Mexican Drug War

Nov 22nd 2012, 16:34 by Economist.com

Mexican states compared with entire countries’ body counts, murder rates and populations

MEXICO’S murder rate has doubled over the past five years, to nearly 19 per 100,000 people per year. But what does that really mean? To give an idea of how safe or dangerous the country’s various states are, we have compared their crime statistics with those of whole countries. Visitors can relax in Yucatán, the safest state, which has about the same murder rate as Finland. Tlaxcala, not far from Mexico City, is about as safe as the United States. At the other end of the spectrum Chihuahua, the most violent state, has a murder rate equivalent to El Salvador, one of the most violent countries in the world. Another way of looking at the data is to compare the gross totals. The state of San Luis Potosí, for instance, has seen as many murders in the past year as all of Spain, despite having a population of just 2.6m.


BY NICHOLAS CASEY

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, fresh off his weekend election victory, said Tuesday he plans to continue President Felipe Calderón’s fight against the country’s drug gangs, but outlined a long-term strategy to place more of the battle in the hands of civilians rather than the military.

In a wide-ranging interview in the capital, Mr. Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, praised much of Mr. Calderón’s strategy against organized crime, including the creation of a federal police force and growing cooperation with the U.S.


President Barack Obama telephoned Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto to congratulate him on his victory in last weekend’s elections, the White House said in a statement Monday. While the release listed several topics that the two men discussed, it made no explicit mention of the two countries’ fitful efforts to combat ultra-violent drug cartels.

Obama «reiterated his commitment to working in partnership with Mexico, and looks forward to advancing common goals, including promoting democracy, economic prosperity, and security in the region and around the globe, in the coming years,» according to the White House statement.

Peña Nieto’s victory brought the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which governed Mexico for decades, back to power. He has pledged to overhaul his country’s energy, labor and tax systems, Reuters reported..

«The two leaders reaffirmed the close bilateral partnership the United States and Mexico enjoy based on mutual respect, shared responsibility, and the deep connections between our people,» according to the statement. Obama also «congratulated the Mexican people who have once again demonstrated their commitment to democratic values through a free, fair, and transparent election process.»

Peña Nieto won Sunday’s election with 38 percent of the vote, according to early returns. That gave him a lead of roughly 7 percentage points over his nearest rival, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,  according to the Associated Press.

Obama has faced sharp Republican criticism over the government’s Fast and Furious operation, which aimed to track the flow of firearms from American gun sellers, through straw buyers, into the hands of the cartels. The Republican-led House of Representatives voted last week to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over Justice Department documents tied to the operation.


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto’s campaign team claimed victory in the country’s presidential election on Sunday after exit polls showed him winning by a comfortable margin.

Pena Nieto, 45, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), led by between 8 and 11 percentage points in exit polls published by three of Mexico’s main television networks after voting ended on Sunday night.
Shortly afterward his campaign manager, Luis Videgaray, declared victory.

«It is a resounding triumph,» Videgaray told Milenio television, adding that he was hopeful the PRI would have a majority in the Senate and possibly in the lower house of Congress, too.

The PRI, which governed Mexico for 71 years until losing power in 2000, has staged a comeback behind the handsome Pena Nieto, who has pledged to open state-owned oil monopoly Pemex to foreign investors, raise tax revenue and liberalize the labor market.

The exit polls showed him winning around 40 percent of the vote. Leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was in second place with Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, trailing in third.

«I recognize that the trend up to this point is not in my favor,» said Vazquez Mota, whose campaign was dragged down by a brutal war with drug cartels and the government’s patchy economic record.
Preliminary official results were due in the next few hours.

«It’s time for the PRI to return. They’re the only ones who know how to govern,» said Candelaria Puc, 70, as she voted in the beach resort of Cancun. «The PRI is tough, but they won’t let the drug violence get out of control.»

Others feared a return to the worst years of PRI rule and put Pena Nieto’s big lead down to his cozy relationship with Televisa, Mexico’s top broadcaster.

«It’s the same party as ever and the people who vote for him (Pena Nieto) believe they are going to live happily ever after like in the soap operas,» Humberto Parra, a systems engineer, said as he went to vote in Mexico City.

By the time it lost to the PAN in 2000, the PRI had a reputation for widespread corruption, electoral fraud and authoritarianism.

The PRI was in disarray by 2006, when its presidential candidate came in a distant third, but it has rebounded since then and Pena Nieto gave it a new face.

He is promising to restore security to cities and towns ravaged by the drug war and also plans to reform Pemex, a proposal once considered political suicide.

Mexicans are fiercely protective of Pemex, but the PRI, which nationalized oil production in 1938, could be the one party able to liberalize the energy industry.

The PRI laid the foundations of the modern state with a nimble blend of politics and patronage that allowed it to appeal to labor unions and captains of industry at the same time.
Mexicans eventually tired of heavy-handedness that stifled dissent, rewarded loyalists and allowed widespread corruption.

(Additional reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Ana Isabel Martinez, Pablo Garibian; Editing by Dave Graham and Kieran Murray and Christopher Wilson)


Mexico’s Next President Won’t Slow The Drug War

By Robert Beckhusen

At this point, there’s little doubt who is likely to win Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday. That would be Enrique Peña Nieto, who polls show leading with double-digits over his rival candidates. He’s also calling for a (subtle) shift in the fight against the cartels: don’t bother as much with stopping drugs and taking down drug lords, but focus on stopping violence and kidnapping. But as far as big changes go, don’t expect much if Peña Nieto wins, at least not soon.

First, the little things. Last week, Pieña Nieto recruited Colombian General Oscar Naranjo — a veteran of the war against the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar — as his top security adviser. Peña Nieto wants to boost Mexico’s Federal Police, and he’s for creating a new national paramilitary police force to fight the cartels.  His campaign has also been “highly solicitous” of the United States, notes Patrick Corcoran ofInSight, an organized crime monitoring group. This could mean a bigger U.S. role. Naranjo is also reportedly close to U.S. officials.
This is while the cartels still exercise draconian rule over cities throughout many parts of the country, especially along the border. Ciudad Juárez, which came to define Mexico’s drug violence when viewed from outside the country, has seen a drop in murders to 2007 levels, Corcoran adds. But other cities, like Nuevo Laredo, experienced lower and lower levels of violence only for gangland killings to spark anew. The cartels have also spread to new areas.
“If you noticed, none of the presidential candidates broke openly with [outgoing President Felipe Calderón’s] strategy — the farthest they went was to criticize the level of violence,” César Martinez Espinosa, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas and a specialist in Mexican national security issues, writes in an e-mail. ”This is because they recognized that a majority of people (outside of Mexico City) approves Calderón’s fight against the cartels (some polls have tracked that), especially the participation of the military in it and because they might not have that much room to maneuver once they are in power.”
Reducing violence by legalizing drugs? Not likely in the least. A darker suggestion floated as a possibility in press reports is some kind of deal with the cartels, but Pieña Nieto has ruled out negotiating a truce.
The reason why a truce is brought up: Peña Nieto’s political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (or PRI), formerly maintained uninterrupted single-party rule for most of the 20th century. But when it lost power 12 years ago, it also lost a patronage system between regional party bosses and the cartels. This system meant drugs were allowed to flow relatively freely, provided physical disputes between the cartels didn’t get out of hand. But losing a (note: corrupt) system of checks and balances, beef between cartels escalated.
Nor is it likely that such a deal could be made today. In some states that maintained PRI rule, these networks were maintained but still failed to stop the surge in violence. Some of the state-level politicians with ties to the cartels are now being purged. In any case, the PRI will be governing a different Mexico: one in which corruption is still a major problem, but in which a single party is not able to maintain control over the entire governing apparatus. Another problem is that today’s cartels are smaller, a lot more numerous and increasingly decentralized. With so many cartels operating in Mexico today, who do you cut a deal with?
“Should he win, Peña Nieto will surely seek some cosmetic changes, and he may push the philosophy underlying Mexico’s crime strategy in a new direction. But the obstacles to a different approach are enormous; as a result, for better or worse, the shifts are likely to be marginal,” notes Corcoran.
Another option is to eliminate some local police forces and “consolidate them into stronger state forces,” says Martinez. Elsewhere, the new president will have to keep up economic growth and push reforms through the courts and a chaotic, badly-run prison system. But for the time being, and for whoever wins, the war with the cartels will continue.


Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (born April 4, 1957)[2] is a fugitive Mexican drug lord who heads the world’s largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa Cartel,[5] an organization named after the Mexican Pacific coast state of Sinaloa where it was initially formed. Known as «El Chapo Guzmán» Shorty Guzmán«) for his 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) stature, he became Mexico’s top drug kingpin in 2003 after the arrest of his rival Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf Cartel, and is now considered «The most powerful drug trafficker in the world,» by the United States Department of the Treasury.[6][7]
Guzmán Loera has been ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful people in the world every year since 2009; ranking 41st, 60th and 55th respectively.[8][9] He was also listed by Forbes as the 10th richest man in Mexico (1,140th in the world) in 2011.[10][11] Forbes also calls him the «biggest druglord of all time»,[12] and the DEA strongly believes he has surpassed the influence and reach of Pablo Escobar, and now considers him «the godfather of the drug world.»[13]
Guzman Loera’s Sinaloa Cartel smuggles multi-ton cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to the United States,[1] and has distribution cells throughout the U.S.[1] The organization has also been involved in the production, smuggling and distribution of Mexican methamphetamine,marijuana, and heroin. The U.S. offers a $5 million USD reward for information leading to his capture. The Mexican government offers a reward of 30 million pesos for such information.


Cocaine Incorporated

 
 
By PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE

Published: June 15, 2012
One afternoon last August, at a hospital on the outskirts of Los Angeles, a former beauty queen named Emma Coronel gave birth to a pair of heiresses. The twins, who were delivered at 3:50 and 3:51, respectively, stand to inherit some share of a fortune that Forbes estimates is worth a billion dollars. Coronel’s husband, who was not present for the birth, is a legendary tycoon who overcame a penurious rural childhood to establish a wildly successful multinational business. If Coronel elected to leave the entry for “Father” on the birth certificates blank, it was not because of any dispute over patrimony. More likely, she was just skittish about the fact that her husband, Joaquín Guzmán, is the C.E.O. of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, a man the Treasury Department recently described as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker. Guzmán’s organization is responsible for as much as half of the illegal narcotics imported into the United States from Mexico each year; he may well be the most-wanted criminal in this post-Bin Laden world. But his bride is a U.S. citizen with no charges against her. So authorities could only watch as she bundled up her daughters and slipped back across the border to introduce them to their dad.
How the Sinaloa Cartel Smuggles Drugs Across Borders

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Known as El Chapo for his short, stocky frame, Guzmán is 55, which in narco-years is about 150. He is a quasi-mythical figure in Mexico, the subject of countless ballads, who has outlived enemies and accomplices alike, defying the implicit bargain of a life in the drug trade: that careers are glittering but brief and always terminate in prison or the grave. When Pablo Escobar was Chapo’s age, he had been dead for more than a decade. In fact, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chapo sells more drugs today than Escobar did at the height of his career. To some extent, this success is easily explained: as Hillary Clinton acknowledged several years ago, America’s “insatiable demand for illegal drugs” is what drives the clandestine industry. It’s no accident that the world’s biggest supplier of narcotics and the world’s biggest consumer of narcotics just happen to be neighbors. “Poor Mexico,” its former president Porfirio Díaz is said to have remarked. “So far from God and so close to the United States.”
The Sinaloa cartel can buy a kilo of cocaine in the highlands of Colombia or Peru for around $2,000, then watch it accrue value as it makes its way to market. In Mexico, that kilo fetches more than $10,000. Jump the border to the United States, and it could sell wholesale for $30,000. Break it down into grams to distribute retail, and that same kilo sells for upward of $100,000 — more than its weight in gold. And that’s just cocaine. Alone among the Mexican cartels, Sinaloa is both diversified and vertically integrated, producing and exporting marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine as well.
Estimating the precise scale of Chapo’s empire is tricky, however. Statistics on underground economies are inherently speculative: cartels don’t make annual disclosures, and no auditor examines their books. Instead, we’re left with back-of-the-envelope extrapolations based on conjectural data, much of it supplied by government agencies that may have bureaucratic incentives to overplay the problem.
So in a spirit of empirical humility, we shouldn’t accept as gospel the estimate, from the Justice Department, that Colombian and Mexican cartels reap $18 billion to $39 billion from drug sales in the United States each year. (That range alone should give you pause.) Still, even if you take the lowest available numbers, Sinaloa emerges as a titanic player in the global black market. In the sober reckoning of the RAND Corporation, for instance, the gross revenue that all Mexican cartels derive from exporting drugs to the United States amounts to only $6.6 billion. By most estimates, though, Sinaloa has achieved a market share of at least 40 percent and perhaps as much as 60 percent, which means that Chapo Guzmán’s organization would appear to enjoy annual revenues of some $3 billion — comparable in terms of earnings to Netflix or, for that matter, to Facebook.
The drug war in Mexico has claimed more than 50,000 lives since 2006. But what tends to get lost amid coverage of this epic bloodletting is just how effective the drug business has become. A close study of the Sinaloa cartel, based on thousands of pages of trial records and dozens of interviews with convicted drug traffickers and current and former officials in Mexico and the United States, reveals an operation that is global (it is active in more than a dozen countries) yet also very nimble and, above all, staggeringly complex. Sinaloa didn’t merely survive the recession — it has thrived in recent years. And after prevailing in some recent mass-casualty clashes, it now controls more territory along the border than ever.
“Chapo always talks about the drug business, wherever he is,” one erstwhile confidant told a jury several years ago, describing a driven, even obsessive entrepreneur with a proclivity for micromanagement. From the remote mountain redoubt where he is believed to be hiding, surrounded at all times by a battery of gunmen, Chapo oversees a logistical network that is as sophisticated, in some ways, as that of Amazon or U.P.S. — doubly sophisticated, when you think about it, because traffickers must move both their product and their profits in secret, and constantly maneuver to avoid death or arrest. As a mirror image of a legal commodities business, the Sinaloa cartel brings to mind that old line about Ginger Rogers doing all the same moves as Fred Astaire, only backward and in heels. In its longevity, profitability and scope, it might be the most successful criminal enterprise in history.
The state of Sinaloa, from which the cartel derives its name, lies wedged between the Sierra Madre Occidental and Mexico’s west coast. Sun-blasted and remote, Sinaloa is the Sicily of Mexico, both cradle and refuge of violent men, and the ancestral land of many of the country’s most notorious traffickers. Chapo was born in a village called La Tuna, in the foothills of the Sierra, in 1957. His formal education ended in third grade, and as an adult, he has reportedly struggled to read and write, prevailing upon a ghostwriter, at one point, to compose letters to his mistress. Little is known about Chapo’s early years, but by the 1980s, he joined the Guadalajara cartel, which was run by a former policeman known as El Padrino — the Godfather.
For decades, Mexican smugglers had exported homegrown marijuana and heroin to the United States. But as the Colombian cocaine boom gathered momentum in the 1980s and U.S. law enforcement began patrolling the Caribbean, the Colombians went in search of an alternate route to the United States and discovered one in Mexico. Initially, Mexican traffickers, like a pudgy 25-year-old airplane pilot named Miguel Angel Martínez, acted as independent contractors who were paid a fee by the Colombians to move their cargo. In 1986, the Guadalajara cartel dispatched Martínez to the Colombian port of Barranquilla, in the hope that someone might commission him to fly drugs up to Mexico. But Martínez couldn’t find any takers and ended up languishing in Colombia for months, worrying that he had blown his big opportunity with the cartel. Eventually, he caught a commercial flight back to Mexico, and shortly thereafter, he was summoned to a meeting with Chapo, who was by then an underboss in the cartel. “You were very well behaved in Colombia,” Chapo told him, according to subsequent testimony. He seemed impressed by Martínez’s patience in waiting for an assignment.
Having passed this test, Martínez started working for Chapo as a kind of air traffic controller, negotiating directly with the Cali and Medellín cartels, then guiding their cocaine flights from South America to secret runways in barren stretches of Mexico. Martínez knew U.S. agents were monitoring his radio communications, so rather than say a word, he would whistle — a signal to the pilots that they were cleared for takeoff.
With the decline of the Caribbean route, the Colombians started paying Mexican smugglers not in cash but in cocaine. More than any other factor, it was this transition that realigned the power dynamics along the narcotics supply chain in the Americas, because it allowed the Mexicans to stop serving as logistical middlemen and invest in their own drugs instead. In 1986, Martínez couldn’t land a gig as a lowly courier in Barranquilla. Not five years later, he was marshaling hundreds of flights laden with cocaine for Chapo. “Sometimes we would get five planes a night,” he remembered. “Sometimes 16.” Now it was the Colombians who went hat in hand to Chapo, looking not to hire him to move their product but to sell it to him outright. They would tip Martínez $25,000 just to get an audience with the man.
The young pilot became a gatekeeper to the ascendant kingpin, fielding his phone calls and accompanying him on foreign trips. There’s a vaudevillian goofiness to nicknames in Mexico, and the stout Martínez was known in the cartel as El Gordo. He and Chapo — Fatty and Shorty — made quite a pair. “Japan, Hong Kong, India, all of Europe,” Martínez recalled in testimony. Chapo owned a fleet of Learjets, and together, they saw “the whole world.” They both used cocaine as well, a habit that Chapo would eventually give up. When a lawyer inquired, years later, whether he had been Chapo’s right-hand man, Martínez replied that he might have been, but that Guzmán had five left hands and five right hands. “He’s an octopus, Chapo Guzmán,” he said. For his efforts, Martínez was paid a million dollars a year, in a single annual installment: “In cash, in a suitcase, each December.” When Martínez’s son was born, Chapo asked to serve as godfather.
In 1989, Chapo’s mentor, El Padrino, was captured by Mexican authorities, and the remaining members of the Guadalajara cartel assembled in Acapulco to determine which smuggling route each capo would inherit. According to Ioan Grillo’s book, “El Narco,” the meeting was ostensibly a gathering of friends. But the shards of El Padrino’s organization would become the basis for the Tijuana, Juárez and Sinaloa cartels, and these onetime colleagues would soon become antagonists in a cycle of bloody turf wars that continues to this day.
“Drug cartel,” it turns out, is a whopper of a misnomer; neither the Mexicans nor the Colombians ever colluded to fix prices or supply. “I wish they were cartels,” Arturo Sarukhán, Mexico’s ambassador in Washington, told me. “If they were, they wouldn’t be fighting and driving up the violence.”
At first, Chapo’s organization controlled a single smuggling route, through western Mexico into Arizona. But by 1990, it was moving three tons of cocaine each month over the border, and from there, to Los Angeles. The Sinaloa has always distinguished itself by the eclectic means it uses to transport drugs. Working with Colombian suppliers, cartel operatives moved cocaine into Mexico in small private aircraft and in baggage smuggled on commercial flights and eventually on their own 747s, which they could load with as much as 13 tons of cocaine. They used container ships and fishing vessels and go-fast boats and submarines — crude semi-submersibles at first, then fully submersible subs, conceived by engineers and constructed under the canopy of the Amazon, then floated downriver in pieces and assembled at the coastline. These vessels can cost more than a million dollars, but to the smugglers, they are effectively disposable. In the event of an interception by the Coast Guard, someone onboard pulls a lever that floods the interior so that the evidence sinks; only the crew is left bobbing in the water, waiting to be picked up by the authorities.
Moving cocaine is a capital-intensive business, but the cartel subsidizes these investments with a ready source of easy income: marijuana. Cannabis is often described as the “cash crop” of Mexican cartels because it grows abundantly in the Sierras and requires no processing. But it’s bulkier than cocaine, and smellier, which makes it difficult to conceal. So marijuana tends to cross the border far from official ports of entry. The cartel makes sandbag bridges to ford the Colorado River and sends buggies loaded with weed bouncing over the Imperial Sand Dunes into California. Michael Braun, the former chief of operations for the D.E.A., told me a story about the construction of a high-tech fence along a stretch of border in Arizona. “They erect this fence,” he said, “only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they’re flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side.” He paused and looked at me for a second. “A catapult,” he repeated. “We’ve got the best fence money can buy, and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology.”
Improvisation is a trafficker’s greatest asset, and in recent years, Sinaloa has devised an even more efficient solution to the perennial challenge of getting marijuana across the border. Grow it here. Several years ago, a hunter was trekking through the remote North Woods of Wisconsin when he stumbled upon a vast irrigated grow site, tended by a dozen Mexican farmers armed with AK-47’s. According to the D.E.A., it was a Sinaloa pot farm, established on U.S. National Forest land to supply the market in Chicago.
Heroin is easier to smuggle but difficult to produce, and as detailed in court documents, Chapo is particularly proud of his organization’s work with the drug. He personally negotiates shipments to the United States and stands by its quality, which is normally 94 percent pure. “The value-to-weight ratio of heroin is better than any other drug,” says Alejandro Hope, who until recently was a senior officer at Cisen, Mexico’s equivalent to the C.I.A.
But the future of the business may be methamphetamine. During the 1990s, when the market for meth exploded in the United States, new regulations made it more difficult to manufacture large quantities of the drug in this country. This presented an opportunity that the Sinaloa quickly exploited. According to Anabel Hernández, author of “Los Señores del Narco,” a book about the cartel, it was one of Chapo’s deputies, a trafficker named Ignacio (Nacho) Coronel, who first spotted the massive potential of methamphetamine. “Nacho was like Steve Jobs,” Hernández told me. “He saw the future.”
Here was a drug that was ragingly addictive and could be produced cheaply and smuggled with relative ease. When they first started manufacturing meth, the Sinaloa would provide free samples to their existing wholesale clients in the Midwest. “They’d send five hundred pounds of marijuana, and secreted in that would be two kilos of meth,” Jack Riley, the D.E.A.’s special agent in charge of the Chicago office, told me. “They’d give it away for free. They wanted the market.” As demand grew, the cartel constructed superlabs, capable of churning out industrial volumes of meth. Container ships from India and China unloaded precursor chemicals — largely ephedrine — in the Pacific ports Lázaro Cárdenas and Manzanillo. To grasp the scale of production, consider the volume of some recent precursor seizures at these ports: 22 tons in October 2009; 88 tons in May 2010; 252 tons last December. When Mexico banned the importation of ephedrine, the cartel adapted, tweaking its recipe to use unregulated precursors. Recently they have started outsourcing production to new labs in Guatemala.
But Chapo’s greatest contribution to the evolving tradecraft of drug trafficking was one of those innovations that seem so logical in hindsight it’s a wonder nobody thought of it before: a tunnel. In the late 1980s, Chapo hired an architect to design an underground passageway from Mexico to the United States. What appeared to be a water faucet outside the home of a cartel attorney in the border town of Agua Prieta was in fact a secret lever that, when twisted, activated a hydraulic system that opened a hidden trapdoor underneath a pool table inside the house. The passage ran more than 200 feet, directly beneath the fortifications along the border, and emerged inside a warehouse the cartel owned in Douglas, Ariz. Chapo pronounced it “cool.”
When this new route was complete, Chapo instructed Martínez to call the Colombians. “Tell them to send all the drugs they can,” he said. As the deliveries multiplied, Sinaloa acquired a reputation for the miraculous speed with which it could push inventory across the border. “Before the planes were arriving back in Colombia on the return, the cocaine was already in Los Angeles,” Martínez marveled.
Eventually the tunnel was discovered, so Chapo shifted tactics once again, this time by going into the chili-pepper business. He opened a cannery in Guadalajara and began producing thousands of cans stamped “Comadre Jalapeños,” stuffing them with cocaine, then vacuum-sealing them and shipping them to Mexican-owned grocery stores in California. He sent drugs in the refrigeration units of tractor-trailers, in custom-made cavities in the bodies of cars and in truckloads of fish (which inspectors at a sweltering checkpoint might not want to detain for long). He sent drugs across the border on freight trains, to cartel warehouses in Los Angeles and Chicago, where rail spurs let the cars roll directly inside to unload. He sent drugs via FedEx.
But that tunnel into Douglas remains Chapo’s masterpiece, an emblem of his creative ingenuity. Twenty years on, the cartels are still burrowing under the border — more than a hundred tunnels have been discovered in the years since Chapo’s first. They are often ventilated and air-conditioned, and some feature trolley lines stretching up to a half-mile to accommodate the tonnage in transit.
You might suppose that a certain recklessness would be a prerequisite for anyone contemplating a career in the drug trade. But in reality, blue-chip traffickers tend to fixate, with neurotic intensity, on the concept of risk. “The goal of these folks is not to sell drugs,” Tony Placido, who was the top intelligence official at the D.E.A. until he retired last year, told me. “It’s to earn a spendable profit and live to enjoy it.” So the smart narcos are preoccupied with what Peter Reuter and Mark Kleiman once referred to, in a classic essay on the drug business, as “the marginal imprisonment risk.” In 2010, Chapo’s old friend Ismael (El Mayo) Zambada, the No. 2 man in the Sinaloa cartel, granted an interview to the Mexican magazine Proceso. Now in his 60s and a grandfather, El Mayo has been in the drug business for nearly half a century and has amassed a fortune. But you can’t buy peace of mind. “I’m terrified they’ll incarcerate me,” he acknowledged. “I’m full of fear. Always.”
There’s a reason coke and heroin cost so much more on the street than at the farm gate: you’re not paying for the drugs; you’re compensating everyone along the distribution chain for the risks they assumed in getting them to you. Smugglers often negotiate, in actuarial detail, about who will be held liable in the event of lost inventory. After a bust, arrested traffickers have been known to demand a receipt from authorities, so that they can prove the loss was not because of their own negligence (which would mean they might have to pay for it) or their own thievery (which would mean they might have to die). Some Colombian cartels have actually offered insurance policies on narcotics, as a safeguard against loss or seizure.
To prevent catastrophic losses, cartels tend to distribute their risk as much as possible. Before sending a 100-kilo shipment across the border, traffickers might disaggregate it into five carloads of 20 kilos each. Chapo and his associates further reduce their personal exposure by going in together on shipments, so each of those smaller carloads might hold 10 kilos belonging to Chapo and 10 belonging to Mayo Zambada. The Sinaloa is occasionally called the Federation because senior figures and their subsidiaries operate semiautonomously while still employing a common smuggling apparatus.
The organizational structure of the cartel also seems fashioned to protect the leadership. No one knows how many people work for Sinaloa, and the range of estimates is comically broad. Malcolm Beith, the author of a recent book about Chapo, posits that at any given moment, the drug lord may have 150,000 people working for him. John Bailey, a Georgetown professor who has studied the cartel, says that the number of actual employees could be as low as 150. The way to account for this disparity is to distinguish between salaried employees and subcontractors. A labor force of thousands may be required to plow all that contraband up the continent, but a lot of the work can be delegated to independent contractors, people the Mexican political scientist and security consultant Eduardo Guerrero describes as working “for the cartel but outside it.”
Even those who do work directly for the cartel are limited to carefully compartmentalized roles. At a recent trial, a regional cartel lieutenant, José Esparza, testified about his experience working for the Sinaloa along the border. On one occasion, he attended a meeting outside Culiacán with many of the cartel’s top leaders. But there was no sign of Chapo. Once the discussion concluded, an emissary left the group and approached a Hummer that was parked in the distance and surrounded by men with bulletproof vests and machine guns, to report on the proceedings. Chapo never stepped out of the vehicle.
It’s not just the federales that the narcos fear; it’s also one another. The brutal opportunism of the underworld economy means that most partnerships are temporary, and treachery abounds. For decades, Chapo worked closely with his childhood friend Arturo Beltrán Leyva, a fearsome trafficker who ran a profitable subsidiary of Sinaloa. But in 2008, the two men split, then went to war, and Beltrán Leyva’s assassins were later blamed for murdering one of Chapo’s sons. To reduce the likelihood of clashes like these, the cartel has revived an unlikely custom: the ancient art of dynastic marriage. Chapo’s organization is occasionally referred to as an alianza de sangre (“alliance of blood”), because so many of its prominent members are cousins by marriage or brothers-in-law. Emma Coronel, who gave birth to Chapo’s twins, is the niece of Nacho Coronel, the Steve Jobs of meth (who died in a shootout with the Mexican Army in 2010). All of this intermarriage, one U.S. official in Mexico suggested to me, functions as “a hedge against distrust.” An associate may be less likely to cheat you, or to murder you, if there’ll be hell to pay with his wife. It’s a cynical strategy, certainly, but in a vocation where one of Chapo’s rivals went by the nickname Mata Amigos, or “Friend Killer,” it may also be quite sound.
The surest way to stay out of trouble in the drug business is to dole out bribes, and promiscuously. Drug cartels don’t pay corporate taxes, but a colossus like Sinaloa makes regular payments to the federal, state and municipal authorities that may well rival the effective tax rate in Mexico. When the D.E.A. conducted an internal survey of its top 50 operatives and informants several years ago and asked them to name the most important factor for running a drug business, they replied, overwhelmingly, corruption. At a trial in 2010, a former police official from Juárez, Jesús Fierro Méndez, acknowledged that he had worked for Sinaloa. “Did the drug cartels have the police on the payroll?” an attorney asked.
“All of it,” Fierro Méndez replied.
The cartel bribes mayors and prosecutors and governors, state police and federal police, the army, the navy and a host of senior officials at the national level. After an arrest for drug trafficking in the 1990s, Chapo was sentenced to 20 years and shipped to Puente Grande, a fortified prison in Jalisco that was Mexico’s answer to a supermax. But during the five years he spent there, Chapo enjoyed prerogatives that make the prison sequence in “Goodfellas” look positively austere. With most of the facility on his payroll, he is said to have ordered his meals from a menu, conducted business by cellphone and orchestrated periodic visits by prostitutes, who would arrive aboard a prison truck driven by a guard. I spoke with one drug producer who negotiated a joint venture deal with Chapo while he was behind bars. Eventually, as the story goes, Chapo was smuggled out in a laundry cart. According to Martínez’s testimony, he paid more than $3 million to secure his release. Today, Chapo is a free man, Puente Grande’s warden only recently completed a jail sentence for letting him go and Mexicans call the prison Puerta Grande — the Big Door.
The tacit but unwavering tolerance that Mexican authorities have shown for the drug trade over the years has muddled the boundaries between outlaws and officials. When Miguel Angel Martínez was working for Chapo, he says, “everyone” in the organization had military and police identification. Daylight killings are sometimes carried out by men dressed in police uniforms, and it is not always clear, after the fact, whether the perpetrators were thugs masquerading as policemen or actual policemen providing paid assistance to the thugs. On those occasions when the government scores a big arrest, meanwhile, police and military officials pose for photos at the valedictory news conference brandishing assault weapons, their faces shrouded in ski masks, to shield their identities. In the trippy semiotics of the drug war, the cops dress like bandits, and the bandits dress like cops.
When you tally it all up, bribery may be the single largest line item on a cartel’s balance sheet. In 2008, President Felipe Calderón’s own drug czar, Noe Ramirez, was charged with accepting $450,000 each month. Presumably, such gargantuan bribes to senior officials cascade down, securing the allegiance of their subordinates. “You have to recruit the high commands, so they can issue the information to lower ranks and order whatever they want,” the corrupt cop, Fierro Méndez, testified. But in key jurisdictions, the cartel most likely makes payments up and down the chain of command. In a 2010 speech, Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s secretary of public security, speculated that together, the cartels spend more than a billion dollars each year just to bribe the municipal police.
It’s not only officials who must be bribed, either. There are also the “falcons,” an army of civilian lookouts who might receive $100 a month just to keep their eyes open and make a phone call if they notice an uptick in border inspections or a convoy of police. “There are cities in Mexico where virtually every cabdriver is on the payroll,” Michael Braun, formerly of the D.E.A., said. “They have eyes and ears everywhere.”
And then there are the Americans. Guards at the U.S. border have been known to wave a car through their checkpoints for a few thousand dollars, and since 2004, there have been 138 convictions or indictments in corruption investigations involving members of the United States Customs and Border Protection. Paradoxically, one explanation for this state of affairs is the rapid expansion of border forces following the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. In their hurry to fortify the U.S.-Mexico boundary with uniformed personnel, it seems, officials may have made allowances on background checks and screenings. In some instances, job offers have been extended to the immediate relatives of known traffickers.
When corruption fails, there is always violence. During the 12 years that he worked for the cartel, Martínez claims that he did not carry a gun. But Sinaloa has risen to pre-eminence as much through savagery as through savvy. “In illegal markets, the natural tendency is toward monopoly, so they fight each other,” Antonio Mazzitelli, an official with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Mexico City, told me. “How do they fight: Go to court? Offer better prices? No. They use violence.” The primal horror of Mexico’s murder epidemic makes it difficult, perhaps even distasteful, to construe the cartel’s butchery as a rational advancement of coherent business aims. But the reality is that in a multibillion-dollar industry in which there is no recourse to legally enforceable contracts, some degree of violence may be inevitable.
“It’s like geopolitics,” Tony Placido said. “You need to use violence frequently enough that the threat is believable. But overuse it, and it’s bad for business.”
The most gratuitous practitioners of violence right now would be the Zetas, a rampaging league of sociopaths with a notable devotion to physical cruelty. The Zetas are a new kind of cartel, in that they came somewhat late to the actual business of smuggling drugs. They started out as bodyguards for the Gulf Cartel before going into business for themselves, and they specialize in messaging through bloodshed. It’s the Zetas who are charged with dumping 49 mutilated bodies by the side of a highway near Monterrey last month. Sinaloa is responsible for a great deal of carnage as well, but its approach to killing has traditionally been more discreet. Whereas a Sinaloa subsidiary allied with a Tijuana farmer known as the Stewmaker, who dissolved hundreds of bodies in barrels of lye, the Zetas have pioneered a multimedia approach to violence, touting their killings on YouTube. One strategic choice facing any cartel is deciding when to intimidate the civilian population and when to cultivate it. Sinaloa can be exceedingly brutal, but the cartel is more pragmatic than the Zetas in its deployment of violence. It may simply be, as one Obama administration official suggested, that the Sinaloa leadership is “more conscious of their brand.”
It’s a curious rivalry between these two organizations, because their business models are really very different. The Zetas have diversified beyond drugs to extortion, kidnapping and human trafficking, blossoming into what officials call a “polycriminal organization.” Sinaloa, by contrast, has mostly tended to stick to its core competence of trafficking. According to one captured cartel member, Chapo specifically instructed his subordinates not to dabble in protection rackets and insisted that Sinaloa territory remain “calm” and “controlled.”
“Sinaloa does not do extortion directly,” Eduardo Guerrero said. “It’s so risky, and the profits are so small. They want the big business — and the big business is in the United States.”
Just how active the cartel is north of the border is a divisive question. According to the Department of Justice, by 2009, Mexican-based criminal organizations were operating in “more than a thousand U.S. cities.” When you consider the huge jump in the price of narcotics between bulk importation and retail sales, it might seem that Chapo would want to expand into street-level distribution. In 2005, the D.E.A. began intercepting large shipments of cocaine in which each kilo brick was heat-sealed in a distinctive Mylar foil. They spotted the foil in Los Angeles first, then in Oklahoma, Chicago, Atlanta and New Jersey. “This was Sinaloa coke,” Michael Wardrop, who led two of the agency’s most ambitious operations against the domestic networks of the cartel, told me. As the telltale wrapping popped up across the country, Wardrop and his colleagues marveled at the sheer expanse of Sinaloa’s market. “It was like watching a virus in a Petri dish,” he said. “It was constantly growing.”
Wardrop’s investigations netted more than a thousand arrests. But some observers question the extent to which the perpetrators in these cases were actually working for the cartel. “If you’re telling me there’s a straight chain of command back to El Chapo in Sinaloa — come on, that’s absurd,” the Mexican ambassador, Arturo Sarukhán, protested. Often, the gatekeepers and logistics men that the D.E.A. arrested were indeed connected to handlers in Mexico. But this was more true of high-level importers dealing in kilos than run-of-the-mill retailers pushing grams. When The Associated Press tracked down Otis Rich, a Baltimore dealer who was ensnared in one of the operations, he answered the obvious question with a telling reply: “Sina-who?”
“The fully integrated model would indeed maximize profits,” John Bailey observes in a coming book about the cartels, but “it also maximizes risk of exposure.” A big reason for the markup at the retail level is that the sales force is so exposed — out on the corner, a magnet for undercover cops, obliged to negotiate with a needy, unpredictable clientele. When you adjust for all that added risk, the windfall starts to seem less alluring. Like a liquor wholesaler who opts not to open a bar, Chapo appears to have decided that the profits associated with retail sales just aren’t worth the hassle.
What Sinaloa does do inside this country is ferry drugs along highways to regional distribution hubs, where they are turned over to trusted wholesalers, like the Flores twins of Chicago. Pedro and Margarito Flores grew up in a Mexican-American enclave of the city during the 1990s. Their father and an older brother had moved drugs for Sinaloa, and by the time the twins were in their 20s, they had gone into business as distributors, purchasing cocaine and heroin directly from Mexican cartels, then selling to dealers throughout the United States. Chicago, home of the Mercantile Exchange, has always been a hub from which legitimate goods fan out across the country, and it’s no different for black-market commodities. Chapo has used the city as a clearinghouse since the early 1990s; he once described it as his “home port.”
In 2005, the Flores twins were flown to a mountaintop compound in Sinaloa to meet with Chapo Guzmán. The kingpin is an intimidating interlocutor; one criminal who has negotiated with him face to face told me that Chapo tends to dominate a conversation, asking a lot of questions and compensating for his short stature by bouncing on the balls of his feet. But the meeting went well, and before long, the brothers were distributing around two tons of Sinaloa product each month. As preferred customers, they often took Chapo’s drugs without putting any money down, then paid the cartel only after they sold the product. This might seem unlikely, given the pervasive distrust in the underworld, but the narcotics trade is based on a robust and surprisingly reliable system of credit. In a sense, a cartel like Sinaloa has no choice but to offer a financing option, because few wholesale buyers have the liquidity to pay cash upfront for a ton of cocaine. “They have to offer lines of credit,” Wardrop told me, “no different from Walmart or Sears.”
This credit system, known as “fronting,” rests on an ironclad assumption that in the American marketplace, even an idiot salesman should have no trouble selling drugs. One convicted Sinaloa trafficker told me that it often took him more time to count the money he collected from his customers than it did to actually move the product. It may also help that the penalty for defaulting could involve dismemberment.
As wholesale buyers, the Flores brothers occupied a crucial bottleneck between the cartel and its consumers. They grew so indispensable, in fact, that after taking delivery of a shipment of drugs, they could retroactively bargain down the price. One day in 2008, Pedro Flores telephoned Guzmán in Mexico to ask for a discount on heroin.
“What did we agree on?” Chapo asked him, according to a government transcript of the call.
They had negotiated a price of $55,000 per kilo, Flores explained. But if Chapo would consider lowering that to $50,000, the twins could pay immediately.
“That price is fine,” Chapo agreed, without argument. Then he added something significant: “Do you have a way to bring that money over here?”
For the Sinaloa cartel, pushing product north into the United States is only half the logistical equation. The drug trade is a cash business — you can’t buy kilos with your credit card. So while politicians tend to focus on cartels primarily as importers of drugs, the narcos also devote an enormous amount of energy to the export of money. Cash is collected in small denominations from individual buyers and then bundled in great stacks of broken-in bills that are used to pay wholesalers, like the Flores brothers. These bills are counted, hidden in the same vehicle compartments that were used to smuggle drugs in the opposite direction and then sent to stash houses in Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. From there, they move across the border into Mexico.
What happens to the money when it gets there? The cartel employs professional money launderers who specialize in drug proceeds, and according to Robert Mazur, a former D.E.A. agent who infiltrated the Colombian cartels, the fee for fully scrubbing and banking illicit proceeds may run Sinaloa more than 15 cents on the dollar. But a great deal of the cartel’s money remains in cash. In the early 1990s, a Sinaloa accountant sent planeloads of U.S. currency to Mexico City in suitcases holding $1 million each. When Miguel Angel Martínez worked for Chapo, the kingpin would test his loyalty, adding an extra $200,000 to one of the suitcases to see if Martínez would pocket it. “Eight suitcases, compadre, so that is $8 million,” he would say. (Martínez never fell for the trick.) A sizable share of the cash is devoted to paying bribes, and some is sent to Colombia to purchase more product, because drugs offer a strong return on investment. “Where would you put your money?” the former Cisen officer Alejandro Hope asked me with a chuckle. “T-bills? Real estate? I would put a large portion of my portfolio in cocaine.”
Even so, the business generates such volumes of currency that there is only so much you can launder or reinvest, which means that money can start to pile up around the house. The most that Martínez ever saw at one time was $30 million, which just sat there, having accumulated in his living room. In 2007, Mexican authorities raided the home of Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese-Mexican businessman who is believed to have supplied meth-precursor chemicals to the cartel, and discovered $206 million, the largest cash seizure in history. And that was the money Zhenli held onto — he was an inveterate gambler, who once blew so much cash in Las Vegas that one of the casinos presented him, in consolation, with a Rolls-Royce. “How much money do you have to lose in the casino for them to give you a Rolls-Royce?” Tony Placido, the D.E.A. intelligence official, asked. (The astonishing answer, in Zhenli’s case, is $72 million at a single casino in a single year.) Placido also pointed out that, as a precursor guy, Zhenli was on the low end of the value chain for meth. It makes you wonder about the net worth of the guy who runs the whole show.
In 2008, the Flores twins were indicted in Chicago and began secretly cooperating with law enforcement. The following year, one of their Sinaloa contacts — a debonair young trafficker named Jesús Vicente Zambada Niebla, or Vicentillo — was arrested in Mexico and later extradited to Chicago. He will be the highest-ranking member of the cartel ever to face trial in the United States, and his favorite wholesale customers will be the star witnesses against him. In a surprise twist, Vicentillo (who is the son of Chapo’s partner, Mayo Zambada) has argued that he can’t be prosecuted — because even as he worked for Sinaloa, he was also a secret informant for the D.E.A.
There has been speculation in Mexico that the Calderón regime favors Sinaloa over the unhinged Zetas and has made a devil’s pact to lay off the cartel. It might be impossible to eradicate all the cartels in Mexico, this theory goes, so the government has picked a favorite in the conflict in the hope that when the smoke clears, a Sinaloa monopoly might usher in a sort of pax narcotica. A 2010 National Public Radio investigation of Mexican arrest statistics found that Sinaloa had suffered conspicuously fewer arrests than had its peers, though this could simply be evidence of triage on the government’s part rather than p

Nov 22nd 2012, 16:34 by Economist.com


Mexican states compared with entire countries' body counts, murder rates and populations


MEXICO’S murder rate has doubled over the past five years, to nearly 19 per 100,000 people per year. But what does that really mean? To give an idea of how safe or dangerous the country's various states are, we have compared their crime statistics with those of whole countries. Visitors can relax in Yucatán, the safest state, which has about the same murder rate as Finland. Tlaxcala, not far from Mexico City, is about as safe as the United States. At the other end of the spectrum Chihuahua, the most violent state, has a murder rate equivalent to El Salvador, one of the most violent countries in the world. Another way of looking at the data is to compare the gross totals. The state of San Luis Potosí, for instance, has seen as many murders in the past year as all of Spain, despite having a population of just 2.6m.





BY NICHOLAS CASEY

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, fresh off his weekend election victory, said Tuesday he plans to continue President Felipe Calderón's fight against the country's drug gangs, but outlined a long-term strategy to place more of the battle in the hands of civilians rather than the military.

In a wide-ranging interview in the capital, Mr. Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, praised much of Mr. Calderón's strategy against organized crime, including the creation of a federal police force and growing cooperation with the U.S.


President Barack Obama telephoned Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto to congratulate him on his victory in last weekend's elections, the White House said in a statement Monday. While the release listed several topics that the two men discussed, it made no explicit mention of the two countries' fitful efforts to combat ultra-violent drug cartels.

Obama "reiterated his commitment to working in partnership with Mexico, and looks forward to advancing common goals, including promoting democracy, economic prosperity, and security in the region and around the globe, in the coming years," according to the White House statement.

Peña Nieto's victory brought the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which governed Mexico for decades, back to power. He has pledged to overhaul his country's energy, labor and tax systems, Reuters reported..

"The two leaders reaffirmed the close bilateral partnership the United States and Mexico enjoy based on mutual respect, shared responsibility, and the deep connections between our people," according to the statement. Obama also "congratulated the Mexican people who have once again demonstrated their commitment to democratic values through a free, fair, and transparent election process."

Peña Nieto won Sunday's election with 38 percent of the vote, according to early returns. That gave him a lead of roughly 7 percentage points over his nearest rival, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,  according to the Associated Press.

Obama has faced sharp Republican criticism over the government's Fast and Furious operation, which aimed to track the flow of firearms from American gun sellers, through straw buyers, into the hands of the cartels. The Republican-led House of Representatives voted last week to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over Justice Department documents tied to the operation.






MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto's campaign team claimed victory in the country's presidential election on Sunday after exit polls showed him winning by a comfortable margin.

Pena Nieto, 45, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), led by between 8 and 11 percentage points in exit polls published by three of Mexico's main television networks after voting ended on Sunday night.
Shortly afterward his campaign manager, Luis Videgaray, declared victory.

"It is a resounding triumph," Videgaray told Milenio television, adding that he was hopeful the PRI would have a majority in the Senate and possibly in the lower house of Congress, too.

The PRI, which governed Mexico for 71 years until losing power in 2000, has staged a comeback behind the handsome Pena Nieto, who has pledged to open state-owned oil monopoly Pemex to foreign investors, raise tax revenue and liberalize the labor market.

The exit polls showed him winning around 40 percent of the vote. Leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was in second place with Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, trailing in third.

"I recognize that the trend up to this point is not in my favor," said Vazquez Mota, whose campaign was dragged down by a brutal war with drug cartels and the government's patchy economic record.
Preliminary official results were due in the next few hours.

"It's time for the PRI to return. They're the only ones who know how to govern," said Candelaria Puc, 70, as she voted in the beach resort of Cancun. "The PRI is tough, but they won't let the drug violence get out of control."

Others feared a return to the worst years of PRI rule and put Pena Nieto's big lead down to his cozy relationship with Televisa, Mexico's top broadcaster.

"It's the same party as ever and the people who vote for him (Pena Nieto) believe they are going to live happily ever after like in the soap operas," Humberto Parra, a systems engineer, said as he went to vote in Mexico City.

By the time it lost to the PAN in 2000, the PRI had a reputation for widespread corruption, electoral fraud and authoritarianism.

The PRI was in disarray by 2006, when its presidential candidate came in a distant third, but it has rebounded since then and Pena Nieto gave it a new face.

He is promising to restore security to cities and towns ravaged by the drug war and also plans to reform Pemex, a proposal once considered political suicide.

Mexicans are fiercely protective of Pemex, but the PRI, which nationalized oil production in 1938, could be the one party able to liberalize the energy industry.

The PRI laid the foundations of the modern state with a nimble blend of politics and patronage that allowed it to appeal to labor unions and captains of industry at the same time.
Mexicans eventually tired of heavy-handedness that stifled dissent, rewarded loyalists and allowed widespread corruption.

(Additional reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Ana Isabel Martinez, Pablo Garibian; Editing by Dave Graham and Kieran Murray and Christopher Wilson)



Mexico’s Next President Won’t Slow The Drug War



By Robert Beckhusen

At this point, there’s little doubt who is likely to win Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday. That would be Enrique Peña Nieto, who polls show leading with double-digits over his rival candidates. He’s also calling for a (subtle) shift in the fight against the cartels: don’t bother as much with stopping drugs and taking down drug lords, but focus on stopping violence and kidnapping. But as far as big changes go, don’t expect much if Peña Nieto wins, at least not soon.
First, the little things. Last week, Pieña Nieto recruited Colombian General Oscar Naranjo — a veteran of the war against the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar — as his top security adviser. Peña Nieto wants to boost Mexico’s Federal Police, and he’s for creating a new national paramilitary police force to fight the cartels.  His campaign has also been “highly solicitous” of the United States, notes Patrick Corcoran ofInSight, an organized crime monitoring group. This could mean a bigger U.S. role. Naranjo is also reportedly close to U.S. officials.
This is while the cartels still exercise draconian rule over cities throughout many parts of the country, especially along the border. Ciudad Juárez, which came to define Mexico’s drug violence when viewed from outside the country, has seen a drop in murders to 2007 levels, Corcoran adds. But other cities, like Nuevo Laredo, experienced lower and lower levels of violence only for gangland killings to spark anew. The cartels have also spread to new areas.
“If you noticed, none of the presidential candidates broke openly with [outgoing President Felipe Calderón's] strategy — the farthest they went was to criticize the level of violence,” César Martinez Espinosa, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas and a specialist in Mexican national security issues, writes in an e-mail. ”This is because they recognized that a majority of people (outside of Mexico City) approves Calderón’s fight against the cartels (some polls have tracked that), especially the participation of the military in it and because they might not have that much room to maneuver once they are in power.”
Reducing violence by legalizing drugs? Not likely in the least. A darker suggestion floated as a possibility in press reports is some kind of deal with the cartels, but Pieña Nieto has ruled out negotiating a truce.
The reason why a truce is brought up: Peña Nieto’s political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (or PRI), formerly maintained uninterrupted single-party rule for most of the 20th century. But when it lost power 12 years ago, it also lost a patronage system between regional party bosses and the cartels. This system meant drugs were allowed to flow relatively freely, provided physical disputes between the cartels didn’t get out of hand. But losing a (note: corrupt) system of checks and balances, beef between cartels escalated.
Nor is it likely that such a deal could be made today. In some states that maintained PRI rule, these networks were maintained but still failed to stop the surge in violence. Some of the state-level politicians with ties to the cartels are now being purged. In any case, the PRI will be governing a different Mexico: one in which corruption is still a major problem, but in which a single party is not able to maintain control over the entire governing apparatus. Another problem is that today’s cartels are smaller, a lot more numerous and increasingly decentralized. With so many cartels operating in Mexico today, who do you cut a deal with?
“Should he win, Peña Nieto will surely seek some cosmetic changes, and he may push the philosophy underlying Mexico’s crime strategy in a new direction. But the obstacles to a different approach are enormous; as a result, for better or worse, the shifts are likely to be marginal,” notes Corcoran.
Another option is to eliminate some local police forces and “consolidate them into stronger state forces,” says Martinez. Elsewhere, the new president will have to keep up economic growth and push reforms through the courts and a chaotic, badly-run prison system. But for the time being, and for whoever wins, the war with the cartels will continue.



Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (born April 4, 1957)[2] is a fugitive Mexican drug lord who heads the world's largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization, the Sinaloa Cartel,[5] an organization named after the Mexican Pacific coast state of Sinaloa where it was initially formed. Known as "El Chapo Guzmán" ("Shorty Guzmán") for his 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) stature, he became Mexico's top drug kingpin in 2003 after the arrest of his rival Osiel Cárdenas of the Gulf Cartel, and is now considered "The most powerful drug trafficker in the world," by the United States Department of the Treasury.[6][7]

Guzmán Loera has been ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful people in the world every year since 2009; ranking 41st, 60th and 55th respectively.[8][9] He was also listed by Forbes as the 10th richest man in Mexico (1,140th in the world) in 2011.[10][11] Forbes also calls him the "biggest druglord of all time",[12] and the DEA strongly believes he has surpassed the influence and reach of Pablo Escobar, and now considers him "the godfather of the drug world."[13]

Guzman Loera's Sinaloa Cartel smuggles multi-ton cocaine shipments from Colombia through Mexico to the United States,[1] and has distribution cells throughout the U.S.[1] The organization has also been involved in the production, smuggling and distribution of Mexican methamphetamine,marijuana, and heroin. The U.S. offers a $5 million USD reward for information leading to his capture. The Mexican government offers a reward of 30 million pesos for such information.



Cocaine Incorporated




One afternoon last August, at a hospital on the outskirts of Los Angeles, a former beauty queen named Emma Coronel gave birth to a pair of heiresses. The twins, who were delivered at 3:50 and 3:51, respectively, stand to inherit some share of a fortune that Forbes estimates is worth a billion dollars. Coronel’s husband, who was not present for the birth, is a legendary tycoon who overcame a penurious rural childhood to establish a wildly successful multinational business. If Coronel elected to leave the entry for “Father” on the birth certificates blank, it was not because of any dispute over patrimony. More likely, she was just skittish about the fact that her husband, Joaquín Guzmán, is the C.E.O. of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, a man the Treasury Department recently described as the world’s most powerful drug trafficker. Guzmán’s organization is responsible for as much as half of the illegal narcotics imported into the United States from Mexico each year; he may well be the most-wanted criminal in this post-Bin Laden world. But his bride is a U.S. citizen with no charges against her. So authorities could only watch as she bundled up her daughters and slipped back across the border to introduce them to their dad.
How the Sinaloa Cartel Smuggles Drugs Across Borders

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Known as El Chapo for his short, stocky frame, Guzmán is 55, which in narco-years is about 150. He is a quasi-mythical figure in Mexico, the subject of countless ballads, who has outlived enemies and accomplices alike, defying the implicit bargain of a life in the drug trade: that careers are glittering but brief and always terminate in prison or the grave. When Pablo Escobar was Chapo’s age, he had been dead for more than a decade. In fact, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chapo sells more drugs today than Escobar did at the height of his career. To some extent, this success is easily explained: as Hillary Clinton acknowledged several years ago, America’s “insatiable demand for illegal drugs” is what drives the clandestine industry. It’s no accident that the world’s biggest supplier of narcotics and the world’s biggest consumer of narcotics just happen to be neighbors. “Poor Mexico,” its former president Porfirio Díaz is said to have remarked. “So far from God and so close to the United States.”
The Sinaloa cartel can buy a kilo of cocaine in the highlands of Colombia or Peru for around $2,000, then watch it accrue value as it makes its way to market. In Mexico, that kilo fetches more than $10,000. Jump the border to the United States, and it could sell wholesale for $30,000. Break it down into grams to distribute retail, and that same kilo sells for upward of $100,000 — more than its weight in gold. And that’s just cocaine. Alone among the Mexican cartels, Sinaloa is both diversified and vertically integrated, producing and exporting marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine as well.
Estimating the precise scale of Chapo’s empire is tricky, however. Statistics on underground economies are inherently speculative: cartels don’t make annual disclosures, and no auditor examines their books. Instead, we’re left with back-of-the-envelope extrapolations based on conjectural data, much of it supplied by government agencies that may have bureaucratic incentives to overplay the problem.
So in a spirit of empirical humility, we shouldn’t accept as gospel the estimate, from the Justice Department, that Colombian and Mexican cartels reap $18 billion to $39 billion from drug sales in the United States each year. (That range alone should give you pause.) Still, even if you take the lowest available numbers, Sinaloa emerges as a titanic player in the global black market. In the sober reckoning of the RAND Corporation, for instance, the gross revenue that all Mexican cartels derive from exporting drugs to the United States amounts to only $6.6 billion. By most estimates, though, Sinaloa has achieved a market share of at least 40 percent and perhaps as much as 60 percent, which means that Chapo Guzmán’s organization would appear to enjoy annual revenues of some $3 billion — comparable in terms of earnings to Netflix or, for that matter, to Facebook.
The drug war in Mexico has claimed more than 50,000 lives since 2006. But what tends to get lost amid coverage of this epic bloodletting is just how effective the drug business has become. A close study of the Sinaloa cartel, based on thousands of pages of trial records and dozens of interviews with convicted drug traffickers and current and former officials in Mexico and the United States, reveals an operation that is global (it is active in more than a dozen countries) yet also very nimble and, above all, staggeringly complex. Sinaloa didn’t merely survive the recession — it has thrived in recent years. And after prevailing in some recent mass-casualty clashes, it now controls more territory along the border than ever.
“Chapo always talks about the drug business, wherever he is,” one erstwhile confidant told a jury several years ago, describing a driven, even obsessive entrepreneur with a proclivity for micromanagement. From the remote mountain redoubt where he is believed to be hiding, surrounded at all times by a battery of gunmen, Chapo oversees a logistical network that is as sophisticated, in some ways, as that of Amazon or U.P.S. — doubly sophisticated, when you think about it, because traffickers must move both their product and their profits in secret, and constantly maneuver to avoid death or arrest. As a mirror image of a legal commodities business, the Sinaloa cartel brings to mind that old line about Ginger Rogers doing all the same moves as Fred Astaire, only backward and in heels. In its longevity, profitability and scope, it might be the most successful criminal enterprise in history.
The state of Sinaloa, from which the cartel derives its name, lies wedged between the Sierra Madre Occidental and Mexico’s west coast. Sun-blasted and remote, Sinaloa is the Sicily of Mexico, both cradle and refuge of violent men, and the ancestral land of many of the country’s most notorious traffickers. Chapo was born in a village called La Tuna, in the foothills of the Sierra, in 1957. His formal education ended in third grade, and as an adult, he has reportedly struggled to read and write, prevailing upon a ghostwriter, at one point, to compose letters to his mistress. Little is known about Chapo’s early years, but by the 1980s, he joined the Guadalajara cartel, which was run by a former policeman known as El Padrino — the Godfather.
For decades, Mexican smugglers had exported homegrown marijuana and heroin to the United States. But as the Colombian cocaine boom gathered momentum in the 1980s and U.S. law enforcement began patrolling the Caribbean, the Colombians went in search of an alternate route to the United States and discovered one in Mexico. Initially, Mexican traffickers, like a pudgy 25-year-old airplane pilot named Miguel Angel Martínez, acted as independent contractors who were paid a fee by the Colombians to move their cargo. In 1986, the Guadalajara cartel dispatched Martínez to the Colombian port of Barranquilla, in the hope that someone might commission him to fly drugs up to Mexico. But Martínez couldn’t find any takers and ended up languishing in Colombia for months, worrying that he had blown his big opportunity with the cartel. Eventually, he caught a commercial flight back to Mexico, and shortly thereafter, he was summoned to a meeting with Chapo, who was by then an underboss in the cartel. “You were very well behaved in Colombia,” Chapo told him, according to subsequent testimony. He seemed impressed by Martínez’s patience in waiting for an assignment.
Having passed this test, Martínez started working for Chapo as a kind of air traffic controller, negotiating directly with the Cali and Medellín cartels, then guiding their cocaine flights from South America to secret runways in barren stretches of Mexico. Martínez knew U.S. agents were monitoring his radio communications, so rather than say a word, he would whistle — a signal to the pilots that they were cleared for takeoff.
With the decline of the Caribbean route, the Colombians started paying Mexican smugglers not in cash but in cocaine. More than any other factor, it was this transition that realigned the power dynamics along the narcotics supply chain in the Americas, because it allowed the Mexicans to stop serving as logistical middlemen and invest in their own drugs instead. In 1986, Martínez couldn’t land a gig as a lowly courier in Barranquilla. Not five years later, he was marshaling hundreds of flights laden with cocaine for Chapo. “Sometimes we would get five planes a night,” he remembered. “Sometimes 16.” Now it was the Colombians who went hat in hand to Chapo, looking not to hire him to move their product but to sell it to him outright. They would tip Martínez $25,000 just to get an audience with the man.
The young pilot became a gatekeeper to the ascendant kingpin, fielding his phone calls and accompanying him on foreign trips. There’s a vaudevillian goofiness to nicknames in Mexico, and the stout Martínez was known in the cartel as El Gordo. He and Chapo — Fatty and Shorty — made quite a pair. “Japan, Hong Kong, India, all of Europe,” Martínez recalled in testimony. Chapo owned a fleet of Learjets, and together, they saw “the whole world.” They both used cocaine as well, a habit that Chapo would eventually give up. When a lawyer inquired, years later, whether he had been Chapo’s right-hand man, Martínez replied that he might have been, but that Guzmán had five left hands and five right hands. “He’s an octopus, Chapo Guzmán,” he said. For his efforts, Martínez was paid a million dollars a year, in a single annual installment: “In cash, in a suitcase, each December.” When Martínez’s son was born, Chapo asked to serve as godfather.
In 1989, Chapo’s mentor, El Padrino, was captured by Mexican authorities, and the remaining members of the Guadalajara cartel assembled in Acapulco to determine which smuggling route each capo would inherit. According to Ioan Grillo’s book, “El Narco,” the meeting was ostensibly a gathering of friends. But the shards of El Padrino’s organization would become the basis for the Tijuana, Juárez and Sinaloa cartels, and these onetime colleagues would soon become antagonists in a cycle of bloody turf wars that continues to this day.
“Drug cartel,” it turns out, is a whopper of a misnomer; neither the Mexicans nor the Colombians ever colluded to fix prices or supply. “I wish they were cartels,” Arturo Sarukhán, Mexico’s ambassador in Washington, told me. “If they were, they wouldn’t be fighting and driving up the violence.”
At first, Chapo’s organization controlled a single smuggling route, through western Mexico into Arizona. But by 1990, it was moving three tons of cocaine each month over the border, and from there, to Los Angeles. The Sinaloa has always distinguished itself by the eclectic means it uses to transport drugs. Working with Colombian suppliers, cartel operatives moved cocaine into Mexico in small private aircraft and in baggage smuggled on commercial flights and eventually on their own 747s, which they could load with as much as 13 tons of cocaine. They used container ships and fishing vessels and go-fast boats and submarines — crude semi-submersibles at first, then fully submersible subs, conceived by engineers and constructed under the canopy of the Amazon, then floated downriver in pieces and assembled at the coastline. These vessels can cost more than a million dollars, but to the smugglers, they are effectively disposable. In the event of an interception by the Coast Guard, someone onboard pulls a lever that floods the interior so that the evidence sinks; only the crew is left bobbing in the water, waiting to be picked up by the authorities.
Moving cocaine is a capital-intensive business, but the cartel subsidizes these investments with a ready source of easy income: marijuana. Cannabis is often described as the “cash crop” of Mexican cartels because it grows abundantly in the Sierras and requires no processing. But it’s bulkier than cocaine, and smellier, which makes it difficult to conceal. So marijuana tends to cross the border far from official ports of entry. The cartel makes sandbag bridges to ford the Colorado River and sends buggies loaded with weed bouncing over the Imperial Sand Dunes into California. Michael Braun, the former chief of operations for the D.E.A., told me a story about the construction of a high-tech fence along a stretch of border in Arizona. “They erect this fence,” he said, “only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they’re flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side.” He paused and looked at me for a second. “A catapult,” he repeated. “We’ve got the best fence money can buy, and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology.”
Improvisation is a trafficker’s greatest asset, and in recent years, Sinaloa has devised an even more efficient solution to the perennial challenge of getting marijuana across the border. Grow it here. Several years ago, a hunter was trekking through the remote North Woods of Wisconsin when he stumbled upon a vast irrigated grow site, tended by a dozen Mexican farmers armed with AK-47’s. According to the D.E.A., it was a Sinaloa pot farm, established on U.S. National Forest land to supply the market in Chicago.
Heroin is easier to smuggle but difficult to produce, and as detailed in court documents, Chapo is particularly proud of his organization’s work with the drug. He personally negotiates shipments to the United States and stands by its quality, which is normally 94 percent pure. “The value-to-weight ratio of heroin is better than any other drug,” says Alejandro Hope, who until recently was a senior officer at Cisen, Mexico’s equivalent to the C.I.A.
But the future of the business may be methamphetamine. During the 1990s, when the market for meth exploded in the United States, new regulations made it more difficult to manufacture large quantities of the drug in this country. This presented an opportunity that the Sinaloa quickly exploited. According to Anabel Hernández, author of “Los Señores del Narco,” a book about the cartel, it was one of Chapo’s deputies, a trafficker named Ignacio (Nacho) Coronel, who first spotted the massive potential of methamphetamine. “Nacho was like Steve Jobs,” Hernández told me. “He saw the future.”
Here was a drug that was ragingly addictive and could be produced cheaply and smuggled with relative ease. When they first started manufacturing meth, the Sinaloa would provide free samples to their existing wholesale clients in the Midwest. “They’d send five hundred pounds of marijuana, and secreted in that would be two kilos of meth,” Jack Riley, the D.E.A.’s special agent in charge of the Chicago office, told me. “They’d give it away for free. They wanted the market.” As demand grew, the cartel constructed superlabs, capable of churning out industrial volumes of meth. Container ships from India and China unloaded precursor chemicals — largely ephedrine — in the Pacific ports Lázaro Cárdenas and Manzanillo. To grasp the scale of production, consider the volume of some recent precursor seizures at these ports: 22 tons in October 2009; 88 tons in May 2010; 252 tons last December. When Mexico banned the importation of ephedrine, the cartel adapted, tweaking its recipe to use unregulated precursors. Recently they have started outsourcing production to new labs in Guatemala.
But Chapo’s greatest contribution to the evolving tradecraft of drug trafficking was one of those innovations that seem so logical in hindsight it’s a wonder nobody thought of it before: a tunnel. In the late 1980s, Chapo hired an architect to design an underground passageway from Mexico to the United States. What appeared to be a water faucet outside the home of a cartel attorney in the border town of Agua Prieta was in fact a secret lever that, when twisted, activated a hydraulic system that opened a hidden trapdoor underneath a pool table inside the house. The passage ran more than 200 feet, directly beneath the fortifications along the border, and emerged inside a warehouse the cartel owned in Douglas, Ariz. Chapo pronounced it “cool.”
When this new route was complete, Chapo instructed Martínez to call the Colombians. “Tell them to send all the drugs they can,” he said. As the deliveries multiplied, Sinaloa acquired a reputation for the miraculous speed with which it could push inventory across the border. “Before the planes were arriving back in Colombia on the return, the cocaine was already in Los Angeles,” Martínez marveled.
Eventually the tunnel was discovered, so Chapo shifted tactics once again, this time by going into the chili-pepper business. He opened a cannery in Guadalajara and began producing thousands of cans stamped “Comadre Jalapeños,” stuffing them with cocaine, then vacuum-sealing them and shipping them to Mexican-owned grocery stores in California. He sent drugs in the refrigeration units of tractor-trailers, in custom-made cavities in the bodies of cars and in truckloads of fish (which inspectors at a sweltering checkpoint might not want to detain for long). He sent drugs across the border on freight trains, to cartel warehouses in Los Angeles and Chicago, where rail spurs let the cars roll directly inside to unload. He sent drugs via FedEx.
But that tunnel into Douglas remains Chapo’s masterpiece, an emblem of his creative ingenuity. Twenty years on, the cartels are still burrowing under the border — more than a hundred tunnels have been discovered in the years since Chapo’s first. They are often ventilated and air-conditioned, and some feature trolley lines stretching up to a half-mile to accommodate the tonnage in transit.
You might suppose that a certain recklessness would be a prerequisite for anyone contemplating a career in the drug trade. But in reality, blue-chip traffickers tend to fixate, with neurotic intensity, on the concept of risk. “The goal of these folks is not to sell drugs,” Tony Placido, who was the top intelligence official at the D.E.A. until he retired last year, told me. “It’s to earn a spendable profit and live to enjoy it.” So the smart narcos are preoccupied with what Peter Reuter and Mark Kleiman once referred to, in a classic essay on the drug business, as “the marginal imprisonment risk.” In 2010, Chapo’s old friend Ismael (El Mayo) Zambada, the No. 2 man in the Sinaloa cartel, granted an interview to the Mexican magazine Proceso. Now in his 60s and a grandfather, El Mayo has been in the drug business for nearly half a century and has amassed a fortune. But you can’t buy peace of mind. “I’m terrified they’ll incarcerate me,” he acknowledged. “I’m full of fear. Always.”
There’s a reason coke and heroin cost so much more on the street than at the farm gate: you’re not paying for the drugs; you’re compensating everyone along the distribution chain for the risks they assumed in getting them to you. Smugglers often negotiate, in actuarial detail, about who will be held liable in the event of lost inventory. After a bust, arrested traffickers have been known to demand a receipt from authorities, so that they can prove the loss was not because of their own negligence (which would mean they might have to pay for it) or their own thievery (which would mean they might have to die). Some Colombian cartels have actually offered insurance policies on narcotics, as a safeguard against loss or seizure.
To prevent catastrophic losses, cartels tend to distribute their risk as much as possible. Before sending a 100-kilo shipment across the border, traffickers might disaggregate it into five carloads of 20 kilos each. Chapo and his associates further reduce their personal exposure by going in together on shipments, so each of those smaller carloads might hold 10 kilos belonging to Chapo and 10 belonging to Mayo Zambada. The Sinaloa is occasionally called the Federation because senior figures and their subsidiaries operate semiautonomously while still employing a common smuggling apparatus.
The organizational structure of the cartel also seems fashioned to protect the leadership. No one knows how many people work for Sinaloa, and the range of estimates is comically broad. Malcolm Beith, the author of a recent book about Chapo, posits that at any given moment, the drug lord may have 150,000 people working for him. John Bailey, a Georgetown professor who has studied the cartel, says that the number of actual employees could be as low as 150. The way to account for this disparity is to distinguish between salaried employees and subcontractors. A labor force of thousands may be required to plow all that contraband up the continent, but a lot of the work can be delegated to independent contractors, people the Mexican political scientist and security consultant Eduardo Guerrero describes as working “for the cartel but outside it.”
Even those who do work directly for the cartel are limited to carefully compartmentalized roles. At a recent trial, a regional cartel lieutenant, José Esparza, testified about his experience working for the Sinaloa along the border. On one occasion, he attended a meeting outside Culiacán with many of the cartel’s top leaders. But there was no sign of Chapo. Once the discussion concluded, an emissary left the group and approached a Hummer that was parked in the distance and surrounded by men with bulletproof vests and machine guns, to report on the proceedings. Chapo never stepped out of the vehicle.
It’s not just the federales that the narcos fear; it’s also one another. The brutal opportunism of the underworld economy means that most partnerships are temporary, and treachery abounds. For decades, Chapo worked closely with his childhood friend Arturo Beltrán Leyva, a fearsome trafficker who ran a profitable subsidiary of Sinaloa. But in 2008, the two men split, then went to war, and Beltrán Leyva’s assassins were later blamed for murdering one of Chapo’s sons. To reduce the likelihood of clashes like these, the cartel has revived an unlikely custom: the ancient art of dynastic marriage. Chapo’s organization is occasionally referred to as an alianza de sangre (“alliance of blood”), because so many of its prominent members are cousins by marriage or brothers-in-law. Emma Coronel, who gave birth to Chapo’s twins, is the niece of Nacho Coronel, the Steve Jobs of meth (who died in a shootout with the Mexican Army in 2010). All of this intermarriage, one U.S. official in Mexico suggested to me, functions as “a hedge against distrust.” An associate may be less likely to cheat you, or to murder you, if there’ll be hell to pay with his wife. It’s a cynical strategy, certainly, but in a vocation where one of Chapo’s rivals went by the nickname Mata Amigos, or “Friend Killer,” it may also be quite sound.
The surest way to stay out of trouble in the drug business is to dole out bribes, and promiscuously. Drug cartels don’t pay corporate taxes, but a colossus like Sinaloa makes regular payments to the federal, state and municipal authorities that may well rival the effective tax rate in Mexico. When the D.E.A. conducted an internal survey of its top 50 operatives and informants several years ago and asked them to name the most important factor for running a drug business, they replied, overwhelmingly, corruption. At a trial in 2010, a former police official from Juárez, Jesús Fierro Méndez, acknowledged that he had worked for Sinaloa. “Did the drug cartels have the police on the payroll?” an attorney asked.
“All of it,” Fierro Méndez replied.
The cartel bribes mayors and prosecutors and governors, state police and federal police, the army, the navy and a host of senior officials at the national level. After an arrest for drug trafficking in the 1990s, Chapo was sentenced to 20 years and shipped to Puente Grande, a fortified prison in Jalisco that was Mexico’s answer to a supermax. But during the five years he spent there, Chapo enjoyed prerogatives that make the prison sequence in “Goodfellas” look positively austere. With most of the facility on his payroll, he is said to have ordered his meals from a menu, conducted business by cellphone and orchestrated periodic visits by prostitutes, who would arrive aboard a prison truck driven by a guard. I spoke with one drug producer who negotiated a joint venture deal with Chapo while he was behind bars. Eventually, as the story goes, Chapo was smuggled out in a laundry cart. According to Martínez’s testimony, he paid more than $3 million to secure his release. Today, Chapo is a free man, Puente Grande’s warden only recently completed a jail sentence for letting him go and Mexicans call the prison Puerta Grande — the Big Door.
The tacit but unwavering tolerance that Mexican authorities have shown for the drug trade over the years has muddled the boundaries between outlaws and officials. When Miguel Angel Martínez was working for Chapo, he says, “everyone” in the organization had military and police identification. Daylight killings are sometimes carried out by men dressed in police uniforms, and it is not always clear, after the fact, whether the perpetrators were thugs masquerading as policemen or actual policemen providing paid assistance to the thugs. On those occasions when the government scores a big arrest, meanwhile, police and military officials pose for photos at the valedictory news conference brandishing assault weapons, their faces shrouded in ski masks, to shield their identities. In the trippy semiotics of the drug war, the cops dress like bandits, and the bandits dress like cops.
When you tally it all up, bribery may be the single largest line item on a cartel’s balance sheet. In 2008, President Felipe Calderón’s own drug czar, Noe Ramirez, was charged with accepting $450,000 each month. Presumably, such gargantuan bribes to senior officials cascade down, securing the allegiance of their subordinates. “You have to recruit the high commands, so they can issue the information to lower ranks and order whatever they want,” the corrupt cop, Fierro Méndez, testified. But in key jurisdictions, the cartel most likely makes payments up and down the chain of command. In a 2010 speech, Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s secretary of public security, speculated that together, the cartels spend more than a billion dollars each year just to bribe the municipal police.
It’s not only officials who must be bribed, either. There are also the “falcons,” an army of civilian lookouts who might receive $100 a month just to keep their eyes open and make a phone call if they notice an uptick in border inspections or a convoy of police. “There are cities in Mexico where virtually every cabdriver is on the payroll,” Michael Braun, formerly of the D.E.A., said. “They have eyes and ears everywhere.”
And then there are the Americans. Guards at the U.S. border have been known to wave a car through their checkpoints for a few thousand dollars, and since 2004, there have been 138 convictions or indictments in corruption investigations involving members of the United States Customs and Border Protection. Paradoxically, one explanation for this state of affairs is the rapid expansion of border forces following the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. In their hurry to fortify the U.S.-Mexico boundary with uniformed personnel, it seems, officials may have made allowances on background checks and screenings. In some instances, job offers have been extended to the immediate relatives of known traffickers.
When corruption fails, there is always violence. During the 12 years that he worked for the cartel, Martínez claims that he did not carry a gun. But Sinaloa has risen to pre-eminence as much through savagery as through savvy. “In illegal markets, the natural tendency is toward monopoly, so they fight each other,” Antonio Mazzitelli, an official with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Mexico City, told me. “How do they fight: Go to court? Offer better prices? No. They use violence.” The primal horror of Mexico’s murder epidemic makes it difficult, perhaps even distasteful, to construe the cartel’s butchery as a rational advancement of coherent business aims. But the reality is that in a multibillion-dollar industry in which there is no recourse to legally enforceable contracts, some degree of violence may be inevitable.
“It’s like geopolitics,” Tony Placido said. “You need to use violence frequently enough that the threat is believable. But overuse it, and it’s bad for business.”
The most gratuitous practitioners of violence right now would be the Zetas, a rampaging league of sociopaths with a notable devotion to physical cruelty. The Zetas are a new kind of cartel, in that they came somewhat late to the actual business of smuggling drugs. They started out as bodyguards for the Gulf Cartel before going into business for themselves, and they specialize in messaging through bloodshed. It’s the Zetas who are charged with dumping 49 mutilated bodies by the side of a highway near Monterrey last month. Sinaloa is responsible for a great deal of carnage as well, but its approach to killing has traditionally been more discreet. Whereas a Sinaloa subsidiary allied with a Tijuana farmer known as the Stewmaker, who dissolved hundreds of bodies in barrels of lye, the Zetas have pioneered a multimedia approach to violence, touting their killings on YouTube. One strategic choice facing any cartel is deciding when to intimidate the civilian population and when to cultivate it. Sinaloa can be exceedingly brutal, but the cartel is more pragmatic than the Zetas in its deployment of violence. It may simply be, as one Obama administration official suggested, that the Sinaloa leadership is “more conscious of their brand.”
It’s a curious rivalry between these two organizations, because their business models are really very different. The Zetas have diversified beyond drugs to extortion, kidnapping and human trafficking, blossoming into what officials call a “polycriminal organization.” Sinaloa, by contrast, has mostly tended to stick to its core competence of trafficking. According to one captured cartel member, Chapo specifically instructed his subordinates not to dabble in protection rackets and insisted that Sinaloa territory remain “calm” and “controlled.”
“Sinaloa does not do extortion directly,” Eduardo Guerrero said. “It’s so risky, and the profits are so small. They want the big business — and the big business is in the United States.”
Just how active the cartel is north of the border is a divisive question. According to the Department of Justice, by 2009, Mexican-based criminal organizations were operating in “more than a thousand U.S. cities.” When you consider the huge jump in the price of narcotics between bulk importation and retail sales, it might seem that Chapo would want to expand into street-level distribution. In 2005, the D.E.A. began intercepting large shipments of cocaine in which each kilo brick was heat-sealed in a distinctive Mylar foil. They spotted the foil in Los Angeles first, then in Oklahoma, Chicago, Atlanta and New Jersey. “This was Sinaloa coke,” Michael Wardrop, who led two of the agency’s most ambitious operations against the domestic networks of the cartel, told me. As the telltale wrapping popped up across the country, Wardrop and his colleagues marveled at the sheer expanse of Sinaloa’s market. “It was like watching a virus in a Petri dish,” he said. “It was constantly growing.”
Wardrop’s investigations netted more than a thousand arrests. But some observers question the extent to which the perpetrators in these cases were actually working for the cartel. “If you’re telling me there’s a straight chain of command back to El Chapo in Sinaloa — come on, that’s absurd,” the Mexican ambassador, Arturo Sarukhán, protested. Often, the gatekeepers and logistics men that the D.E.A. arrested were indeed connected to handlers in Mexico. But this was more true of high-level importers dealing in kilos than run-of-the-mill retailers pushing grams. When The Associated Press tracked down Otis Rich, a Baltimore dealer who was ensnared in one of the operations, he answered the obvious question with a telling reply: “Sina-who?”
“The fully integrated model would indeed maximize profits,” John Bailey observes in a coming book about the cartels, but “it also maximizes risk of exposure.” A big reason for the markup at the retail level is that the sales force is so exposed — out on the corner, a magnet for undercover cops, obliged to negotiate with a needy, unpredictable clientele. When you adjust for all that added risk, the windfall starts to seem less alluring. Like a liquor wholesaler who opts not to open a bar, Chapo appears to have decided that the profits associated with retail sales just aren’t worth the hassle.
What Sinaloa does do inside this country is ferry drugs along highways to regional distribution hubs, where they are turned over to trusted wholesalers, like the Flores twins of Chicago. Pedro and Margarito Flores grew up in a Mexican-American enclave of the city during the 1990s. Their father and an older brother had moved drugs for Sinaloa, and by the time the twins were in their 20s, they had gone into business as distributors, purchasing cocaine and heroin directly from Mexican cartels, then selling to dealers throughout the United States. Chicago, home of the Mercantile Exchange, has always been a hub from which legitimate goods fan out across the country, and it’s no different for black-market commodities. Chapo has used the city as a clearinghouse since the early 1990s; he once described it as his “home port.”
In 2005, the Flores twins were flown to a mountaintop compound in Sinaloa to meet with Chapo Guzmán. The kingpin is an intimidating interlocutor; one criminal who has negotiated with him face to face told me that Chapo tends to dominate a conversation, asking a lot of questions and compensating for his short stature by bouncing on the balls of his feet. But the meeting went well, and before long, the brothers were distributing around two tons of Sinaloa product each month. As preferred customers, they often took Chapo’s drugs without putting any money down, then paid the cartel only after they sold the product. This might seem unlikely, given the pervasive distrust in the underworld, but the narcotics trade is based on a robust and surprisingly reliable system of credit. In a sense, a cartel like Sinaloa has no choice but to offer a financing option, because few wholesale buyers have the liquidity to pay cash upfront for a ton of cocaine. “They have to offer lines of credit,” Wardrop told me, “no different from Walmart or Sears.”
This credit system, known as “fronting,” rests on an ironclad assumption that in the American marketplace, even an idiot salesman should have no trouble selling drugs. One convicted Sinaloa trafficker told me that it often took him more time to count the money he collected from his customers than it did to actually move the product. It may also help that the penalty for defaulting could involve dismemberment.
As wholesale buyers, the Flores brothers occupied a crucial bottleneck between the cartel and its consumers. They grew so indispensable, in fact, that after taking delivery of a shipment of drugs, they could retroactively bargain down the price. One day in 2008, Pedro Flores telephoned Guzmán in Mexico to ask for a discount on heroin.
“What did we agree on?” Chapo asked him, according to a government transcript of the call.
They had negotiated a price of $55,000 per kilo, Flores explained. But if Chapo would consider lowering that to $50,000, the twins could pay immediately.
“That price is fine,” Chapo agreed, without argument. Then he added something significant: “Do you have a way to bring that money over here?”
For the Sinaloa cartel, pushing product north into the United States is only half the logistical equation. The drug trade is a cash business — you can’t buy kilos with your credit card. So while politicians tend to focus on cartels primarily as importers of drugs, the narcos also devote an enormous amount of energy to the export of money. Cash is collected in small denominations from individual buyers and then bundled in great stacks of broken-in bills that are used to pay wholesalers, like the Flores brothers. These bills are counted, hidden in the same vehicle compartments that were used to smuggle drugs in the opposite direction and then sent to stash houses in Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. From there, they move across the border into Mexico.
What happens to the money when it gets there? The cartel employs professional money launderers who specialize in drug proceeds, and according to Robert Mazur, a former D.E.A. agent who infiltrated the Colombian cartels, the fee for fully scrubbing and banking illicit proceeds may run Sinaloa more than 15 cents on the dollar. But a great deal of the cartel’s money remains in cash. In the early 1990s, a Sinaloa accountant sent planeloads of U.S. currency to Mexico City in suitcases holding $1 million each. When Miguel Angel Martínez worked for Chapo, the kingpin would test his loyalty, adding an extra $200,000 to one of the suitcases to see if Martínez would pocket it. “Eight suitcases, compadre, so that is $8 million,” he would say. (Martínez never fell for the trick.) A sizable share of the cash is devoted to paying bribes, and some is sent to Colombia to purchase more product, because drugs offer a strong return on investment. “Where would you put your money?” the former Cisen officer Alejandro Hope asked me with a chuckle. “T-bills? Real estate? I would put a large portion of my portfolio in cocaine.”
Even so, the business generates such volumes of currency that there is only so much you can launder or reinvest, which means that money can start to pile up around the house. The most that Martínez ever saw at one time was $30 million, which just sat there, having accumulated in his living room. In 2007, Mexican authorities raided the home of Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese-Mexican businessman who is believed to have supplied meth-precursor chemicals to the cartel, and discovered $206 million, the largest cash seizure in history. And that was the money Zhenli held onto — he was an inveterate gambler, who once blew so much cash in Las Vegas that one of the casinos presented him, in consolation, with a Rolls-Royce. “How much money do you have to lose in the casino for them to give you a Rolls-Royce?” Tony Placido, the D.E.A. intelligence official, asked. (The astonishing answer, in Zhenli’s case, is $72 million at a single casino in a single year.) Placido also pointed out that, as a precursor guy, Zhenli was on the low end of the value chain for meth. It makes you wonder about the net worth of the guy who runs the whole show.
In 2008, the Flores twins were indicted in Chicago and began secretly cooperating with law enforcement. The following year, one of their Sinaloa contacts — a debonair young trafficker named Jesús Vicente Zambada Niebla, or Vicentillo — was arrested in Mexico and later extradited to Chicago. He will be the highest-ranking member of the cartel ever to face trial in the United States, and his favorite wholesale customers will be the star witnesses against him. In a surprise twist, Vicentillo (who is the son of Chapo’s partner, Mayo Zambada) has argued that he can’t be prosecuted — because even as he worked for Sinaloa, he was also a secret informant for the D.E.A.
There has been speculation in Mexico that the Calderón regime favors Sinaloa over the unhinged Zetas and has made a devil’s pact to lay off the cartel. It might be impossible to eradicate all the cartels in Mexico, this theory goes, so the government has picked a favorite in the conflict in the hope that when the smoke clears, a Sinaloa monopoly might usher in a sort of pax narcotica. A 2010 National Public Radio investigation of Mexican arrest statistics found that Sinaloa had suffered conspicuously fewer arrests than had its peers, though this could simply be evidence of triage on the government’s part rather than proof of a conspiracy. Calderón vehemently denies any charges of favoritism, and his administration has arrested or killed several of Chapo’s key deputies in the last few years. (My repeated requests for interviews with relevant officials in Mexico were denied.)
The suggestion that the D.E.A. might have made a deal with a high-ranking Sinaloa figure is new, however. In the past, Chapo has occasionally authorized employees to provide information to American law enforcement. Fierro Méndez, the Juárez cop, described a system in which junior traffickers would walk into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and announce their willingness to become informers — then feed the Americans intelligence about rival cartels, thereby using law enforcement to eliminate their competitors. U.S. officials allow that there were discussions between the D.E.A. and Vicentillo, but they deny that any quid pro quo was in place.
The trial, which is scheduled for October, should shed significant light on Sinaloa’s logistical apparatus — provided the witnesses can stay alive until then. Recently, a career criminal named Saul Rodriguez testified that Vicentillo solicited his help at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago, where they were both being held, in an effort to have the Flores twins assassinated. Authorities have expressed concern that the cartel might undertake a daring jailbreak to get Vicentillo out. They have also voiced the opposite worry — that Vicentillo will himself be killed. A request by the trafficker’s attorneys that he be permitted to exercise outdoors raised concerns from prison officials, because the only open space at the prison is a fenced-in recreation area on top of the building, where Vicentillo could be picked off by a sniper. (He has since been moved to a more secure facility.)
It might seem far-fetched that the cartel would try to assassinate one of its own, the son of Mayo Zambada, no less. But Sinaloa guards its secrets ruthlessly. After Chapo’s friend Miguel Angel Martínez was arrested in 1998, four men came to kill him in prison, stabbing him repeatedly. In that assault, and another that followed, he sustained more than a dozen stab wounds, which punctured his lungs, pancreas and intestines. After the second attack, he was moved to another facility and kept in a segregated unit. This time, an assassin managed to get as far as the gate outside Martínez’s cell and chucked two grenades at the bars. Locked in with nowhere to run, Martínez could only cower by the toilet to shield himself from the blast. The roof caved in, and he barely survived. Asked later who it was that tried to have him killed, Martínez said that it was his compadre, Chapo Guzmán. “Because of what I knew,” he explained. (Today he is living in witness protection in the United States.)
Between the coming trial and the increased political drumbeat on both sides of the border for his capture, Chapo may be more embattled today than at any time in his career. In February, he escaped a raid by Mexican authorities in the resort area of Los Cabos. President Calderón’s party is trailing in the polls, and some have theorized that the only way it might manage to retain power after next month’s presidential election would be if Chapo is killed or captured. U.S. authorities, meanwhile, are uncertain about who might succeed Calderón — Vice President Joe Biden met with all of the leading candidates on a visit to Mexico in March — and whether that successor will have any appetite to continue battling the cartels. With so many dead and so little progress, the Mexican populace has grown war-weary. Several U.S. officials told me that the critical window for capturing Chapo is between now and when Calderón leaves office.
In addition to the threat of capture, there is the threat of competition. By some estimates, the Zetas now control more Mexican territory than Chapo does, even if they don’t move nearly as many drugs. Zeta gunmen have made bloody incursions on Chapo’s turf, going so far as to penetrate the previously inviolable stronghold of his own home state, Sinaloa. In 2008, Chapo’s lover, Zulema Hernández, was discovered dead in the trunk of a car, her body carved with the letter “Z.” “It’s like the evolution of the dinosaurs, and the coming of the T. Rex,” Antonio Mazzitelli told me. “The T. Rex is the Zetas.”
Chapo and his colleagues were never peaceful types; in the last few years, they have waged vicious wars of acquisition to seize the lucrative smuggling routes through Juárez and Tijuana. But to fend off the Zetas, Sinaloa is resorting to new levels of barbarism. In March, the cartel dumped a collection of dismembered bodies in Zeta territory and posted a series of open letters on the walls around them, deriding the Zetas as “a bunch of drunks and car-washers.” Each message was signed, “Sincerely, El Chapo.”
One thing Chapo has always done is innovate. Even as he engages in violent brinkmanship along the border, the cartel is expanding to new markets in Europe, where a kilo of cocaine can sell for three times what it does in the U.S., and in Australia, where authorities believe that Chapo is now a major cocaine supplier. There are also indications that the cartel is exploring opportunities in Southeast Asia, China and Japan — places Chapo and Martínez first visited as younger men. And Chapo’s great comparative advantage still lies along that fraught boundary between Mexico and the United States. Even if the kingpin is killed or captured, one of his associates will quite likely take his place, and the smuggling infrastructure that Chapo created will endure, channeling the product, reaping the profits and feeding, with barely a blip in service, the enduring demand on this side of the border — what the historian Héctor Aguilar Camín once referred to as “the insatiable North American nose.”
Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a fellow at the Century Foundation. From 2010 to 2011, he was a policy adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Editor: Greg Veis



It's been a big week for reporting on Mexican drug cartels in The New York Times, where reporters on two stories kept themselves safe by replacing direct danger with lots of hard work.
On Tuesday, Ginger Thompson broke the story of Zetas cartel leaders allegedly laundering money through a massive U.S.-based horse-racing operation. Then on Friday, a lengthy Times Magazine feature by Patrick Radden Keefe went live, exploring the structure, business, and leadership of the Sinaloa cartel, which dominates the drug trade along the U.S.-Mexico border.


Keefe, author of Snakehead, told The Atlantic Wire on Friday that he'd started reporting his piece in January, using U.S. court documents and trial transcripts to track down three people involved with the Sinaloa cartel, who would speak as sources: A pilot, a drug manufacturer, and a mid-level trafficker. "In a bunch of these cases the people were either doing prison time or had gotten out of prison, so I started tracking people down. A lot of them don’t want to talk. It’s kind of a low-yield form of reporting."
But through it, Keefe has put together a fascinating profile of an organization that rivals in scale the corporate giants of our time: "By most estimates, Sinaloa has achieved a market share of at least 40 percent and perhaps as much as 60 percent, which means that Chapo Guzmán’s organization would appear to enjoy annual revenues of some $3 billion — comparable in terms of earnings to Netflix or, for that matter, to Facebook." And we meet the Sinaloas' infamous leader, Chapo, who sounds like a cross between CEO and Bond villain: "From the remote mountain redoubt where he is believed to be hiding, surrounded at all times by a battery of gunmen, Chapo oversees a logistical network that is as sophisticated, in some ways, as that of Amazon or U.P.S."
Keefe opted not to go to Sinaloa itself, the seat of the cartel's massive operation. He knew he wasn't going to meet Chapo, so what would he achieve? "There was a cost-benefit analysis. Looking at the reporting from people who have gone to Sinaloa, generally what people come back with -- and this is gringo reporters who go up there and ask around -- they come back with color. You can describe Culiacon, the capital there ... And you might get some guy sitting in front of a restaurant saying 'we do not speak of the Choppo.' " But you're not going to get an interview with the man himself. "I decided against that for a number of reasons, primarily that a lot of journalists have been killed in mexico, most of them Mexican journalists." On Thursday, reporter Baez Chino was found dead in Veracruz  the country's 81st journalist killed since 2000.
So Keefe opted for a week in Mexico City, speaking with academics who follow the drug trade, and lots of time leafing through court documents. Eventually, he found a record of a 2006 trial in Arizona, at which Chapo's right-hand man, Miguel Angel Martínez, had testified. He tracked down the court reporter, who sent him a copy of the transcript. Amazingly, it had been untouched by reporters. "People have been writing about Chapo for years and years and they’ve poured over his biography," Keefe said. But here was a document that had never made it into the hands of a journalist or biographer. It included revelations such as Chapo's own use of cocaine, and what Keefe called "trival details," like the fact that he had his own private zoo in Guadalajara that contained tigers and bears. "It was gobsmacking for me to get my hands on this transcript, which has been out in the world and available if you’d found it, since 2006. And to realize nobody had found it."
Thompson, meanwhile, was reporting a much more sensitive story. As she explains in her report, she found out about the Zetas cartel's alleged involvement in U.S. horse racing in December 2011, and in the course of her reporting discovered that the U.S. Department of Justice was also investigating Zetas leader Miguel Ángel Treviño and his ranch-owning brother, José Treviño, which led to arrests this week. "The Times learned of the government’s investigation last month and agreed to hold back this article until Tuesday morning’s arrests," she wrote. But she worked on the story for a lot longer than a month, so how did she keep herself and her sources safe? She hid behind her own reporting, she told PRI's The World:
"I was never threatened. I think a lot of the reason for that is that I didn’t make it known that I was looking specifically at Jose Trevino. I did a lot of reporting that made it appear I was looking at something other than him directly. It was complicated and it took us a lot longer to finish this story because of that. But, yes, we thought about safety at every turn and not just for my safety but really for the safety of the people who spoke to me which is why so many people in my story are unidentified. It was mostly for the sake of their safety."
Thanks to the two reports' legwork, we know a lot more about the cartel situation on both sides of the border on Friday than we did on Monday.

Source-Atlantic Wire



Mexican Drug Cartels




Police arrested 52 suspected employees of the notoriously violent Los Zetas drug cartel in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, officials said Wednesday.

The detainees include two municipal police officers and two ex-cops, state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza told a press conference here.

He said those four individuals are believed to be the leaders of a Zetas cell.

The 39 men, eight women and five minors were arrested over a four-day period in the towns of Linares, Allende, Galeana, Iturbide and Montemorelos.

The five underage suspects are accused of acting as lookouts to alert the Zetas to movements of the security forces, the attorney general said.

Police seized assault rifles and torture devices during the raids, state government security spokesman Jorge Domene said.

Nuevo Leon, which borders Texas, and other states in northern Mexico, have been battered in recent years as the upstart Zetas battle the more-established drug cartels for control of territory and smuggling routes.

To earn extra cash, some cartel “sicarios” (hit men) engage in kidnapping, extortion and armed robbery.

Conflict among rival cartels and between criminals and the Mexican security forces have claimed more than 50,000 lives since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against organized crime.




Bitcoin

Published on Nov 21, 2013

From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin’s sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.


Published on Oct 29, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags – oh so quaint – can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.

FOLLOW Max Keiser on Twitter: http://twitter.com/maxkeiser

WATCH all Keiser Report shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E1-E200)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E201-E400)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=… (E401-current)
Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57

US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.

A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.

Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come.»

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.

Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.


Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as «Satoshi Nakamoto», who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany’s Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term «unit of account»—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering



Published on Nov 21, 2013

From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin's sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.







Published on Oct 29, 2013
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags - oh so quaint - can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.

FOLLOW Max Keiser on Twitter: http://twitter.com/maxkeiser

WATCH all Keiser Report shows here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=... (E1-E200)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=... (E201-E400)
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=... (E401-current)
Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57

US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.

A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.

Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.

Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.

The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.

The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.

Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come."

Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.

Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.




Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto", who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany's Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term "unit of account"—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin's volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering

Bitcoin

Published on May 29, 2013 Jeff Berwick sits down with Bridgitte Anderson at the world resource investment conference to discuss a number of issues. They discuss the gold market and bitcoin compared to the fiat currency markets. Jeff sees a … Continue reading

Published on May 29, 2013

Jeff Berwick sits down with Bridgitte Anderson at the world resource investment conference to discuss a number of issues. They discuss the gold market and bitcoin compared to the fiat currency markets. Jeff sees a dollar collapse due to excessive money printing by the Federal Reserve. Bitcoin is a free market private money that may be a real currency in a dollar collapse. Jeff discusses his Bitcoin ATM venture and his hope that things like it will be succcessful in other countries. Find out more information on Galt’s Gulch http://galtsgulchchile.com/.

Subscribe to TDV’s YouTube channel to be alerted of future videos. And, go to http://dollarvigilante.com/ to sign up to receive our free daily blog covering all the facets of protecting your ass and assets during the coming US dollar collapse.


Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC or XBT[8]) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority.[9] Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution.[10] The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto”, who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.[1][11][12][13]

The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology.[2] In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins.[1][14] To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.[4]

In August 2013 Germany’s Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term “unit of account”—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency.[15] Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin’s volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering


drug planes

DC-9 ‘Cocaine One’ kingpin’s secret conviction

It was the biggest drug seizure on an airplane in Mexican history. It led directly to the forced sale of Wachovia, then America’s 4th largest bank. And it threatened to become America’s most notorious drug scandal since Iran Contra.
Yet when a leader of the drug smuggling organization responsible for the flight of the DC-9 airliner dubbed “Cocaine One” that was busted in the Yucatan carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine quietly pled guilty to unrelated drug charges two years ago in a Federal Court in Miami, his role in the massive drug move was kept secret from officials preparing his Pre-Sentence Report (PSI),  from journalists, and even from the Federal judge in the case.


An American-registered drug plane has been plying the airspace over Central and South America carrying cargoes of cocaine for a good long while (authorities admit they’ve been “investigating” it since 2011) without apparent incident, until recently, when a newspaper in Costa Rica reported that the President of Costa Rica had been seen using it to fly to Hugo Chavez’s funeral, as well as the recent wedding of the son of Peru’s Vice-President in Lima.


Six years ago this week an American-registered luxury jet, a Gulfstream II—later dubbed “Cocaine 2”—crashed just before dawn in the middle of the jungle in Mexico’s Yucatan carrying four tons of cocaine. The event, and its aftermath, changed forever an official narrative of the war on drugs which has for years been pushing the notion that there is no significant American involvement in the global drug trade, and no American Drug Lords.  

A control tower employee in Ciudad del Carmen, the airport where the DSC-9 landed, causing something of a fuss, told authorities at a crucial juncture in what was an extremely tense situation, as the American-registered DC-9 carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine circled and requested permission to land, she was approached inside the airport terminal by an American she’d never seen before.

She described him as being 40 years old, with blond hair and a deep tan, and he was wearing a green polo shirt. The American, she said, hadn’t just wanted officials in the airport to let the plane land. He wanted the tower to certify the flight, meaning the DC-9 could then continue its journey, as a domestic flight, which would not need to clear Mexican Customs.

Said green polo shirt-wearing American remains unidentified. He just disappeared from narratives of the event… except for one respected journalist at Mexican newspaper Proceso, who wisely picked up on this detail, followed up, and then reported that among the contingent of drug traffickers awaiting the arrival of the plane on the ground with as much nonchalance as they could muster…the American had been in charge.

In every country in the world in which drugs are present, and illegal, control of the drug trade is the most important tool in perpetuating that country’s oligarchy, more important than a police force with a billion Billy clubs.

The guys chopping off heads in Mexico while wearing bandoliers strapped across their bare chests are barely into middle management.

When the Gulfstream’s fuselage split into pieces on impact, spilling cocaine across an area the length of three football fields, a chain of events was set in motion that would prove that nothing could be further from the truth.  
Several hundred miles away, and more than a year earlier, in May 2006, the Gulfstream’s ‘sister ship,’ a DC-9 which became known as “Cocaine1″ because it was painted to impersonate an official US Government plane, had been caught carrying more than 5.5 tons of cocaine.
The two planes shared too many identifying characteristics, including interlocking owners and a shared base in the sleepy retirement Mecca of St Petersburg FL  on Florida’s Gulf Coast, to be coincidence. 
The twin events represented the biggest sea change in the global drug trade since the death of Pablo Escobar in 1992, or the assassination of Barry Seal in 1986. Today, despite the intervening years, new details continue to emerge about the case. 

During the course of the investigation which followed it became clear that the money used to purchase both planes—the Gulfstream and the DC-9—was laundered and funnelled through Wachovia Bank, and more importantly, that it represented just a tiny sliver of the more than $380 billion of drug money that had been laundered during the past six years through what was then America’s 4th largest bank. 
Wachovia was fined a record $165 million. The sullied bank was forced to sell itself to Wells Fargo Bank in Salt Lake City.
At about three a.m. the normal quiet of the town of Tixkobob  (pop. 17000), located an hour outside of the Yucatan capital of Merida, was disturbed by the deafening noise of a low-flying twin-engine jet circling overhead, and the whine and buzzing of several military helicopters in pursuit. 
The noise went on for an incredible two hours until, out of fuel, the jet crashed three miles outside town on a plantation, Rancho San Francisco, identified by Mexican journalists as belonging to an American named Martin Wood.
Although remote, the crash site quickly drew a crowd. Slightly after dawn a Mexican Army unit from the Tenth Military Region deployed to the site, secured it, and then guarded it over the next 36 hours, repelling intrusions from other Mexican law enforcement agencies, as well as from the DEA, which flew six agents to the scene from Mexico City to reconnoiter, only to see them turned away from the site.

Days earlier, the Gulfstream jet had begun its journey at Fort Lauderdale’s notorious Executive Airport, flying southwest across the Gulf of Mexico to Cancun. There the pilot made arrangements with the airport’s general manager that they would be able to land without incident at the airport on their return from Colombia laden with cocaine. 
The next day, negotiations being successfully concluded, the Gulfstream  took off for Colombia. Nothing unusual was noticed. The plane was on a well-worn path. The airport in Cancun was the busiest drug port in Mexico.
After loading its cargo of cocaine the following day, the Gulfstream took off from the international airport just outside Medellin, in Rio Negro Colombia, bound once more for the exclusive Mexican Caribbean resort of Cancun, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Among the mysteries surrounding the flight, the one which looms largest is this: Why did authorities at the Cancun airport change their minds, renege on their promise, and refuse the plane permission to land? 
At a press conference a year earlier after the crash of the DC-9, Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said officials from Federal security agencies in the Yucatan were known to be in collusion with drug traffickers. Curiously, with his next breath he mentioned Kamel Nacif, 69, a Lebanese businessman in Cancun who was in the news for alleged links to an international network of pedophiles.
 
In the drug trade, it is important to recall, the title “cartel du jour” is a designation which changes rapidly and without notice. Just ask the kingpins from the Medellin, or the Cali, cartels. 
It turns out that when the drug traffickers on the Gulfstream lost their «get out of jail free» card, a drug kingpin who the DEA has called the biggest drug trafficker since Pablo Escobar had just been captured.
On August 7, just over a month earlier, a joint operation between forces including Brazil, the US,  Argentina, Spain and Uruguay took down a drug kingpin who was recently profiled here. Before being caught, Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, known as “Lollipop” (El Chupeta), had been successfully holed up for more than five years in Sao Paulo Brazil. 
Three weeks after his arrest,  two Brazilians bought the Gulfstream.


The Sins of the Son and — The Smoking Airplane

by
Daniel Hopsicker and Michael C. Ruppert

Texas Governor and Republican Presidential contender George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, allegedly caught on videotape in 1985 picking up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport in a DEA sting set up by Barry Seal

And a private turboprop King Air 200 supposedly caught on  tape in the sting with FAA ownership records leading directly to the CIA and some of the perpetrators of the most notorious (and never punished) major financial frauds of the ’80s. 

Add to this mix the now irrefutable proof, some of it from the CIA itself, that then Vice President George H.W. Bush was a decision maker in illegal Contra support operations connected to the «unusual» acquisition of aircraft  and that his staff participated in key financial, operational and political decisions

All these events lead inexorably to one unanswered question: How did this one plane go from being controlled by Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American history, to becoming, according to state officials,  a favored airplane of Texas Governor George W. Bush?

———————————–

Three months into an exhaustive investigation of persistent reports dating to 1995 that there exists an incriminating videotape of current Republican Presidential front-runner Bush caught in a hastily-aborted DEA cocaine sting, the central allegation remains unproven

But some startling details have been confirmed, amid a raft of new suspicions emerging from conflicting FAA records. Those records, along with other irrefutable documents, point to the existence of far more than mere happenstance or dark «conspiracy theorist speculations» in the matter of how George W. Bush came to be flying the friendly Texas skies in an airplane that was a crown jewel in the drug smuggling fleet of the notorious Barry Seal. Those documents reveal – beyond any doubt – that in the 1980s Barry Seal, with whom the CIA has consistently denied any relationship, piloted and controlled airplanes owned by the same Phoenix Arizona company, Greycas, which in a 1998 bankruptcy filing, was revealed to have been a subsidiary of the same company that owned the now defunct CIA proprietary airline Southern Air Transport.

The investigation started with a lead into the history of the aircraft (a 1982 Beechcraft King Air 200 with FAA registration number N6308F – Serial Number BB-1014).


According to a flurry of stories between Sept 15 and 17 in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and Knight Ridder newspapers, as many as six of the terrorists, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, received training at U.S. military facilities.

«U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday’s terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990’s,» Newsweek reported. Newsweek also reported that three of the hijackers received training at the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida.

The “Magic Dutch Boys.” Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, two Dutch nationals, purchased the two flight schools that trained three of the four terrorist pilots to fly at the tiny Venice Airport, which has an extensive history of CIA involvement,.

DC-9 ‘Cocaine One’ kingpin’s secret conviction

It was the biggest drug seizure on an airplane in Mexican history. It led directly to the forced sale of Wachovia, then America's 4th largest bank. And it threatened to become America’s most notorious drug scandal since Iran Contra.
Yet when a leader of the drug smuggling organization responsible for the flight of the DC-9 airliner dubbed “Cocaine One” that was busted in the Yucatan carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine quietly pled guilty to unrelated drug charges two years ago in a Federal Court in Miami, his role in the massive drug move was kept secret from officials preparing his Pre-Sentence Report (PSI),  from journalists, and even from the Federal judge in the case.



An American-registered drug plane has been plying the airspace over Central and South America carrying cargoes of cocaine for a good long while (authorities admit they’ve been “investigating” it since 2011) without apparent incident, until recently, when a newspaper in Costa Rica reported that the President of Costa Rica had been seen using it to fly to Hugo Chavez’s funeral, as well as the recent wedding of the son of Peru's Vice-President in Lima.




Six years ago this week an American-registered luxury jet, a Gulfstream II—later dubbed “Cocaine 2”—crashed just before dawn in the middle of the jungle in Mexico’s Yucatan carrying four tons of cocaine. The event, and its aftermath, changed forever an official narrative of the war on drugs which has for years been pushing the notion that there is no significant American involvement in the global drug trade, and no American Drug Lords.  

A control tower employee in Ciudad del Carmen, the airport where the DSC-9 landed, causing something of a fuss, told authorities at a crucial juncture in what was an extremely tense situation, as the American-registered DC-9 carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine circled and requested permission to land, she was approached inside the airport terminal by an American she'd never seen before.

She described him as being 40 years old, with blond hair and a deep tan, and he was wearing a green polo shirt. The American, she said, hadn’t just wanted officials in the airport to let the plane land. He wanted the tower to certify the flight, meaning the DC-9 could then continue its journey, as a domestic flight, which would not need to clear Mexican Customs.

Said green polo shirt-wearing American remains unidentified. He just disappeared from narratives of the event… except for one respected journalist at Mexican newspaper Proceso, who wisely picked up on this detail, followed up, and then reported that among the contingent of drug traffickers awaiting the arrival of the plane on the ground with as much nonchalance as they could muster…the American had been in charge.

In every country in the world in which drugs are present, and illegal, control of the drug trade is the most important tool in perpetuating that country’s oligarchy, more important than a police force with a billion Billy clubs.

The guys chopping off heads in Mexico while wearing bandoliers strapped across their bare chests are barely into middle management.

When the Gulfstream's fuselage split into pieces on impact, spilling cocaine across an area the length of three football fields, a chain of events was set in motion that would prove that nothing could be further from the truth.  
Several hundred miles away, and more than a year earlier, in May 2006, the Gulfstream’s ‘sister ship,’ a DC-9 which became known as “Cocaine1" because it was painted to impersonate an official US Government plane, had been caught carrying more than 5.5 tons of cocaine.
The two planes shared too many identifying characteristics, including interlocking owners and a shared base in the sleepy retirement Mecca of St Petersburg FL  on Florida’s Gulf Coast, to be coincidence. 
The twin events represented the biggest sea change in the global drug trade since the death of Pablo Escobar in 1992, or the assassination of Barry Seal in 1986. Today, despite the intervening years, new details continue to emerge about the case. 

During the course of the investigation which followed it became clear that the money used to purchase both planes—the Gulfstream and the DC-9—was laundered and funnelled through Wachovia Bank, and more importantly, that it represented just a tiny sliver of the more than $380 billion of drug money that had been laundered during the past six years through what was then America’s 4th largest bank. 
Wachovia was fined a record $165 million. The sullied bank was forced to sell itself to Wells Fargo Bank in Salt Lake City.
At about three a.m. the normal quiet of the town of Tixkobob  (pop. 17000), located an hour outside of the Yucatan capital of Merida, was disturbed by the deafening noise of a low-flying twin-engine jet circling overhead, and the whine and buzzing of several military helicopters in pursuit. 
The noise went on for an incredible two hours until, out of fuel, the jet crashed three miles outside town on a plantation, Rancho San Francisco, identified by Mexican journalists as belonging to an American named Martin Wood.
Although remote, the crash site quickly drew a crowd. Slightly after dawn a Mexican Army unit from the Tenth Military Region deployed to the site, secured it, and then guarded it over the next 36 hours, repelling intrusions from other Mexican law enforcement agencies, as well as from the DEA, which flew six agents to the scene from Mexico City to reconnoiter, only to see them turned away from the site.

Days earlier, the Gulfstream jet had begun its journey at Fort Lauderdale’s notorious Executive Airport, flying southwest across the Gulf of Mexico to Cancun. There the pilot made arrangements with the airport’s general manager that they would be able to land without incident at the airport on their return from Colombia laden with cocaine. 
The next day, negotiations being successfully concluded, the Gulfstream  took off for Colombia. Nothing unusual was noticed. The plane was on a well-worn path. The airport in Cancun was the busiest drug port in Mexico.
After loading its cargo of cocaine the following day, the Gulfstream took off from the international airport just outside Medellin, in Rio Negro Colombia, bound once more for the exclusive Mexican Caribbean resort of Cancun, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Among the mysteries surrounding the flight, the one which looms largest is this: Why did authorities at the Cancun airport change their minds, renege on their promise, and refuse the plane permission to land? 
At a press conference a year earlier after the crash of the DC-9, Mexican Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said officials from Federal security agencies in the Yucatan were known to be in collusion with drug traffickers. Curiously, with his next breath he mentioned Kamel Nacif, 69, a Lebanese businessman in Cancun who was in the news for alleged links to an international network of pedophiles.
 
In the drug trade, it is important to recall, the title “cartel du jour” is a designation which changes rapidly and without notice. Just ask the kingpins from the Medellin, or the Cali, cartels. 
It turns out that when the drug traffickers on the Gulfstream lost their "get out of jail free" card, a drug kingpin who the DEA has called the biggest drug trafficker since Pablo Escobar had just been captured.
On August 7, just over a month earlier, a joint operation between forces including Brazil, the US,  Argentina, Spain and Uruguay took down a drug kingpin who was recently profiled here. Before being caught, Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, known as “Lollipop” (El Chupeta), had been successfully holed up for more than five years in Sao Paulo Brazil. 
Three weeks after his arrest,  two Brazilians bought the Gulfstream.


The Sins of the Son and -- The Smoking Airplane

by

Daniel Hopsicker and Michael C. Ruppert

Texas Governor and Republican Presidential contender George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, allegedly caught on videotape in 1985 picking up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport in a DEA sting set up by Barry Seal

And a private turboprop King Air 200 supposedly caught on  tape in the sting with FAA ownership records leading directly to the CIA and some of the perpetrators of the most notorious (and never punished) major financial frauds of the '80s. 

Add to this mix the now irrefutable proof, some of it from the CIA itself, that then Vice President George H.W. Bush was a decision maker in illegal Contra support operations connected to the "unusual" acquisition of aircraft  and that his staff participated in key financial, operational and political decisions

All these events lead inexorably to one unanswered question: How did this one plane go from being controlled by Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American history, to becoming, according to state officials,  a favored airplane of Texas Governor George W. Bush?

-----------------------------------

Three months into an exhaustive investigation of persistent reports dating to 1995 that there exists an incriminating videotape of current Republican Presidential front-runner Bush caught in a hastily-aborted DEA cocaine sting, the central allegation remains unproven

But some startling details have been confirmed, amid a raft of new suspicions emerging from conflicting FAA records. Those records, along with other irrefutable documents, point to the existence of far more than mere happenstance or dark "conspiracy theorist speculations" in the matter of how George W. Bush came to be flying the friendly Texas skies in an airplane that was a crown jewel in the drug smuggling fleet of the notorious Barry Seal. Those documents reveal - beyond any doubt - that in the 1980s Barry Seal, with whom the CIA has consistently denied any relationship, piloted and controlled airplanes owned by the same Phoenix Arizona company, Greycas, which in a 1998 bankruptcy filing, was revealed to have been a subsidiary of the same company that owned the now defunct CIA proprietary airline Southern Air Transport.


The investigation started with a lead into the history of the aircraft (a 1982 Beechcraft King Air 200 with FAA registration number N6308F - Serial Number BB-1014).




According to a flurry of stories between Sept 15 and 17 in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and Knight Ridder newspapers, as many as six of the terrorists, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, received training at U.S. military facilities.

"U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes used in Tuesday's terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990’s," Newsweek reported. Newsweek also reported that three of the hijackers received training at the Pensacola Naval Station in Florida.

The “Magic Dutch Boys.” Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, two Dutch nationals, purchased the two flight schools that trained three of the four terrorist pilots to fly at the tiny Venice Airport, which has an extensive history of CIA involvement,.

The Mena Chronicles


Mena links (Courtesy of «Uncle Bill» at Free Republic)


A MENA BIBLIOGRAPHY

SUGGESTED BOOKS

Castillo, Celerino III and Harmon, Dave, POWDERBURNS, Oakville, Ont., Mosaic Press, 1994 Head of DEA in El Salvador discovered that the Contras were smuggling cocaine into the United States. Castillo’s superiors reacted to his reports by burying them. This book is too controversial for an American publisher to print.
Cockburn, Leslie, OUT OF CONTROL, New York, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987 Early account of the of the Reagan Administration’s secret war in Nicaragua, the illegal arms pipeline and the Contra drug connection.
Johnson, Haynes, SLEEPWALKING THROUGH HISTORY, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1991. Pg. 261-274, 292-293 History of the Reagan years traces the relationships of William Casey, Manuel Noriega and the Medellin cocaine cartel.
Levine, Michael, THE BIG WHITE LIE, New York, Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1993 DEA undercover investigator learns that the biggest deterrent to stopping the drug epidemic is the Central Intelligence Agency.
Levine, Michael, DEEP COVER, New York, Dell Publishing, 1990 DEA undercover operative penetrates the leadership of the Bolivian cocaine cartel, Panamanian money-launderers and Mexican military middle-men. But it is all for nought, as interference from the CIA and Attorney General Meese, along with DEA infighting, sabotage the investigation.
McCoy, Alfred, THE POLITICS OF HEROIN, Brooklyn, NY, Lawrence Hill Books, 1991 Excellent history about CIA complicity in the global drug trade, from the French Connection, to Southeast Asia and onward into the Afghanistan and Latin America. A must read.
Parry, Robert, FOOLING AMERICA, New York, William Morrow and Company, 1992 Several sections discuss Contra cocaine smuggling in this book which describes how Washington insiders twist the truth and manufacture the Conventional Wisdom.
Persico, Joseph E., CASEY, New York, Viking Penguin, 1990, pg..478-481 Biography on former CIA director William Casey briefly explores the relationships between the CIA and drug traffickers, as well as the protection of narco-CIA assets.
Reed, Terry and Cummings, John, COMPROMISED, New York, S.P.I. Books, 1994 The definitive book on Mena, Reed’s first person account of his CIA service on behalf of the Contras opens eyes as to the relationships between the CIA, drug trafficking and recent occupants of the White House. A second edition is in bookstores, however not from bankrupt S.P.I. Books. [I highly recommend this book]
Terrell, Jack with Martz, Ron, DISPOSABLE PATRIOT: REVELATIONS OF A SOLDIER IN AMERICA’S SECRET WARS, Washington, DC, National Press Books, 1992 ISBN 0-915765-38-1 An American soldier goes to fight the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. But he discovers that the most dangerous war is the political infighting of Washington as politicians and covert operatives fight to save their political skins ans stay out of jail.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Adams, Lorraine, «North Didn’t Relay Drug Tips; DEA Says It Finds No Evidence Reagan Aide Talked to Agency,» WASHINGTON POST, October 22, 1994, pg A1 Oliver North knew his Contra network was smuggling cocaine, but he did not inform the DEA as required by law.
Anderson, Jack and Van Atta, Dale, «Drug Runner’s Legacy,» February 28, 1989 Federal authorities stonewall investigations into Barry Seal’s drug-trafficking.
Anderson, Jack and Van Atta, Dale, «Small Town for Smuggling,» March 1, 1989 Suspects say they worked for the CIA to turn back investigations into the cocaine of Mena.
Arbanas, Michael, «Hutchinson knew in 83 of Seal probe, ex-IRS agent says,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 19, 1990 IRS agent William Duncan claimed Asa Hutchinson knew about allegations of drug trafficking at Mena when he was US Attorney.
Arbanas, Michael, «Truth on Mena, Seal shrouded in shady allegations; Drug smuggling rumors just won’t die,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 22, 1990 Long overview of Mena evidence.
Arbanas, Michael, «FBI apparently investigating Mena, Seal,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, May 24, 1991
Bowers, Rodney, «Slain smuggler used airport,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 14, 1987 Evidence showing drug smuggler Barry Seal used Mena airport, and that federal Justice officials interfered in local law enforcement investigating the narcotics.
Bowers, Rodney, «House investigators opens Mena probe,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 17, 1987 Aide to Congressman William Hughes (D-NJ) visited Mena to gather evidence and testimony.
Brown, Chip, «Former DEA agent: North knew of cocaine shipments to US,» ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 17, 1994 DEA agent Celerino Castillo tells of his knowledge regarding drug smuggling through the Contra resupply network.
«Co-pilot held answers sought in investigation; But he died in plane crash in 1985,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 27, 1988, pg 6A
Cockburn, Alexander, «Chapters in the Recent History of Arkansas,» THE NATION, February 24, 1992 Describes what was revealed in court papers filed by Terry Reed in his case against Clinton aide Buddy Young regarding CIA Contra cocaine smuggling out of Mena.
Crudele, John, «Drugs and the CIA — A Scandal Unravels in Arkansas,» NEW YORK POST, April 21, 1995 Report that special prosecutor Kenneth Starr is investigating the CIA guns-for-drugs operations at Mena.
Crudele, John, «Bombshell in Arkansas Investigations Brings Both Parties the Jitters,» NEW YORK POST, August 14, 1995 Congressman Jim Leach’s Banking Committee and the House Judiciciary Committee investigate allegations of cocaine trafficking at Mena that point responsibility at the Clinton, Bush and Reagan administrations.
«Demo Says IRS Blocked Probe Of Drugs, Arms,» SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (ASSOCIATED PRESS), July 28, 1989 Rep. Alexander (D-Ark.) Charges the IRS with blocking investigations into cocaine of Mena.
«Deposition summarizes rumors about Seal,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 26, 1988, pg. 18A Former military investigator Gary Wheaton gave a sworn deposition claiming that Barry Seal engaged in gun-running and drug smuggling with the consent of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Central Intelligence Agency.
editorial, «Investigate Mena,» WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 10, 1995, pg A12
Epstein, Edward Jay, «On the Mena Trail,» WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 20, 1994 The Journal warns that beneath Clinton’s crimes, lie the crimes of Reagan and Bush.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, «Cocaine and Toga Parties,» SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, July 17, 1994 Describes evidence that Bill Clinton enjoyed drugs and young women.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, «International Smugglers linked to Contra arms deals,» SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, October 9, 1994 Links Contra cocaine smuggling with Bill Clinton associate, Dan Lasater.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, «Airport scandal set to crash into White House,» DAILY TELEGRAPH, March 27, 1995 Recounts evidence provided by Terry Reed and William Duncan regarding cocaine trafficking through Arkansas.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, «Clinton Involved in CIA Arms and Drugs Racket,» SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, July 9, 1995 Reveals that AMERICAN SPECTATOR was about to publish and interview with former Clinton bodyguard, L.D. Brown. Conservative editor R. Emmett Tyrrell remarked how shocked he was to uncover CIA skullduggery involving the secret was against the Sandinistas.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, «Embattled Clinton falls back on Nixon’s Watergate defence,» ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH, December 18, 1995
Haddigan, Michael, » Fat Man’ key to mystery,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 26, 1988, pg. A1 Overview of the investigations and obstructions to uncovering the truth behind the cocaine of Mena.
Haddigan, Michael, «The Kingpin and his many connections,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 27, 1988, pg. 1A Explores the career of Barry Seal.
Haddigan, Michael, «Mena tires of rumors,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 28, 1988, pg. 1A Remote Mena airport does special refittings for planes from around the world.
Hanchette, John, «House Banking Committee Probing Tangles Tale of Mena, Ark.,» GANNETT NEWS SERVICE, January 25, 1996 House Banking Chairman Jim Leach is investigating Mena.
Harmon, Dave, «Ex-agent: Drug sales aided contras; Retired DEA man says smuggling, North venture linked,» CHICAGO TRIBUNE, January 26, 1993 Celerino Castillo describes the frustration in prosecuting cocaine smugglers involved with the Contra resupply network.
Henson, Maria, «Testimony reveals leak in drug probe: Cost Seal his life, witness says,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, July 29, 1988 House Judiciary subcommittee on crime hears DEA officials tell how a White House leak revealing Barry Seal’s undercover work ruined a major drug investigation.
Henson, Maria, «Alexander threatens budget ax to get agency’s cooperation; He pledges to continue investigation into drug trafficking,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, October 5, 1988 Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.) tries to force the Reagan administration to allow a General Accounting Office investigation into drug-trafficking around Mena.
«IRS says smuggler owes $29 million, seizes his property,» BATON ROUGE STATE TIMES, February 5, 1986, pg. 1-A Some of Barry Seal’s assets are listed.
«Judge set to rule in dispute over Seal’s tax assessment,» BATON ROUGE STATE TIMES, March 28, 1986
Kwitny, Jonathan, «Dope Story: Doubts Rise on Report Reagan Cited in Tying Sandinistas to Cocaine,» WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 22, 1987 Account of Barry Seal’s activities in Mena and his attempt as a DEA informant to connect the Sandinistas with cocaine trafficking.
Lemons, Terry and Fullerton, Jane, «Perot Called Clinton About Mena Inquiry,» ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, April 19, 1992 In 1988, Ross Perot called Gov. Bill Clinton to discuss the allegations of cocaine trafficking on behalf of the Contras in Mena.
Lemons, Terry and Fullerton, Jane, «Perot Vows Mena Airport Won’t Be Issue If He Runs,» ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, April 26, 1992. Perot confirms that he discussed Mena with Gov. Bill Clinton in 1988.
Morris, Scott, «Clinton: State did all it could in Mena case,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 11, 1991 Gov. Bill Clinton claims the Arkansas State Police conducted a «very vigorous» investigation into allegations of drugs and money-laundering around Mena.
Morrison, Micah, «Mena Coverup? Razorback Columbo to Retire,» WALL STREET JOURNAL May 10, 1995, pg. A18 Recounts the efforts of Arkansas State Policeman Russell Welch to investigate Mena, and the career troubles which ensued.
Morrison, Micah, «Mysterious Mena,» WALL STREET JOURNAL, June 29, 1994 Recounts the stories about allegations of U.S. government-protected drug-running in Arkansas.
Morrison, Micah, «The Mena Coverup» WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 18, 1994 IRS investigator William Duncan developed documentation proving the money-laundering of cocaine profits through Arkansas.
Nabbefeld, Joe, «Evidence on Mena-CIA ties to go to Walsh; Airport’s inclusion in Contra probe urged,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 10, 1991 Iran-contra Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh is given evidence on drug money-laundering involving CIA-Contra activities at Mena.
Norman, Jane, «Arkansas Airstrip Under Investigation,» DES MOINES REGISTER, January 26, 1996, pg. 3 House Banking Chairman Jim Leach is investigating Mena.
«Panel investigating slain informant’s activities,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, April 11, 1988 House investigators continue probing allegations of Contra cocaine smuggling.
Rafinski, Karen, «North gets boosters, protesters; Controversial Iran-Contra figure campaigns for Hayes,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 23, 1990 Oliver North visits Arkansas to support Republican Terry Hayes running against Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.).
Scarborough, Rowan, «House Panel Takes a Long Look at Mena,» WASHINGTON TIMES, January 18, 1996 House Banking Committee is investigating the cocaine trafficking at Mena.
Semien, John, «Agent says Seal trafficked drugs while an informant,» BATON ROUGE MORNING ADVOCATE, March 28, 1986 Louisiana state police describe their evidence that Barry Seal was a drug trafficker.
Semien, John, «Plane downed in Nicaragua once owned by Adler Barry Seal,» BATON ROUGE MORNING ADVOCATE, March 10, 1986 The plane shot down over Nicaragua, revealing the Iran-contra affair, was owned by drug smuggler Barry Seal.
Semien, John, «Congress investigating Barry Seal’s activities,» BATON ROUGE SUNDAY ADVOCATE, April 10, 1988 Investigators for the House Subcommittee on Crime visited Louisiana to develop evidence regarding cocaine smuggling and the Contra resupply network.
Stewart, Julie, «Contras, Drug Smuggling Questions Remain Abut Arkansas Airport, ASSOCIATED PRESS, September 24, 1991
Stinson, Jeffrey, «Alexander vows to find answers to Seal story,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 22, 1990 Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.) Renews his efforts for a federal investigation of Mena.
Stinson, Jeffrey, «House panel hears tales of illegal activities at Mena airport,» ARKANSAS GAZETTE, July 25, 1991 IRS investigator William Duncan describes the evidence he collected on drug trafficking at Mena and how the Justice Department asked him to perjure himself before a grand jury.
Tyrrell, R. Emmett Jr., «Furtive Drug Flights,» August 25, 1995 Former Clinton bodyguard L.D. Brown reveals that apparently both Bill Clinton and George Bush knew about the Contra cocaine flights into Mena.
Walker, Martin, «Conspiracy theorists let imagination run riot over Whitewater scandal; Murder, arson, burglary, drug trafficking . . . they’re all part of he plot, if the Clintons’ accusers in the press are to be believed,» THE GUARDIAN, March 24, 1994 Recounts the darkest allegations against Bill Clinton.
Weiner, Tim, «Suit by Drug Agent Says U.S. Subverted His Burmese Efforts,» NEW YORK TIMES, October 27, 1994 Top DEA official in Burma describes how the State Department and CIA jeopardized his heroin investigations and put his life in danger.
MAGAZINE ARTICLES

Chua-Eoan, Howard G. and Shannon, Elaine, «Confidence Games,» TIME, November 29, 1993, pg.35 CIA facilities in Venezuela are used to store 1,000 kilos of cocaine that is shipped to Miami.
Corn, David, «The C.I.A. and the Cocaine Coup,» THE NATION, October 7, 1991, pg.404 Tells of CIA assistance in 1980 Bolivian coup that put cocaine cartel leaders into power.
COVERT ACTION INFORMATION BULLETIN, «The CIA and Drugs» edition, Number 28 (Summer 1987) 8 articles on the history of CIA drug trafficking and money laundering. Ordering information at http://www.worldmedia.com/caq
Dettmer, Jamie and Rodriguez, Paul M., «Starr Investigation Targets Law-Enforcement Complicity,» INSIGHT, May 29, 1995 Report that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was investigating the shredding by Arkansas law enforcement of documents related to Iran-contra drug smuggling.
«Ghosts of carelessness past,» ECONOMIST, May 7, 1994, pg. 30 Summary of allegations regarding cocaine smuggling at Mena.
Robinson, Deborah, «Unsolved mysteries in Clinton country,» IN THESE TIMES, February 12-18, 1992 As Bill Clinton moved to gain the Democratic nomination for President, allegations surfaced that he ignored local law enforcement officials’ pleas for assistance to investigate Mena.
Robinson, Linda and Duffy, Brian, «At play in the field of the spies; A primer: How not to fight the war on drugs,» U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, November 29, 1993 CIA operatives in Venezuela were involved in or had known about drug shipments in the United States, but did nothing to stop them.
Tyrrell, R. Emmett Jr., «The Arkansas Drug Shuttle,» THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR, August, 1995, pg.16 Story of former Clinton bodyguard, L.D. Brown, and his experiences in the Contra resupply operation
Wheeler, Scott L., «Dateline Mena: New Evidence, Rumored Congressional Inquiry Redirect Attention Toward Lingering Scandal,» MEDIA BYPASS, January, 1996, pg. 60 More allegations rise to surface regarding cocaine trafficking at Mena, including evidence that the drug smuggling continues unabated.
«Whitewater Ad Nauseam?» BUSINESSWEEK, February 26, 1996, pg.45 House Banking Chairman James Leach is investigating Mena.
CONGRESSIONAL REPORTS

CONTINUED INVESTIGATION OF SENIOR-LEVEL EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT AND MISMANAGEMENT AT THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, Hearing before the Commerce, Consumer, and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, First Session, July 24, 1991, GOV DOC # Y 4.G 74/7:Em 7/16 House probe into why IRS investigator William Duncan faced a career crisis for documenting the money-laundering through Arkansas in the 1980s.
DRUGS, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FOREIGN POLICY, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 1989, S. Prt. 100-165 Chaired by Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the subcommittee heard abundant testimony by drug dealers and pilots about CIA connections to the smuggling.
ENFORCEMENT OF NARCOTICS, FIREARMS, AND MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS, Oversight Hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session, July 28, September 23, 29, and October 5, 1988, GOV DOC # Y 4.J 89/1:100/138 Investigation of connections between cocaine smuggler Barry Seal and the Contra resupply network.
IRS SENIOR EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT PROBLEMS, Hearings before the Commerce Consumer and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, July 25, 26 and 27, 1989, GOV DOC # Y 4.G 74/7:Em 7/11 Congressional hearings discover that IRS employee problems are due to employees investigating money-laundering of cocaine through Arkansas.
SYRIA, PRESIDENT BUSH AND DRUGS, Subcommittee Staff Report, House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, October 28, 1992 Reports that Bekaa Valley heroin traffickers have close ties to the Syrian government and Army, and that President Bush ignores this problem in his policy towards Syria.


SUMMARY OF IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST JANET RENO

by Tami Kay Freedman
TamKay24@aol.com

We the people, present these charges against Attorney General Janet Reno:

1. DERILICTION OF DUTY (Ruby Ridge, Idaho – 1992)
Janet Reno refused to support the conclusion of a Justice Dept. investigation that found an FBI sniper shot which killed Vicki Weaver was unconstitutional. Senate testimony showed that an FBI sniper killed Vicki Weaver by shooting her in the head as she held her baby while standing with the door open on her front porch. The FBI snipers were shooting at the Weavers from over 200 yards away using rifles with 10 power scopes. The snipers and assistant FBI director Larry Potts, testified that they had the right to shoot and kill anyone if that person was holding a gun. Chairman Spector pointed out that such a situation did not warrant the use of deadly force according to FBI policy. On the House floor, Idaho representative, Helen Chenoweth, called for the resignation of Potts who was also responsible for the WACO disaster and a personal friend of FBI Director Freeh, the Reno appointee. Randy Weaver’s attorney called for Lon Horiuchi, the sniper, to be tried for murder based on the Justice Dept. investigation. Instead Horiuchi and Potts received paid leave for over two years. (SENATE RUBY RIDGE SIEGE INVESTIGATION)

2. FAILURE TO UPHOLD THE 4TH AMENDMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION (Waco, Texas – 1993)
Janet Reno approved the CS military gas attack that led to the deaths of over 80 men, women and children who had never been charged with any crime. She also stated that she «could not find anything wrong» with FBI actions in Waco despite overwhelming video based evidence that the FBI was responsible for the deaths of the Davidians. An aerial video tape shows a tank destroying a Davidian building while people were still inside. Autopsy reports indicate that six bodies found in the rubble of that building were crushed to death. The Forward Looking Infared (FLIR) tape clearly shows heat images from bullets being fired at the Davidians as they tried to escape from the burning buildings. Janet Reno also could find no violation of the Posse Comitatus act which expressly prohibits the use of military equipment and personnel to enforce laws against American citizens unless authorized by the U.S. Constitution or act of Congress. (HOUSE BRANCH DAVIDIAN INCIDENT INVESTIGATION, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – WILLIAM GAZECKI)

3. ABUSE OF POWER (Firing of all U.S. Attorneys – 1993)
Janet Reno fired all 94 United States Attorneys, a move unprecedented in American history, shortly after her appointment in March 1993. She stated that the replacement of all U.S. Attorneys was a «joint decision» with the White House. The liaison with the White House was the third highest ranking Justice Dept. official, associate attorney general, Webster Hubbell, who is now a convicted felon.

4. WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE (Fiske Appointment – 1993)
Janet Reno appointed Robert Fiske as a special independent prosecutor to investigate the Clintons’ Whitewater dealings even though Fiske was a lawyer for International Paper Inc., the company that had sold land to the Whitewater partnership of Clinton and McDougal. Fiske was also a lawyer for the Bank of Commerce and Credit, which received laundered drug money transfers from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, (ADFA) as explained by ADFA marketing director Larry Nichols. Bank records show that the laundering abruptly ended when Barry Seal, who ran a Mena Arkansas drug trafficking ring was assassinated in 1986 just before he was to testify before a grand jury. ADFA was created by Bill Clinton, who was the only authorized payer. BCCI created one of the worst scandals in savings & loan history when it collapsed in 1985 and was shut down in July 1991. As president, Clinton dismissed charges against the head of BCCI, Clark Clifford, who was the former LBJ defense secretary. (CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT – CLINTON CHRONICLES)

5. OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE (Arkansas U.S. Attorney – 1993-present)
Janet Reno has refused a 1993 FBI investigation recommendation to prosecute Chuck Banks, the former Arkansas U.S. attorney who was to be tried for obstruction of justice for shutting down a federal drug investigation that implicated many people within the state and local governments. The investigation found compromised local judges and prosecutors, drug trafficking at Mena, money laundering through ADFA, suppression and distortion by the media and information about the murder of Kevin Ives and Don Henry as well as five other subsequent deaths. Assistant U.S. attorney Bob Govar, who resigned in protest, received much information from Jean Duffey, the head of a drug task force investigation that was shut down by Judge John Cole. Duffey was attacked with 200 false press articles, threatened with imprisonment on an illegal warrant issued by the same judge, pressured to turn over her investigation to the people she was investigating and forced to temporarily flee the state when her mother received a tip from a police dispatcher that she would be killed if imprisoned. Despite confiscation of task force evidence, Dan Harmon, a prosecutor that she implicated, was tried and convicted in June of 1997 on five drug related felony counts, each carrying a maximum of 20 years in jail and a $150,000 fine. Harmon was convicted in 1990 on tax evasion but had his suspended law license reinstated after Winston Bryant, the Arkansas attorney general under Governor Clinton, testified on his behalf. To date, no one has been charged in any of the murders, despite contentions of the task force undercover agents that the murders were easily solvable. (CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE)

6. SUPPRESSION OF EVIDENCE (Tyson / Espy Investigation – 1994)
Janet Reno barred expansion of the probe into the affairs of Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy so that it would not include Don Tyson, the Clinton campaign contributor who was accused of bribing Espy. The investigation of Mike Espy, conducted by independent prosecutor Donald Smaltz, revealed evidence that Don Tyson was involved in drug abuse, drug distribution, money laundering and even murder for hire. Much of the evidence already existed in Arkansas State Police intelligence files. Tyson, owner of Tyson foods, had contributed over $600,000 to Bill Clinton campaigns. Tyson Foods counselor, James Blair, was the individual who turned a $1,000 cattle futures investment into $100,000 for Hillary Clinton. (CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT – CLINTON CHRONICLES)

7. IMPEDING AN INVESTIGATION (Judicial Watch vs. Commerce Dept. 1993-Present)
The Janet Reno led Justice Dept. has repeatedly attempted to stymie Judicial Watch in their freedom of information suit against the Commerce Dept., even though the Justice Dept. role is to make sure that the Commerce Dept. responds properly. The Judicial Watch suit was responsible for the John Huang deposition, which led to the exposure of millions of dollars in illegal contributions to the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaigns. In February 1996, Judicial Watch also subpoenaed Ron Brown who was killed in the plane crash at Croatia during April 1996, while he was preparing for the deposition. An assistant U.S. attorney in the Justice Dept. filed numerous motions to delay the case, made repeated objections that were overruled during testimony and terminated a deposition against orders of the judge, who ruled that his conduct was «totally improper» and «totally scandalous.» (JUDICIAL WATCH, AMERICAN SPECTATOR 10/97)

8. GROSS FBI MISMANAGEMENT (William Sessions replacement with Louis Freeh – 1993)
Janet Reno fired William Sessions and replaced him with Louis Freeh on July 19, 1993, the day before the body of Vince Foster was found in Fort Marcy Park, Under Freeh, the FBI has entered the most incompetent, unaccountable period in its history as shown by these facts: – Louis Freeh promoted his close friend Larry Potts despite the assistant FBI director’s responsibility for both the disastrous Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges – Freeh’s FBI illegally gave Clinton Administration personnel over 900 files, including those on political adversaries. Freeh’s FBI General Counsel, Howard Shapriro, even briefed White House counsel Jack Quinn on the information Freeh ordered agents to illegally read Richard Jewell his miranda rights while Jewell was cooperating to film a training video. The order was issued by phone over the unanimous protest of all involved Atlanta FBI agents – Freeh’s FBI failed to process criminal background checks on citizenship applications resulting in over 70,000 criminals being granted U.S. citizenship in time for the 1996 elections – Freeh’s FBI has been cited along with the ATF by 13,500 Oklahomans who were granted a new grand jury investigation into the alleged government cover-up involving the Oklahoma City bombing – Freeh’s FBI crime labs were accused by agent Fredric Whitehurst of tainting evidence in high profile cases including the Oklahoma City bombing case – Freeh’s FBI agents interrogated agent Gary Aldrich about his book, Unlimited Access, as well as agent Dennis Sculimbrene about his Craig Livingstone background inquiry that linked the Livingstone hiring to Hillary Clinton. (WASHINGTON TIMES NATIONAL WEEKLY 3/23/97)

9. AIDING & ABETTING ORGANIZED CRIME (Laborers International Union of North America – 1996)
Janet Reno shut down the prosecution of Arthur Coia, the head of Laborers International Union of North America, who was investigated by the Justice Dept. over several years for corrupt labor union practices such as extortion, conspiring to prevent free elections and even death by fire bombing. They concluded in their 1994 complaint that he was «associated with, influenced from and controlled by» organized crime. His union political action committee, Laborers’ Political League, contributed over 4.5 million dollars to the Democrat National Committee and its candidates. In February of 1995, Coia also helped Hillary Clinton raise millions more dollars in a Miami Beach fund raiser at the Fountainbleau hotel for the top officials of his union. Also in February of 1995, the Justice Dept. dropped the complaint against Coia, signed a consent decree, withheld his prosecution and told him to clean up his own union. Officials of the Janet Reno led Justice Dept. now say that the consent decree was «the finest most practical resolution that’s ever been reached in a case of alleged mob influence.» Coia thanked them by being vice chairman of a May 1996 gala that raised $12,000,000 for Democrats. (NATIONAL LEGAL & POLICY CENTER, READERS DIGEST 4/96)

10. TREASON (Campaign Fund Raising – 1996)
Janet Reno refused three separate House committee requests in 1997 to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Democratic National Committee and presidential fund raising scandal, despite clear evidence of treasonous policies made by Bill Clinton in exchange for contributions. The requests were made by the Judiciary Committee in March and September as well as the Government Reform and Oversight Committee in August. Nearly $1,000,000 in contributions from Charlie Trie were traced by the FBI to Ng Lap Seng who advises both the Chinese government and Communist party on business and economic matters. Bill Clinton helped John Huang get hired at the DNC and Commerce Dept., even though he was a former U.S. president of the Lippo Group, which has a partnership with the Chinese Communist government to run the Hong Kong Chinese bank and its affiliate in China. Even before he was hired, Huang received a top secret military clearance which allowed him to attend over 100 briefings and review dozens of classified documents. Consequently, Bill Clinton relaxed U.S. export restrictions to China for several types of military technology and supported an effort by the Chinese communist controlled China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), to take over the Long Beach military port. COSCO was caught shipping 2000 illegal AK-47s into the Oakland port on route to L.A. street gangs. The weapons came from Poly Technologies, just days before their chairman, Wang Jen, an internationally renowned arms dealer, met with Bill Clinton at the White House. Bill Clinton also ensured Indonesia’s monopoly on new low sulfur, super compliance coal when he declared 1.7 million acres in southern Utah as the Grand Escalante National Monument and made U.S. mining of the world’s largest deposit of that coal there unfeasible. Despite all of this, Reno said she could see no evidence that a special prosecutor was needed and even failed to notify the White House when the FBI informed her of Chinese attempts to influence the 1996 presidential elections. (SENATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMMMITTEE, AMERICAN SPECTATOR 3/97, WASHINGTON TIMES 12/26/96 -12/30/96, 04/11/97-04/18/97)

11. VOTER FRAUD (INS Illegal Immigration – 1996)
Under Janet Reno, the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) registered 180,000 illegal immigrants just in time for the 1996 election. The INS typically registers about 300,000 immigrants per year. In 1996, they registered 1.1 million before the election, including 180,000 illegal immigrants and 70,000 criminals. In a House Appropriations Committee meeting, INS head Doris Meissner, confirmed that the INS was working closely with the Vice President and his office to register the immigrants. Meissner and other INS employees also acknowledged the existence of E-Mail messages from the Vice President’s office to the INS stating Bill Clinton’s frustration that the registration process may be going too slowly to be completed in time for the election. (HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUB COMMITTEE MEETING 4/4/97, SENATE ELECTION INVESTIGATION)

12. INCOMPETENCE (Bill Clinton sexual harassment suit – 1997)
Janet Reno filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in an attempt to support the claim by Bill Clinton that he should be shielded from the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil suit until he leaves office on the grounds that he is the commander and chief of the U.S. armed forces. The Supreme Count ruled unanimously, by a 9-0 count, against him. (WASHINGTON TIMES NATIONAL WEEKLY Vol.4 No.25)

13. TAMPERING (Hillary Clinton privilege claim – 1997)
Janet Reno attempted to compromise the Kenneth Starr investigation by challenging an 8th U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that found the Hillary Clinton personal attorney client privilege claim does not apply to White House lawyers who are paid by American taxpayers. The ruling, which was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, involved Vince Foster and Rose Law firm billing record matters that Hillary Clinton discussed on July 11, 1995 with White House counsels Miriam Nemetz and Jane Sherbourne, lawyers. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. (WASHINGTON TIMES NATIONAL WEEKLY Vol.4 No.25)

14. CONSPIRACY (Immunity refusal for Buddist nuns – 1997)
Janet Reno refused to grant immunity to four nuns who had contributed $5000 apiece to the Democratic National Committee at a fund raiser in the Hsi Lai Buddist temple in Hacienda Heights Cal, during April 1996. The event was attended by Vice President Al Gore who claimed he did not know it was a fund raiser even though evidence showed that virtually everyone on his staff knew it was a fund raiser and dozens of early 1996 documents confirmed it. The nuns, who like Buddist monks, are sworn to poverty, were unwilling to testify as to where they got the money unless granted immunity. Reno, admitted that the Justice Dept. would not prosecute the nuns but refused to grant immunity which helped conceal the illegal foreign source of the contributions. The bi-partisan Senate committee granted immunity to the nuns by votes of 15-1 and 13-3. The nuns testified that the related temple financial documents had been shredded. (SENATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATION, AMERICAN SPECTATOR 10/97)
——–
Please Write Your NEWSPAPER about the need to FIRE JANET RENO!!
Write/Fax/Call!! And while you’re sending, you might want to send it to OUR Congress also!!
Thanks Again!!
YOU ARE TRULY GREAT!! Tami Kay Freedman
_____________________

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Mena (play /mnə/) mee-nə) is a city in Polk County, Arkansas, United States. It is also the county seat of Polk County.[1] It was founded by Arthur Edward Stilwell during the building of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (now the Kansas City Southern). It was Stilwell who decided Mena would be the name of this new town along the route to Port Arthur, Texas. He named her so in honor of his beloved friend and financier Jan DeGeoijen’s wife, Folmina Margaretha Janssen DeGeoijen, whom Mr. DeGeoijen affectionately called Mena. Mena was settled in 1896.
The population was 5,637 as of 2000 census.
A number of allegations have been written about and several local, state, and federal investigations have taken place related to the notion of Mena as a drop point in large scale cocaine trafficking beginning in the latter part of the 1980s. The topic has received a large degree of its coverage due to the alleged knowledge, participation and/or coverup involvement of figures as powerful and infamous as future presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, as well future Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Saline County prosecutor Dan Harmon, who was convicted of numerous felonies including drug and racketeering charges in 1997.


The Crimes of Mena
By Sally Denton and Roger Morris
From the July 1995 issue of Penthouse Magazine.

This is the story that couldn’t be suppressed.
An investigative report into a scandal that haunts the reputations of three presidents

— Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

Barry Seal — gunrunner, drug trafficker, and covert C.I.A. operative extraordinaire — is hardly a familiar name in American politics. But nine years after he was murdered in a hail of bullets by Medellin cartel hit men outside a Salvation Army shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he has come back to haunt the reputations of three American presidents.

Seal’s legacy includes more than 2,000 newly discovered documents that now verify and quantify much of what previously had been only suspicion, conjecture, and legend. The documents confirm that from 1981 to his brutal death in 1986, Barry Seal carried on one of the most lucrative, extensive, and brazen operations in the history of the international drug trade, and that he did it with the evident complicity, if not collusion, of elements of the United States government, apparently with the acquiescence of Ronald Reagan’s administration, impunity from any subsequent exposure by George Bush’s administration, and under the usually acute political nose of then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.

The newly unearthed papers show the real Seal as far more impressive and well-connected than the character played by Dennis Hopper in a made-for-TV movie some years ago, loosely based on the smuggler’s life. The film portrayed the pudgy pilot as a hapless victim, caught in a cross fire between bungling but benign government agencies and Latin drug lords. The truth sprinkled through the documents is a richer — and altogether more sinister — matter of national and individual corruption. It is a tale of massive, socially devastating crime, of what seems to have been an official cover-up to match, and, not least, of the strange reluctance of so-called mainstream American journalism to come to grips with the phenomenon and its ominous implications — even when the documentary evidence had appeared.

The trail winds back to another slightly bruited but obscure name — a small place in western Arkansas called Mena.

Of the many stories emerging from the Arkansas of the 1980s that was crucible to the Clinton presidency, none has been more elusive than the charges surrounding Mena. Nestled in the dense pine and hardwood forests of the Oachita Mountains, some 160 miles west of Little Rock, once thought a refuge for nineteenth-century border outlaws and even a hotbed of Depression-era anarchists, the tiny town has been the locale for persistent reports of drug smuggling, gunrunning, and money laundering tracing to the early eighties, when Seal based his aircraft at Mena’s Intermountain Regional Airport.

From first accounts circulating locally in Arkansas, the story surfaced nationally as early as 1989 in a Penthouse article called «Snowbound,» written by the investigative reporter John Cummings, and in a Jack Anderson column, but was never advanced at the time by other media. Few reporters covering Clinton in the 1992 campaign missed hearing at least something about Mena. But it was obviously a serious and demanding subject — the specter of vast drug smuggling with C.I.A. involvement — and none of the major media pursued it seriously During 1992, the story was kept alive by Sarah McClendon, The Nation, and The Village Voice.

Then, after Clinton became president, Mena began to reappear. Over the past year, CBS News and The Wall Street Journal have reported the original, unquieted charges surrounding Mena, including the shadow of some C.I.A. (or «national security») involvement in the gun and drug traffic, and the apparent failure of then governor Clinton to pursue evidence of such international crime so close to home.

«Seal was smuggling drugs and kept his planes at Mena,» The Wall Street Journal reported in 1994. «He also acted as an agent for the D.E.A. In one of these missions, he flew the plane that produced photographs of Sandinistas loading drugs in Nicaragua. He was killed by a drug gang [Medellin cartel hit men] in Baton Rouge. The cargo plane he flew was the same one later flown by Eugene Hasenfus when he was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of contra supplies.

In a mix of wild rumor and random fact, Mena has also been a topic of ubiquitous anti-Clinton diatribes circulated by right-wing extremists — an irony in that the Mena operation was the apparent brainchild of the two previous and Republican administrations.

Still, most of the larger American media have continued to ignore, if not ridicule, the Mena accusations. Finding no conspiracy in the Oachitas last July, a Washington Post reporter typically scoffed at the «alleged dark deeds,» contrasting Mena with an image as «Clandestination, Arkansas … Cloak and Dagger Capital of America.» Noting that The New York Times had «mentioned Mena primarily as the headquarters of the American Rock Garden Society,» the Columbia Journalism Review in a recent issue dismissed «the conspiracy theories» as of «dubious relevance.»

A former Little Rock businessman, Terry Reed, has coauthored with John Cummings a highly controversial book, Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the C.I.A., which describes a number of covert activities around Mena, including a C.I.A. operation to train pilots and troops for the Nicaraguan Contras, and the collusion of local officials. Both the book and its authors were greeted with derision.

Now, however, a new mass of documentary evidence has come to light regarding just such «dark deeds» — previously private and secret records that substantiate as never before some of the worst and most portentous suspicions about what went on at Mena, Arkansas, a decade ago.

Given the scope and implications of the Mena story, it may be easy to understand the media’s initial skepticism and reluctance. But it was never so easy to dismiss the testimony arid suspicions of some of those close to the matter: Internal Revenue Service Agent Bill Duncan, Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch, Arkansas Attorney General J. Winston Bryant, Congressman Bill Alexander, and various other local law-enforcement officials and citizens.

All of these people were convinced by the late eighties that there existed what Bryant termed «credible evidence» of the most serious criminal activity involving Mena between 1981 and 1986. They also believed that the crimes were committed with the acquiescence, if not the complicity, of elements of the U.S. government. But they couldn’t seem to get the national media to pay attention.

During the 1992 campaign, outside advisers and aides urged former California governor Jerry Brown to raise the Mena issue against Clinton — at least to ask why the Arkansas governor had not done more about such serious international crime so close to home. But Brown, too, backed away from the subject. I’ll raise it if the major media break it first,» he told aides. «The media will do it, Governor,» one of them replied in frustration, «if only you’ll raise it.»

Mena’s obscure airport was thought by the I.R.S., the F.B.I., U.S. Customs, and the Arkansas State Police to be a base for Adler Berriman «Barry» Seal, a self-confessed, convicted smuggler whose operations had been linked to the intelligence community. Duncan and Welch both spent years building cases against Seal and others for drug smuggling and money laundering around Mena, only to see their own law-enforcement careers damaged in the process.

What evidence they gathered, they have said in testimony and other public statements, was not sufficiently pursued by the then U.S. attorney for the region, J. Michael Fitzhugh, or by the I.R.S., Arkansas State Police, and other agencies. Duncan, testifying before the joint investigation by the Arkansas state attorney general’s office and the United States Congress in June 1991, said that 29 federal indictments drafted in a Mena-based money-laundering scheme had gone unexplored. Fitzhugh, responding at the time to Duncan’s charges, said, «This office has not slowed up any investigation … [and] has never been under any pressure in any investigation.»

By 1992, to Duncan’s and Welch’s mounting dismay, several other official inquiries into the alleged Mena connection were similarly ineffectual or were stifled altogether, furthering their suspicions of government collusion and cover-up. In his testimony before Congress, Duncan said the I.R.S. «withdrew support for the operations» and further directed him to «withhold information from Congress and perjure myself.»

Duncan later testified that he had never before experienced «anything remotely akin to this type of interference…. Alarms were going off,» he continued, «and as soon as Mr. Fitzhugh got involved, he was more aggressive in not allowing the subpoenas and in interfering in the investigative process.»

State policeman Russell Welch felt he was «probably the most knowledgeable person» regarding the activities at Mena, yet he was not initially subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. Welch testified later that the only reason he was ultimately subpoenaed at all was because one of the grand jurors was from Mena and «told the others that if they wanted to know something about the Mena airport, they ought to ask that guy [Welch] out there in the hall.»

State Attorney General Bryant, in a 1991 letter to the office of Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation, wondered «why no one was prosecuted in Arkansas despite a mountain of evidence that Seal was using Arkansas as his principal staging area during the years 1982 through 1985.»

What actually went on in the woods of western Arkansas? The question is still relevant for what it may reveal about certain government operations during the time that Reagan and Bush were in the White House and Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

In a mass of startling new documentation — the more than 2,000 papers gathered by the authors from private and law-enforcement sources in a year-long nationwide search — answers are found and serious questions are posed.

These newly unearthed documents — the veritable private papers of Barry Seal — substantiate at least part of what went on at Mena.

What might be called the Seal archive dates back to 1981, when Seal began his operations at the Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena. The archive, all of it now in our possession, continues beyond February 1986, when Seal was murdered by Colombian assassins after he had testified in federal court in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami for the U.S. government against leaders of the Medellin drug cartel.

The papers include such seemingly innocuous material as Seal’s bank and telephone records; negotiable instruments, promissory notes, and invoices; personal correspondence address and appointment books; bills of sale for aircraft and boats; aircraft registration, and modification work orders.

In addition, the archive also contains personal diaries; handwritten to-do lists and other private notes; secretly tape-recorded conversations; and cryptographic keys and legends for codes used in the Seal operation.

Finally, there are extensive official records: federal investigative and surveillance reports, accounting assessments by the I.R.S. and the D.E.A., and court proceedings not previously reported in the press — testimony as well as confidential pre-sentencing memoranda in federal narcotics-trafficking trials in Florida and Nevada — numerous depositions, and other sworn statements.

The archive paints a vivid portrait not only of a major criminal conspiracy around Mena, but also of the unmistakable shadow of government complicity. Among the new revelations:

Mena, from 1981 to 1985, was indeed one of the centers for international smuggling traffic. According to official I.R.S. and D.E.A. calculations, sworn court testimony, and other corroborative records, the traffic amounted to thousands of kilos of cocaine and heroin and literally hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits. According to a 1986 letter from the Louisiana attorney general to then U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, Seal «smuggled between $3 billion and $5 billion of drugs into the U.S.»

Seal himself spent considerable sums to land, base, maintain, and specially equip or refit his aircraft for smuggling. According to personal and business records, he had extensive associations at Mena and in Little Rock, and was in nearly constant telephone contact with Mena when he was not there himself. Phone records indicate Seal made repeated calls to Mena the day before his murder. This was long after Seal, according to his own testimony, was working as an $800,000-a-year informant for the federal government.

A former member of the Army Special Forces, Seal had ties to the Central Intelligence Agency dating to the early 1970s. He had confided to relatives and others, according to their sworn statements, that he was a C.I.A. operative before and during the period when he established his operations at Mena. In one statement to Louisiana State Police, a Seal relative said, «Barry was into gunrunning and drug smuggling in Central and South America … and he had done some time in El Salvadore [sic].» Another then added, «lt was true, but at the time Barry was working for the C.I.A.»

In a posthumous jeopardy-assessment case against Seal — also documented in the archive — the I.R.S. determined that money earned by Seal between 1984 and 1986 was not illegal because of his «C.I.A.-D.E.A. employment.» The only public official acknowledgment of Seal’s relationship to the C.I.A. has been in court and congressional testimony, and in various published accounts describing the C.I.A.’s installation of cameras in Seal’s C-123K transport plane, used in a highly celebrated 1984 sting operation against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

Robert Joura, the assistant special agent in charge of the D.E.A.’s Houston office and the agent who coordinated Seal’s undercover work, told The Washington Post last year that Seal was enlisted by the C.I.A. for one sensitive mission — providing photographic evidence that the Sandinistas were letting cocaine from Colombia move through Nicaragua. A spokesman for then Senate candidate Oliver North told The Post that North had been kept aware of Seal’s work through «intelligence sources.»

Federal Aviation Administration registration records contained in the archive confirm that aircraft identified by federal and state narcotics agents as in the Seal smuggling operation were previously owned by Air America, Inc., widely reported to have been a C.I.A. proprietary company. Emile Camp, one of Seal’s pilots and a witness to some of his most significant dealings, was killed on a mountainside near Mena in 1985 in the unexplained crash of one of those planes that had once belonged to Air America.

According to still other Seal records, at least some of the aircraft in his smuggling fleet, which included a Lear jet, helicopters, and former U.S. military transports, were also outfitted with avionics and other equipment by yet another company in turn linked to Air America.

Among the aircraft flown in and out of Mena was Seal’s C-123K cargo plane, christened Fat Lady. The records show that Fat Lady, serial number 54-0679, was sold by Seal months before his death. According to other files, the plane soon found its way to a phantom company of what became known in the Iran-Contra scandal as «the Enterprise,» the C.I.A.-related secret entity managed by Oliver North and others to smuggle illegal weapons to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. According to former D.E.A. agent Celerino Castillo and others, the aircraft was allegedly involved in a return traffic in cocaine, profits from which were then used to finance more clandestine gunrunning.

F.A.A. records show that in October 1986, the same Fat Lady was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of arms destined for the Contras. Documents found on board the aircraft and seized by the Sandinistas included logs linking the plane with Area 51 — the nation’s top-secret nuclear-weapons facility at the Nevada Test Site. The doomed aircraft was co-piloted by Wallace Blaine «Buzz» Sawyer, a native of western Arkansas, who died in the crash. The admissions of the surviving crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, began a public unraveling of the Iran-Contra episode.

An Arkansas gun manufacturer testified in 1993 in federal court in Fayetteville that the C.I.A. contracted with him to build 250 automatic pistols for the Mena operation. William Holmes testified that he had been introduced to Seal in Mena by a C.I.A. operative, and that he then sold weapons to Seal. Even though he was given a Department of Defense purchase order for guns fitted with silencers, Holmes testified that he was never paid the $140,000 the government owed him. «After the Hasenfus plane was shot down,» Holmes said, «you couldn’t find a soul around Mena.»

Meanwhile, there was still more evidence that Seal’s massive smuggling operation based in Arkansas had been part of a C.I.A. operation, and that the crimes were continuing well after Seal’s murder. In 1991 sworn testimony to both Congressman Alexander and Attorney General Bryant, state police investigator Welch recorded that in 1987 he had documented «new activity at the [Mena] airport with the appearance of … an Australian business [a company linked with the C.I.A.], and C-130s had appeared….»

At the same time, according to Welch, two F.B.I. agents officially informed him that the C.I.A. «had something going on at the Mena Airport involving Southern Air Transport [another company linked with the C.I.A.] … and they didn’t want us [the Arkansas State Police] to sc











Mena links (Courtesy of "Uncle Bill" at Free Republic)



A MENA BIBLIOGRAPHY

SUGGESTED BOOKS

Castillo, Celerino III and Harmon, Dave, POWDERBURNS, Oakville, Ont., Mosaic Press, 1994 Head of DEA in El Salvador discovered that the Contras were smuggling cocaine into the United States. Castillo's superiors reacted to his reports by burying them. This book is too controversial for an American publisher to print.
Cockburn, Leslie, OUT OF CONTROL, New York, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987 Early account of the of the Reagan Administration's secret war in Nicaragua, the illegal arms pipeline and the Contra drug connection.
Johnson, Haynes, SLEEPWALKING THROUGH HISTORY, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1991. Pg. 261-274, 292-293 History of the Reagan years traces the relationships of William Casey, Manuel Noriega and the Medellin cocaine cartel.
Levine, Michael, THE BIG WHITE LIE, New York, Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993 DEA undercover investigator learns that the biggest deterrent to stopping the drug epidemic is the Central Intelligence Agency.
Levine, Michael, DEEP COVER, New York, Dell Publishing, 1990 DEA undercover operative penetrates the leadership of the Bolivian cocaine cartel, Panamanian money-launderers and Mexican military middle-men. But it is all for nought, as interference from the CIA and Attorney General Meese, along with DEA infighting, sabotage the investigation.
McCoy, Alfred, THE POLITICS OF HEROIN, Brooklyn, NY, Lawrence Hill Books, 1991 Excellent history about CIA complicity in the global drug trade, from the French Connection, to Southeast Asia and onward into the Afghanistan and Latin America. A must read.
Parry, Robert, FOOLING AMERICA, New York, William Morrow and Company, 1992 Several sections discuss Contra cocaine smuggling in this book which describes how Washington insiders twist the truth and manufacture the Conventional Wisdom.
Persico, Joseph E., CASEY, New York, Viking Penguin, 1990, pg..478-481 Biography on former CIA director William Casey briefly explores the relationships between the CIA and drug traffickers, as well as the protection of narco-CIA assets.
Reed, Terry and Cummings, John, COMPROMISED, New York, S.P.I. Books, 1994 The definitive book on Mena, Reed's first person account of his CIA service on behalf of the Contras opens eyes as to the relationships between the CIA, drug trafficking and recent occupants of the White House. A second edition is in bookstores, however not from bankrupt S.P.I. Books. [I highly recommend this book]
Terrell, Jack with Martz, Ron, DISPOSABLE PATRIOT: REVELATIONS OF A SOLDIER IN AMERICA'S SECRET WARS, Washington, DC, National Press Books, 1992 ISBN 0-915765-38-1 An American soldier goes to fight the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. But he discovers that the most dangerous war is the political infighting of Washington as politicians and covert operatives fight to save their political skins ans stay out of jail.
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Adams, Lorraine, "North Didn't Relay Drug Tips; DEA Says It Finds No Evidence Reagan Aide Talked to Agency," WASHINGTON POST, October 22, 1994, pg A1 Oliver North knew his Contra network was smuggling cocaine, but he did not inform the DEA as required by law.
Anderson, Jack and Van Atta, Dale, "Drug Runner's Legacy," February 28, 1989 Federal authorities stonewall investigations into Barry Seal's drug-trafficking.
Anderson, Jack and Van Atta, Dale, "Small Town for Smuggling," March 1, 1989 Suspects say they worked for the CIA to turn back investigations into the cocaine of Mena.
Arbanas, Michael, "Hutchinson knew in 83 of Seal probe, ex-IRS agent says," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 19, 1990 IRS agent William Duncan claimed Asa Hutchinson knew about allegations of drug trafficking at Mena when he was US Attorney.
Arbanas, Michael, "Truth on Mena, Seal shrouded in shady allegations; Drug smuggling rumors just won't die," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 22, 1990 Long overview of Mena evidence.
Arbanas, Michael, "FBI apparently investigating Mena, Seal," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, May 24, 1991
Bowers, Rodney, "Slain smuggler used airport," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 14, 1987 Evidence showing drug smuggler Barry Seal used Mena airport, and that federal Justice officials interfered in local law enforcement investigating the narcotics.
Bowers, Rodney, "House investigators opens Mena probe," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 17, 1987 Aide to Congressman William Hughes (D-NJ) visited Mena to gather evidence and testimony.
Brown, Chip, "Former DEA agent: North knew of cocaine shipments to US," ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 17, 1994 DEA agent Celerino Castillo tells of his knowledge regarding drug smuggling through the Contra resupply network.
"Co-pilot held answers sought in investigation; But he died in plane crash in 1985," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 27, 1988, pg 6A
Cockburn, Alexander, "Chapters in the Recent History of Arkansas," THE NATION, February 24, 1992 Describes what was revealed in court papers filed by Terry Reed in his case against Clinton aide Buddy Young regarding CIA Contra cocaine smuggling out of Mena.
Crudele, John, "Drugs and the CIA -- A Scandal Unravels in Arkansas," NEW YORK POST, April 21, 1995 Report that special prosecutor Kenneth Starr is investigating the CIA guns-for-drugs operations at Mena.
Crudele, John, "Bombshell in Arkansas Investigations Brings Both Parties the Jitters," NEW YORK POST, August 14, 1995 Congressman Jim Leach's Banking Committee and the House Judiciciary Committee investigate allegations of cocaine trafficking at Mena that point responsibility at the Clinton, Bush and Reagan administrations.
"Demo Says IRS Blocked Probe Of Drugs, Arms," SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (ASSOCIATED PRESS), July 28, 1989 Rep. Alexander (D-Ark.) Charges the IRS with blocking investigations into cocaine of Mena.
"Deposition summarizes rumors about Seal," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 26, 1988, pg. 18A Former military investigator Gary Wheaton gave a sworn deposition claiming that Barry Seal engaged in gun-running and drug smuggling with the consent of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Central Intelligence Agency.
editorial, "Investigate Mena," WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 10, 1995, pg A12
Epstein, Edward Jay, "On the Mena Trail," WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 20, 1994 The Journal warns that beneath Clinton's crimes, lie the crimes of Reagan and Bush.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, "Cocaine and Toga Parties," SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, July 17, 1994 Describes evidence that Bill Clinton enjoyed drugs and young women.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, "International Smugglers linked to Contra arms deals," SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, October 9, 1994 Links Contra cocaine smuggling with Bill Clinton associate, Dan Lasater.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, "Airport scandal set to crash into White House," DAILY TELEGRAPH, March 27, 1995 Recounts evidence provided by Terry Reed and William Duncan regarding cocaine trafficking through Arkansas.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, "Clinton Involved in CIA Arms and Drugs Racket," SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, July 9, 1995 Reveals that AMERICAN SPECTATOR was about to publish and interview with former Clinton bodyguard, L.D. Brown. Conservative editor R. Emmett Tyrrell remarked how shocked he was to uncover CIA skullduggery involving the secret was against the Sandinistas.
Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, "Embattled Clinton falls back on Nixon's Watergate defence," ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH, December 18, 1995
Haddigan, Michael, " Fat Man' key to mystery," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 26, 1988, pg. A1 Overview of the investigations and obstructions to uncovering the truth behind the cocaine of Mena.
Haddigan, Michael, "The Kingpin and his many connections," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 27, 1988, pg. 1A Explores the career of Barry Seal.
Haddigan, Michael, "Mena tires of rumors," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, June 28, 1988, pg. 1A Remote Mena airport does special refittings for planes from around the world.
Hanchette, John, "House Banking Committee Probing Tangles Tale of Mena, Ark.," GANNETT NEWS SERVICE, January 25, 1996 House Banking Chairman Jim Leach is investigating Mena.
Harmon, Dave, "Ex-agent: Drug sales aided contras; Retired DEA man says smuggling, North venture linked," CHICAGO TRIBUNE, January 26, 1993 Celerino Castillo describes the frustration in prosecuting cocaine smugglers involved with the Contra resupply network.
Henson, Maria, "Testimony reveals leak in drug probe: Cost Seal his life, witness says," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, July 29, 1988 House Judiciary subcommittee on crime hears DEA officials tell how a White House leak revealing Barry Seal's undercover work ruined a major drug investigation.
Henson, Maria, "Alexander threatens budget ax to get agency's cooperation; He pledges to continue investigation into drug trafficking," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, October 5, 1988 Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.) tries to force the Reagan administration to allow a General Accounting Office investigation into drug-trafficking around Mena.
"IRS says smuggler owes $29 million, seizes his property," BATON ROUGE STATE TIMES, February 5, 1986, pg. 1-A Some of Barry Seal's assets are listed.
"Judge set to rule in dispute over Seal's tax assessment," BATON ROUGE STATE TIMES, March 28, 1986
Kwitny, Jonathan, "Dope Story: Doubts Rise on Report Reagan Cited in Tying Sandinistas to Cocaine," WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 22, 1987 Account of Barry Seal's activities in Mena and his attempt as a DEA informant to connect the Sandinistas with cocaine trafficking.
Lemons, Terry and Fullerton, Jane, "Perot Called Clinton About Mena Inquiry," ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, April 19, 1992 In 1988, Ross Perot called Gov. Bill Clinton to discuss the allegations of cocaine trafficking on behalf of the Contras in Mena.
Lemons, Terry and Fullerton, Jane, "Perot Vows Mena Airport Won't Be Issue If He Runs," ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, April 26, 1992. Perot confirms that he discussed Mena with Gov. Bill Clinton in 1988.
Morris, Scott, "Clinton: State did all it could in Mena case," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 11, 1991 Gov. Bill Clinton claims the Arkansas State Police conducted a "very vigorous" investigation into allegations of drugs and money-laundering around Mena.
Morrison, Micah, "Mena Coverup? Razorback Columbo to Retire," WALL STREET JOURNAL May 10, 1995, pg. A18 Recounts the efforts of Arkansas State Policeman Russell Welch to investigate Mena, and the career troubles which ensued.
Morrison, Micah, "Mysterious Mena," WALL STREET JOURNAL, June 29, 1994 Recounts the stories about allegations of U.S. government-protected drug-running in Arkansas.
Morrison, Micah, "The Mena Coverup" WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 18, 1994 IRS investigator William Duncan developed documentation proving the money-laundering of cocaine profits through Arkansas.
Nabbefeld, Joe, "Evidence on Mena-CIA ties to go to Walsh; Airport's inclusion in Contra probe urged," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 10, 1991 Iran-contra Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh is given evidence on drug money-laundering involving CIA-Contra activities at Mena.
Norman, Jane, "Arkansas Airstrip Under Investigation," DES MOINES REGISTER, January 26, 1996, pg. 3 House Banking Chairman Jim Leach is investigating Mena.
"Panel investigating slain informant's activities," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, April 11, 1988 House investigators continue probing allegations of Contra cocaine smuggling.
Rafinski, Karen, "North gets boosters, protesters; Controversial Iran-Contra figure campaigns for Hayes," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, September 23, 1990 Oliver North visits Arkansas to support Republican Terry Hayes running against Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.).
Scarborough, Rowan, "House Panel Takes a Long Look at Mena," WASHINGTON TIMES, January 18, 1996 House Banking Committee is investigating the cocaine trafficking at Mena.
Semien, John, "Agent says Seal trafficked drugs while an informant," BATON ROUGE MORNING ADVOCATE, March 28, 1986 Louisiana state police describe their evidence that Barry Seal was a drug trafficker.
Semien, John, "Plane downed in Nicaragua once owned by Adler Barry Seal," BATON ROUGE MORNING ADVOCATE, March 10, 1986 The plane shot down over Nicaragua, revealing the Iran-contra affair, was owned by drug smuggler Barry Seal.
Semien, John, "Congress investigating Barry Seal's activities," BATON ROUGE SUNDAY ADVOCATE, April 10, 1988 Investigators for the House Subcommittee on Crime visited Louisiana to develop evidence regarding cocaine smuggling and the Contra resupply network.
Stewart, Julie, "Contras, Drug Smuggling Questions Remain Abut Arkansas Airport, ASSOCIATED PRESS, September 24, 1991
Stinson, Jeffrey, "Alexander vows to find answers to Seal story," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, December 22, 1990 Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.) Renews his efforts for a federal investigation of Mena.
Stinson, Jeffrey, "House panel hears tales of illegal activities at Mena airport," ARKANSAS GAZETTE, July 25, 1991 IRS investigator William Duncan describes the evidence he collected on drug trafficking at Mena and how the Justice Department asked him to perjure himself before a grand jury.
Tyrrell, R. Emmett Jr., "Furtive Drug Flights," August 25, 1995 Former Clinton bodyguard L.D. Brown reveals that apparently both Bill Clinton and George Bush knew about the Contra cocaine flights into Mena.
Walker, Martin, "Conspiracy theorists let imagination run riot over Whitewater scandal; Murder, arson, burglary, drug trafficking . . . they're all part of he plot, if the Clintons' accusers in the press are to be believed," THE GUARDIAN, March 24, 1994 Recounts the darkest allegations against Bill Clinton.
Weiner, Tim, "Suit by Drug Agent Says U.S. Subverted His Burmese Efforts," NEW YORK TIMES, October 27, 1994 Top DEA official in Burma describes how the State Department and CIA jeopardized his heroin investigations and put his life in danger.
MAGAZINE ARTICLES

Chua-Eoan, Howard G. and Shannon, Elaine, "Confidence Games," TIME, November 29, 1993, pg.35 CIA facilities in Venezuela are used to store 1,000 kilos of cocaine that is shipped to Miami.
Corn, David, "The C.I.A. and the Cocaine Coup," THE NATION, October 7, 1991, pg.404 Tells of CIA assistance in 1980 Bolivian coup that put cocaine cartel leaders into power.
COVERT ACTION INFORMATION BULLETIN, "The CIA and Drugs" edition, Number 28 (Summer 1987) 8 articles on the history of CIA drug trafficking and money laundering. Ordering information at http://www.worldmedia.com/caq
Dettmer, Jamie and Rodriguez, Paul M., "Starr Investigation Targets Law-Enforcement Complicity," INSIGHT, May 29, 1995 Report that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was investigating the shredding by Arkansas law enforcement of documents related to Iran-contra drug smuggling.
"Ghosts of carelessness past," ECONOMIST, May 7, 1994, pg. 30 Summary of allegations regarding cocaine smuggling at Mena.
Robinson, Deborah, "Unsolved mysteries in Clinton country," IN THESE TIMES, February 12-18, 1992 As Bill Clinton moved to gain the Democratic nomination for President, allegations surfaced that he ignored local law enforcement officials' pleas for assistance to investigate Mena.
Robinson, Linda and Duffy, Brian, "At play in the field of the spies; A primer: How not to fight the war on drugs," U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, November 29, 1993 CIA operatives in Venezuela were involved in or had known about drug shipments in the United States, but did nothing to stop them.
Tyrrell, R. Emmett Jr., "The Arkansas Drug Shuttle," THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR, August, 1995, pg.16 Story of former Clinton bodyguard, L.D. Brown, and his experiences in the Contra resupply operation
Wheeler, Scott L., "Dateline Mena: New Evidence, Rumored Congressional Inquiry Redirect Attention Toward Lingering Scandal," MEDIA BYPASS, January, 1996, pg. 60 More allegations rise to surface regarding cocaine trafficking at Mena, including evidence that the drug smuggling continues unabated.
"Whitewater Ad Nauseam?" BUSINESSWEEK, February 26, 1996, pg.45 House Banking Chairman James Leach is investigating Mena.
CONGRESSIONAL REPORTS

CONTINUED INVESTIGATION OF SENIOR-LEVEL EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT AND MISMANAGEMENT AT THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, Hearing before the Commerce, Consumer, and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, First Session, July 24, 1991, GOV DOC # Y 4.G 74/7:Em 7/16 House probe into why IRS investigator William Duncan faced a career crisis for documenting the money-laundering through Arkansas in the 1980s.
DRUGS, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FOREIGN POLICY, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 1989, S. Prt. 100-165 Chaired by Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the subcommittee heard abundant testimony by drug dealers and pilots about CIA connections to the smuggling.
ENFORCEMENT OF NARCOTICS, FIREARMS, AND MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS, Oversight Hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session, July 28, September 23, 29, and October 5, 1988, GOV DOC # Y 4.J 89/1:100/138 Investigation of connections between cocaine smuggler Barry Seal and the Contra resupply network.
IRS SENIOR EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT PROBLEMS, Hearings before the Commerce Consumer and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, July 25, 26 and 27, 1989, GOV DOC # Y 4.G 74/7:Em 7/11 Congressional hearings discover that IRS employee problems are due to employees investigating money-laundering of cocaine through Arkansas.
SYRIA, PRESIDENT BUSH AND DRUGS, Subcommittee Staff Report, House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, October 28, 1992 Reports that Bekaa Valley heroin traffickers have close ties to the Syrian government and Army, and that President Bush ignores this problem in his policy towards Syria.



SUMMARY OF IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST JANET RENO

by Tami Kay Freedman
TamKay24@aol.com



We the people, present these charges against Attorney General Janet Reno:

1. DERILICTION OF DUTY (Ruby Ridge, Idaho - 1992)
Janet Reno refused to support the conclusion of a Justice Dept. investigation that found an FBI sniper shot which killed Vicki Weaver was unconstitutional. Senate testimony showed that an FBI sniper killed Vicki Weaver by shooting her in the head as she held her baby while standing with the door open on her front porch. The FBI snipers were shooting at the Weavers from over 200 yards away using rifles with 10 power scopes. The snipers and assistant FBI director Larry Potts, testified that they had the right to shoot and kill anyone if that person was holding a gun. Chairman Spector pointed out that such a situation did not warrant the use of deadly force according to FBI policy. On the House floor, Idaho representative, Helen Chenoweth, called for the resignation of Potts who was also responsible for the WACO disaster and a personal friend of FBI Director Freeh, the Reno appointee. Randy Weaver's attorney called for Lon Horiuchi, the sniper, to be tried for murder based on the Justice Dept. investigation. Instead Horiuchi and Potts received paid leave for over two years. (SENATE RUBY RIDGE SIEGE INVESTIGATION)

2. FAILURE TO UPHOLD THE 4TH AMENDMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION (Waco, Texas - 1993)
Janet Reno approved the CS military gas attack that led to the deaths of over 80 men, women and children who had never been charged with any crime. She also stated that she "could not find anything wrong" with FBI actions in Waco despite overwhelming video based evidence that the FBI was responsible for the deaths of the Davidians. An aerial video tape shows a tank destroying a Davidian building while people were still inside. Autopsy reports indicate that six bodies found in the rubble of that building were crushed to death. The Forward Looking Infared (FLIR) tape clearly shows heat images from bullets being fired at the Davidians as they tried to escape from the burning buildings. Janet Reno also could find no violation of the Posse Comitatus act which expressly prohibits the use of military equipment and personnel to enforce laws against American citizens unless authorized by the U.S. Constitution or act of Congress. (HOUSE BRANCH DAVIDIAN INCIDENT INVESTIGATION, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT - WILLIAM GAZECKI)

3. ABUSE OF POWER (Firing of all U.S. Attorneys - 1993)
Janet Reno fired all 94 United States Attorneys, a move unprecedented in American history, shortly after her appointment in March 1993. She stated that the replacement of all U.S. Attorneys was a "joint decision" with the White House. The liaison with the White House was the third highest ranking Justice Dept. official, associate attorney general, Webster Hubbell, who is now a convicted felon.

4. WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE (Fiske Appointment - 1993)
Janet Reno appointed Robert Fiske as a special independent prosecutor to investigate the Clintons' Whitewater dealings even though Fiske was a lawyer for International Paper Inc., the company that had sold land to the Whitewater partnership of Clinton and McDougal. Fiske was also a lawyer for the Bank of Commerce and Credit, which received laundered drug money transfers from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, (ADFA) as explained by ADFA marketing director Larry Nichols. Bank records show that the laundering abruptly ended when Barry Seal, who ran a Mena Arkansas drug trafficking ring was assassinated in 1986 just before he was to testify before a grand jury. ADFA was created by Bill Clinton, who was the only authorized payer. BCCI created one of the worst scandals in savings & loan history when it collapsed in 1985 and was shut down in July 1991. As president, Clinton dismissed charges against the head of BCCI, Clark Clifford, who was the former LBJ defense secretary. (CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT - CLINTON CHRONICLES)

5. OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE (Arkansas U.S. Attorney - 1993-present)
Janet Reno has refused a 1993 FBI investigation recommendation to prosecute Chuck Banks, the former Arkansas U.S. attorney who was to be tried for obstruction of justice for shutting down a federal drug investigation that implicated many people within the state and local governments. The investigation found compromised local judges and prosecutors, drug trafficking at Mena, money laundering through ADFA, suppression and distortion by the media and information about the murder of Kevin Ives and Don Henry as well as five other subsequent deaths. Assistant U.S. attorney Bob Govar, who resigned in protest, received much information from Jean Duffey, the head of a drug task force investigation that was shut down by Judge John Cole. Duffey was attacked with 200 false press articles, threatened with imprisonment on an illegal warrant issued by the same judge, pressured to turn over her investigation to the people she was investigating and forced to temporarily flee the state when her mother received a tip from a police dispatcher that she would be killed if imprisoned. Despite confiscation of task force evidence, Dan Harmon, a prosecutor that she implicated, was tried and convicted in June of 1997 on five drug related felony counts, each carrying a maximum of 20 years in jail and a $150,000 fine. Harmon was convicted in 1990 on tax evasion but had his suspended law license reinstated after Winston Bryant, the Arkansas attorney general under Governor Clinton, testified on his behalf. To date, no one has been charged in any of the murders, despite contentions of the task force undercover agents that the murders were easily solvable. (CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT - OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE)

6. SUPPRESSION OF EVIDENCE (Tyson / Espy Investigation - 1994)
Janet Reno barred expansion of the probe into the affairs of Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy so that it would not include Don Tyson, the Clinton campaign contributor who was accused of bribing Espy. The investigation of Mike Espy, conducted by independent prosecutor Donald Smaltz, revealed evidence that Don Tyson was involved in drug abuse, drug distribution, money laundering and even murder for hire. Much of the evidence already existed in Arkansas State Police intelligence files. Tyson, owner of Tyson foods, had contributed over $600,000 to Bill Clinton campaigns. Tyson Foods counselor, James Blair, was the individual who turned a $1,000 cattle futures investment into $100,000 for Hillary Clinton. (CITIZENS FOR HONEST GOVERNMENT - CLINTON CHRONICLES)

7. IMPEDING AN INVESTIGATION (Judicial Watch vs. Commerce Dept. 1993-Present)
The Janet Reno led Justice Dept. has repeatedly attempted to stymie Judicial Watch in their freedom of information suit against the Commerce Dept., even though the Justice Dept. role is to make sure that the Commerce Dept. responds properly. The Judicial Watch suit was responsible for the John Huang deposition, which led to the exposure of millions of dollars in illegal contributions to the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaigns. In February 1996, Judicial Watch also subpoenaed Ron Brown who was killed in the plane crash at Croatia during April 1996, while he was preparing for the deposition. An assistant U.S. attorney in the Justice Dept. filed numerous motions to delay the case, made repeated objections that were overruled during testimony and terminated a deposition against orders of the judge, who ruled that his conduct was "totally improper" and "totally scandalous." (JUDICIAL WATCH, AMERICAN SPECTATOR 10/97)

8. GROSS FBI MISMANAGEMENT (William Sessions replacement with Louis Freeh - 1993)
Janet Reno fired William Sessions and replaced him with Louis Freeh on July 19, 1993, the day before the body of Vince Foster was found in Fort Marcy Park, Under Freeh, the FBI has entered the most incompetent, unaccountable period in its history as shown by these facts: - Louis Freeh promoted his close friend Larry Potts despite the assistant FBI director's responsibility for both the disastrous Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges - Freeh's FBI illegally gave Clinton Administration personnel over 900 files, including those on political adversaries. Freeh's FBI General Counsel, Howard Shapriro, even briefed White House counsel Jack Quinn on the information Freeh ordered agents to illegally read Richard Jewell his miranda rights while Jewell was cooperating to film a training video. The order was issued by phone over the unanimous protest of all involved Atlanta FBI agents - Freeh's FBI failed to process criminal background checks on citizenship applications resulting in over 70,000 criminals being granted U.S. citizenship in time for the 1996 elections - Freeh's FBI has been cited along with the ATF by 13,500 Oklahomans who were granted a new grand jury investigation into the alleged government cover-up involving the Oklahoma City bombing - Freeh's FBI crime labs were accused by agent Fredric Whitehurst of tainting evidence in high profile cases including the Oklahoma City bombing case - Freeh's FBI agents interrogated agent Gary Aldrich about his book, Unlimited Access, as well as agent Dennis Sculimbrene about his Craig Livingstone background inquiry that linked the Livingstone hiring to Hillary Clinton. (WASHINGTON TIMES NATIONAL WEEKLY 3/23/97)

9. AIDING & ABETTING ORGANIZED CRIME (Laborers International Union of North America - 1996)
Janet Reno shut down the prosecution of Arthur Coia, the head of Laborers International Union of North America, who was investigated by the Justice Dept. over several years for corrupt labor union practices such as extortion, conspiring to prevent free elections and even death by fire bombing. They concluded in their 1994 complaint that he was "associated with, influenced from and controlled by" organized crime. His union political action committee, Laborers' Political League, contributed over 4.5 million dollars to the Democrat National Committee and its candidates. In February of 1995, Coia also helped Hillary Clinton raise millions more dollars in a Miami Beach fund raiser at the Fountainbleau hotel for the top officials of his union. Also in February of 1995, the Justice Dept. dropped the complaint against Coia, signed a consent decree, withheld his prosecution and told him to clean up his own union. Officials of the Janet Reno led Justice Dept. now say that the consent decree was "the finest most practical resolution that's ever been reached in a case of alleged mob influence." Coia thanked them by being vice chairman of a May 1996 gala that raised $12,000,000 for Democrats. (NATIONAL LEGAL & POLICY CENTER, READERS DIGEST 4/96)

10. TREASON (Campaign Fund Raising - 1996)
Janet Reno refused three separate House committee requests in 1997 to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Democratic National Committee and presidential fund raising scandal, despite clear evidence of treasonous policies made by Bill Clinton in exchange for contributions. The requests were made by the Judiciary Committee in March and September as well as the Government Reform and Oversight Committee in August. Nearly $1,000,000 in contributions from Charlie Trie were traced by the FBI to Ng Lap Seng who advises both the Chinese government and Communist party on business and economic matters. Bill Clinton helped John Huang get hired at the DNC and Commerce Dept., even though he was a former U.S. president of the Lippo Group, which has a partnership with the Chinese Communist government to run the Hong Kong Chinese bank and its affiliate in China. Even before he was hired, Huang received a top secret military clearance which allowed him to attend over 100 briefings and review dozens of classified documents. Consequently, Bill Clinton relaxed U.S. export restrictions to China for several types of military technology and supported an effort by the Chinese communist controlled China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), to take over the Long Beach military port. COSCO was caught shipping 2000 illegal AK-47s into the Oakland port on route to L.A. street gangs. The weapons came from Poly Technologies, just days before their chairman, Wang Jen, an internationally renowned arms dealer, met with Bill Clinton at the White House. Bill Clinton also ensured Indonesia's monopoly on new low sulfur, super compliance coal when he declared 1.7 million acres in southern Utah as the Grand Escalante National Monument and made U.S. mining of the world's largest deposit of that coal there unfeasible. Despite all of this, Reno said she could see no evidence that a special prosecutor was needed and even failed to notify the White House when the FBI informed her of Chinese attempts to influence the 1996 presidential elections. (SENATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMMMITTEE, AMERICAN SPECTATOR 3/97, WASHINGTON TIMES 12/26/96 -12/30/96, 04/11/97-04/18/97)

11. VOTER FRAUD (INS Illegal Immigration - 1996)
Under Janet Reno, the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) registered 180,000 illegal immigrants just in time for the 1996 election. The INS typically registers about 300,000 immigrants per year. In 1996, they registered 1.1 million before the election, including 180,000 illegal immigrants and 70,000 criminals. In a House Appropriations Committee meeting, INS head Doris Meissner, confirmed that the INS was working closely with the Vice President and his office to register the immigrants. Meissner and other INS employees also acknowledged the existence of E-Mail messages from the Vice President's office to the INS stating Bill Clinton's frustration that the registration process may be going too slowly to be completed in time for the election. (HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUB COMMITTEE MEETING 4/4/97, SENATE ELECTION INVESTIGATION)

12. INCOMPETENCE (Bill Clinton sexual harassment suit - 1997)
Janet Reno filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in an attempt to support the claim by Bill Clinton that he should be shielded from the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil suit until he leaves office on the grounds that he is the commander and chief of the U.S. armed forces. The Supreme Count ruled unanimously, by a 9-0 count, against him. (WASHINGTON TIMES NATIONAL WEEKLY Vol.4 No.25)

13. TAMPERING (Hillary Clinton privilege claim - 1997)
Janet Reno attempted to compromise the Kenneth Starr investigation by challenging an 8th U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that found the Hillary Clinton personal attorney client privilege claim does not apply to White House lawyers who are paid by American taxpayers. The ruling, which was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, involved Vince Foster and Rose Law firm billing record matters that Hillary Clinton discussed on July 11, 1995 with White House counsels Miriam Nemetz and Jane Sherbourne, lawyers. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. (WASHINGTON TIMES NATIONAL WEEKLY Vol.4 No.25)

14. CONSPIRACY (Immunity refusal for Buddist nuns - 1997)
Janet Reno refused to grant immunity to four nuns who had contributed $5000 apiece to the Democratic National Committee at a fund raiser in the Hsi Lai Buddist temple in Hacienda Heights Cal, during April 1996. The event was attended by Vice President Al Gore who claimed he did not know it was a fund raiser even though evidence showed that virtually everyone on his staff knew it was a fund raiser and dozens of early 1996 documents confirmed it. The nuns, who like Buddist monks, are sworn to poverty, were unwilling to testify as to where they got the money unless granted immunity. Reno, admitted that the Justice Dept. would not prosecute the nuns but refused to grant immunity which helped conceal the illegal foreign source of the contributions. The bi-partisan Senate committee granted immunity to the nuns by votes of 15-1 and 13-3. The nuns testified that the related temple financial documents had been shredded. (SENATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATION, AMERICAN SPECTATOR 10/97)
--------
Please Write Your NEWSPAPER about the need to FIRE JANET RENO!!
Write/Fax/Call!! And while you're sending, you might want to send it to OUR Congress also!!
Thanks Again!!
YOU ARE TRULY GREAT!! Tami Kay Freedman
_____________________

The Konformist
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Mena (play /mi?n?/) mee-n?) is a city in Polk County, Arkansas, United States. It is also the county seat of Polk County.[1] It was founded by Arthur Edward Stilwell during the building of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (now the Kansas City Southern). It was Stilwell who decided Mena would be the name of this new town along the route to Port Arthur, Texas. He named her so in honor of his beloved friend and financier Jan DeGeoijen's wife, Folmina Margaretha Janssen DeGeoijen, whom Mr. DeGeoijen affectionately called Mena. Mena was settled in 1896.
The population was 5,637 as of 2000 census.

A number of allegations have been written about and several local, state, and federal investigations have taken place related to the notion of Mena as a drop point in large scale cocaine trafficking beginning in the latter part of the 1980s. The topic has received a large degree of its coverage due to the alleged knowledge, participation and/or coverup involvement of figures as powerful and infamous as future presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, as well future Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Saline County prosecutor Dan Harmon, who was convicted of numerous felonies including drug and racketeering charges in 1997.



The Crimes of Mena
By Sally Denton and Roger Morris
From the July 1995 issue of Penthouse Magazine.


This is the story that couldn't be suppressed.
An investigative report into a scandal that haunts the reputations of three presidents
— Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.


Barry Seal — gunrunner, drug trafficker, and covert C.I.A. operative extraordinaire — is hardly a familiar name in American politics. But nine years after he was murdered in a hail of bullets by Medellin cartel hit men outside a Salvation Army shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he has come back to haunt the reputations of three American presidents.

Seal's legacy includes more than 2,000 newly discovered documents that now verify and quantify much of what previously had been only suspicion, conjecture, and legend. The documents confirm that from 1981 to his brutal death in 1986, Barry Seal carried on one of the most lucrative, extensive, and brazen operations in the history of the international drug trade, and that he did it with the evident complicity, if not collusion, of elements of the United States government, apparently with the acquiescence of Ronald Reagan's administration, impunity from any subsequent exposure by George Bush's administration, and under the usually acute political nose of then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.

The newly unearthed papers show the real Seal as far more impressive and well-connected than the character played by Dennis Hopper in a made-for-TV movie some years ago, loosely based on the smuggler's life. The film portrayed the pudgy pilot as a hapless victim, caught in a cross fire between bungling but benign government agencies and Latin drug lords. The truth sprinkled through the documents is a richer — and altogether more sinister — matter of national and individual corruption. It is a tale of massive, socially devastating crime, of what seems to have been an official cover-up to match, and, not least, of the strange reluctance of so-called mainstream American journalism to come to grips with the phenomenon and its ominous implications — even when the documentary evidence had appeared.

The trail winds back to another slightly bruited but obscure name — a small place in western Arkansas called Mena.

Of the many stories emerging from the Arkansas of the 1980s that was crucible to the Clinton presidency, none has been more elusive than the charges surrounding Mena. Nestled in the dense pine and hardwood forests of the Oachita Mountains, some 160 miles west of Little Rock, once thought a refuge for nineteenth-century border outlaws and even a hotbed of Depression-era anarchists, the tiny town has been the locale for persistent reports of drug smuggling, gunrunning, and money laundering tracing to the early eighties, when Seal based his aircraft at Mena's Intermountain Regional Airport.

From first accounts circulating locally in Arkansas, the story surfaced nationally as early as 1989 in a Penthouse article called "Snowbound," written by the investigative reporter John Cummings, and in a Jack Anderson column, but was never advanced at the time by other media. Few reporters covering Clinton in the 1992 campaign missed hearing at least something about Mena. But it was obviously a serious and demanding subject — the specter of vast drug smuggling with C.I.A. involvement — and none of the major media pursued it seriously During 1992, the story was kept alive by Sarah McClendon, The Nation, and The Village Voice.

Then, after Clinton became president, Mena began to reappear. Over the past year, CBS News and The Wall Street Journal have reported the original, unquieted charges surrounding Mena, including the shadow of some C.I.A. (or "national security") involvement in the gun and drug traffic, and the apparent failure of then governor Clinton to pursue evidence of such international crime so close to home.

"Seal was smuggling drugs and kept his planes at Mena," The Wall Street Journal reported in 1994. "He also acted as an agent for the D.E.A. In one of these missions, he flew the plane that produced photographs of Sandinistas loading drugs in Nicaragua. He was killed by a drug gang [Medellin cartel hit men] in Baton Rouge. The cargo plane he flew was the same one later flown by Eugene Hasenfus when he was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of contra supplies.

In a mix of wild rumor and random fact, Mena has also been a topic of ubiquitous anti-Clinton diatribes circulated by right-wing extremists — an irony in that the Mena operation was the apparent brainchild of the two previous and Republican administrations.

Still, most of the larger American media have continued to ignore, if not ridicule, the Mena accusations. Finding no conspiracy in the Oachitas last July, a Washington Post reporter typically scoffed at the "alleged dark deeds," contrasting Mena with an image as "Clandestination, Arkansas ... Cloak and Dagger Capital of America." Noting that The New York Times had "mentioned Mena primarily as the headquarters of the American Rock Garden Society," the Columbia Journalism Review in a recent issue dismissed "the conspiracy theories" as of "dubious relevance."

A former Little Rock businessman, Terry Reed, has coauthored with John Cummings a highly controversial book, Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the C.I.A., which describes a number of covert activities around Mena, including a C.I.A. operation to train pilots and troops for the Nicaraguan Contras, and the collusion of local officials. Both the book and its authors were greeted with derision.

Now, however, a new mass of documentary evidence has come to light regarding just such "dark deeds" — previously private and secret records that substantiate as never before some of the worst and most portentous suspicions about what went on at Mena, Arkansas, a decade ago.

Given the scope and implications of the Mena story, it may be easy to understand the media's initial skepticism and reluctance. But it was never so easy to dismiss the testimony arid suspicions of some of those close to the matter: Internal Revenue Service Agent Bill Duncan, Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch, Arkansas Attorney General J. Winston Bryant, Congressman Bill Alexander, and various other local law-enforcement officials and citizens.

All of these people were convinced by the late eighties that there existed what Bryant termed "credible evidence" of the most serious criminal activity involving Mena between 1981 and 1986. They also believed that the crimes were committed with the acquiescence, if not the complicity, of elements of the U.S. government. But they couldn't seem to get the national media to pay attention.

During the 1992 campaign, outside advisers and aides urged former California governor Jerry Brown to raise the Mena issue against Clinton — at least to ask why the Arkansas governor had not done more about such serious international crime so close to home. But Brown, too, backed away from the subject. I'll raise it if the major media break it first," he told aides. "The media will do it, Governor," one of them replied in frustration, "if only you'll raise it."

Mena's obscure airport was thought by the I.R.S., the F.B.I., U.S. Customs, and the Arkansas State Police to be a base for Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal, a self-confessed, convicted smuggler whose operations had been linked to the intelligence community. Duncan and Welch both spent years building cases against Seal and others for drug smuggling and money laundering around Mena, only to see their own law-enforcement careers damaged in the process.

What evidence they gathered, they have said in testimony and other public statements, was not sufficiently pursued by the then U.S. attorney for the region, J. Michael Fitzhugh, or by the I.R.S., Arkansas State Police, and other agencies. Duncan, testifying before the joint investigation by the Arkansas state attorney general's office and the United States Congress in June 1991, said that 29 federal indictments drafted in a Mena-based money-laundering scheme had gone unexplored. Fitzhugh, responding at the time to Duncan's charges, said, "This office has not slowed up any investigation ... [and] has never been under any pressure in any investigation."

By 1992, to Duncan's and Welch's mounting dismay, several other official inquiries into the alleged Mena connection were similarly ineffectual or were stifled altogether, furthering their suspicions of government collusion and cover-up. In his testimony before Congress, Duncan said the I.R.S. "withdrew support for the operations" and further directed him to "withhold information from Congress and perjure myself."

Duncan later testified that he had never before experienced "anything remotely akin to this type of interference.... Alarms were going off," he continued, "and as soon as Mr. Fitzhugh got involved, he was more aggressive in not allowing the subpoenas and in interfering in the investigative process."

State policeman Russell Welch felt he was "probably the most knowledgeable person" regarding the activities at Mena, yet he was not initially subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. Welch testified later that the only reason he was ultimately subpoenaed at all was because one of the grand jurors was from Mena and "told the others that if they wanted to know something about the Mena airport, they ought to ask that guy [Welch] out there in the hall."

State Attorney General Bryant, in a 1991 letter to the office of Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation, wondered "why no one was prosecuted in Arkansas despite a mountain of evidence that Seal was using Arkansas as his principal staging area during the years 1982 through 1985."

What actually went on in the woods of western Arkansas? The question is still relevant for what it may reveal about certain government operations during the time that Reagan and Bush were in the White House and Clinton was governor of Arkansas.

In a mass of startling new documentation — the more than 2,000 papers gathered by the authors from private and law-enforcement sources in a year-long nationwide search — answers are found and serious questions are posed.

These newly unearthed documents — the veritable private papers of Barry Seal — substantiate at least part of what went on at Mena.

What might be called the Seal archive dates back to 1981, when Seal began his operations at the Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena. The archive, all of it now in our possession, continues beyond February 1986, when Seal was murdered by Colombian assassins after he had testified in federal court in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami for the U.S. government against leaders of the Medellin drug cartel.

The papers include such seemingly innocuous material as Seal's bank and telephone records; negotiable instruments, promissory notes, and invoices; personal correspondence address and appointment books; bills of sale for aircraft and boats; aircraft registration, and modification work orders.

In addition, the archive also contains personal diaries; handwritten to-do lists and other private notes; secretly tape-recorded conversations; and cryptographic keys and legends for codes used in the Seal operation.

Finally, there are extensive official records: federal investigative and surveillance reports, accounting assessments by the I.R.S. and the D.E.A., and court proceedings not previously reported in the press — testimony as well as confidential pre-sentencing memoranda in federal narcotics-trafficking trials in Florida and Nevada — numerous depositions, and other sworn statements.

The archive paints a vivid portrait not only of a major criminal conspiracy around Mena, but also of the unmistakable shadow of government complicity. Among the new revelations:

Mena, from 1981 to 1985, was indeed one of the centers for international smuggling traffic. According to official I.R.S. and D.E.A. calculations, sworn court testimony, and other corroborative records, the traffic amounted to thousands of kilos of cocaine and heroin and literally hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits. According to a 1986 letter from the Louisiana attorney general to then U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, Seal "smuggled between $3 billion and $5 billion of drugs into the U.S."

Seal himself spent considerable sums to land, base, maintain, and specially equip or refit his aircraft for smuggling. According to personal and business records, he had extensive associations at Mena and in Little Rock, and was in nearly constant telephone contact with Mena when he was not there himself. Phone records indicate Seal made repeated calls to Mena the day before his murder. This was long after Seal, according to his own testimony, was working as an $800,000-a-year informant for the federal government.

A former member of the Army Special Forces, Seal had ties to the Central Intelligence Agency dating to the early 1970s. He had confided to relatives and others, according to their sworn statements, that he was a C.I.A. operative before and during the period when he established his operations at Mena. In one statement to Louisiana State Police, a Seal relative said, "Barry was into gunrunning and drug smuggling in Central and South America ... and he had done some time in El Salvadore [sic]." Another then added, "lt was true, but at the time Barry was working for the C.I.A."

In a posthumous jeopardy-assessment case against Seal — also documented in the archive — the I.R.S. determined that money earned by Seal between 1984 and 1986 was not illegal because of his "C.I.A.-D.E.A. employment." The only public official acknowledgment of Seal's relationship to the C.I.A. has been in court and congressional testimony, and in various published accounts describing the C.I.A.'s installation of cameras in Seal's C-123K transport plane, used in a highly celebrated 1984 sting operation against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

Robert Joura, the assistant special agent in charge of the D.E.A.'s Houston office and the agent who coordinated Seal's undercover work, told The Washington Post last year that Seal was enlisted by the C.I.A. for one sensitive mission — providing photographic evidence that the Sandinistas were letting cocaine from Colombia move through Nicaragua. A spokesman for then Senate candidate Oliver North told The Post that North had been kept aware of Seal's work through "intelligence sources."

Federal Aviation Administration registration records contained in the archive confirm that aircraft identified by federal and state narcotics agents as in the Seal smuggling operation were previously owned by Air America, Inc., widely reported to have been a C.I.A. proprietary company. Emile Camp, one of Seal's pilots and a witness to some of his most significant dealings, was killed on a mountainside near Mena in 1985 in the unexplained crash of one of those planes that had once belonged to Air America.

According to still other Seal records, at least some of the aircraft in his smuggling fleet, which included a Lear jet, helicopters, and former U.S. military transports, were also outfitted with avionics and other equipment by yet another company in turn linked to Air America.

Among the aircraft flown in and out of Mena was Seal's C-123K cargo plane, christened Fat Lady. The records show that Fat Lady, serial number 54-0679, was sold by Seal months before his death. According to other files, the plane soon found its way to a phantom company of what became known in the Iran-Contra scandal as "the Enterprise," the C.I.A.-related secret entity managed by Oliver North and others to smuggle illegal weapons to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. According to former D.E.A. agent Celerino Castillo and others, the aircraft was allegedly involved in a return traffic in cocaine, profits from which were then used to finance more clandestine gunrunning.

F.A.A. records show that in October 1986, the same Fat Lady was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of arms destined for the Contras. Documents found on board the aircraft and seized by the Sandinistas included logs linking the plane with Area 51 — the nation's top-secret nuclear-weapons facility at the Nevada Test Site. The doomed aircraft was co-piloted by Wallace Blaine "Buzz" Sawyer, a native of western Arkansas, who died in the crash. The admissions of the surviving crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, began a public unraveling of the Iran-Contra episode.

An Arkansas gun manufacturer testified in 1993 in federal court in Fayetteville that the C.I.A. contracted with him to build 250 automatic pistols for the Mena operation. William Holmes testified that he had been introduced to Seal in Mena by a C.I.A. operative, and that he then sold weapons to Seal. Even though he was given a Department of Defense purchase order for guns fitted with silencers, Holmes testified that he was never paid the $140,000 the government owed him. "After the Hasenfus plane was shot down," Holmes said, "you couldn't find a soul around Mena."

Meanwhile, there was still more evidence that Seal's massive smuggling operation based in Arkansas had been part of a C.I.A. operation, and that the crimes were continuing well after Seal's murder. In 1991 sworn testimony to both Congressman Alexander and Attorney General Bryant, state police investigator Welch recorded that in 1987 he had documented "new activity at the [Mena] airport with the appearance of ... an Australian business [a company linked with the C.I.A.], and C-130s had appeared...."

At the same time, according to Welch, two F.B.I. agents officially informed him that the C.I.A. "had something going on at the Mena Airport involving Southern Air Transport [another company linked with the C.I.A.] ... and they didn't want us [the Arkansas State Police] to screw it up like we had the last one."

The hundreds of millions in profits generated by the Seal trafficking via Mena and other outposts resulted in extraordinary banking and business practices in apparent efforts to launder or disperse the vast amounts of illicit money in Arkansas and elsewhere. Seal's financial records show from the early eighties, for example, instances of daily deposits of $50,000 or more, and extensive use of an offshore foreign bank in the Caribbean, as well as financial institutions in Arkansas and Florida.

According to I.R.S. criminal investigator Duncan, secretaries at the Mena Airport told him that when Seal flew into Mena, "there would be stacks of cash to be taken to the bank and laundered." One secretary told him that she was ordered to obtain numerous cashier's checks, each in an amount just under $10,000, at various banks in Mena and surrounding communities, to avoid filing the federal Currency Transaction Reports required for all bank transactions that exceed that limit.

Bank tellers testified before a federal grand jury that in November 1982, a Mena airport employee carried a suitcase containing more than $70,000 into a bank. "The bank officer went down the teller lines handing out the stacks of $1,000 bills and got the cashier's checks."

Law-enforcement sources confirmed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were laundered from 1981 to 1983 just in a few small banks near Mena, and that millions more from Seal's operation were laundered elsewhere in Arkansas and the nation.

Spanish-language documents in Seal's possession at the time of his murder also indicate that he had accounts throughout Central America and was planning to set up his own bank in the Caribbean.

Additionally, Seal's files suggest a grandiose scheme for building an empire. Papers in his office at the time of his death include references to dozens of companies, all of which had names that began with Royale. Among them: Royale Sports, Royale Television Network, Royale Liquors, Royale Casino, S.A., Royale Pharmaceuticals, Royale Arabians, Royale Seafood, Royale Security, Royale Resorts ... and on and on.

Seal was scarcely alone in his extensive smuggling operation based in Mena from 1981 to 1986, commonly described in both federal and state law-enforcement files as one of the largest drug-trafficking operations in the United States at the time, if not in the history of the drug trade. Documents show Seal confiding on one occasion that he was "only the transport," pointing to an extensive network of narcotics distribution and finance in Arkansas and other states. After drugs were smuggled across the border, the duffel bags of cocaine would be retrieved by helicopters and dropped onto flatbed trucks destined for various American cities.

In recognition of Seal's significance in the drug trade, government prosecutors made him their chief witness in various cases, including a 1985 Miami trial in absentia of Medellln drug lords; in another 1985 trial of what federal officials regarded as the largest narcotics-trafficking case to date in Las Vegas; and in still a third prosecution of corrupt officials in the Turks and Caicos Islands. At the same time, court records and other documents reveal a studied indifference by government prosecutors to Seal's earlier and ongoing operations at Mena.

In the end, the Seal documents are vindication for dedicated officials in Arkansas like agents Duncan and Welch and local citizens' groups like the Arkansas Committee, whose own evidence and charges take on new gravity — and also for The Nation, The Village Voice, the Association of National Security Alumni, the venerable Washington journalists Sarah McClendon and Jack Anderson, Arkansas reporters Rodney Bowers and Mara Leveritt, and others who kept an all-too-authentic story alive amid wider indifference.

But now the larger implications of the newly exposed evidence seem as disturbing as the criminal enormity it silhouettes. Like his modern freebooter's life, Seal's documents leave the political and legal landscape littered with stark questions.

What, for example, happened to some nine different official investigations into Mena after 1987, from allegedly compromised federal grand juries to congressional inquiries suppressed by the National Security Council in 1988 under Ronald Reagan to still later Justice Department inaction under George Bush?

Officials repeatedly invoked national security to quash most of the investigations. Court documents do show clearly that the C.I.A. and the D.E.A. employed Seal during 1984 and 1985 for the Reagan administration's celebrated sting attempt to implicate the Nicaraguan Sandinista regime in cocaine trafficking.

According to a December 1988 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, "cases were dropped. The apparent reason was that the prosecution might have revealed national-security information, even though all of the crimes which were the focus of the investigation occurred before Seal became a federal informant."

Tax records show that, having assessed Seal posthumously for some $86 million in back taxes on his earnings from Mena and elsewhere between 1981 and 1983, even the I.R.S. forgave the taxes on hundreds of millions in known drug and gun profits over the ensuing two-year period when Seal was officially admitted to be employed by the government.

To follow the I.R.S. logic, what of the years, crimes, and profits at Mena in the early eighties, before Barry Seal became an acknowledged federal operative, as well as the subsequently reported drug-trafficking activities at Mena even after his murder — crimes far removed from his admitted cooperation as government informant and witness?

"Joe [name deleted] works for Seal and cannot be touched because Seal works for the C.I.A.," a Customs official said in an Arkansas investigation into drug trafficking during the early eighties. "A C.I.A. or D.E.A. operation is taking place at the Mena airport," an F.B.I. telex advised the Arkansas State Police in August 1987, 18 months after Seal's murder. Welch later testified that a Customs agent told him, "Look, we've been told not to touch anything that has Barry Seal's name on it, just to let it go."

The London Sunday Telegraph recently reported new evidence, including a secret code number, that Seal was also working as an operative of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the period of the gunrunning and drug smuggling.

Perhaps most telling is what is so visibly missing from the voluminous files. In thousands of pages reflecting a man of meticulous organization and planning, Barry Seal seems to have felt singularly and utterly secure — if not somehow invulnerable — at least in the ceaseless air transport and delivery into the United States of tons of cocaine for more than five years. In a 1986 letter to the D.E.A., the commander and deputy commander of narcotics for the Louisiana State Police say that Seal "was being given apparent free rein to import drugs in conjunction with D.E.A. investigations with so little restraint and control on his actions as to allow him the opportunity to import drugs for himself should he have been so disposed."

Seal's personal videotapes, in the authors' possession, show one scene in which he used U.S. Army paratroop equipment, as well as militarylike precision, in his drug-transporting operation. Then, in the middle of the afternoon after a number of dry runs, one of his airplanes dropped a load of several duffel bags attached to a parachute. Within seconds, the cargo sitting on the remote grass landing strip was retrieved by Seal and loaded onto a helicopter that had followed the low-flying aircraft. "This is the first daylight cocaine drop in the history of the state of Louisiana," Seal narrates on the tape. If the duffel bags seen in the smuggler's home movies were filled with cocaine — as Seal himself states on tape — that single load would have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Perhaps the videos were not of an actual cocaine drop, but merely the drug trafficker's training video for his smuggling organization, or even a test maneuver. Regardless, the films show a remarkable, fearless invincibility. Barry Seal was not expecting apprehension.

His most personal papers show him all but unconcerned about the very flights and drops that would indeed have been protected or "fixed," according to law-enforcement sources, by the collusion of U.S. intelligence.

In an interview with agent Duncan, Seal brazenly "admitted that he had been a drug smuggler."

If the Seal documents show anything, an attentive reader might conclude, it is that ominous implication of some official sanction. Over the entire episode looms the unmistakable shape of government collaboration in vast drug trafficking and gunrunning, and in a decade-long cover-up of criminality.

Government investigators apparently had no doubt about the magnitude of those crimes. According to Customs sources, Seal's operations at Mena and other bases were involved in the export of guns to Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, and Brazil, as well as to the Contras, and the importation of cocaine from Colombia to be sold in New York, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and other cities, as well as in Arkansas itself.

Duncan and his colleagues knew that Seal's modus operandi included dumping most of the drugs in other southern states, so that what Arkansas agents witnessed in Mena was but a tiny fragment of an operation staggering in its magnitude. Yet none of the putative inquiries seems to have made a serious effort to gather even a fraction of the available Seal documents now assembled and studied by the authors.

Finally, of course, there are somber questions about then governor Clinton's own role vis-a-vis the crimes of Mena.

Clinton has acknowledged learning officially about Mena only in April 1988, though a state police investigation had been in progress for several years. As the state's chief executive, Clinton often claimed to be fully abreast of such inquiries. In his one public statement on the matter as governor, in September 1991 he spoke of that investigation finding "linkages to the federal government," and "all kinds of questions about whether he [Seal] had any links to the C.I.A.... and if that backed into the Iran-Contra deal."

But then Clinton did not offer further support for any inquiry, "despite the fact," as Bill Plante and Michael Singer of CBS News have written, "that a Republican administration was apparently sponsoring a Contra-aid operation in his state and protecting a smuggling ring that flew tons of cocaine through Arkansas."

As recently as March 1995, Arkansas state trooper Larry Patterson testified under oath, according to The London Sunday Telegraph, that he and other officers "discussed repeatedly in Clinton's presence" the "large quantities of drugs being flown into the Mena airport, large quantities of money, large quantities of guns," indicating that Clinton may have known much more about Seal's activities than he has admitted.

Moreover, what of the hundreds of millions generated by Seal's Mena contraband? The Seal records reveal his dealings with at least one major Little Rock bank. How much drug money from him or his associates made its way into criminal laundering in Arkansas's notoriously freewheeling financial institutions and bond houses, some of which are reportedly under investigation by the Whitewater special prosecutor for just such large, unaccountable infusions of cash and unexplained transactions?

"The state offers an enticing climate for traffickers," I.R.S. agents had concluded by the end of the eighties, documenting a "major increase" in the amount of large cash and bank transactions in Arkansas after 1985, despite a struggling local economy.

Meanwhile, prominent backers of Clinton's over the same years — including bond broker and convicted drug dealer Dan Lasater and chicken tycoon Don Tyson — have themselves been subjects of extensive investigative and surveillance files by the D.E.A. or the F.B.I. similar to those relating to Seal, including allegations of illegal drug activity that Tyson has recently acknowledged publicly and denounced as "totally false." "This may be the first president in history with such close buddies who have NADDIS numbers," says one concerned law-enforcement official, referring to the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Intelligence System numbers assigned those under protracted investigation for possible drug crimes.

The Seal documents are still more proof that for Clinton, the Arkansas of the eighties and the company he kept there will not soon disappear as a political or even constitutional liability.

"I've always felt we never got the whole story there," Clinton said in 1991.

Indeed. But as president of the United States, he need no longer wonder — and neither should the nation. On the basis of the Seal documents (copies of which are being given to the Whitewater special prosecutor in any case), the president should ask immediately for a full report on the matter from the C.I.A., the D.E.A., the F.B.I., the Justice Department, and other relevant agencies of his own administration — including the long-buried evidence gathered by I.R.S. agent Duncan and Arkansas state police investigator Welch. President Clinton should also offer full executive-branch cooperation with a reopened congressional inquiry, and expose the subject fully for what it says of both the American past and future.

Seal saw himself as a patriot to the end. He had dictated his own epitaph for his grave in Baton Rouge: "A rebel adventurer the likes of whom in previous days made America great." In a sense his documents may now render that claim less ironic than it seems.

The tons of drugs that Seal and his associates brought into the country, officials agree, affected tens of thousands of lives at the least, and exacted an incalculable toll on American society. And for the three presidents, the enduring questions of political scandal are once again apt: What did they know about Mena? When did they know it? Why didn't they do anything to stop it?

The crimes of Mena were real. That much is now documented beyond doubt. The only remaining issues are how far they extended, and who was responsible.





This is a documentary series that was never aired where an investigative journalist uncovers truth to the rumors about Iran-Contra during the Reagan years, CIA drug trafficking, CIA drug operations in Mena, Arkansas during the Clinton governorship and presidency. It also implies that former president George H.W. Bush, who was vice president during the Reagan years, and was also former head of the CIA was also involved. This documentary to my knowledge was recorded from a hacked satellite tuned to an "edit" channel which was feeding coast to coast "preview programming" to network executives in NYC. Apparently the decision was made against running this program due to its content and the "heat" that it would generate. The CIA poses as FBI more often than not, so perhaps the "FBI" stated this would interfere with their investigation......

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if all of this so called evidence is so true, how is Clinton not behind bars? Its public enough to get to the answers.

the politics of drugs

For more than a year the CIA has been trafficking 300 kilos of cocaine a month from Ecuador to Chile for export on to Europe, according to recent  media reports from Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Proceeds from the 300 kilo-a-month business have been used to create a war-chest to finance a Cocaine Coup in Ecuador that was scheduled to be “green-lighted” after the expected win in the just-concluded U.S. Presidential election—expected, at least, by some Agency officials—of Mitt Romney.


Fifty Years of CIA Drug Trafficking



RAND studies released in the mid-1990s found that using drug user treatment to reduce drug consumption in the United States is seven times more cost effective than law enforcement efforts alone, and it could potentially cut consumption by a third.[244]
In FY2011, the Obama Administration requests approximately $5.6 billion to support demand reduction. This includes a 13% increase for prevention and a nearly 4% increase for treatment. The overall FY 2011 counter-drug request for supply reduction and domestic law enforcement is $15.5 billion with $521.1 million in new funding.



ALLEGATIONS OF CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CIA AND THE CONTRAS IN COCAINE TRAFFICKING TO THE UNITED STATES
(96-0143-IG)
Volume II: The Contra Story


GLOSSARY OF TERMS

EXHIBITS
    March 2, 1982 DoJ-CIA Memorandum of Understanding regarding «Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Federal Crimes»  [1] – [2] – [3] – [4] – [5] – [6] – [7] – [8] – [9] – [10] – [11] – [12]February 11, 1982 Letter to DCI William Casey from Attorney General William French Smith regarding DoJ-CIA Memorandum of Understanding  [1] February 8, 1985 DoJ Memorandum to Mark Richard from A. R. Cinquegrana, «CIA Reporting of Drug Offenses»  [1]

«If the people were to ever find out what we have done, we would be chased down the streets and lynched.»

George Bush, cited in the June, 1992 Sarah McClendon Newsletter

«The Subcommittee found that the Contra drug links included:

  • Involvement in narcotics trafficking by individuals associated with the Contra movement. 
  • Participation of narcotics traffickers in Contra supply operations through business relationships with Contra organizations. 
  • Provision of assistance to the Contras by narcotics traffickers, including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by the traffickers. 
  • Payments to drug traffickers by the US State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.»

Senate Committee Report on Drugs,
Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy
chaired by Senator John F. Kerry


Washington and the politics of drugs
Peter Dale Scott 

Those struggling to solve America’s drug problems are accustomed to talk of «demand side» and «supply side» solutions. This language reflects a bureaucratic perspective: it tends to project the problem, and focus alleged «solutions», on to others, often on to remote and deprived populations. On the supply side, eradication programs are designed for the mountains of Burma or the Andes. On the demand side, increasing funds are allocated for the arrest and imprisonment (and less often, the treatment) of the substance abusers, often ethnic and from the inner cities.
Increasingly, however, researchers are becoming aware of a third aspect to the problem: protected intelligence-drug connections. Within the U.S. governmental bureaucracy itself, intelligence agencies and special warfare elements have recurringly exploited drug traffickers and their corrupt political allies for anti-Communist and anti-subversive operations, often but not always covert, in other parts of the world. History suggests that this third aspect of the drug problem, the protected intelligence-drug connection, or what I call government-drug symbiosis, has been responsible for the biggest changes in the patterns and level of drug-trafficking. Thus, at least in theory, it also presents the most hopeful target for improvement.
No one now disputes that in the immediate post-war period CIA assistance to the Sicilian mafia in Italy, and the Corsican mafia in Marseille, helped consolidate and protect the vast upsurge of drug trafficking through those two areas. No one disputes either that a heroin epidemic in the U.S. surged and then subsided with our Vietnamese involvement and disengagement.
But the same upsurge of protected drug-trafficking was visible in the 1980s, when the United States received more than half of its heroin from a new area: the Afghan-Pakistan border, from drug-trafficking mujaheddin who were the backbone of the CIA’s covert operations in Afghanistan. Published U.S. statistics estimate that heroin imports from the Afghan-Pakistan border, which had been insignificant before 1979, accounted for 52 percent of U.S. imported heroin by 1984.1
In the same period, at least a fifth of America’s cocaine, probably more, was imported via Honduras, where local drug-traffickers, and their allies in the corrupt Honduran armed forces, were the backbone of the infra-structure for Reagan’s covert support of the contra forces in that country.2
These specific facts are not contested by historians, and even CIA veterans have conceded their agency’s role in the genesis of the post-war problem. Nevertheless, there is an on-going and steadfast denial on the part of U.S. administrations, the press, and the public. The public’s denial is psychologically understandable: it is disconcerting to contemplate that our government, which we expect to protect us from such a grave social crisis, is actually contributing to it.
This denial is sustained by the general silence, and the occasional uncritical transmission of government lies, in our most responsible newspapers of record.3
It is further reinforced by a small army of propagandists, who hasten to assure us that today «the CIA’s part in the world drug trade seems irrelevant»; and that to argue otherwise is «absurd.»4
Because of such resolute denial, this most serious of public crises is barely talked about. Yet the problem of a U.S.-protected drug traffic endures. Today the United States, in the name of fighting drugs, has entered into alliances with the police and armed forces of Colombia and Peru, forces conspicuous by their alliances with drug-traffickers in counterinsurgency operations. It is now clear that at least some of the U.S. military efforts and assistance to these countries has been deflected into counterinsurgency campaigns, where the biggest drug traffickers are not the enemy, but allies.
Realists object that it is not the business of the U.S. to reform drug-corrupted regimes in other countries, such as Pakistan or Peru. Unfortunately U.S. overt and covert programs in such countries are usually large enough to change these societies anyway, if only to reinforce and harden the status quo. At the same time they affect the size and structure of the drug traffic itself. In the post-war years, when the drug-financed China Lobby was strong in Washington, and the U.S. shipped arms and Chinese Nationalist troops into eastern Burma, opium production in that remote region increased almost fivefold in fifteen years, from less than 80 to 300-400 tons a year. Production doubled again in the 1960s, the heyday of the Kuomintang-CIA alliance in Southeast Asia.5
Drug alliances confer protection upon designated traffickers, and such conferred protection centralizes, rationalizes, and further empowers the traffic. When one American representative of the CIA-linked Cali cartel was arrested in 1992, the DEA said that this man alone had been responsible for from 70 to 80% of U.S. cocaine imports (an estimate probably exaggerated but nonetheless instructive).6
It is true that this man, like many others, was ultimately arrested by the U.S. Government. But in many if not most such cases, key men like General Noriega are only arrested after U.S. policy priorities have changed, and de facto alliances made with new drug figures. In short, up to now the U.S. Government, along with other governments, has done far more to increase the global drug traffic, than it has to diminish it.

The U.S., Drug-Trafficking and Counterinsurgency in Peru
Today one of the most glaring and dangerous examples of a CIA-drug alliance is in Peru. Behind Peru’s president, Alberto Fujimori, is his chief adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, the effective head of the National Intelligence Service or SIN, an agency created and trained by the CIA in the 1960s.7
Through the SIN, Montesinos played a central role in Fujimori’s «auto-coup», or suspension of the constitution, in April 1992, an event which (according to Knight-Ridder correspondent Sam Dillon) raised «the specter of drug cartels exercising powerful influence at the top of Peru’s government.»8
Recently Montesinos has been accused of arranging for the bombing of an opposition television station, while in August 1996 an accused drug trafficker claimed that Montesinos had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs.9
In the New York Review of Books, Mr. Gorriti spelled out this CIA-drug collaboration more fully.
«In late 1990, Montesinos also began close co-operation with the CIA, and in 1991 the National Intelligence Service began to organize a secret anti-drug outfit with funding, training, and equipment provided by the CIA. This, by the way, made the DEA…furious. Montesinos apparently suspected that the DEA had been investigating his connection to the most important Peruvian drug cartel in the 1980s, the Rodr’iguez-L’opez organization, and also links to some Colombian traffickers. Perhaps not coincidentally, Fujimori made a point of denouncing the DEA as corrupt at least twice, once in Peru in 1991, and the second time at the Presidential summit in San Antonio, Texas, in February [1992]. As far as I know, the secret intelligence outfit never carried out anti-drug operations. It was used for other things, such as my arrest.»
New York Review of Books, June 25, 1992, 20.
Others have pointed to the drug corruption of Peru’s government, naming not only Montesinos, but the military establishment receiving U.S. anti-drug funding.10
Charges that the Peruvian army and security forces were continuing to take payoffs, to protect the cocaine traffickers that they were supposed to be fighting, have led at times to a withholding of U.S. aid.11
Such charges against Fujimori, Montesinos, and the Peruvian military are completely in line with what we know about Peru over the last two decades. In the 1980s the same Peruvian drug-trafficking organization, that of Reynaldo Rodr’iguez L’opez, incorporated into itself several generals of the Peruvian Investigative Police (PIP), at whose headquarters Rodr’iguez L’opez maintained an office, and also the private secretary to the Peruvian Minister of the Interior.12
Before that senior PIP officials and Army generals were controlled by the Paredes family organization, described by a DEA analyst as then «the biggest smuggling organization in Peru and possibly in the world.»13
In the words of James Mills, the Paredes were part of the established Peruvian oligarchy that goes back to the Spanish vice-royalty, an oligarchy which «controlled not only the roots of the cocaine industry but, to a large extent, the country itself.»14
Other observers have given a much more marginal account of cocaine’s role in Peruvian society. Patrick Clawson and Rensselaer Lee estimated that «nearly all Peruvian cocaine base and hydrochloride is sold to Colombians who fly in payments and fly out product.» In their words, «As a $1.3 billion industry, coca accounted for 3.9% of the 1992 $33 billion GNP»; and furthermore was «of shrinking importance.»15
But at about the time this book was published, it was reported that Peruvian police had seized a single shipment of 3.5 tons of pure cocaine belonging to the Lopez-Paredes branch of the family. This single shipment was worth $600 million; and members of this cartel later admitted to having shipped more than ten tons (worth about $1.8 billion) to Mexico in the previous year.16
The San Francisco Chronicle also reported from Mexican officials that «Vladimiro Montesinos… and Santiago Fujimori, the president’s brother, were responsible for covering up connections between the Mexican and Peruvian drug mafias.»17
It is evident that Clawson and Lee had seriously underestimated the role of cocaine in the Peruvian economy and polity.
The response of many Americans to the CIA’s drug-symbiosis in Peru is to object that the alternative power base, the revolutionary Sendero Luminoso, is even more ruthless and bloodthirsty. Such would-be realists should listen to the arguments of Gorùriti and others that what the U.S. is doing now in Peru, as earlier in China, Laos, and Vietnam, only plays into the revolutionaries’ hands.18

The CIA-Government-Drug Symbiosis in Mexico, Colombia, and Elsewhere
It is important to stress that the CIA-drug symbiosis described by Gustavo Gorriti is not anomalous, but paradigmatic of the way the U.S. is consolidating its power and its allies in parts of the Third World where drugs are a part of the de facto political power structure. In the name of law and freedom, alliances have been made for decades with criminals and dictators. Now, in the name of fighting drugs, U.S. funds are channelled to those whose political fates are allied with those of the drug traffickers. These funds will, paradoxically, strengthen the status both of these traffickers and of the social systems in which they form a constituent element.
In Mexico, for example, the CIA’s closest government allies were for years in the DFS or Direcci’on Federal de Seguridad, whose badges, handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers, have been labelled by DEA agents a virtual «license to traffic.»19
Like the SIN in Peru, the DFS was in part a CIA creation; and the CIA presence in the DFS became so dominant that some of its intelligence, according to the famous Mexican journalist Manuel Buend’ia, was seen only by American eyes.20
The Guadalajara Cartel, Mexico’s most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s, prospered largely because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nassar (or Nazar) Haro, a CIA asset.21
Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that members of the Guadalajara Cartel became prominent among the drug-trafficking supporters of the CIA’s Contra operation.22
Throughout Central America, and most notoriously in Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala, the CIA recruited assets from the local Army G-2 intelligence apparatus, who recurringly were also involved in drug-trafficking. Manuel Noriega, the most famous example, was already a CIA asset when he was promoted to become Panama G-2 Chief, as the result of a military coup assisted by the U.S. Army.23
Later, when Noriega became Panama’s effective ruler, his drug networks doubled as Contra support operations, while Noriega himself was shielded for years by the CIA from DEA investigations.24
In Honduras in 1981, the CIA similarly exploited the drug contacts of the Honduran G-2 Chief, Leonidas Torres Arias. (The most notorious of these, the Honduran Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros, was simultaneously a member of Mexico’s Guadalajara Cartel. His airline SETCO, under investigation by DEA and Customs for drug-trafficking, was chartered by first CIA and then the State Department to fly supplies to the main Contra camps in Honduras.)25

The CIA was able to recruit both assets and Contra supporters from the drug-tainted Guatemalan G-2 as well.26

One sees elsewhere this recurring pattern of CIA collaboration with intelligence and security networks who are allied with the biggest drug-traffickers, not opposed to them. In Colombia, U.S. funds have gone to the Colombian Army and National Police, both of which forces have collaborated with paramilitary death squads financed by the drug cartels, against their mutual enemy, the left-wing guerrillas.27

In Colombia and in Guatemala as in Peru and Mexico, U.S.-assisted campaigns of repression, nominally against drugs, have in fact been deflected into counterinsurgency operations, mis-named as anti-drug operations to secure the support of the U.S. Congress.

In Colombia, according to authors Andrew and Leslie Cockburn,
«U.S. officials…knew that millions of dollars of U.S. aid money, earmarked for the war on drugs, was being used instead to fight leftist guerrillas and their supporters. When [drug] cartel-financed paramilitary forces entered the town of Segovia in November 1988, the military stood by and watched. As Colombian Professor Alejandro Reyes remembered, «They killed forty-three people, just at the center of town. Anybody who was close to that place was shot. They were defenceless people, common people of the town….[I]t was a kind of sanction against the whole town for their political vote…» Forty-three people had been killed for voting the wrong way….In 1989…the U.S. shipped $65 million of military equipment to Colombia. The Colombian chief of police politely pointed out that the items received were totally unsuitable for a war against the traffickers. They were, however, suitable for counterinsurgency. U.S. military equipment turned up in…Puerto Boyaca. [This was a region irrelevant to the drug traffic, but where the drug cartels’ death squads were being trained]…. U.S. helicopters were used in anti-guerrilla bombing campaigns, where, unfortunately, many of the victims were civilians. The State Department knew that too.»28

This hypocrisy of «anti-drug campaigns» dates back to 1974, the year when Congress cut back U.S. aid programs to repressive Latin American police forces, and then beefed up so-called anti-narcotics aid to the same forces by about the same amount.29

To keep the aid coming, corrupt Latin American politicians helped to invent the spectre of the drug-financed «narco-guerrilla», a myth discounted by careful and dispassionate researchers like Rensselaer Lee.30

U.S. military officers were equally cynical. Col. John D. Waghelstein, writing in the Military Review, argued that the way to counter «those church and academic groups that have slavishly supported insurgency in Latin America» was to put them «on the wrong side of the moral issue», by creating «a melding in the American public’s mind and in Congress» of the alleged narco-guerrilla connection.31

The actual result of such propagandizing is to sanction the role of drug traffickers and their allies in U.S. counterinsurgency efforts, and thus further to strengthen the status of the drug cartels in the countries they terrorize.

Two recent indictments by the U.S. Department of Justice reinforce the general paradigm of CIA-created intelligence networks that reinforce their local power and influence by major involvement in drug trafficking. In March 1997 Michel-Joseph Francois, the CIA-backed police chief in Haiti, was indicted in Miami for having helped to smuggle 33 tons of Colombian cocaine and heroin into the United States. The Haitian National Intelligence Service (SIN), which the CIA helped to create, was also a target of the Justice Department investigation which led to the indictment.32
A few months earlier, General Ramon Guillen Davila, chief of a CIA-created anti-drug unit in Venezuela, was indicted in Miami for smuggling a ton of cocaine into the United States. According to the New York Times, «The CIA, over the objections of the Drug Enforcement Administration, approved the shipment of at least one ton of pure cocaine to Miami International Airpost as a way of gathering information about the Colombian drug cartels.» One official said that the total amount might have been much more than one ton.33
The information about the drug activities of Guillen Davila and Francois had been published in the U.S. press years before the indictments. It is possible that, had it not been for the controversy aroused by the Contra-cocaine stories in the August 1996 San Jose Mercury, these two men and their networks might have been as untouchable as Miguel Nassar Haro and the DFS in Mexico, or Montesinos and the Peruvian SIN in Peru.

The U.S. and Drug Traffickers in Asia: Washington, Afghanistan, and BCCI
The same U.S.-right wing-drug symbiosis has prevailed for decades in Asia. Former top DEA investigator in the Middle East, Dennis Dayle, told an anti-drug conference that «in my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA.»34
The biggest recent CIA-drug story in Asia has centered on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, or BCCI. The President until 1993 of America’s traditional ally Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, was the man who as finance minister granted special tax status for the CIA and drug-linked BCCI, the bank of his close friend Agha Hasan Abedi. Ghulam Ishaq Khan also served as Chairman of Abedi’s BCCI Foundation, an ostensible charity that in fact fronted for BCCI’s concerted efforts to make Pakistan a nuclear power.35
BCCI’s involvement in drug money-laundering, drug-trafficking, and related arms deals is now common knowledge; but the U.S. Government has yet to admit and explain why BCCI’s owner Abedi met repeatedly, as reported by Time and NBC, with CIA officials William Casey and Robert Gates.36
BCCI became close to the CIA through its deep involvement in the CIA-Pakistan operation in Afghanistan.37
This in itself was a drug story: by their aid in the 1980s Pakistan and the CIA built up their previously insignificant client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to a position where he could become, «with the full support of ISI [Pakistani intelligence] and the tacit tolerance of the CIA…Afghanistan’s leading drug lord.»38
BCCI was in a position to launder much of the drug proceeds.39
Inside Pakistan in the 1980s, the CIA’s man for the Afghan arms-and-drugs support operation, banked and even staffed through BCCI, was the North-West Frontier Provincial Governor, General Fazle el-Haq (or Huq), who continued to run the local drug trade with ISI.40
Haq and BCCI President Abedi met regularly with the then President of Pakistan, General Zia; Zia and Abedi in turn would meet regularly to discuss Afghanistan with CIA Chief William Casey.41
BCCI corruption was not confined to Asia. It extended also to the notorious CIA-Noriega alliance in Panama, and in the 1990s to the drug-corrupted military leaders in Guatemala that the U.S. turned to lead the war on drugs in that country.42
BCCI, along with the United States Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), even played a role in the supply of arms and trainers to the Colombian drug cartels’ death squads in Puerto Boyaca, mentioned above.43
It would be wrong to blame this pervasive drug corruption on BCCI alone, or to expect that the exposure in 1991 of BCCI, which was only achieved after great opposition and obstruction in Washington, will make the problem go away. BCCI was just one major player in a complex multinational intelligence game of drug-trafficking, arms sales, banking, and corruption. Other CIA-linked and drug-linked banks, to which BCCI can be connected, such as the Castle Bank in the Bahamas, the World Finance Corporation in Miami, and the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia, have risen and fallen before BCCI’s spectacular demise, and we should expect more such scandals in the future.44
It is the same with the drug traffic itself. As long as we do not address the root problem of governmental drug connections that make and break the kingpins, traditional law enforcement will continue to be ineffective. The kingpin is dead; long live the kingpin.

Protection for Drug Traffickers in the United States
These gray alliances between law enforcement and criminal elements lead to protection for drug-traffickers, not just abroad, but at home. Drug-traffickers who are used as covert assets abroad also are likely to be recruited as informants or other assets in the U.S. Thus for example, a syndicate headed by Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Tabraue was able to earn $80 million from marijuana and cocaine trafficking from 1976 to 1987, while Tabraue simultaneously earned up to $1,400 a week as a DEA informant.
Vastly under-reported in the U.S. press are the number of cases where indicted drug-traffickers, because of their intelligence connections, are allowed to escape trial in U.S. courts, or else have their charges or sentences reduced. Usually the public learns of these cases only by accident. In one case a U.S. Attorney in San Diego protested publicly when he was ordered by the CIA to drop charges against a drug-trafficking CIA client in Mexico (the head of the corrupt DFS mentioned earlier), who had been indicted for his role in what was described as America’s largest stolen-car ring. Despite public support for his honesty, the U.S. Attorney was fired.45
After a DEA undercover agent retired and went public, he revealed that in 1980 a top Bolivian trafficker arrested by him was almost immediately released by the Miami U.S. Attorney’s office, without the case being presented to the grand jury. This was two weeks before the infamous Cocaine Coup in Bolivia, financed by the trafficker’s family and organization, which briefly installed the drug-traffickers themselves in charge of law enforcement in that country.46
These anecdotal stories, which are numerous, are tiny when compared to the U.S. governmental protection and cover-up of BCCI’s involvement in drug-trafficking and money-laundering.47
To its credit, the CIA knew of BCCI’s illegal activities as early as 1979, and started distributing information to the Justice Department and other agencies in 1983. After an unrelated investigation in Florida, two of BCCI’s units pleaded guilty to drug money-laundering in 1990, and five of its executives went to jail. But a senior Justice Department official took the unusual step of requesting the Florida Banking Commissioner to allow BCCI to stay open.48
For over three years between 1988 and 1991, the Justice Department «repeatedly requested delays or halts to action by the Senate concerning BCCI, refused to provide assistance to the [Kerry] Subcommittee concerning BCCI, and, on occasion, made misleading statements to the Subcommittee concerning the status of investigative efforts concerning BCCI.»49
New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in this period was also openly critical of the pointed lack of co-operation from the Justice Department.50
BCCI’s drug-related crimes cannot be separated from its other illegal activities, notably arms-trafficking and the corruption of public officials. For years the CIA has used corruption of foreign officials to further its aims; and this has fostered a climate of corruption by other entities, such as BCCI. The size of the BCCI scandal and cover-up raises questions as to whether (with or without CIA connivance) BCCI, having corrupted senior public figures in such countries as Argentina, Brazil, the Congo, Guatemala, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, and Peru (to name only a few), may not have also managed to corrupt major figures in the U.S. as well.
As noted by many observers, BCCI and its American allies have prospered through strong financial and other connections to Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Many of these were orchestrated for BCCI by the Arkansas investment banker Jackson Stephens, a backer in turn of Presidents Carter, Bush, and Clinton.51
The CIA’s world-wide penchant for political influence may help explain why it «seems to have protected BCCI and its backers for well over a decade.»52
Since the demise of BCCI, such influential connections to Clinton have been continued by Stephens and his close investment allies Mochtar and James Riady. In addition the Riadys’ Lippo Bank in Hong Kong was at one point scheduled to buy out the bankrupt BCCI branch in Hong Kong, where the Burma drug lord Khun Sa was rumoured to have deposited hundreds of millions of dollars. The deal went sour, and the BCCI branch was bought instead by the Australian Alan Bond. After Bond in turn went bankrupt, the Lippo Bank bought from him the old Hong Kong BCCI bank building, which it now occupies.53
The root problem however is the U.S. decision to play Realpolitik in regions where the reality of right-wing power is its grounding in the resources of the drug traffic. Alternatives to this easy route of drug traffic symbiosis and co-dependency are not easy, but they must be turned to. The government strategy of global Realpolitik has helped to expand the global drug traffic to the point where the strategy itself, strengthening the flow of drugs from one CIA-protected network to another around the world, has become a more genuine threat to the real security of the domestic United States, than the enemies it allegedly opposes. The United States certainly does not control these dangerous allies it has strengthened and in some cases invented. The problem of disengagement from such world-wide alliances is complex, and disengagement by itself will not bring an end to the traffic which U.S. policies have fostered. But it is clearly time, with a new Administration and a new post-Cold War global environment, for a decisive repudiation to drug alliances, and a move towards new global strategies.

What Can Be Done?
What can be done to stop this governmental protection of drug-traffickers? In the short run we need an explicit repudiation of former drug-linked strategies, and an admission that they have been counter-productive. This might take the form of an explicit directive from the Clinton Administration, that old strategies to shore up corrupt right-wing governments abroad, like Peru’s, must be clearly subordinated to the new domestic priority of reducing this nation’s drug problems.
More specifically, the misnamed «War on Drugs», a pernicious and misleading military metaphor, should be replaced by a medically and scientifically oriented campaign towards healing this country’s drug sickness. The billions that have been wasted in military anti-drug campaigns, efforts which have ranged from the futile to the counter-productive, should be re-channelled into a public health paradigm, emphasizing prevention, maintenance, and rehabilitation programs. The experiments in controlled de-criminalization which have been initiated in Europe should be closely studied and emulated here.54
The root cause of the governmental drug problem in this country is the National Security Act of 1947, and subsequent orders based on it. These in effect have exempted intelligence agencies and their personnel from the rule of law, an exemption which in the course of time has been extended from the agencies themselves to their drug-trafficking clients. This must cease. Either the President or Congress must proclaim that national security cannot be invoked to protect drug-traffickers. This must be accompanied by clarifying orders or legislation, discouraging the conscious collaboration with, or protection of, criminal drug-traffickers, by making it clear that such acts will themselves normally constitute grounds for prosecution.
Clearly a campaign to restore sanity to our prevailing drug policies will remain utopian, if it does not contemplate a struggle to realign the power priorities of our political system. Such a struggle will be difficult and painful. For those who believe in an open and decent America, the results will also be rewarding.

Notes
1. U.S., General Accounting Office, Drug Control: U.S. Supported Efforts in Burma, Pakistan, and Thailand, GAO/NSIAD-88-94, February 1988, 12; cited in Peter Dale Scott, «Cocaine, the Contras, and the United States: How the U.S. government has augmented America’s drug crisis», Crime, Law and Social Change, 16 (1991), 97-131 (98). (In 1979, the first year of the CIA’s Afghan operation, the number of drug-related deaths in New York City rose by 77 percent.) New York Times, May 22, 1980; Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 437.
2. Scott, «Cocaine», 99.
3. Discussion, with examples of such lies, in Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), 172-85, especially at 177-78; cf. 179-81; see also Joel Millman, «Narco-Terrorism: A Tale of Two Stories», Columbia Journalism Review, (September-October 1986), 50-51; Rolling Stone, September 10, 1987; Mark Hertsgaard, On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1988), 314-15, etc.
4. Michael Massing, New York Review of Books, December 3, 1992, 10; Nation, December 2, 1991.
5. Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 162; Alfred W. McCoy, with Cathleen B. Read and Leonard P. Adams II, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 12 H6; both citing New York Times, September 17, 1963, 45.
6. San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 1993, A14. For the links between the Cali cartel, the Colombian, and the U.S. Government, see Scott and Marshall, 79-103, especially 81-94.
7. Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1997 (Montesinos); James Mills, The Underground Empire (New York: Dell, 1986), 809 (CIA).
8. San Jose Mercury News, April 19, 1992.
9. Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1997. The trafficker, detained in prison, later recanted his story. According to an Op-ed in the New York Times by Gustavo Gorriti, a leader among the Peruvian intellectuals forced into exile, «Mr. Montesinos built a power base and fortune mainly as a legal strategist for drug traffickers. He has had a close relationship with the C.I.A., and controls the intelligence services, and, through them, the military.» New York Times, December 27, 1992.
10. Washington Post, May 10, 1992, A32 (Montesinos); Jonathan Marshall, Drug Wars (Berkeley: Eclipse Books, 1991), 24-26; Wall Street Journal, November 29, 1991; Washington Post, February 28, 1993 (military).
11. New York Times, November 11, 1991, A6; September 28, 1993.
12. Scott and Marshall, 191.
13. Mills, The Underground Empire, 877.
14. Mills, The Underground Empire, 585; Scott and Marshall, 83-84.
15. Patrick L. Clawson and Rensselaer W. Lee III, The Andean Cocaine Industry (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 31, 181.
16. Economist, May 13, 1995, 44; San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1996; cf. Mills, 877-79.
17. San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1996.
18. New York Times, December 27, 1992. See also Progressive, May 1992, 25; Nation, March 30, 1992, 401.
19. Scott and Marshall, 34-39, quoting Elaine Shannon, Desperados, 179.
20. Manuel Buend’ia, La CIA en Mexico (Mexico City: Oceano, 1983), 24.
21. Scott and Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 35-41.
22. Scott and Marshall, 41; Peter Dale Scott, «Letter to the ARRB [Assassination Records Review Board].» Prevailing Winds (Santa Barbara, CA), 3 [Spring 1996], 40-43.
23. Scott and Marshall, 65.
24. Scott and Marshall, 68-72.
25. Scott and Marshall, 55-58.
26. Celerino Castillo, Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War (Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic Press, 1994), 126, etc.
27. Peter Dale Scott, «Colombia: America’s Dirtiest War on Drugs», Tikkun (May June 1997), 27-31; Jonathan Marshall, Drug Wars (Forestville, CA: Cohan and Cohen, 1991), 17-21; Scott and Marshall, 89; Rensselaer Lee, White Labyrinth, 117-18.
28. Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), 268-69. See also Marshall, 17-21. For the covert assistance of the Israel and U.S. governments, see Cockburn and Cockburn, 212-13, 264-79.
29. Michael Klare and Cynthia Arnson, Supplying Repression (Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1981), 23; Marshall, 13-15.
30. Scott and Marshall, 83-84, 95-98; Rensselaer Lee, The White Labyrinth, 106, 172-77, 218, and passim. One passionate advocate of the «narco-guerrilla» hypothesis, the Peruvian Minister of the Interior in 1985, had a private secretary who was a member of the Rodr’iguez-L’opez cartel.
31. Col. John. D. Waghelstein, Military Review, February 1987, 46-47; quoted in Scott and Marshall, 198n; Marshall, 13.
32. San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1997, A10. Francois allegedly controlled the capital, Port-au-Prince, with a network of hirelings who profited on the side from drug-trafficking.
33. New York Times, November 23, 1996; see also Wall Street Journal, November 22, 1996. The total amount of drugs smuggled by Gen. Guillen may have been more than 22 tons.
34. Scott and Marshall (paperback edition), x-xi.
35. Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank (New York: Random House, 1993), 287-91; U.S. Cong., Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, The BCCI Affair, Report to the Committee by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown, December 1992; 102nd Cong., 2nd Sess., Senate Print 102-140 (Washington: GPO, 1993; henceforth cited as Kerry-Brown Report), 67, 104-07.
36. Beaty and Gwynne, 306-08, 315-17, etc.; Kerry-Brown Report, 306-08.
37. Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 131-34, 159-60, 430-31.
38. Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 449-50, etc. See also Wall Street Journal, May 1, 1992; Marshall, 47-53.
39. Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 160.
40. Beaty and Gwynne, 48-52, 294-95, 313-17. See also Marshall, 51-52.
41. Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 133-34, 160.
42. Beaty and Gwynne, 208; Scott and Marshall, 188; see also Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1991, A22.
43. Kerry-Brown Report, 69-70; Cockburn and Cockburn, 271-73.
44. For some of the links between Castle, WFC, Nugan Hand, and BCCI, too complex to explore here, see Scott and Marshall, 92-93 (Castle/Nugan Hand); Pete Brewton, The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush, 185 (WFC/BCCI); Kerry-Brown Report, 127-31; Alan A. Block, Masters of Paradise (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1991), 171, 191; Penny Lernoux, In Banks We Trust (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984), 87; James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz, The Full Service Bank (New York: Pocket Books, 1992), 55 (Castle/Mercantile Bank and Trust/ International Bank/ BCCI).
45. Scott and Marshall, 36. Other drug-traffickers who were also linked to international smuggling of stolen cars include Norwin Meneses in Nicaragua and Carlos Lehder in Colombia.
46. Michael Levine, Deep Cover (New York: Delacorte Press, 1990; Scott and Marshall, 219).
47. Beaty and Gwynne, 323-44; Kerry-Brown Report, 185-239.
48. Beaty and Gwynne, 336-37; Kerry-Brown Report, 216-17; cf. 235.
49. Kerry-Brown Report, 237.
50. Beaty and Gwynne, 338.
51. Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 365-67, 427-29; Beaty and Gwynne, 148-53 (Carter), 227-30 (Reagan-Bush). See also James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz, A Full Service Bank (New York: Pocket Books, 1992), 55-59 (for BCCI’s involvement with a major Clinton supporter). BCCI also had links to the family of one Clinton Cabinet member, and the law firm of another (Beaty and Gwynne, 227, 73).
52. Truell and Gurwin, 429.
53. Truell and Gurwin, 210, 365-66.
54. Eva Bertram, Morris Blachman, Kenneth Sharpe, Peter Andreas, Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996), 204-27. See also Marshall, 63-67.


http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2011/01/cias-drugs-gangs.html

AL QAEDA ARE MERCENARIES, LINKED TO DRUGS

Robin Cook, who died rather suddenly. 

The mainstream media is controlled by the bad guys.

But, the alternative media can tell the truth – that Al Qaeda are mercenaries, linked to the drugs trade.

Robin Cook was the UK government minister in charge of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

Robin Cook revealed that ‘al Qaeda’ was ‘a list of people working for the CIA’.

What happened to Robin Cook?

Robin Cook’s affair with a young lady was splashed across the newspaper front pages.

Robin Cook then died rather suddenly.

Al Qaeda-linked Abdulhakim Belhaj, aka Abdel- Hakim al-Hasidi, who has been put into power in Libya by NATO
On 7 September 2011, French academic Thierry Meyssan tells us more about Al Qaeda, and their use by the CIA in Libya and elsewhere. (www.voltairenet.org/a171328)

We paraphrase and summarise Meyssan’s report, using our own words.

According to Meyssan:

1. Al Qaeda is a bunch of mercenaries used by the USA to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Iraq, and now Libya, Syria and Yemen.

2. The boss of Al Qaeda in Libya, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, is now the military boss in Tripoli and is now in charge of organizing Libya’s army.

3. In the 1980s, the CIA began recruiting mercenaries in Libya.

These mercenaries were trained in Pakistan by the billionaire Osama bin Laden.

4. In 1994, Osama bin Laden sent his Libyan mercenaries to kill Gaddafi.

5. On 1995, Osama’s Libyan mercenaries were given the name Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

6. According to former UK spy David Shayler, Osama’s LIFG was funded by the UK spy service MI6.

Panetta’s family reportedly come from a town in Italy linked to organised crime.

7. Osama’s Libyans moved to Afghanistan.

8. People linked to Osama’s Libyan LIFG continue to operate on UK territory under MI6 protection.

9. On 6 March 2004, the LIFG leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who had fought alongside Osama bin Laden, was arrested in Malaysia.

Reportedly he was handed over to Gaddafi’s Libya.

10. In 2005, Western spooks organised a meeting of anti-Gaddafi Libyans in London.

These included the Muslim Brotherhood and Osama’s LIFG.

11. In 2005, a Libyan called Abu al-Laith al-Liby was able to ‘escape’ from the maximum security prison in Bagram (Afghanistan) and became one of the leaders of al-Qaeda.

Large numbers of Osama’s Libyan LIFG fought in Iraq.

12. In 2007, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu al-Laith al-Liby announced that LIFG was part of Al-Qaeda.

Abu al-Laith al-Liby became Al-Qaeda’s No 2 man.

Prince Bandar Bin Sultan with Bush.
13. In 2008-2010 Gaddafi’s Libya negotiated a truce with the LIFG. All members of Al-Qaeda were pardoned and released on condition they renounced violence.

14. Abdel Hakim Belhadj moved to Qatar.

15. In early 2011, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar Bin Sultan made a series of trips with the aim of revitalizing al Qaeda.

16. Recruitment offices were opened in Malaysia.

In Mazar-i-Sharif, more than 1,500 Afghans signed up for al Qaeda work in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Reportedly, the Hebrew speaking Mohamed Atta flew drugs out of Venice, Florida, for the CIA.
17. On 17 February 2011, the «National Libyan Opposition Conference» organized a «day of anger» in Benghazi, which sparked the beginning of the recent war against Gaddafi.

On 23 February, LIFG’s Imam Abdelkarim al-Hasadi proclaimed the creation of an Islamic Emirate in Derna, the most fundamentalist city in Libya.

The burqa was made mandatory and corporal punishment reinstated. Emir al-Hasidi has his own army.

18. All across «liberated» Cyrenaica, Al-Qaeda men have gone in for massacre and torture; they have specialized in slitting the throats of Gaddafi sympathizers, eye-plucking and cutting off the breasts of immodest women.


The following people have reportedly been:

(A) CIA assets

(B) involved in the drugs trade:
1. Osama bin Laden

2. David Headley, planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks

3. Dawood Ibrahim, drug lord

4. Pakistan’s president Zia ul Haq

5. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, drug lord from Afghanistan

6. Monzer al Kassar, drug lord linked to Lockerbie.

How might the CIA be financing al Qaeda?

By involvement with drugs gangs?

At the time of Iran-Contra, Monzer al Kassar reportedly helped the CIA smuggle drugs out of Lebanon. (LOCKERBIE AND THE FINANCING OF 9 11)In Pakistan the CIA worked with President Zia-ul-Haq, who «was running the drug trade.»

In Afghanistan the CIA worked with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who was the top figure running the drug trade. (The Imperial Anatomy of

For more than a year the CIA has been trafficking 300 kilos of cocaine a month from Ecuador to Chile for export on to Europe, according to recent  media reports from Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Proceeds from the 300 kilo-a-month business have been used to create a war-chest to finance a Cocaine Coup in Ecuador that was scheduled to be “green-lighted” after the expected win in the just-concluded U.S. Presidential election—expected, at least, by some Agency officials—of Mitt Romney.





Fifty Years of CIA Drug Trafficking







RAND studies released in the mid-1990s found that using drug user treatment to reduce drug consumption in the United States is seven times more cost effective than law enforcement efforts alone, and it could potentially cut consumption by a third.[244]
In FY2011, the Obama Administration requests approximately $5.6 billion to support demand reduction. This includes a 13% increase for prevention and a nearly 4% increase for treatment. The overall FY 2011 counter-drug request for supply reduction and domestic law enforcement is $15.5 billion with $521.1 million in new funding.













ALLEGATIONS OF CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CIA AND THE CONTRAS IN COCAINE TRAFFICKING TO THE UNITED STATES
(96-0143-IG)
Volume II: The Contra Story

GLOSSARY OF TERMS
EXHIBITS
    March 2, 1982 DoJ-CIA Memorandum of Understanding regarding "Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Federal Crimes"  [1] - [2] - [3] - [4] - [5] - [6] - [7] - [8] - [9] - [10] - [11] - [12]February 11, 1982 Letter to DCI William Casey from Attorney General William French Smith regarding DoJ-CIA Memorandum of Understanding  [1] February 8, 1985 DoJ Memorandum to Mark Richard from A. R. Cinquegrana, "CIA Reporting of Drug Offenses"  [1]




"If the people were to ever find out what we have done, we would be chased down the streets and lynched."

-- George Bush, cited in the June, 1992 Sarah McClendon Newsletter

"The Subcommittee found that the Contra drug links included:
  • Involvement in narcotics trafficking by individuals associated with the Contra movement. 
  • Participation of narcotics traffickers in Contra supply operations through business relationships with Contra organizations. 
  • Provision of assistance to the Contras by narcotics traffickers, including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by the traffickers. 
  • Payments to drug traffickers by the US State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies."
Senate Committee Report on Drugs,
Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy
chaired by Senator John F. Kerry




Washington and the politics of drugs
Peter Dale Scott 

Those struggling to solve America's drug problems are accustomed to talk of "demand side" and "supply side" solutions. This language reflects a bureaucratic perspective: it tends to project the problem, and focus alleged "solutions", on to others, often on to remote and deprived populations. On the supply side, eradication programs are designed for the mountains of Burma or the Andes. On the demand side, increasing funds are allocated for the arrest and imprisonment (and less often, the treatment) of the substance abusers, often ethnic and from the inner cities.
Increasingly, however, researchers are becoming aware of a third aspect to the problem: protected intelligence-drug connections. Within the U.S. governmental bureaucracy itself, intelligence agencies and special warfare elements have recurringly exploited drug traffickers and their corrupt political allies for anti-Communist and anti-subversive operations, often but not always covert, in other parts of the world. History suggests that this third aspect of the drug problem, the protected intelligence-drug connection, or what I call government-drug symbiosis, has been responsible for the biggest changes in the patterns and level of drug-trafficking. Thus, at least in theory, it also presents the most hopeful target for improvement.
No one now disputes that in the immediate post-war period CIA assistance to the Sicilian mafia in Italy, and the Corsican mafia in Marseille, helped consolidate and protect the vast upsurge of drug trafficking through those two areas. No one disputes either that a heroin epidemic in the U.S. surged and then subsided with our Vietnamese involvement and disengagement.
But the same upsurge of protected drug-trafficking was visible in the 1980s, when the United States received more than half of its heroin from a new area: the Afghan-Pakistan border, from drug-trafficking mujaheddin who were the backbone of the CIA's covert operations in Afghanistan. Published U.S. statistics estimate that heroin imports from the Afghan-Pakistan border, which had been insignificant before 1979, accounted for 52 percent of U.S. imported heroin by 1984.1
In the same period, at least a fifth of America's cocaine, probably more, was imported via Honduras, where local drug-traffickers, and their allies in the corrupt Honduran armed forces, were the backbone of the infra-structure for Reagan's covert support of the contra forces in that country.2
These specific facts are not contested by historians, and even CIA veterans have conceded their agency's role in the genesis of the post-war problem. Nevertheless, there is an on-going and steadfast denial on the part of U.S. administrations, the press, and the public. The public's denial is psychologically understandable: it is disconcerting to contemplate that our government, which we expect to protect us from such a grave social crisis, is actually contributing to it.
This denial is sustained by the general silence, and the occasional uncritical transmission of government lies, in our most responsible newspapers of record.3
It is further reinforced by a small army of propagandists, who hasten to assure us that today "the CIA's part in the world drug trade seems irrelevant"; and that to argue otherwise is "absurd."4
Because of such resolute denial, this most serious of public crises is barely talked about. Yet the problem of a U.S.-protected drug traffic endures. Today the United States, in the name of fighting drugs, has entered into alliances with the police and armed forces of Colombia and Peru, forces conspicuous by their alliances with drug-traffickers in counterinsurgency operations. It is now clear that at least some of the U.S. military efforts and assistance to these countries has been deflected into counterinsurgency campaigns, where the biggest drug traffickers are not the enemy, but allies.
Realists object that it is not the business of the U.S. to reform drug-corrupted regimes in other countries, such as Pakistan or Peru. Unfortunately U.S. overt and covert programs in such countries are usually large enough to change these societies anyway, if only to reinforce and harden the status quo. At the same time they affect the size and structure of the drug traffic itself. In the post-war years, when the drug-financed China Lobby was strong in Washington, and the U.S. shipped arms and Chinese Nationalist troops into eastern Burma, opium production in that remote region increased almost fivefold in fifteen years, from less than 80 to 300-400 tons a year. Production doubled again in the 1960s, the heyday of the Kuomintang-CIA alliance in Southeast Asia.5
Drug alliances confer protection upon designated traffickers, and such conferred protection centralizes, rationalizes, and further empowers the traffic. When one American representative of the CIA-linked Cali cartel was arrested in 1992, the DEA said that this man alone had been responsible for from 70 to 80% of U.S. cocaine imports (an estimate probably exaggerated but nonetheless instructive).6
It is true that this man, like many others, was ultimately arrested by the U.S. Government. But in many if not most such cases, key men like General Noriega are only arrested after U.S. policy priorities have changed, and de facto alliances made with new drug figures. In short, up to now the U.S. Government, along with other governments, has done far more to increase the global drug traffic, than it has to diminish it.

The U.S., Drug-Trafficking and Counterinsurgency in Peru
Today one of the most glaring and dangerous examples of a CIA-drug alliance is in Peru. Behind Peru's president, Alberto Fujimori, is his chief adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, the effective head of the National Intelligence Service or SIN, an agency created and trained by the CIA in the 1960s.7
Through the SIN, Montesinos played a central role in Fujimori's "auto-coup", or suspension of the constitution, in April 1992, an event which (according to Knight-Ridder correspondent Sam Dillon) raised "the specter of drug cartels exercising powerful influence at the top of Peru's government."8
Recently Montesinos has been accused of arranging for the bombing of an opposition television station, while in August 1996 an accused drug trafficker claimed that Montesinos had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs.9
In the New York Review of Books, Mr. Gorriti spelled out this CIA-drug collaboration more fully.
"In late 1990, Montesinos also began close co-operation with the CIA, and in 1991 the National Intelligence Service began to organize a secret anti-drug outfit with funding, training, and equipment provided by the CIA. This, by the way, made the DEA...furious. Montesinos apparently suspected that the DEA had been investigating his connection to the most important Peruvian drug cartel in the 1980s, the Rodr'iguez-L'opez organization, and also links to some Colombian traffickers. Perhaps not coincidentally, Fujimori made a point of denouncing the DEA as corrupt at least twice, once in Peru in 1991, and the second time at the Presidential summit in San Antonio, Texas, in February [1992]. As far as I know, the secret intelligence outfit never carried out anti-drug operations. It was used for other things, such as my arrest."
New York Review of Books, June 25, 1992, 20.
Others have pointed to the drug corruption of Peru's government, naming not only Montesinos, but the military establishment receiving U.S. anti-drug funding.10
Charges that the Peruvian army and security forces were continuing to take payoffs, to protect the cocaine traffickers that they were supposed to be fighting, have led at times to a withholding of U.S. aid.11
Such charges against Fujimori, Montesinos, and the Peruvian military are completely in line with what we know about Peru over the last two decades. In the 1980s the same Peruvian drug-trafficking organization, that of Reynaldo Rodr'iguez L'opez, incorporated into itself several generals of the Peruvian Investigative Police (PIP), at whose headquarters Rodr'iguez L'opez maintained an office, and also the private secretary to the Peruvian Minister of the Interior.12
Before that senior PIP officials and Army generals were controlled by the Paredes family organization, described by a DEA analyst as then "the biggest smuggling organization in Peru and possibly in the world."13
In the words of James Mills, the Paredes were part of the established Peruvian oligarchy that goes back to the Spanish vice-royalty, an oligarchy which "controlled not only the roots of the cocaine industry but, to a large extent, the country itself."14
Other observers have given a much more marginal account of cocaine's role in Peruvian society. Patrick Clawson and Rensselaer Lee estimated that "nearly all Peruvian cocaine base and hydrochloride is sold to Colombians who fly in payments and fly out product." In their words, "As a $1.3 billion industry, coca accounted for 3.9% of the 1992 $33 billion GNP"; and furthermore was "of shrinking importance."15
But at about the time this book was published, it was reported that Peruvian police had seized a single shipment of 3.5 tons of pure cocaine belonging to the Lopez-Paredes branch of the family. This single shipment was worth $600 million; and members of this cartel later admitted to having shipped more than ten tons (worth about $1.8 billion) to Mexico in the previous year.16
The San Francisco Chronicle also reported from Mexican officials that "Vladimiro Montesinos... and Santiago Fujimori, the president's brother, were responsible for covering up connections between the Mexican and Peruvian drug mafias."17
It is evident that Clawson and Lee had seriously underestimated the role of cocaine in the Peruvian economy and polity.
The response of many Americans to the CIA's drug-symbiosis in Peru is to object that the alternative power base, the revolutionary Sendero Luminoso, is even more ruthless and bloodthirsty. Such would-be realists should listen to the arguments of Gorùriti and others that what the U.S. is doing now in Peru, as earlier in China, Laos, and Vietnam, only plays into the revolutionaries' hands.18
The CIA-Government-Drug Symbiosis in Mexico, Colombia, and Elsewhere
It is important to stress that the CIA-drug symbiosis described by Gustavo Gorriti is not anomalous, but paradigmatic of the way the U.S. is consolidating its power and its allies in parts of the Third World where drugs are a part of the de facto political power structure. In the name of law and freedom, alliances have been made for decades with criminals and dictators. Now, in the name of fighting drugs, U.S. funds are channelled to those whose political fates are allied with those of the drug traffickers. These funds will, paradoxically, strengthen the status both of these traffickers and of the social systems in which they form a constituent element.
In Mexico, for example, the CIA's closest government allies were for years in the DFS or Direcci'on Federal de Seguridad, whose badges, handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers, have been labelled by DEA agents a virtual "license to traffic."19
Like the SIN in Peru, the DFS was in part a CIA creation; and the CIA presence in the DFS became so dominant that some of its intelligence, according to the famous Mexican journalist Manuel Buend'ia, was seen only by American eyes.20
The Guadalajara Cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s, prospered largely because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nassar (or Nazar) Haro, a CIA asset.21
Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that members of the Guadalajara Cartel became prominent among the drug-trafficking supporters of the CIA's Contra operation.22
Throughout Central America, and most notoriously in Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala, the CIA recruited assets from the local Army G-2 intelligence apparatus, who recurringly were also involved in drug-trafficking. Manuel Noriega, the most famous example, was already a CIA asset when he was promoted to become Panama G-2 Chief, as the result of a military coup assisted by the U.S. Army.23
Later, when Noriega became Panama's effective ruler, his drug networks doubled as Contra support operations, while Noriega himself was shielded for years by the CIA from DEA investigations.24
In Honduras in 1981, the CIA similarly exploited the drug contacts of the Honduran G-2 Chief, Leonidas Torres Arias. (The most notorious of these, the Honduran Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros, was simultaneously a member of Mexico's Guadalajara Cartel. His airline SETCO, under investigation by DEA and Customs for drug-trafficking, was chartered by first CIA and then the State Department to fly supplies to the main Contra camps in Honduras.)25

The CIA was able to recruit both assets and Contra supporters from the drug-tainted Guatemalan G-2 as well.26

One sees elsewhere this recurring pattern of CIA collaboration with intelligence and security networks who are allied with the biggest drug-traffickers, not opposed to them. In Colombia, U.S. funds have gone to the Colombian Army and National Police, both of which forces have collaborated with paramilitary death squads financed by the drug cartels, against their mutual enemy, the left-wing guerrillas.27

In Colombia and in Guatemala as in Peru and Mexico, U.S.-assisted campaigns of repression, nominally against drugs, have in fact been deflected into counterinsurgency operations, mis-named as anti-drug operations to secure the support of the U.S. Congress.

In Colombia, according to authors Andrew and Leslie Cockburn,
"U.S. officials...knew that millions of dollars of U.S. aid money, earmarked for the war on drugs, was being used instead to fight leftist guerrillas and their supporters. When [drug] cartel-financed paramilitary forces entered the town of Segovia in November 1988, the military stood by and watched. As Colombian Professor Alejandro Reyes remembered, "They killed forty-three people, just at the center of town. Anybody who was close to that place was shot. They were defenceless people, common people of the town....[I]t was a kind of sanction against the whole town for their political vote..." Forty-three people had been killed for voting the wrong way....In 1989...the U.S. shipped $65 million of military equipment to Colombia. The Colombian chief of police politely pointed out that the items received were totally unsuitable for a war against the traffickers. They were, however, suitable for counterinsurgency. U.S. military equipment turned up in...Puerto Boyaca. [This was a region irrelevant to the drug traffic, but where the drug cartels' death squads were being trained].... U.S. helicopters were used in anti-guerrilla bombing campaigns, where, unfortunately, many of the victims were civilians. The State Department knew that too."28

This hypocrisy of "anti-drug campaigns" dates back to 1974, the year when Congress cut back U.S. aid programs to repressive Latin American police forces, and then beefed up so-called anti-narcotics aid to the same forces by about the same amount.29

To keep the aid coming, corrupt Latin American politicians helped to invent the spectre of the drug-financed "narco-guerrilla", a myth discounted by careful and dispassionate researchers like Rensselaer Lee.30

U.S. military officers were equally cynical. Col. John D. Waghelstein, writing in the Military Review, argued that the way to counter "those church and academic groups that have slavishly supported insurgency in Latin America" was to put them "on the wrong side of the moral issue", by creating "a melding in the American public's mind and in Congress" of the alleged narco-guerrilla connection.31

The actual result of such propagandizing is to sanction the role of drug traffickers and their allies in U.S. counterinsurgency efforts, and thus further to strengthen the status of the drug cartels in the countries they terrorize.

Two recent indictments by the U.S. Department of Justice reinforce the general paradigm of CIA-created intelligence networks that reinforce their local power and influence by major involvement in drug trafficking. In March 1997 Michel-Joseph Francois, the CIA-backed police chief in Haiti, was indicted in Miami for having helped to smuggle 33 tons of Colombian cocaine and heroin into the United States. The Haitian National Intelligence Service (SIN), which the CIA helped to create, was also a target of the Justice Department investigation which led to the indictment.32
A few months earlier, General Ramon Guillen Davila, chief of a CIA-created anti-drug unit in Venezuela, was indicted in Miami for smuggling a ton of cocaine into the United States. According to the New York Times, "The CIA, over the objections of the Drug Enforcement Administration, approved the shipment of at least one ton of pure cocaine to Miami International Airpost as a way of gathering information about the Colombian drug cartels." One official said that the total amount might have been much more than one ton.33
The information about the drug activities of Guillen Davila and Francois had been published in the U.S. press years before the indictments. It is possible that, had it not been for the controversy aroused by the Contra-cocaine stories in the August 1996 San Jose Mercury, these two men and their networks might have been as untouchable as Miguel Nassar Haro and the DFS in Mexico, or Montesinos and the Peruvian SIN in Peru.
The U.S. and Drug Traffickers in Asia: Washington, Afghanistan, and BCCI
The same U.S.-right wing-drug symbiosis has prevailed for decades in Asia. Former top DEA investigator in the Middle East, Dennis Dayle, told an anti-drug conference that "in my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA."34
The biggest recent CIA-drug story in Asia has centered on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, or BCCI. The President until 1993 of America's traditional ally Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, was the man who as finance minister granted special tax status for the CIA and drug-linked BCCI, the bank of his close friend Agha Hasan Abedi. Ghulam Ishaq Khan also served as Chairman of Abedi's BCCI Foundation, an ostensible charity that in fact fronted for BCCI's concerted efforts to make Pakistan a nuclear power.35
BCCI's involvement in drug money-laundering, drug-trafficking, and related arms deals is now common knowledge; but the U.S. Government has yet to admit and explain why BCCI's owner Abedi met repeatedly, as reported by Time and NBC, with CIA officials William Casey and Robert Gates.36
BCCI became close to the CIA through its deep involvement in the CIA-Pakistan operation in Afghanistan.37
This in itself was a drug story: by their aid in the 1980s Pakistan and the CIA built up their previously insignificant client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to a position where he could become, "with the full support of ISI [Pakistani intelligence] and the tacit tolerance of the CIA...Afghanistan's leading drug lord."38
BCCI was in a position to launder much of the drug proceeds.39
Inside Pakistan in the 1980s, the CIA's man for the Afghan arms-and-drugs support operation, banked and even staffed through BCCI, was the North-West Frontier Provincial Governor, General Fazle el-Haq (or Huq), who continued to run the local drug trade with ISI.40
Haq and BCCI President Abedi met regularly with the then President of Pakistan, General Zia; Zia and Abedi in turn would meet regularly to discuss Afghanistan with CIA Chief William Casey.41
BCCI corruption was not confined to Asia. It extended also to the notorious CIA-Noriega alliance in Panama, and in the 1990s to the drug-corrupted military leaders in Guatemala that the U.S. turned to lead the war on drugs in that country.42
BCCI, along with the United States Government's Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), even played a role in the supply of arms and trainers to the Colombian drug cartels' death squads in Puerto Boyaca, mentioned above.43
It would be wrong to blame this pervasive drug corruption on BCCI alone, or to expect that the exposure in 1991 of BCCI, which was only achieved after great opposition and obstruction in Washington, will make the problem go away. BCCI was just one major player in a complex multinational intelligence game of drug-trafficking, arms sales, banking, and corruption. Other CIA-linked and drug-linked banks, to which BCCI can be connected, such as the Castle Bank in the Bahamas, the World Finance Corporation in Miami, and the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia, have risen and fallen before BCCI's spectacular demise, and we should expect more such scandals in the future.44
It is the same with the drug traffic itself. As long as we do not address the root problem of governmental drug connections that make and break the kingpins, traditional law enforcement will continue to be ineffective. The kingpin is dead; long live the kingpin.

Protection for Drug Traffickers in the United States
These gray alliances between law enforcement and criminal elements lead to protection for drug-traffickers, not just abroad, but at home. Drug-traffickers who are used as covert assets abroad also are likely to be recruited as informants or other assets in the U.S. Thus for example, a syndicate headed by Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Tabraue was able to earn $80 million from marijuana and cocaine trafficking from 1976 to 1987, while Tabraue simultaneously earned up to $1,400 a week as a DEA informant.
Vastly under-reported in the U.S. press are the number of cases where indicted drug-traffickers, because of their intelligence connections, are allowed to escape trial in U.S. courts, or else have their charges or sentences reduced. Usually the public learns of these cases only by accident. In one case a U.S. Attorney in San Diego protested publicly when he was ordered by the CIA to drop charges against a drug-trafficking CIA client in Mexico (the head of the corrupt DFS mentioned earlier), who had been indicted for his role in what was described as America's largest stolen-car ring. Despite public support for his honesty, the U.S. Attorney was fired.45
After a DEA undercover agent retired and went public, he revealed that in 1980 a top Bolivian trafficker arrested by him was almost immediately released by the Miami U.S. Attorney's office, without the case being presented to the grand jury. This was two weeks before the infamous Cocaine Coup in Bolivia, financed by the trafficker's family and organization, which briefly installed the drug-traffickers themselves in charge of law enforcement in that country.46
These anecdotal stories, which are numerous, are tiny when compared to the U.S. governmental protection and cover-up of BCCI's involvement in drug-trafficking and money-laundering.47
To its credit, the CIA knew of BCCI's illegal activities as early as 1979, and started distributing information to the Justice Department and other agencies in 1983. After an unrelated investigation in Florida, two of BCCI's units pleaded guilty to drug money-laundering in 1990, and five of its executives went to jail. But a senior Justice Department official took the unusual step of requesting the Florida Banking Commissioner to allow BCCI to stay open.48
For over three years between 1988 and 1991, the Justice Department "repeatedly requested delays or halts to action by the Senate concerning BCCI, refused to provide assistance to the [Kerry] Subcommittee concerning BCCI, and, on occasion, made misleading statements to the Subcommittee concerning the status of investigative efforts concerning BCCI."49
New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in this period was also openly critical of the pointed lack of co-operation from the Justice Department.50
BCCI's drug-related crimes cannot be separated from its other illegal activities, notably arms-trafficking and the corruption of public officials. For years the CIA has used corruption of foreign officials to further its aims; and this has fostered a climate of corruption by other entities, such as BCCI. The size of the BCCI scandal and cover-up raises questions as to whether (with or without CIA connivance) BCCI, having corrupted senior public figures in such countries as Argentina, Brazil, the Congo, Guatemala, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, and Peru (to name only a few), may not have also managed to corrupt major figures in the U.S. as well.
As noted by many observers, BCCI and its American allies have prospered through strong financial and other connections to Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Many of these were orchestrated for BCCI by the Arkansas investment banker Jackson Stephens, a backer in turn of Presidents Carter, Bush, and Clinton.51
The CIA's world-wide penchant for political influence may help explain why it "seems to have protected BCCI and its backers for well over a decade."52
Since the demise of BCCI, such influential connections to Clinton have been continued by Stephens and his close investment allies Mochtar and James Riady. In addition the Riadys' Lippo Bank in Hong Kong was at one point scheduled to buy out the bankrupt BCCI branch in Hong Kong, where the Burma drug lord Khun Sa was rumoured to have deposited hundreds of millions of dollars. The deal went sour, and the BCCI branch was bought instead by the Australian Alan Bond. After Bond in turn went bankrupt, the Lippo Bank bought from him the old Hong Kong BCCI bank building, which it now occupies.53
The root problem however is the U.S. decision to play Realpolitik in regions where the reality of right-wing power is its grounding in the resources of the drug traffic. Alternatives to this easy route of drug traffic symbiosis and co-dependency are not easy, but they must be turned to. The government strategy of global Realpolitik has helped to expand the global drug traffic to the point where the strategy itself, strengthening the flow of drugs from one CIA-protected network to another around the world, has become a more genuine threat to the real security of the domestic United States, than the enemies it allegedly opposes. The United States certainly does not control these dangerous allies it has strengthened and in some cases invented. The problem of disengagement from such world-wide alliances is complex, and disengagement by itself will not bring an end to the traffic which U.S. policies have fostered. But it is clearly time, with a new Administration and a new post-Cold War global environment, for a decisive repudiation to drug alliances, and a move towards new global strategies.

What Can Be Done?
What can be done to stop this governmental protection of drug-traffickers? In the short run we need an explicit repudiation of former drug-linked strategies, and an admission that they have been counter-productive. This might take the form of an explicit directive from the Clinton Administration, that old strategies to shore up corrupt right-wing governments abroad, like Peru's, must be clearly subordinated to the new domestic priority of reducing this nation's drug problems.
More specifically, the misnamed "War on Drugs", a pernicious and misleading military metaphor, should be replaced by a medically and scientifically oriented campaign towards healing this country's drug sickness. The billions that have been wasted in military anti-drug campaigns, efforts which have ranged from the futile to the counter-productive, should be re-channelled into a public health paradigm, emphasizing prevention, maintenance, and rehabilitation programs. The experiments in controlled de-criminalization which have been initiated in Europe should be closely studied and emulated here.54
The root cause of the governmental drug problem in this country is the National Security Act of 1947, and subsequent orders based on it. These in effect have exempted intelligence agencies and their personnel from the rule of law, an exemption which in the course of time has been extended from the agencies themselves to their drug-trafficking clients. This must cease. Either the President or Congress must proclaim that national security cannot be invoked to protect drug-traffickers. This must be accompanied by clarifying orders or legislation, discouraging the conscious collaboration with, or protection of, criminal drug-traffickers, by making it clear that such acts will themselves normally constitute grounds for prosecution.
Clearly a campaign to restore sanity to our prevailing drug policies will remain utopian, if it does not contemplate a struggle to realign the power priorities of our political system. Such a struggle will be difficult and painful. For those who believe in an open and decent America, the results will also be rewarding.
Notes
1. U.S., General Accounting Office, Drug Control: U.S. Supported Efforts in Burma, Pakistan, and Thailand, GAO/NSIAD-88-94, February 1988, 12; cited in Peter Dale Scott, "Cocaine, the Contras, and the United States: How the U.S. government has augmented America's drug crisis", Crime, Law and Social Change, 16 (1991), 97-131 (98). (In 1979, the first year of the CIA's Afghan operation, the number of drug-related deaths in New York City rose by 77 percent.) New York Times, May 22, 1980; Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 437.
2. Scott, "Cocaine", 99.
3. Discussion, with examples of such lies, in Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), 172-85, especially at 177-78; cf. 179-81; see also Joel Millman, "Narco-Terrorism: A Tale of Two Stories", Columbia Journalism Review, (September-October 1986), 50-51; Rolling Stone, September 10, 1987; Mark Hertsgaard, On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1988), 314-15, etc.
4. Michael Massing, New York Review of Books, December 3, 1992, 10; Nation, December 2, 1991.
5. Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 162; Alfred W. McCoy, with Cathleen B. Read and Leonard P. Adams II, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 12 H6; both citing New York Times, September 17, 1963, 45.
6. San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 1993, A14. For the links between the Cali cartel, the Colombian, and the U.S. Government, see Scott and Marshall, 79-103, especially 81-94.
7. Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1997 (Montesinos); James Mills, The Underground Empire (New York: Dell, 1986), 809 (CIA).
8. San Jose Mercury News, April 19, 1992.
9. Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1997. The trafficker, detained in prison, later recanted his story. According to an Op-ed in the New York Times by Gustavo Gorriti, a leader among the Peruvian intellectuals forced into exile, "Mr. Montesinos built a power base and fortune mainly as a legal strategist for drug traffickers. He has had a close relationship with the C.I.A., and controls the intelligence services, and, through them, the military." New York Times, December 27, 1992.
10. Washington Post, May 10, 1992, A32 (Montesinos); Jonathan Marshall, Drug Wars (Berkeley: Eclipse Books, 1991), 24-26; Wall Street Journal, November 29, 1991; Washington Post, February 28, 1993 (military).
11. New York Times, November 11, 1991, A6; September 28, 1993.
12. Scott and Marshall, 191.
13. Mills, The Underground Empire, 877.
14. Mills, The Underground Empire, 585; Scott and Marshall, 83-84.
15. Patrick L. Clawson and Rensselaer W. Lee III, The Andean Cocaine Industry (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996), 31, 181.
16. Economist, May 13, 1995, 44; San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1996; cf. Mills, 877-79.
17. San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1996.
18. New York Times, December 27, 1992. See also Progressive, May 1992, 25; Nation, March 30, 1992, 401.
19. Scott and Marshall, 34-39, quoting Elaine Shannon, Desperados, 179.
20. Manuel Buend'ia, La CIA en Mexico (Mexico City: Oceano, 1983), 24.
21. Scott and Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 35-41.
22. Scott and Marshall, 41; Peter Dale Scott, "Letter to the ARRB [Assassination Records Review Board]." Prevailing Winds (Santa Barbara, CA), 3 [Spring 1996], 40-43.
23. Scott and Marshall, 65.
24. Scott and Marshall, 68-72.
25. Scott and Marshall, 55-58.
26. Celerino Castillo, Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War (Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic Press, 1994), 126, etc.
27. Peter Dale Scott, "Colombia: America's Dirtiest War on Drugs", Tikkun (May June 1997), 27-31; Jonathan Marshall, Drug Wars (Forestville, CA: Cohan and Cohen, 1991), 17-21; Scott and Marshall, 89; Rensselaer Lee, White Labyrinth, 117-18.
28. Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), 268-69. See also Marshall, 17-21. For the covert assistance of the Israel and U.S. governments, see Cockburn and Cockburn, 212-13, 264-79.
29. Michael Klare and Cynthia Arnson, Supplying Repression (Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1981), 23; Marshall, 13-15.
30. Scott and Marshall, 83-84, 95-98; Rensselaer Lee, The White Labyrinth, 106, 172-77, 218, and passim. One passionate advocate of the "narco-guerrilla" hypothesis, the Peruvian Minister of the Interior in 1985, had a private secretary who was a member of the Rodr'iguez-L'opez cartel.
31. Col. John. D. Waghelstein, Military Review, February 1987, 46-47; quoted in Scott and Marshall, 198n; Marshall, 13.
32. San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1997, A10. Francois allegedly controlled the capital, Port-au-Prince, with a network of hirelings who profited on the side from drug-trafficking.
33. New York Times, November 23, 1996; see also Wall Street Journal, November 22, 1996. The total amount of drugs smuggled by Gen. Guillen may have been more than 22 tons.
34. Scott and Marshall (paperback edition), x-xi.
35. Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank (New York: Random House, 1993), 287-91; U.S. Cong., Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, The BCCI Affair, Report to the Committee by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown, December 1992; 102nd Cong., 2nd Sess., Senate Print 102-140 (Washington: GPO, 1993; henceforth cited as Kerry-Brown Report), 67, 104-07.
36. Beaty and Gwynne, 306-08, 315-17, etc.; Kerry-Brown Report, 306-08.
37. Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World's Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 131-34, 159-60, 430-31.
38. Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991), 449-50, etc. See also Wall Street Journal, May 1, 1992; Marshall, 47-53.
39. Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 160.
40. Beaty and Gwynne, 48-52, 294-95, 313-17. See also Marshall, 51-52.
41. Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 133-34, 160.
42. Beaty and Gwynne, 208; Scott and Marshall, 188; see also Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1991, A22.
43. Kerry-Brown Report, 69-70; Cockburn and Cockburn, 271-73.
44. For some of the links between Castle, WFC, Nugan Hand, and BCCI, too complex to explore here, see Scott and Marshall, 92-93 (Castle/Nugan Hand); Pete Brewton, The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush, 185 (WFC/BCCI); Kerry-Brown Report, 127-31; Alan A. Block, Masters of Paradise (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1991), 171, 191; Penny Lernoux, In Banks We Trust (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1984), 87; James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz, The Full Service Bank (New York: Pocket Books, 1992), 55 (Castle/Mercantile Bank and Trust/ International Bank/ BCCI).
45. Scott and Marshall, 36. Other drug-traffickers who were also linked to international smuggling of stolen cars include Norwin Meneses in Nicaragua and Carlos Lehder in Colombia.
46. Michael Levine, Deep Cover (New York: Delacorte Press, 1990; Scott and Marshall, 219).
47. Beaty and Gwynne, 323-44; Kerry-Brown Report, 185-239.
48. Beaty and Gwynne, 336-37; Kerry-Brown Report, 216-17; cf. 235.
49. Kerry-Brown Report, 237.
50. Beaty and Gwynne, 338.
51. Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 365-67, 427-29; Beaty and Gwynne, 148-53 (Carter), 227-30 (Reagan-Bush). See also James Ring Adams and Douglas Frantz, A Full Service Bank (New York: Pocket Books, 1992), 55-59 (for BCCI's involvement with a major Clinton supporter). BCCI also had links to the family of one Clinton Cabinet member, and the law firm of another (Beaty and Gwynne, 227, 73).
52. Truell and Gurwin, 429.
53. Truell and Gurwin, 210, 365-66.
54. Eva Bertram, Morris Blachman, Kenneth Sharpe, Peter Andreas, Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1996), 204-27. See also Marshall, 63-67.



http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2011/01/cias-drugs-gangs.html

AL QAEDA ARE MERCENARIES, LINKED TO DRUGS

Robin Cook, who died rather suddenly. 

The mainstream media is controlled by the bad guys.

But, the alternative media can tell the truth - that Al Qaeda are mercenaries, linked to the drugs trade.

Robin Cook was the UK government minister in charge of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

Robin Cook revealed that 'al Qaeda' was 'a list of people working for the CIA'.

What happened to Robin Cook?

Robin Cook's affair with a young lady was splashed across the newspaper front pages.

Robin Cook then died rather suddenly.

Al Qaeda-linked Abdulhakim Belhaj, aka Abdel- Hakim al-Hasidi, who has been put into power in Libya by NATO
On 7 September 2011, French academic Thierry Meyssan tells us more about Al Qaeda, and their use by the CIA in Libya and elsewhere. (www.voltairenet.org/a171328)

We paraphrase and summarise Meyssan's report, using our own words.

According to Meyssan:

1. Al Qaeda is a bunch of mercenaries used by the USA to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Iraq, and now Libya, Syria and Yemen.

2. The boss of Al Qaeda in Libya, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, is now the military boss in Tripoli and is now in charge of organizing Libya's army.

3. In the 1980s, the CIA began recruiting mercenaries in Libya.

These mercenaries were trained in Pakistan by the billionaire Osama bin Laden.

4. In 1994, Osama bin Laden sent his Libyan mercenaries to kill Gaddafi.

5. On 1995, Osama's Libyan mercenaries were given the name Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

6. According to former UK spy David Shayler, Osama's LIFG was funded by the UK spy service MI6.

Panetta's family reportedly come from a town in Italy linked to organised crime.

7. Osama's Libyans moved to Afghanistan.

8. People linked to Osama's Libyan LIFG continue to operate on UK territory under MI6 protection.

9. On 6 March 2004, the LIFG leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who had fought alongside Osama bin Laden, was arrested in Malaysia.

Reportedly he was handed over to Gaddafi's Libya.

10. In 2005, Western spooks organised a meeting of anti-Gaddafi Libyans in London.

These included the Muslim Brotherhood and Osama's LIFG.

11. In 2005, a Libyan called Abu al-Laith al-Liby was able to 'escape' from the maximum security prison in Bagram (Afghanistan) and became one of the leaders of al-Qaeda.

Large numbers of Osama's Libyan LIFG fought in Iraq.

12. In 2007, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu al-Laith al-Liby announced that LIFG was part of Al-Qaeda.

Abu al-Laith al-Liby became Al-Qaeda’s No 2 man.

Prince Bandar Bin Sultan with Bush.
13. In 2008-2010 Gaddafi's Libya negotiated a truce with the LIFG. All members of Al-Qaeda were pardoned and released on condition they renounced violence.

14. Abdel Hakim Belhadj moved to Qatar.

15. In early 2011, Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar Bin Sultan made a series of trips with the aim of revitalizing al Qaeda.

16. Recruitment offices were opened in Malaysia.

In Mazar-i-Sharif, more than 1,500 Afghans signed up for al Qaeda work in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Reportedly, the Hebrew speaking Mohamed Atta flew drugs out of Venice, Florida, for the CIA.
17. On 17 February 2011, the "National Libyan Opposition Conference" organized a "day of anger" in Benghazi, which sparked the beginning of the recent war against Gaddafi.

On 23 February, LIFG's Imam Abdelkarim al-Hasadi proclaimed the creation of an Islamic Emirate in Derna, the most fundamentalist city in Libya.

The burqa was made mandatory and corporal punishment reinstated. Emir al-Hasidi has his own army.

18. All across "liberated" Cyrenaica, Al-Qaeda men have gone in for massacre and torture; they have specialized in slitting the throats of Gaddafi sympathizers, eye-plucking and cutting off the breasts of immodest women.


The following people have reportedly been:

(A) CIA assets

(B) involved in the drugs trade:

1. Osama bin Laden

2. David Headley, planner of the 2008 Mumbai attacks

3. Dawood Ibrahim, drug lord

4. Pakistan's president Zia ul Haq

5. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, drug lord from Afghanistan

6. Monzer al Kassar, drug lord linked to Lockerbie.


How might the CIA be financing al Qaeda?

By involvement with drugs gangs?

At the time of Iran-Contra, Monzer al Kassar reportedly helped the CIA smuggle drugs out of Lebanon. (LOCKERBIE AND THE FINANCING OF 9 11)In Pakistan the CIA worked with President Zia-ul-Haq, who "was running the drug trade."

In Afghanistan the CIA worked with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who was the top figure running the drug trade. (The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA's Drug-Running ...)

Bin Laden, according to an official source, used profits from the drug trade to finance al Qaeda. (Los Angeles Times, September/15/01)

According to the New York Times, on 12/10/01, al-Qaeda's mujahedin worked with the US in Bosnia."Militants linked to Al Qaeda ... established connections with Bosnian organized crime figures.

"Officials said Al Qaeda ... found a route for the trafficking of heroin from Afghanistan into Europe through the Balkans."

Thus, the CIA knew that al-Qaeda was involved in heroin-trafficking. (Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Northern Alliance, and Drug-Trafficking)



David Headley worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

The "close institutional relationship between the DEA and the CIA continues up to the present day". (Alfred W. McCoy)According to Daniel Hopsicker: Barry Seal "told investigators that between March 1984, and August 1985, he made a quarter-million dollars smuggling up to 15,000 kilos of cocaine while working for the DEA." (Barry Seal) 




On 11 February 2010, Forbes reported

1. Al Qaeda (CIA) in North Africa ... "appears to be involved in the trafficking of Latin American cocaine through Africa to Spain".

2. Michael Braun, chief of operations at the DEA until 2008, says "There is more clear evidence showing al Qaeda's (CIA's) growing involvement in the Afghan heroin trade on the Pakistan side of the border."

3. Dawood Ibrahim runs a 5,000 member gang involved in narcotics and operates mostly from Pakistan, India and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the US government, Ibrahim shares smuggling routes with al Qaeda (CIA) and has worked with both al Qaeda and its affiliate, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Lashkar has been blamed for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attacks, possibly with Ibrahim's help.

4. According to a federal indictment, in 2006 a Pakistani financier for Lashkar-e-Taiba handed David Headley of Chicago $25,000 to conduct video surveillance in India in preparation for the Mumbai attack.

"Arif Qasmani, a chief Lashkar coordinator who has raised funds from crime boss Ibrahim, has been providing al Qaeda with supplies and weapons.

"In return al Qaeda loaned to Lashkar operatives who helped carry out the 2006 train bombings in Mumbai."



"The CIA created a unit in Haiti, whose purported purpose was anti-drug activity, but was in reality 'used as an instrument of political terror', and was heavily involved in drug trafficking.

"The members of the unit were known to torture Aristide supporters... According to one U.S. official, the unit was trafficking drugs and never produced any useful drug intelligence" [11]
(CIA drug trafficking - Wikipedia) 

According to Peter Dale Scott, Mexico's intelligence agency, the Dirección Federal de Seguridad, was in part a CIA creation.

DFS badges, "handed out to top-level Mexican drug-traffickers, have been labelled by DEA agents a virtual 'license to traffic.'"[7] 

Scott says that "The Guadalajara Cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking network in the early 1980s, prospered largely because it enjoyed the protection of the DFS, under its chief Miguel Nassar (or Nazar) Haro, a CIA asset."[7] (CIA drug trafficking - Wikipedia)



http://fromthewilderness.com/free/ciadrugs/W_plane.html

Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds

By GINGER THOMPSON/New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/world/americas/us-drug-agents-launder-profits-of-mexican-cartels.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

WASHINGTON — Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.

The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.

They said agents had deposited the drug proceeds in accounts designated by traffickers, or in shell accounts set up by agents.

The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.

Agency officials declined to publicly discuss details of their work, citing concerns about compromising their investigations. But Michael S. Vigil, a former senior agency official who is currently working for a private contracting company called Mission Essential Personnel, said, “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money.”

Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”

Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious, in which agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed people suspected of being low-level smugglers to buy and transport guns across the border in the hope that they would lead to higher-level operatives working for Mexican cartels. After the agency lost track of hundreds of weapons, some later turned up in Mexico; two were found on the United States side of the border where an American Border Patrol agent had been shot to death.

Former D.E.A. officials rejected comparisons between letting guns and money walk away. Money, they said, poses far less of a threat to public safety. And unlike guns, it can lead more directly to the top ranks of criminal organizations.

“These are not the people whose faces are known on the street,” said Robert Mazur, a former D.E.A. agent and the author of a book about his years as an undercover agent inside the Medellín cartel in Colombia. “They are super-insulated. And the only way to get to them is to follow their money.”

Another former drug agency official offered this explanation for the laundering operations: “Building up the evidence to connect the cash to drugs, and connect the first cash pickup to a cartel’s command and control, is a very time consuming process. These people aren’t running a drugstore in downtown L.A. that we can go and lock the doors and place a seizure sticker on the window. These are sophisticated, international operations that practice very tight security. And as far as the Mexican cartels go, they operate in a corrupt country, from cities that the cops can’t even go into.”

The laundering operations that the United States conducts elsewhere — about 50 so-called Attorney General Exempt Operations are under way around the world — had been forbidden in Mexico after American customs agents conducted a cross-border sting without notifying Mexican authorities in 1998, which was how most American undercover work was conducted there up to that point.

But that changed in recent years after President Felipe Calderón declared war against the country’s drug cartels and enlisted the United States to play a leading role in fighting them because of concerns that his security forces had little experience and long histories of corruption.

Today, in operations supervised by the Justice Department and orchestrated to get around sovereignty restrictions, the United States is running numerous undercover laundering investigations against Mexico’s most powerful cartels. One D.E.A. official said it was not unusual for American agents to pick up two or three loads of Mexican drug money each week. A second official said that as Mexican cartels extended their operations from Latin America to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the reach of the operations had grown as well. When asked how much money had been laundered as a part of the operations, the official would only say, “A lot.”

“If you’re going to get into the business of laundering money,” the official added, “then you have to be able to launder money.”

Former counternarcotics officials, who also would speak only on the condition of anonymity about clandestine operations, offered a clearer glimpse of their scale and how they worked. In some cases, the officials said, Mexican agents, posing as smugglers and accompanied by American authorities, pick up traffickers’ cash in Mexico. American agents transport the cash on government flights to the United States, where it is deposited into traffickers’ accounts, and then wired to companies that provide goods and services to the cartel.

In other cases, D.E.A. agents, posing as launderers, pick up drug proceeds in the United States, deposit them in banks in this country and then wire them to the traffickers in Mexico.

The former officials said that the drug agency tried to seize as much money as it laundered — partly in the fees the operatives charged traffickers for their services and another part in carefully choreographed arrests at pickup points identified by their undercover operatives.

And the former officials said that federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation. But they said that the cap was treated more as a guideline than a rule, and that it had been waived on many occasions to attract the interest of high-value targets.

“They tell you they’re bringing you $250,000, and they bring you a million,” one former agent said of the traffickers. “What’s the agent supposed to do then, tell them no, he can’t do it? They’ll kill him.”

It is not clear whether such operations are worth the risks. So far there are few signs that following the money has disrupted the cartels’ operations, and little evidence that Mexican drug traffickers are feeling any serious financial pain. Last year, the D.E.A. seized about $1 billion in cash and drug assets, while Mexico seized an estimated $26 million in money laundering investigations, a tiny fraction of the estimated $18 billion to $39 billion in drug money that flows between the countries each year.

Mexico has tightened restrictions on large cash purchases and on bank deposits in dollars in the past five years. But a proposed overhaul of the Mexican attorney general’s office has stalled, its architects said, as have proposed laws that would crack down on money laundered through big corporations and retail chains.

“Mexico still thinks the best way to seize dirty money is to arrest a trafficker, then turn him upside down to see how much change falls out of his pockets,” said Sergio Ferragut, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico and the author of a book on money laundering, which he said was “still a sensitive subject for Mexican authorities.”

Mr. Calderón boasts that his government’s efforts — deploying the military across the country — have fractured many of the country’s powerful cartels and led to the arrests of about two dozen high-level and midlevel traffickers.

But there has been no significant dip in the volume of drugs moving across the country. Reports of human rights violations by police officers and soldiers have soared. And drug-related violence has left more than 40,000 people dead since Mr. Calderón took office in December 2006.

The death toll is greater than in any period since Mexico’s revolution a century ago, and the policy of close cooperation with Washington may not survive.

“We need to concentrate all our efforts on combating violence and crime that affects people, instead of concentrating on the drug issue,” said a former foreign minister, Jorge G. Castañeda, at a conference hosted last month by the Cato Institute in Washington. “It makes absolutely no sense for us to put up 50,000 body bags to stop drugs from entering the United States.”

By GINGER THOMPSON/New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/world/americas/us-drug-agents-launder-profits-of-mexican-cartels.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2



WASHINGTON — Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.

The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.

They said agents had deposited the drug proceeds in accounts designated by traffickers, or in shell accounts set up by agents.

The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.

Agency officials declined to publicly discuss details of their work, citing concerns about compromising their investigations. But Michael S. Vigil, a former senior agency official who is currently working for a private contracting company called Mission Essential Personnel, said, “We tried to make sure there was always close supervision of these operations so that we were accomplishing our objectives, and agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money.”

Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”

Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious, in which agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed people suspected of being low-level smugglers to buy and transport guns across the border in the hope that they would lead to higher-level operatives working for Mexican cartels. After the agency lost track of hundreds of weapons, some later turned up in Mexico; two were found on the United States side of the border where an American Border Patrol agent had been shot to death.

Former D.E.A. officials rejected comparisons between letting guns and money walk away. Money, they said, poses far less of a threat to public safety. And unlike guns, it can lead more directly to the top ranks of criminal organizations.

“These are not the people whose faces are known on the street,” said Robert Mazur, a former D.E.A. agent and the author of a book about his years as an undercover agent inside the Medellín cartel in Colombia. “They are super-insulated. And the only way to get to them is to follow their money.”

Another former drug agency official offered this explanation for the laundering operations: “Building up the evidence to connect the cash to drugs, and connect the first cash pickup to a cartel’s command and control, is a very time consuming process. These people aren’t running a drugstore in downtown L.A. that we can go and lock the doors and place a seizure sticker on the window. These are sophisticated, international operations that practice very tight security. And as far as the Mexican cartels go, they operate in a corrupt country, from cities that the cops can’t even go into.”

The laundering operations that the United States conducts elsewhere — about 50 so-called Attorney General Exempt Operations are under way around the world — had been forbidden in Mexico after American customs agents conducted a cross-border sting without notifying Mexican authorities in 1998, which was how most American undercover work was conducted there up to that point.

But that changed in recent years after President Felipe Calderón declared war against the country’s drug cartels and enlisted the United States to play a leading role in fighting them because of concerns that his security forces had little experience and long histories of corruption.

Today, in operations supervised by the Justice Department and orchestrated to get around sovereignty restrictions, the United States is running numerous undercover laundering investigations against Mexico’s most powerful cartels. One D.E.A. official said it was not unusual for American agents to pick up two or three loads of Mexican drug money each week. A second official said that as Mexican cartels extended their operations from Latin America to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the reach of the operations had grown as well. When asked how much money had been laundered as a part of the operations, the official would only say, “A lot.”

“If you’re going to get into the business of laundering money,” the official added, “then you have to be able to launder money.”

Former counternarcotics officials, who also would speak only on the condition of anonymity about clandestine operations, offered a clearer glimpse of their scale and how they worked. In some cases, the officials said, Mexican agents, posing as smugglers and accompanied by American authorities, pick up traffickers’ cash in Mexico. American agents transport the cash on government flights to the United States, where it is deposited into traffickers’ accounts, and then wired to companies that provide goods and services to the cartel.

In other cases, D.E.A. agents, posing as launderers, pick up drug proceeds in the United States, deposit them in banks in this country and then wire them to the traffickers in Mexico.

The former officials said that the drug agency tried to seize as much money as it laundered — partly in the fees the operatives charged traffickers for their services and another part in carefully choreographed arrests at pickup points identified by their undercover operatives.

And the former officials said that federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation. But they said that the cap was treated more as a guideline than a rule, and that it had been waived on many occasions to attract the interest of high-value targets.

“They tell you they’re bringing you $250,000, and they bring you a million,” one former agent said of the traffickers. “What’s the agent supposed to do then, tell them no, he can’t do it? They’ll kill him.”

It is not clear whether such operations are worth the risks. So far there are few signs that following the money has disrupted the cartels’ operations, and little evidence that Mexican drug traffickers are feeling any serious financial pain. Last year, the D.E.A. seized about $1 billion in cash and drug assets, while Mexico seized an estimated $26 million in money laundering investigations, a tiny fraction of the estimated $18 billion to $39 billion in drug money that flows between the countries each year.

Mexico has tightened restrictions on large cash purchases and on bank deposits in dollars in the past five years. But a proposed overhaul of the Mexican attorney general’s office has stalled, its architects said, as have proposed laws that would crack down on money laundered through big corporations and retail chains.

“Mexico still thinks the best way to seize dirty money is to arrest a trafficker, then turn him upside down to see how much change falls out of his pockets,” said Sergio Ferragut, a professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico and the author of a book on money laundering, which he said was “still a sensitive subject for Mexican authorities.”

Mr. Calderón boasts that his government’s efforts — deploying the military across the country — have fractured many of the country’s powerful cartels and led to the arrests of about two dozen high-level and midlevel traffickers.

But there has been no significant dip in the volume of drugs moving across the country. Reports of human rights violations by police officers and soldiers have soared. And drug-related violence has left more than 40,000 people dead since Mr. Calderón took office in December 2006.

The death toll is greater than in any period since Mexico’s revolution a century ago, and the policy of close cooperation with Washington may not survive.

“We need to concentrate all our efforts on combating violence and crime that affects people, instead of concentrating on the drug issue,” said a former foreign minister, Jorge G. Castañeda, at a conference hosted last month by the Cato Institute in Washington. “It makes absolutely no sense for us to put up 50,000 body bags to stop drugs from entering the United States.”

Televisa was the victim of an illegal operation

Mexico’s Narco Televisa Scandal

The Impunity of the Elite

(extracts)

“It has become known as the case of the fake journalists, read the lead in a recent wire report about the case distributed to American newspapers.

Thousands of posts on Twitter discuss what happened to 18 Mexicans busted in Nicaragua driving a half-dozen satellite TV vans from Televisa.

They are at #Narco-Televisa. On the other hand, at #fake journalists, there is just one. It reads: “I love #fake journalists… You don’t know how to write and wouldn’t know a real story if it bit you in the ass.”

Televisa and Pena Nieto together were also enmeshed in a scandal together. The Guardian published documents showing Televisa committing dirty tricks against other candidates to help Pena Nieto win the Mexico presidency, and—in a blatant pay for play scheme which listed fees for various services on offer—raising Peña Nieto’s national profile while he was governor of the state of Mexico.

And Wikileaks released cables from the American Embassy in Mexico recently illustrating US concerns that the Mexican presidential election frontrunner had been paying for favorable TV coverage.

So why is a US reporter stationed in Mexico City, where all this is well-known, calling it—while providing no evidence to back the claim—the “fake journalists” scandal?

On August 20, border guards in Nicaragua detain 18 Mexicans—17 men and one woman. They are all wearing Televisa t-shirts, and they are traveling in six satellite TV vans emblazoned with the Televisa logo. They carry press credentials from the network.

Customs officials received a tip from a Nicaraguan official who spent the previous evening in Tegucigalpa Honduras in the same hotel as the Mexicans. He became suspicious after hearing loose talk.

The leader of the group, 39-year-old Raquel Alatorre Correa, will be described in newspapers in Mexico City as a “brunette with voluptuous breasts, a wasp waist and an arrogant attitude.”

She is adorned with a Cartier watch, a Bvlgari Italian ring, a triangle-shaped diamond ring, several gold chains, an IPod, a Blackberry, and a two-way radio.

She is, in short, heavily-accessorized. And so is her mansion in Merida.

Later, when authorities in Mexico raid her homes and ranches (she has 12) in the Yucatan, they find her main residence has an electrified fence, two gates, security cameras, and special outdoor lighting.

She tells border officials—who find her high-handed and petulant—that she and her fellow journalists are in Nicaragua to do a story. When asked exactly where in Nicaragua they are headed, she says “I won’t tell you.”

A search of the satellite-TV vans is a foregone conclusion. What turns up is a surprise:

$9.2 million in cash, stuffed into built-in hidden compartments, as well as traces of cocaine. Prosecutors charge the group with money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Questioned about the arrest of one of their TV crews, Televisa emphatically and categorically denies any link to either the Mexican suspects or the six satellite TV vans.

For good measure, and perhaps to show the earnestness of their intentions, the giant network threatens to sue the 18 incarcerated Mexicans—who are already looking at doing 30 years in a squalid Nicaraguan prison—for appropriating the company’s good name.

Next Mexico’s Attorney General Marisela Morales steps into the fray, to say the suspects have falsely used Televisa’s name as a cover for criminal pursuits.

“Using the prestige or name of persons or companies without their knowledge,” she explains breezily, «is part of the way in which criminal organizations operate in Mexico and other countries.”

Despite her assurances, there is a problem: In Mexico City, journalists discover all six vans are registered to Televisa.

Her office is later forced to admit, to much derision, that her remarks weren’t based on the results of an independent investigation, but on assurances from Televisa.

In the columns of unfriendly journalists, reporter Carmen Aristegui stands accused of being a “manipulative freak” who is “sickly obsessed.” She has a “communication strategy Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would have loved.”

She is said to share (with Proceso magazine) a “fixation.” To suffer from a “Fatal Obsession.”  To engage in “pure unsubstantiated sensationalism,” and to “repeat a lie a certain number of times hoping it will become the truth.”

Her reporting on the “Cocaine Caravan” scandal is “an incredible waste of resources, both financial and human.”

“Yet Aristegui persists in disguising her obsession with famous phrases like ‘the public interest’ and ‘questions that deserve answers.’”

Cooler heads observe that Carmen Aristegui has won Mexico’s National Journalism Award on four occasions, as well as the Cabot Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
In a recent radio interview, she says, plaintively and poignantly, “I want to live!”

Nicaraguan authorities seem underwhelmed with the response to requests for information they have received from both Televisa and Mexican law enforcement.  “The claim that Televisa was the victim of an illegal operation,» says the Attorney General of Nicaragua, “must be supported by evidence.”

The prosecutor in the case pointedly states that he has not yet been satisfied that Televisa is not involved.
According to prosecutors, the narcos, or the narco-journalists, from Televisa have been running, for the past five years, a drug trafficking and money laundering pipeline running the length of Central America.

As weeks pass, there are a series of revelations. The six vans, it turns out, were registered to Televisa.
Televisa’s response was to insist that motor vehicle personnel had been bribed. Notorized documents make this seem unlikely. Then, too, there are letters on Televisa letterhead signed by the vice president of the news division, asking border officials to expedite the vans entrance into their country.

Mexico’s Narco Televisa Scandal

The Impunity of the Elite


(extracts)

“It has become known as the case of the fake journalists, read the lead in a recent wire report about the case distributed to American newspapers.

Thousands of posts on Twitter discuss what happened to 18 Mexicans busted in Nicaragua driving a half-dozen satellite TV vans from Televisa.

They are at #Narco-Televisa. On the other hand, at #fake journalists, there is just one. It reads: “I love #fake journalists… You don't know how to write and wouldn't know a real story if it bit you in the ass.”

Televisa and Pena Nieto together were also enmeshed in a scandal together. The Guardian published documents showing Televisa committing dirty tricks against other candidates to help Pena Nieto win the Mexico presidency, and—in a blatant pay for play scheme which listed fees for various services on offer—raising Peña Nieto's national profile while he was governor of the state of Mexico.

And Wikileaks released cables from the American Embassy in Mexico recently illustrating US concerns that the Mexican presidential election frontrunner had been paying for favorable TV coverage.

So why is a US reporter stationed in Mexico City, where all this is well-known, calling it—while providing no evidence to back the claim—the “fake journalists” scandal?

On August 20, border guards in Nicaragua detain 18 Mexicans—17 men and one woman. They are all wearing Televisa t-shirts, and they are traveling in six satellite TV vans emblazoned with the Televisa logo. They carry press credentials from the network.

Customs officials received a tip from a Nicaraguan official who spent the previous evening in Tegucigalpa Honduras in the same hotel as the Mexicans. He became suspicious after hearing loose talk.

The leader of the group, 39-year-old Raquel Alatorre Correa, will be described in newspapers in Mexico City as a “brunette with voluptuous breasts, a wasp waist and an arrogant attitude.”

She is adorned with a Cartier watch, a Bvlgari Italian ring, a triangle-shaped diamond ring, several gold chains, an IPod, a Blackberry, and a two-way radio.

She is, in short, heavily-accessorized. And so is her mansion in Merida.

Later, when authorities in Mexico raid her homes and ranches (she has 12) in the Yucatan, they find her main residence has an electrified fence, two gates, security cameras, and special outdoor lighting.

She tells border officials—who find her high-handed and petulant—that she and her fellow journalists are in Nicaragua to do a story. When asked exactly where in Nicaragua they are headed, she says “I won’t tell you.”

A search of the satellite-TV vans is a foregone conclusion. What turns up is a surprise:

$9.2 million in cash, stuffed into built-in hidden compartments, as well as traces of cocaine. Prosecutors charge the group with money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime.

Questioned about the arrest of one of their TV crews, Televisa emphatically and categorically denies any link to either the Mexican suspects or the six satellite TV vans.

For good measure, and perhaps to show the earnestness of their intentions, the giant network threatens to sue the 18 incarcerated Mexicans—who are already looking at doing 30 years in a squalid Nicaraguan prison—for appropriating the company’s good name.

Next Mexico's Attorney General Marisela Morales steps into the fray, to say the suspects have falsely used Televisa’s name as a cover for criminal pursuits.

“Using the prestige or name of persons or companies without their knowledge,” she explains breezily, "is part of the way in which criminal organizations operate in Mexico and other countries.”

Despite her assurances, there is a problem: In Mexico City, journalists discover all six vans are registered to Televisa.

Her office is later forced to admit, to much derision, that her remarks weren’t based on the results of an independent investigation, but on assurances from Televisa.

In the columns of unfriendly journalists, reporter Carmen Aristegui stands accused of being a “manipulative freak” who is “sickly obsessed.” She has a “communication strategy Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would have loved.”

She is said to share (with Proceso magazine) a “fixation.” To suffer from a “Fatal Obsession.”  To engage in “pure unsubstantiated sensationalism,” and to “repeat a lie a certain number of times hoping it will become the truth.”

Her reporting on the “Cocaine Caravan” scandal is “an incredible waste of resources, both financial and human.”

“Yet Aristegui persists in disguising her obsession with famous phrases like ‘the public interest’ and ‘questions that deserve answers.’”

Cooler heads observe that Carmen Aristegui has won Mexico’s National Journalism Award on four occasions, as well as the Cabot Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
In a recent radio interview, she says, plaintively and poignantly, “I want to live!”

Nicaraguan authorities seem underwhelmed with the response to requests for information they have received from both Televisa and Mexican law enforcement.  “The claim that Televisa was the victim of an illegal operation," says the Attorney General of Nicaragua, “must be supported by evidence.”

The prosecutor in the case pointedly states that he has not yet been satisfied that Televisa is not involved.
According to prosecutors, the narcos, or the narco-journalists, from Televisa have been running, for the past five years, a drug trafficking and money laundering pipeline running the length of Central America.

As weeks pass, there are a series of revelations. The six vans, it turns out, were registered to Televisa.
Televisa's response was to insist that motor vehicle personnel had been bribed. Notorized documents make this seem unlikely. Then, too, there are letters on Televisa letterhead signed by the vice president of the news division, asking border officials to expedite the vans entrance into their country.