Arkansas, I asked a senior news executive at the Los Angeles Times if his paper had investigated. "Yes," he replied, "but nobody in authority would confirm it." Well, they wouldn't, would they?

The reputation of the US press for fearless muckraking has declined severely in the quarter-century since Watergate. After the servitude of the Reagan years, it can now be accused of compliance, and never more so than in its response to an explosive series in August by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News of California. . .

The LA Times's series quotes drug "experts" to back its debunking. One is University of California professor Ronald Siegel, who says: "This was not some grand design of the drug cartels or someone at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, who was sitting around thinking up ways to raise money for the Contras." Webb never made such a claim. The LA Times only mentions later that Prof Siegel worked as a consultant to the Reagan administration, the very people organizing the illicit Contra war.

Back in August, Katz quoted another expert, Richard Millet, a Latin America scholar, who said: "Did some people involved with the Contras deal drugs? Yes. Did some officials in the US government know about it? Undoubtedly . . ."

All three papers skirt the central charge: that the CIA must have condoned selling crack in America. When they wish to demolish this hypothesis, they blandly quote officials and experts to the contrary. The LA Times even resorts to asking former CIA director Robert Gates about his agency's performance. "Did someone turn a blind eye?" Gates asks incredulously. "I would be quite surprised by that. To me it's inconceivable."

The paper does not mention that Gates, the CIA deputy director for intelligence during the Contra war, pressured staff analysts to alter intelligence estimates to conform with his own political line. This was revealed at his own confirmation hearing as CIA chief, when one staffer testified: "Mr Gates' role was to corrupt the process and the ethics of intelligence."

Why did the big three combine so cozily to rubbish the Mercury? Papers dislike being scooped, particularly by what Newsweek called "well-thought of but sometimes overlooked papers like the Mercury". The LA Times was especially annoyed because none other than [major drug figure in the series] Ricky Ross had warned them of the Mercury series, and it ignored him. It was also scooped in its own backyard. The Post regards itself as the premier CIA expert and was similarly miffed. The NY Times presumably thought its 1987 series dismissing Contra drug trafficking was the last word on the subject.

A nasty tone also intruded. LA Times journalists who wrote the October series were reported as gloating that they had "taken away the guy's Pulitzer. . . Perhaps the most worrying explanation was offered to In These Times magazine by Keith Scheinder, author of the NYT's 1987 piece: "I think it's so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story it had better be based on the most solid evidence." It would have to come from someone in authority. Perhaps even the CIA itself. We will be waiting for a long time.

ROBERT PARRY, CONSORTIUM, 1998 - New evidence, now in the public record, strongly suggests that the Reagan administration's tolerance of drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan contras and other clients in the 1980s was premeditated. With almost no notice in the national press, a 1982 letter was introduced into the Congressional Record revealing how CIA Director William J. Casey secretly engineered an exemption sparing the CIA from a legal requirement to report on drug smuggling by agency assets.

The exemption was granted by Attorney General William French Smith on Feb. 11, 1982, only two months after President Reagan authorized covert CIA support for the Nicaraguan contra army and some eight months before the first known documentary evidence revealing that the contras had started collaborating with drug traffickers.

The exemption suggests that the CIA's tolerance of illicit drug smuggling by its clients during the 1980s was official policy anticipated from the outset, not just an unintended consequence followed by an ad hoc cover-up. . .

The newly released letter, placed into the Congressional Record by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on May 7, establishes that Casey foresaw the legal dilemma which the CIA would encounter should federal law require it to report on illicit narcotics smuggling by its agents. The narcotics exemption is especially noteworthy in contrast to the laundry list of crimes which the CIA was required to disclose.

Under Justice Department regulations, "reportable offenses" included assault, homicide, kidnapping, Neutrality Act violations, communication of classified data, illegal immigration, bribery, obstruction of justice, possession of explosives, election contributions, possession of firearms, illegal wiretapping, visa violations and perjury.

Yet, despite reporting requirements for many less serious offenses, Casey fought a bureaucratic battle in early 1982 to exempt the CIA from, as Smith wrote, "the need to add narcotics violations to the list of reportable non-employee crimes." . . .

The first publicly known case of contra cocaine shipments appeared in government files in an Oct. 22, 1982, cable from the CIA's Directorate of Operations. The cable passed on word that U.S. law enforcement agencies were aware of "links between (a U.S. religious organization) and two Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary groups [which] involve an exchange in (the United States) of narcotics for arms." The material in parentheses was inserted by the CIA as part of its declassification of the cable. The name of the religious group remains secret.

Over the next several years, the CIA learned of other suspected links between the contras and drug trafficking. In 1984, the CIA even intervened with the Justice Department to block a criminal investigation into a suspected contra role in a San Francisco-based drug ring, according to Hitz's report.

In December 1985, Brian Barger and I wrote the first news article disclosing that virtually every Nicaraguan contra group had links to drug trafficking. In that Associated Press dispatch, we noted that the CIA knew of at least one case of cocaine profits filtering into the contra war effort, but that DEA officials in Washington claimed they had never been told of any contra tie-in. The Casey exemption explains why that was possible.

After the AP story ran, the Reagan administration attacked it as unfounded and the article was largely ignored by the rest of the Washington press corps. But it did help spark an investigation by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who over the next two years amassed substantial evidence of cocaine smuggling in and around the contra war. Still, the Reagan and Bush administrations continued to disparage Kerry's probe and its many witnesses.

Through the end of the decade, the mainstream Washington media also denigrated the allegations. In April 1989, when Kerry released a lengthy report detailing multiple examples of how the contra war supplied cover for major drug trafficking operations, the nation's most prestigious newspapers -- The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times -- published only brief, dismissive accounts. . .

The contra-cocaine issue arose again in 1996 with an investigative series by Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury-News. Those stories traced how one of the contra drug conduits helped fuel the crack epidemic in Los Angeles. In response, the major newspapers again rallied to the CIA's defense. They denounced the series as overblown, although finally acknowledging that the allegations raised during the 1980s were true. Webb's series also prompted a new investigation by the CIA's inspector general.

In the first volume of his investigative report, Hitz admitted the CIA knew early on about contra drug trafficking and covered it up. The report's second volume reportedly puts the CIA in even a worse light.

CARL BERNSTEIN, ROLLING STONE, 1977 - In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services - from simple intelligence­ gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements America's leading news organizations.

The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception . . . Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Pres International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune. By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc. . .

"Let's not pick on some poor reporters, for God's sake," William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee's investigators. "Let's go to the managements. They were witting." . . .

The CIA even ran a formal training program in the 1950s to teach its agents to be journalists. Intelligence officers were "taught to make noises like reporters," explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. "These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told, "You're going to be a journalist," the CIA official said. Relatively few of the 400-some relationships described in Agency files followed that pattern, however; most involved persons who were already bona fide journalists when they began undertaking tasks for the Agency.

The Agency's relationships with journalists, as described in CIA files, include the following general categories:

- Legitimate, accredited staff members of news organizations - usually reporters. Some were paid; some worked for the Agency on a purely voluntary basis. . . .

- Stringers and freelancers. Most were payrolled by the Agency under standard contractual terms. . . .

- Employees of so-called CIA "proprietaries." During the past twenty-five years, the Agency has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers - both English and foreign language - which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives. . . .

- Columnists and commentators. There are perhaps a dozen well-known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources. They are referred to at the Agency as "known assets" and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency's point of view on various subjects.

Murky details of cia relationships with individuals and news organizations began trickling out in 1973 when it was first disclosed that the CIA had, on occasion, employed journalists. Those reports, combined with new information, serve as casebook studies of the Agency's use of journalists for intelligence purposes.

- The New York Times. The Agency's relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy . . . to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible. . . CIA officials cite two reasons why the Agency's working rela­tionship with the Times was closer and more extensive than with any other paper: the fact that the Times maintained the largest foreign news operation in American daily journalism; and the close personal ties between the men who ran both institutions.

- The Columbia Broadcasting System. CBS was unquestionably the CIA's most valuable broadcasting asset. CBS president William Paley and Allen Dulles enjoyed an easy working and social relationship. Over the years, the network provided cover for CIA employees, including at least one well-known foreign correspondent and several stringers; it supplied outtakes of news film to the CIA; established a formal channel of communication between the Washington bureau chief and the Agency; gave the Agency access to the CBS news film library; and allowed reports by CBS correspondents to the Washington and New York newsrooms to be routinely monitored by the CIA. Once a year during the 1950s and early 1960s, CBS correspondents joined the CIA hierarchy for private dinners and briefings.

- Time and Newsweek magazines. According to CIA and Senate sources, Agency files contain written agreements with former foreign correspondents and stringers for both the weekly news magazines. The same sources refused to say whether the CIA has ended all its associations with individuals who work for the two publications. . . At Newsweek, Agency sources reported, the CIA engaged the services of several foreign correspondents and stringers under ar­rangements approved by senior editors at the magazine.

When Newsweek was purchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director of the Agency. . . . But Graham, who committed suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said. . .

Information about Agency dealings with the Washington Post newspaper is extremely sketchy. According to CIA officials, some Post stringers have been CIA employees, but these officials say they do not know if anyone in the Post management was aware of the arrangements. . .

DANIEL BRANDT - The reaction to Bernstein's piece among mainstream media was to ignore it, or to suggest that it was sloppy and exaggerated. Then two months later, the New York Times published the results of their "three-month inquiry by a team of Times reporters and researchers." This three-part series not only confirmed Bernstein, but added a wealth of far-ranging details and contained twice as many names. Now almost everyone pretended not to notice. The Times reported that over the last twenty years, the CIA owned or subsidized more than fifty newspapers, news services, radio stations, periodicals and other communications facilities, most of them overseas. These were used for propaganda efforts, or even as cover for operations. Another dozen foreign news organizations were infiltrated by paid CIA agents. At least 22 American news organizations had employed American journalists who were also working for the CIA, and nearly a dozen American publishing houses printed some of the more than 1,000 books that had been produced or subsidized by the CIA. When asked in a 1976 interview whether the CIA had ever told its media agents what to write, William Colby replied, "Oh, sure, all the time."

The contras, CIA and cocaine



OCTOBER 23, 1996

SPECTER: Jack Blum is the former special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations. And that subcommittee conducted an extensive inquiry and filed an extensive report back in 1989. And we're very interested in those findings at that time. And we now turn to you. . .

BLUM: The answer you get to the question you ask depends totally on how you frame the question. If you ask the question, did the CIA sell drugs in the Black neighborhoods of Los Angeles to finance the Contra war, the answer will be a categorical no. The fact of the matter is we found no evidence whatsoever to suggest that there was a targeting of the African-American community. Cocaine in the mid '80s and into the early '90s was a perfect equal opportunity destroyer. . .

The second issue is, did the CIA do the selling of the cocaine? And did the Contras profit? And as far as we were able to determine no member of the staff of the CIA, that is someone on the payroll, as opposed to people they work with was in the cocaine business. And certainly no one on the staff of the CIA as far as we could determine was actively selling the drug.

And then finally the question of, was it used to support the Contras? I will tell you of two meetings that I had with Contra veterans, one in 1986 and one in 1989 at the beginning and the end of my investigation. And they said, our problem was we never had any money. ur leadership stole most of it. They had houses in Miami. They had opportunities to gamble. They had girlfriends. They travelled. And we, who were in the field, and one of the groups that I talked to had men who lost their arms and their eyes and their legs fighting the Sandinistas -- we in the field had none of the benefit. So I submit what went on led to the profit of people in the Contra movement, not to supporting a war that we were trying to advance.

Now having said that we have to go back to what is true. And what is true is the policy makers absolutely closed their eyes to the criminal behavior of our allies and supporters in that war. The policy makers ignored their drug dealing, their stealing, and their human rights violations. The policy makers -- and I stress policy makers -- allowed them to compensate themselves for helping us in that war by remaining silent in the face of their impropriety and by quietly undercutting law enforcement and human rights agencies that might have caused them difficulty.

We knew about the connection between the West Coast cocaine trade and Contras. There was an astonishing case called the Frogman Case. In that case -- I believe it was in that case -- the United States Attorney from San Francisco, a man by the name of Russinello (ph) returned $35,000 of cocaine proceeds voluntarily to the Contras when it had been seized as proceeds of drug trafficking. We found that absolutely astonishing. I know of no other situation where the Justice Department was so forthcoming in returning seized property.

SPECTER: Was that the Justice Department or the district attorney of San Francisco locally?

BLUM: This was the Justice Department, United States attorney.

SPECTER: United States attorney?

BLUM: That's correct. We had a telephone conversation with Mr. Russionello (ph) asking him to provide us documents and access to the people involved in the case. And he shouted at us. He shouted at Senator John Kerry, who chaired the committee. He accused us of being subversive for wanting to go into it.

It should be stressed that the Blandon-Meneses ring was part of a very much larger picture. And to give you an idea of how large that picture was, there was a point where the wholesale price of cocaine on the street in Los Angeles reached $2,500 a kilo. We were talking about cocaine that was available in such quantity they could not find buyers. Twenty-five-hundred dollars a kilo, according to all the experts, is below cost.

And that is a flood of cocaine. And our friend Freeway Ricky was touching only a tiny fraction of what was coming in. We had a definite cocaine epidemic.

Now, you might ask, why did the hearings we run in 1989 and the report we released in -- the hearings we ran in '88 and the report we released in 1989 not get more attention. And the answer is, we were subject to a systematic campaign to discredit everything we did. Every night after there was a public hearing, Justice Department people, administration people would get on the phone call the press and say the witnesses were all liars, they were talking to us to get a better deal. That we were on a political vendetta, that none of it was to be believed, and please don't cover it. The consequence of that was the hearing and the report were given very modest play in the press. . .

Now, I would argue that over a long period of years, covert operations were undertaken -- and it's not only the CIA, obviously, the decision in that area is at a political level, and the CIA would be an implementing agency -- were taken on an ideological basis that verged on religious belief, and with an eye to short-term results and not long-term consequences. Never again should that kind of ideological blindness and short-term vision infect intelligence assessments.

In the 1980s, all of us could count the number of people dead on the streets of America as a result of the drug problem. You couldn't find me a single person in America who had died as a result of an attack by a Sandinista inside our borders. There should have been some ability to notice that distinction and understand the importance of the drug problem and understand that that had to be addressed and, at the very least, that anything you did to solve any other foreign policy problem not make the drug problem worse.

I think that among the other things you should be looking at is a review of the relationship in general between covert operations and criminal organizations. The two go together like love and marriage. . . Criminal organizations are perfect allies in a covert operation. If you sent me out of the country to risk my life for the government, to do something as a spy in a foreign land, I would think criminals would be my best ally. They stay out of reach of the law. They know who the corrupt government officials are, and they have them on the payroll. They'll do anything I want for money. It's a terrific working partnership.

The problem is that they then get empowered by the fact that they work with us. So now they have stature and influence and impact on their country. And if they have influence with politicians and people who come to power, we now have a new powerful criminal enterprise, and we can't always control what they do once we stand down. And unfortunately, we have yet to figure out how to prevent criminal friends from becoming an albatross.

There's a second problem, and that is when you run covert operations, you train people in a lot of skills. Unfortunately, the story of Adam and Eve stays with us. Once you learn something, once you've bitten the apple of knowledge, you can't unlearn it, ever.

And when you teach people how to change their identity, how to hide from the law, how to build bombs, how to assassinate people, they don't forget how to do it. And you wind up, after the covert action is over, with a disposal problem. . .

Now the connection with the drug trade . . . goes way back. We were involved in assisting the Quo Man Tong (ph) armies against Mao Zedong in the 1950s. During that period, we supported people who were in the heroin trade in the mountains of Burma. And those Quo Man Tong (ph) armies helped themselves and financed themselves out of the heroine business.

It turned up again in the Vietnam war, where our allies, the Hmong tribesmen, were in the heroine business. There were many accusations and all kinds of stories about was the CIA dealing heroine? And the answer was, we're not doing it. Probably true. It's our allies, and we have to work with whoever we have to work with. In Afghanistan recently, we've had allies who went into the heroine business big time. It's the largest cash crop in Afghanistan. It's the most important export from the region. . .

[One] man who turned up on our screen very big time [in Latin America] was General Noriega. And, as you'll recall -- press accounts have said it, the government has made this public; so I'm not saying anything that's classified -- Noriega was on our payroll. The accounts we heard were that he was getting paid some $200,000 a year by the United States government. At the time that was going on, virtually everybody who dealt with him knew he was in the drug business. It was an open secret. In fact, it was so open it appeared on the front page of the New York Times in June of 1986. I testified about it in a closed session of the Foreign Relations Committee in 1986.

We have, as the absolute low point of the Contra War, Ollie North having a meeting with General Noriega. And he recorded that meeting in great detail in his notebooks in which he's bargaining with Noriega. Noriega says to him, I've got this terrible public relations problem over drugs. What can you do to help me? Here's what I'll do to help you. I'll assassinate the entire Sandinista leadership. I'll blow up buildings in Managua.

Ollie doesn't call the cops. What Ollie does is he goes back to Poindexter, and Poindexter says, "Gee, that's a little bit extreme. Can't you get 'em to tone it down? Go back and meet with 'em again." Which Ollie does.

When our committee asked the General Accounting Office to do a step-by-step analysis of just who in our government knew that General Noriega was dealing drugs, and when they knew it, and what they did to act on that knowledge, the administration told every agency of the government not to cooperate with GAO, labeled it a national security matter, and swept it into the White House and cloaked it in executive privilege. . .

Our committee subpoenaed Ollie North's notebooks. And the history of those notebooks is quite astonishing. Not many people realize this, but the Senate never got a clean copy of those notebooks. North's lawyers were permitted to expurgate sections of the notebooks based on "relevance." Our committee subpoenaed those notebooks. And we engaged in a ten-month battle to get them. And ultimately the investigation ended, the subcommittee's mandate ended, we never got them. . .

There was a later effort by the National Security Archive, under the Freedom of Information Act, to get further declassification and release of the notebooks. They succeeded to some degree. The notebooks in their entirety are still not public. . .

Now, the problem of General Noriega and Ollie North's notebooks and what was in them is only [one] of a number of problems related to this war and related to drug trafficking that we stumbled into.

We had problems in Haiti, where friends of ours, that is, intelligence sources, in the Haitian military had turned their facilities, their ranches and their farms over to drug traffickers. Instead of putting pressure on that rotten leadership of the Haitian military, we defended them. We held our noses. We looked the other way. And they and their criminal friends distributed, through a variety of networks, cocaine in the United States, in Miami, in Philadelphia, in New York, in parts of Pennsylvania.

Honduras was another country that was key for the Contras. Honduras was the base of Contra operations. Most of the Contra supplies came through Honduras. We wanted to do nothing to embarrass the Honduran military. Ramon Matabalasteros (ph), a member of the gang that was involved in the Camarena murder, went to Honduras and found refuge there. He was walking in the streets of Tegucigalpa, openly and publicly.

The response of the United States government was to close the DEA office in Honduras and move the agents stationed there to Guatemala. We took testimony from that DEA agent. He said it made no sense. The drug trafficking was going on in Honduras. And the Honduran military were at the center of it. . .

We also became aware of deep connections between the law enforcement community and the intelligence community. I personally repeatedly heard from prosecutors and people in the law enforcement world that CIA agents were required to sit in on the debriefing of various people who were being questioned about the drug trade. They were required to be present when witnesses were being prepped for certain drug trials. Various -- At various times the intelligence community inserted itself in that legal process. I believe that that was an impropriety, that that should not have occurred. . .

SPECTER: Let me ask you on a question relevant here, did you ever see any of that interference by U.S. intelligence, CIA or otherwise, of any prosecutions against cocaine in Los Angeles?

BLUM: We did not focus on Los Angeles and Los Angeles prosecutions. I can tell you there were cases in Miami. And there were other cases in other parts of the country. . .

When we got into this area, we confronted an absolute stone wall. Bill Weld (ph), who was then the head of the criminal division put a very serious block on any effort we made to get information. There were stalls; there were refusals to talk to us, refusals to turn over data. An assistant U.S. attorney who gave us some information was reprimanded and disciplined, even though it had nothing to do with the case in a confidential way, who simply told. . .

We had a series of situations where Justice Department people were told that if they told us anything about what was going on they would be subject to very severe discipline. I got a lot of back door information and then I was told I could never use it because the careers of the people involved would be seriously compromised. . .

We ran into another procedure which was extremely troubling. There was a system for stopping customs inspections of inbound and outbound aircraft from Miami and from other airports in Florida. People would call the customs office and say, stand down, flights are going out, flights are coming in.

We tried to find out more about that and were privately told, again by customs people who said, "Please don't say anything," but the whole thing was terribly informal and there was no real way of determining the legitimacy of the request to stand down or the legitimacy of what was on the plane and going out to people in the field. That I found to be terribly troubling, and it's a matter that you all should be looking at very carefully.

There was a flip side to this drug problem as well. One of the favored techniques of various people in this operation was, whenever there was someone they didn't like, they would label him a drug trafficker. . .

If you empower criminals because empowering them happens to be helpful at the time, the criminals are sure to turn on you next. And the people who plan covert operations should know that and should be held accountable for not telling their bosses if in fact they're dealing with this kind of guy and they do come back and bite them. The most important loss that we had as a result of the covert war in Central America was the loss of public trust in the honesty and integrity of the people who run America's clandestine operations. The measure of that is how ready everyone is to believe Freeway Ricky and his fable about being the arm of the CIA in selling crack in Los Angeles. Ricky deserves life in prison for what he did to his people in his community.

The CIA didn't make him do it. The profits from his deal certainly didn't go to help the Contras. But that does not mean that there is not a need for a very powerfully done investigation and a backwards look at the entire forty year history of this problem. . .

The reaction of the people who were running the covert operation as best as we could determine was: Look, we've been sent here to Central America to do a job. Our job is to win this war against the Sandinistas and to change the political climate here. We're not in the law enforcement business. We can't be playing cops with the people who are working with us. If there's drug trafficking, let the DEA deal with it. But we have to do what we have to do, and please don't let that other mission interfere with what we have, because by God it's difficult enough. . .

Now, there's one other thing you have to understand about the situation in Central America at the time . . . There were facilities that were needed for running the war. Clandestine airstrips. Cowboy pilots, who would fly Junker (ph) airplanes. People who would make arrangements for the clandestine movement of money. Every one of those facilities was a perfect facility for someone in the drug business. So there people who were connected very directly to the CIA who had those facilities, and allowed them to be used, and indeed personally profited from their use as drug trafficking...

BLUM: It's not that someone from the CIA permitted them to be used. It's that a contract employee had the facilities. He was doing a job. That job wasn't delivering drugs for the CIA. . .

SPECTER: So the contract employee allowed those facilities to be used, and the contract employee benefited from the proceeds.

BLUM: You bet.


BLUM: You bet. And none of that money went to the Contras. . .

SPECTER: Mr. Blum, referring now to some specific individuals who have been cited in the Mercury News series, Adolfo Calero and Enrique Bermudez (ph)...

BLUM: Yes.

SPECTER: Were either of those individuals involved in the investigations which you conducted?

BLUM: Certainly. They were central figures in the Contra movement, and their names came up again and again in conversations about the problem. Not. . .

SPECTER: Were they involved in cocaine trafficking?

BLUM: Directly? Directly, to my knowledge, no. I have to say no.

SPECTER: All right. Indirectly, to your knowledge?

BLUM: Many of their people and their close associates were.

SPECTER: But how about those individuals specifically?

BLUM: I can't say that I have evidence of it. . .

SPECTER: I want to yield at this time to Senator Kerrey. . .

KERREY: Mr. Blum, when you talked to me, you said that there was a systematic effort to discredit the work of the subcommittee, and you separately mentioned that there was a refusal by the Department of Justice to -- was it justice?

BLUM: Justice.

KERREY: ... to provide you with information that you needed.

BLUM: Right. . .

KERREY: Who was in charge in of it?

BLUM: As best I could tell, it was coming from the top of the criminal division.

KERREY: Who was at the top of the criminal division?

BLUM: Bill Weld.

KERREY: And when you say the effort was made -- what would they do? Would they call...

BLUM: They would tell U.S. attorneys, systematically -- you can't talk to them. Don't give them paper. Don't cooperate. Don't let them have access to people who you have in your control. And we had a very tough time finding things out.




AP - An author who has researched the Cold War's most famous espionage case said new evidence suggests another U.S. diplomat, not Alger Hiss, was the Soviet agent who fed U.S. secrets to Moscow. The claim was presented Thursday at a daylong symposium, "Alger Hiss & History," at New York University. It provided new information that, if true, could point toward a posthumous vindication of Hiss, who was accused of spying for the Soviet Union and spent nearly five years in prison for perjury before his death in 1996 at age 92. . .

Author Kai Bird said there was new evidence to suggest that the real spy was another U.S. official named Wilder Foote. Hiss was accused of feeding secrets to the Soviet military intelligence agency GRU under the code name Ales. Bird said he and co-researcher Svetlana A. Chervonnaya had identified nine possible suspects among U.S. State Department officials present at the U.S.-Soviet Yalta conference in 1945. A process of elimination based on their subsequent travels to Moscow and Mexico City excluded eight of them, including Hiss, he said.
"It left only one man standing: Wilder Foote," Bird said. Foote died in 1974


NBC 30, MASHANTUCKET CT - New forensics evidence presented during a symposium at Foxwoods suggests Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the fatal shots that killed Sen. Robert Kennedy in 1968. Experts from all over the world met Wednesday to discuss problems in crime solving during the annual symposium, hosted by the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. This year's event was about conspiracies and solving complex crimes.

Dr. Robert Joling, a forensics investigator who has studied the Robert Kennedy assassination for almost 40 years, determined that the fatal shots must have come from behind the senator. Sirhan, however, was 4 to 6 feet in front of Kennedy and never got close enough to shoot Kennedy from behind, the investigator said.

The other evidence was the Pruszynski recording. This is the only audio recording of the assassination. Another scientist analyzed it and concluded that at least 13 shots were fired from two different guns.

Philip Van Praag, a forensic engineer, said he made three discoveries. The first two demonstrate that there must be more than one shooter, he said. The third conclusion is that the shots fired by the second shooter matched the firearm a security guard behind Kennedy carried.

Joling and Van Praag presented their findings together, although the two investigated the Kennedy shooting independently. They had never met until last year. During a seminar, they realized their separate findings were perfectly wed.

BBC - New video and photographic evidence that puts three senior CIA operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination has been brought to light. The evidence was shown in a report by Shane O'Sullivan, broadcast on BBC Newsnight. It reveals that the operatives and four unidentified associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968.

The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no reason to be in Los Angeles. . .

A 24-year-old Palestinian, Sirhan Sirhan, was arrested as the lone assassin and notebooks at his house seemed to incriminate him. However, even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember the shooting and defense psychiatrists concluded he was in a trance at the time.

Witnesses placed Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy but the autopsy showed the fatal shot came from one inch behind.

Dr Herbert Spiegel, a world authority on hypnosis at Columbia University, believes Sirhan may have been hypnotically programmed to act as a decoy for the real assassin.

Three of these men have been positively identified as senior officers who worked together in 1963 at JMWAVE, the CIA's Miami base for its Secret War on Castro. David Morales was Chief of Operations. . . Gordon Campbell was Chief of Maritime Operations and George Joannides was Chief of Psychological Warfare Operations. Joannides was called out of retirement in 1978 to act as the CIA liaison to the Congressional investigation into the JFK assassination. Now, we see him at the Ambassador Hotel the night a second Kennedy is assassinated.

Paul Schrade. . . was walking behind Robert Kennedy that night and was shot in the head. He believes this new evidence merits fresh investigation: "It seems very strange to me that these guys would be at a Kennedy celebration. What were they doing there? And why were they there? It's our obligation as friends of Bob Kennedy to investigate this."

SHANE O'SULLIVAN, GUARDIAN - Morales was a legendary figure in CIA covert operations. According to close associate Tom Clines, if you saw Morales walking down the street in a Latin American capital, you knew a coup was about to happen. When the subject of the Kennedys came up in a late-night session with friends in 1973, Morales launched into a tirade that finished: "I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard." . . .

Working from a Cuban photograph of Morales from 1959, I viewed news coverage of the assassination to see if I could spot the man the Cubans called El Gordo - The Fat One. Fifteen minutes in, there he was, standing at the back of the ballroom, in the moments between the end of Kennedy's speech and the shooting. Thirty minutes later, there he was again, casually floating around the darkened ballroom while an associate with a pencil moustache took notes.

The source of early research on Morales was Bradley Ayers, a retired US army captain who had been seconded to JM-Wave, the CIA's Miami base in 1963, to work closely with chief of operations Morales on training Cuban exiles to run sabotage raids on Castro. I tracked Ayers down to a small town in Wisconsin and emailed him stills of Morales and another guy I found suspicious - a man who is pictured entering the ballroom from the direction of the pantry moments after the shooting, clutching a small container to his body, and being waved towards an exit by a Latin associate.

Ayers' response was instant. He was 95% sure that the first figure was Morales and equally sure that the other man was Gordon Campbell, who worked alongside Morales at JM-Wave in 1963 and was Ayers' case officer shortly before the JFK assassination. . .

Ayers . . . introduced me to David Rabern, a freelance operative who was part of the Bay of Pigs invasion force in 1961 and was at the Ambassador hotel that night. He did not know Morales and Campbell by name but saw them talking to each other out in the lobby before the shooting and assumed they were Kennedy's security people. He also saw Campbell around police stations three or four times in the year before Robert Kennedy was shot.

This was odd. The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and Morales was stationed in Laos in 1968. With no secret service protection for presidential candidates in those days, Kennedy was guarded by unarmed Olympic decathlete champion Rafer Johnson and football tackler Rosey Grier - no match for an expert assassination team. . .,,1952379,00.html




DAWN HARRIS, KANSAS CITY STAR - Ron Brown's Body: How One Man's Death Saved the Clinton Presidency and Hillary's Future will be like salt in wounds for many of Bill Clinton's defenders, yet not nearly salty enough for his adversaries. In it, [Jack] Cashill paints a human and sympathetic portrait of Brown, Clinton's Secretary of Commerce. . .

Brown made frequent trade missions to foreign countries, often with leaders of industry in tow. His aim was to smooth the way for these Americans to conduct business with other countries. Cashill reports that the way for an American businessman to get a seat on one of those missions was to make a substantial contribution to the Democratic National Committee, which was producing ads at the time for the presidential campaign in an effort to get around campaign contribution and spending limits. Once these businessmen made such contributions, they expected something in return - something Brown was expected to deliver.

As the 1996 election approached, Brown was sent on more of these trade missions. On the ill-fated trip, he was to be accompanied by executives of Enron Corp. But those executives traveled to Dubrovnik on a plane that landed about an hour ahead of the time at which the secretary was to arrive.

He never made it. On April 3, the plane on which he was traveling with 34 other people veered off course and crashed into St. John's Peak. Investigators did not locate the wreckage until hours later, and the one woman to survive impact died on the way to the hospital.

The story might have ended there. But there was something odd about Ron Brown's lifeless body. He had suffered a circular wound in the top of his head. Some military investigators and photographers noticed what appeared to them to be a bullet hole. But strangely, no mention of the symmetrically shaped cylinder appeared in any report on the crash, and although an Air Force doctor examined Brown's body, a full autopsy was not ordered. . .

Cashill has a theory about exactly what happened to Ron Brown (which I leave for the reader to discover) and why it happened. The "why" involves Brown's apparent knowledge of the Clintons' involvement in using international means, including ties with China, in what may have been blatant circumventions of campaign finance law. Cashill goes to great pains to make clear the difference between what has been documented and what he surmises from the evidence. Cashill meticulously researched this work, consulting with experts on everything from campaign finance law to aircraft navigation systems to encryption technology to Ron Brown's life, personal and professional.


GLOBE AND MAIL, CANADA - Eleven microbiologists mysteriously dead over the span of just five months. Some of them world leaders in developing weapons-grade biological plagues. Others the best in figuring out how to stop millions from dying because of biological weapons. Still others, experts in the theory of bio-terrorism. Throw in a few Russian defectors, a few nervy U.S. biotech companies, a deranged assassin or two, a bit of Elvis, a couple of Satanists, a subtle hint of espionage, a big whack of imagination, and the plot is complete, if a bit reminiscent of James Bond.

Who they were:

1. Nov. 12, 2001: Benito Que was said to have been beaten in a Miami parking lot and died later.

2. Nov. 16, 2001: Don C. Wiley went missing. Was found Dec. 20. Investigators said he got dizzy on a Memphis bridge and fell to his death in a river.

3. Nov. 21, 2001: Vladimir Pasechnik, former high-level Russian microbiologist who defected in 1989 to the U.K. apparently died from a stroke.

4. Dec. 10, 2001: Robert M. Schwartz was stabbed to death in Leesberg, Va. Three Satanists have been arrested.

5. Dec. 14, 2001: Nguyen Van Set died in an airlock filled with nitrogen in his lab in Geelong, Australia.

6. Feb. 9, 2002: Victor Korshunov had his head bashed in near his home in Moscow.

7. Feb. 14, 2002: Ian Langford was found partially naked and wedged under a chair in Norwich, England.

8. 9. Feb. 28, 2002: San Francisco resident Tanya Holzmayer was killed by a microbiologist colleague, Guyang Huang, who shot her as she took delivery of a pizza and then apparently shot himself.

10. March 24, 2002: David Wynn-Williams died in a road accident near his home in Cambridge, England.

11. March 25, 2002: Steven Mostow of the Colorado Health Sciences Centre, killed in a plane he was flying near Denver.


NEWSMAX - Dozens of eyewitnesses to the Nov. 12 crash of American Airlines Flight 587 now say the government is ignoring their claims that the Airbus 300 exploded in midair before breaking up minutes after takeoff at New York's JFK airport. Six Flight 587 witnesses, including a recently retired police lieutenant and a fire department deputy chief, have written to the National Transportation Safety Board to demand a full public hearing on what they saw, the New York Post reported. "The NTSB is not acknowledging the many eyewitness accounts of the in-flight fire or explosion, many from people who are adamant that the fire occurred before any tail or engine breakup," retired firefighter and eyewitness Tom Lynch told the paper. Lynch said he saw two fireballs erupt from the plane's right side and insisted, "There were no falling parts until the second explosion of flames - I'll go to my grave with that." . . . Another witness not quoted by the Post corroborated Lynch's account almost exactly in an interview just minutes after the crash. Jackie Powers told ABC-News in New York that she saw "an enormous flash" on the right side of the plane's fuselage, with debris exiting to the left. MORE

CBS - Investigators looking into the crash of an American Airlines flight in Queens in November have so far found no pre-existing flaw in the jet's tail section and are now focusing on the performance of the pilots, who they think triggered the airplane's wild rolling and yawing in the seconds before it went down, according to a report in Saturday's New York Times. The data recovered from American Airlines Flight 587 showed that the plane hit turbulence from a plane in front of it and seconds later, began to swing violently and break up before it fell 2,900 feet to the ground, killing 265 people. The vertical tail of the plane, and the attached rudder, were the first parts to break off, and investigators suspected that might have caused the crash, possibly because of some undetected flaw, the Times says. But now, after extensive testing of the tail, they have found no pre-existing problem. And so they are intensely exploring whether the pilots, in trying to correct and control the plane after the turbulence, might have put more stress on the tail than it was designed to handle, the Times explains.




MIKE RUPPERT, FROM THE WILDERNESS: John Millis, Republican Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee committed suicide in a Fairfax County Virginia motel. According to the [NY] Times, "A spokesman for the Fairfax City police said officers were called to a motel about 8 PM on Sunday because a man was threatening suicide. Officer Jeff Morrison said that when the police arrived they found Mr. Millis dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound." The Times reported that Millis, appointed to his post as staff director by Republican Chairman Porter Goss of Florida three years ago, was himself, like Goss, a former CIA case officer . . . Just recently HPSCI closed out its four year investigation into allegations of CIA involvement in the cocaine trade during the 1980s. Its final report, dated in February but not publicly released until April, stated that there was "no evidence" that the CIA had any involvement or connection with cocaine trafficking as alleged by a series of 1996 stories in "The San Jose Mercury News." . . . Millis, in unprecedented style for a congressional staffer, made volatile and highly critical comments about the performance of former CIA Director John Deutch and President Bill Clinton in a February 18,2000 interview with "Washington Post" reporter Vernon Loeb. Loeb wrote, " Over on the other side of the Capitol this week, the chief staffer of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, former CIA operations officer John Millis, proclaimed Deutch the worst CIA director ever. "Asked at a public lecture at the Smithsonian Tuesday night to rate the various directors of Central Intelligence, Millis said Deutch now takes 'first, second and third prize,' adding that he did 'major damage' to the CIA's Directorate of Operations." . . . In an election year marked by unusually strenuous behind the scenes conflicts, Millis' statements struck us as especially unusual for their apparent candor and premeditation. 6/00


INSIGHT MAGAZINE: Who ordered the Watergate break-ins and what were the burglars hoping to find? Most historians thought these questions were answered a long time ago, but for convicted Watergate conspirators John Dean and G. Gordon Liddy the issue is far from resolved. The two have been fighting an eight-year legal battle - rife with incendiary charges of sex, lies and cover-ups - hoping to prove their versions of what happened. It's a fight that seemed to end in June when a federal district court dismissed the lawsuit by mutual agreement, leaving Dean and Liddy to battle it out in the court of public opinion. The dispute centers on comments Liddy made in speeches and on his nationally syndicated radio program in which he accused Dean of masterminding the Watergate break-ins and of lying under oath when he testified about the affair. Also at issue are Liddy's claims that Dean's alleged lies sent innocent people to jail, as well as his claim that Dean's wife, Maureen, was linked to a call-girl ring. The charges led the Deans to file a defamation lawsuit against Liddy, whose comments they claim were false and malicious and which they say hurt Maureen Dean's book sales and caused her intense emotional suffering. Liddy isn't the first to make sensational claims about the Deans. Many of his accusations are part of a broader look at the 1972 Watergate break-ins advanced by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin in Silent Coup, a best-selling book on Watergate. The Deans also sued Colodny but dropped the case when Colodny's libel insurance company paid both Colodny and Dean to walk away from the case. Silent Coup attacks the conventional understanding of Watergate, based on the work of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, in which Attorney General John R. Mitchell, manager of Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President, ordered the break-ins. Instead, the book claims, it was John Dean who ordered the burglary, allegedly because he knew of a call-girl ring operating out of the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, headquarters and hoped the break-ins would uncover dirt on the Democrats. 8/00



WAYNE MADSEN REPORT There was no mistake that when Deborah Jeane Palfrey's phone records were made public by order of US Judge Gladys Kessler, shortly before she asked to be reassigned from the case, that Palfrey's Pamela Martin & Associates escort agency had some very intriguing clientele. If one were to have mapped the phone numbers on Palfrey's list, McLean, Virginia would have looked like the epicenter of an earthquake. McLean is the home to the CIA, Washington's top politicians, and assorted foreign and domestic business movers and shakers who travel in and out of the CIA's shadow. . .

As she left her Orlando condo for her mother's home [shortly before her alleged suicide], Palfrey was noticed taking a few suitcases with a white paper file box. Palfrey told the [building] manager the box contained some important papers, possibly having to do with her escort business. . .

In fact, it is a certainty that one of the actual "corporate clients" of the PMA agency was the CIA itself. Palfrey's escorts included college professors, a naval officer, a legal secretary for one of Washington's top international law firms, essentially those who would be reliable to pick up needed intelligence from a designated target. PMA's clients included as many foreign political and business leaders as American ones. It was the potential for blackmail and seeking favors that made PMA, in business for over 13 years, a favorite for the CIA. No other escort agency in the Washington area provided the top-level credentials possessed by PMA. For that reason, PMA was the agency of choice for the CIA. . .

On September 1, 2007, WMR reported: "WMR has learned that on August 31, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the indicted Pamela Martin & Associates proprietor, filed a 'Motion for Pretrial Conference to Consider Matters Relating to classified information' under the 'Classified Information Procedures Act' with the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. The purpose of the filing alerts the government that Palfrey's defense will likely involved the disclosure of evidence and identities presently deemed 'classified" by the U.S. government.'"

The CIPA is only invoked in cases when classified national security information must be revealed. It is now clear that Palfrey, who never admitted to this editor any links between her agency and the CIA, was a contractor for the spy agency. Palfrey's citing of CIPA is an indication that she signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA stating that she would never reveal classified information as a result of her special relationship with the agency unless authorized to do so. Palfrey's non-disclosure agreement would have resulted in her making no comment to the press about any relationship. However, it must be stated that Palfrey always insisted to this editor that it was quite possible that some of her employees may have had a relationship with U.S. intelligence but that she would not necessarily know that to be the case.

Palfrey was never comfortable with her court-appointed attorney Preston Burton. Burton once was a partner in the law office of Plato Cacheris in Washington. Cacheris' name is synonymous in DC circles with CIA scandals, particularly those dealing in espionage. Burton's resume of clients is a "Who's Who" of the past two decades of spy scandals: the CIA's Soviet spy Aldrich Ames, the FBI's Soviet spy Robert Hanssen, Oliver North's secretary Fawn Hall, Watergate convicted Attorney General John Mitchell, and Monica Lewinsky. Burton, himself, was involved in the defense of Ames, Hanssen, Lewinsky, as well as Ana Belen Montes, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst convicted of spying for Cuba.

The top CIA cases involved the US Eastern District of Virginia court in Alexandria, where Plato Cacheris' brother, James Cacheris, serves as a senior judge. Known as the "rocket docket," Plato and James Cacheris have overseen a number of espionage cases, including Ames, that saw quick pleas and lifetime prison sentences. Mention the name Cacheris in Washington, DC and CIA comes instantly to mind among those who know the game. Palfrey was obviously aware of the CIA's past use of "rocket dockets" in Alexandria and Washington and the "exchange" of emails between U.S. Judge James Robertson, federal prosecutors William Cowden and Daniel Butler, and Burton on the weekend before Burton agreed to not call any defense witnesses and allow the case to be sent directly to the jury was a sure indication of outside interference in the case. Robertson, who replaced Kessler after she requested to be reassigned, promised to reveal the emails to the public, indicating he was legally required to do so. To date, to our knowledge, they have not been released. . .

There is another interesting postscript to the Palfrey case. Palfrey, after deciding to close down PMA and move to Europe, chose to buy an apartment in the former East Berlin. This editor discussed this with Palfrey and the consensus was that, for European prices, there were some good deals on real estate in eastern Berlin as the former Soviet sector has lagged behind in improving infrastructure. However, it was intriguing that Palfrey, who spent her time mostly in California and Florida, would have known about a good deal in East Berlin. Or did one of her agency handlers recommend it as the perfect place to get away from the "game" in Washington?





JAMES WOLCOTT, VANITY FAIR - In July of 2001, Lori Klausutis, a 28- year-old aide to Scarborough, was found dead on the floor of his district office in Florida. (The congressman was in Washington, D.C.) The preliminary findings revealed no foul play or evidence of suicide, 'and she had seemed to be in good health. She appeared to have hit her head on the desk, but what caused her fall? The timing of her death was the stuff of pulp novels. As Denis Wright and Chris George wrote in American Politics Journal, "Klausutis' boss, Joe Scarborough, had recently resigned from Congress prematurely and unexpectedly, amid rumors about his marital fidelity and soon after a divorce."

The reporters also noted that the murky circumstances of Klausutis' death bore eerie similarities to the Gary Condit-Chandra Levy case, and yet this one received no national notice whatsoever. Could it be because Condit belonged to the forces of darkness - the Democratic Party - and Scarborough was Republican? Condit was a useful club with which to beat up on Bill Clinton again, as Barbara Olson and others joyously did on CNN's Larry King Live; Scarborough wasn't.

After Klausutis' body was discovered, Scarborough's office released a condolence statement. "May God grant Lori's family the grace, comfort, and hope that will get them through this difficult time." But there's a time to mourn, a time to move on, and a time to have a hearty chuckle. On the May 29, 2003, broadcast of Imus in the Morning (simulcast on MSNBC), Imus joshed with Scarborough about the aide's death. "Don't be afraid to be funny, because you are funny. I asked you why you aren't in Congress. You said that you had sex with the intern and then you had to kill her." Scarborough responded, "Yeah, well, what are you gonna do?" That's the sort of devil-may-care tone they're looking for at MSNBC.

MIAMI HERALD, JUL 12, 2006 - Klausutis, 28, was a Scarborough staff member who died July 20, 2001, when she hit her head after experiencing heart arrhythmia, according to a medical examiner's report, news reports and family members. Echoing the official findings, one family member told The Miami Herald there was no foul play. But some observers sought to make Klausutis' death a political issue, comparing it to the Chandra Levy intern scandal tied to former California Democratic Rep. Gary Condit.