[Much of the material for this report was gleaned from Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz's book, Emerging Viruses: Aids & Ebola - Nature, Accident or Intentional? and Gary Webb's series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News, "Dark Alliance." In addition, we have relied heavily on the reviews, commentaries and reports of Peter Kornbluh of the San Jose Mercury News. Also, a good deal of information was culled from John Mark's, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate.]
"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts ... For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth ..."
"I came to understand that all the values that made me admire the American people were being eroded by the covert operations of the CIA and kindred secret bodies ... The survival of this great (nation) ... is now being gravely threatened by the covert criminal actions of the Central Intelligence Agency and its associate services ... Democracy and the rule of law cannot survive side by side with a state agency that engages in covert operations ranging from assassinations to levying mercenary armies to directing lethal biological weapons experiments and public health policies ... The whole concept of a secret government and army within a government is a menace to the democratic system."
The Bible says that in the "end of days," the world will be plagued by new and exotic diseases; it indicates that these outbreaks will accompany the ethnic conflicts of the "end of the age."
"Then said he (i.e., Christ) unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
"And (there shall be) great earthquakes in ... divers places, and famines, and pestilences (i.e., diseases, epidemics, etc.) ..." (Luke 21:10-11)
We call such things (i.e., earthquakes, volcanic actions, hurricanes, etc.) "acts of God." But what if that isn't necessarily the case, at least insofar as disease is concerned? - what if, instead, they result as the consequence of man's actions? What about that? And what if evangelical Christianity can be shown to be allied with the very cabals responsible for these outbreaks? What about that? Let's take a look at three of the most recent plagues: AIDS, Ebola and the scourge of drugs.
Ever since the outbreak of the AIDS and Ebola viruses, rumors have surfaced in both the gay and black communities - the two communities that have suffered the most from these twin scourges - that AIDS and Ebola were "manufactured diseases," the origins of which could be traced to DOD and CIA research being carried out by various American pharmaceutical companies. This belief has been endorsed by prominent African American leaders such as Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam.
Whites, of course, would say, Well, that's just Farrakhan, and anything he says should be discounted. But it's not just Farrakhan.
Indeed, a survey of about 1,000 African American church members in five cities (all of them sincere, "born-again" Christians) found that more than one-third of them believed the AIDS virus was produced in a germ warfare laboratory and has been used to kill off African Americans by white racists bent on wresting the country from "multiculturalists" and taking it back to the days of "Father Knows Best" and "Leave It To Beaver" - a time when white, European, Christian values dominated the cultural landscape. Another third said they were "unsure" whether AIDS was created to kill African Americans. That left only one-third of the black community who disputed the theory.
These findings held firm even among educated blacks, said one of the authors of the survey, Sandra Crouse Quinn, a health educator of the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. DOD (Department of Defense) and the CIA have been livid in their denials, but the Rev. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, cited the "Tuskegee Experiment" as grounds for cynicism in the black community about government denials as to the validity of the rumors - a reference to a syphilis study carried out by the U.S. government (1932 to 1972) in which treatment was withheld from 399 poor African American men with the disease so health officials could study the affliction's pathology - and then lied to the American public about the study's existence.
White evangelicals tend to discount all these rumors. Indeed, there is an unexpressed but nagging feeling among many white evangelicals that the AIDS and Ebola viruses are God's judgment on both communities: the blacks insofar as what they (i.e., white evangelicals) naively and somewhat cruelly see as their (i.e., the blacks') "lazy, do-nothing, welfare mentality;" and the gays insofar as their homosexuality.
The judgment of God? Oh! - really? Well, maybe we should back up a little and take a closer look at the real situation. We may find out that the suspicions of the black and gay communities are not that far off the mark.
The fact of the matter is, by the mid to late 1980s a growing number of scientists began taking these rumors to heart. At first, most who did so came from the Communist World. For example, on March 11, 1988 the Moscow World News Service aired an article lending credence to the belief that AIDS and Ebola were "manufactured diseases." The broadcast was later published in its entirety in International Affairs. The report cited a West German company named OTRAG (which was connected to and financed by the CIA) for having conducted virus experiments in Zaire that had allegedly led to the development of "a mutant virus that would be a human killer." On January 24, 1991 the Havana International News Service made the same claim. The titles of the two articles read respectively, "Belitskiy on How, Where AIDS Virus Originated," and "(East) German Claims AIDS Created by Pentagon."
It wasn't long, however, before doctors and scientists in the West started examining the evidence that the Soviets and the Cubans had amassed, and - as a result - began reaching similar conclusions: for example, John Seale in London, Maneul Servin in Mexico, and Jacobo Segal in Berlin. But with the collapse of Communism and the chaos that followed, nothing much ever came of those accusations, and while these stories continued to generate a great deal of "play" in the black and gay communities, most people didn't pay too much attention - after all, who cared about the gays and the blacks anyway? - or so many whites (behind closed doors) thought.
But a growing number of people who are not members of the gay and black communities, and whose research cannot be tainted by the "pinko" label, are beginning to surface who think that there may be more to the origins of the AIDS and Ebola viruses than has been made public by the American government and the American pharmaceutical companies; for example, Dr. W. John Martin, Professor of Pathology at the University of Southern California and Director of the Center for Complex Infectious Diseases, writes:
"All at once, new viruses and virus-related diseases have threatened the health of humans and many animal species. How did this situation arise? Could it be that scientific studies and the emergence of new pathogens are not totally unrelated events? ... Open debate on this issue has been soundly discouraged (by the government and the many pharmaceutical companies involved in this research). Opponents to open dialogue ... argue that little good, and considerable harm would come from a full disclosure of the facts. Exposing the truth, many believe, would likely: 1) tarnish the reputations of certain scientists, 2) make it more difficult to maintain science funding, 3) promote antigovernment sentiment, and 4) likely leave many issues unresolved.
What Dr. Martin is suggesting here is that - government protestations to the contrary notwithstanding - there indeed may exist a sinister and very malignant connection between much of the scientific research that certain multinational pharmaceutical companies (Merck, Litton Bionetics, Sandoz, etc.) have been engaged in over the last thirty to forty years (largely at the instigation of the U.S. government, specifically DOD and the CIA) and the emergence of certain deadly viruses which had never been heard of before (for example, AIDS, Marburg, Ebola, etc.) - not exactly something to sneeze at coming from someone of the scientific stature of Dr. Martin.
Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz of Harvard University agrees; he writes:
"Despite its social and scientific importance, the origin of HIV and Ebola have been clouded in mysteries. Based on the mass of circumstantial and scientific evidence ... the theory that 'emerging viruses' like HIV and Ebola spontaneously evolved and naturally jumped species from monkey to man must be seriously questioned."
The government, of course, together with the mainline media, have promoted the theory that these viruses had been "latently" resident in other species (probably monkeys) and then - in recent years - they somehow or other began "spontaneously" migrating from one species to another, finally ending up in man. This is the theory that the government and the pharmaceutical companies have promoted.
For example, take the case of AIDS which no one had ever heard of before the very late 1970s and early 1980s. The government's theory traces the AIDS virus back to a certain "Patient Zero" - one Gaeton Dugas - a gay airline steward who allegedly contracted the disease in Africa (supposedly from monkeys) and then spread the disease to other gays in America with whom he was having sex. This is the theory that was initially promoted throughout the country by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). But on closer examination, the theory is nonsense. First of all, "Patient Zero" lived in Canada and flew primarily in Canada to Canadian cities, and only very occasionally to American cities; yet one must assume that he only had sex in American cities (never in Canadian ones) because the disease broke out initially only in certain, specific American cities. The disease did not break out in Canada until much later.
And there is something more: AIDS broke out for the first time in 1978 in Manhattan and then in 1980 in San Francisco - a time frame which corresponds exactly to a government sponsored hepatitis B (HB) study in these cities - a HB study which had been specifically targeted toward gay men (the same kind of viral study the Moscow World News Service said in October of 1988 was carried out in Zaire by OTRAG, and which "had the potential of being a human killer").
Now, as we indicated earlier, it's important to note in this connection that while certain Religious Right activists have subtly tried to imply (and others, sadly, have openly declared) that the disease is God's punishment on the evil life-style of the gay community, only in the U.S. is AIDS a "gay disease." Insofar as the world in general is concerned, over 90 percent of those infected with the AIDS virus are heterosexuals. It's only in this country that AIDS is considered (and is in fact) a "gay disease."
How strange! Why is AIDS a "gay disease" in the United States, but not in Uganda, or Zaire, or Rwanda, or - for that matter - anywhere else in the world? Why only in the United States? No one in the government has ever offered a satisfactory explanation for this - until recently when a few brave researchers began to follow the path suggested by the Soviets in the late 1980s; specifically, the connection between certain HB virus studies in the United States (specifically in New York and San Francisco in the late 1970s and early 1980s) and in Africa (mainly in Zaire) shortly thereafter. The studies were carried out under the auspices of WHO (the World Health Organization) and Merck Pharmaceuticals. What brought these studies to the attention of researchers like Seale, Servin and Segal is that wherever these vaccinations were carried out, shortly thereafter an outbreak of AIDS occurred - and in the same population that the studies had targeted: gays in the United States, and heterosexuals in Africa.
In the United States, AIDS has remained largely a "gay disease" because of the "closed" or "contained" nature of the gay community, while in Africa - where the experiments with the HB vaccines were carried out in the general population - AIDS became a heterosexual phenomenon.
Thus, the correlation between AIDS and the HB vaccine is a strong one. Adding to the evidence insofar as this correlation is concerned, Harold Jaffe, deputy director for AIDS science at the CDC and co-worker Andrew Moss presented data from the San Francisco HB study that found the virus had been present in the blood of only 4.5 percent of the study's subjects in 1978 - shortly after the HB study had begun in San Francisco's gay population; by 1980 it had jumped to 20 percent; and by 1984 it had exploded into the blood of 67 percent of gay men there. Hence, from a time when the AIDS virus had been only just barely detectable in the blood of any gay in the San Francisco area, AIDS had exploded to the point where it had taken root in the blood streams of 67 percent of that population in less than ten years! It's for these reasons and others that the connection between the outbreak of AIDS to the HB study in San Francisco in 1976 seems so irrefutable. The same phenomenon exists in New York! This is precisely the connection that the Soviets had made back in 1988, and the Cubans shortly thereafter; this is the connection that the gay and black communities are trying to get people to take note of - all to no avail.
What was going on here? Without at this time dwelling to any great degree on all the details of this matter (we will be doing that in upcoming issues), suffice it to say that it has been theorized by extremely reputable scientists and researchers (for example, Dr. Horowitz, Dr. Seale, Dr. Servin, Dr. Segal, Dr. Martin, and many, many more) - and circumstantial evidence strongly supports this theory - that black Africans living in Zaire, as well as African Americans and members of the American gay community, may have been the target for viral weapons experimentation by activists in America's military / medical / industrial complex, and agents for the CIA. [We will be discussing all this in greater detail in upcoming articles.]
According to the Church commission hearings [(i.e., Senator Frank Church of Idaho) which investigated the activities of America's intelligence community in the mid-1970s], the U.S. government, working through the DOD and the CIA, ordered the development and stockpiling of biological weapons, including immune-system-destroying viruses functionally identical to HIV (AIDS). The principal military scientists and industrialists involved in these projects, which may have involved Ebola and Marburg-like rhabdoviruses, included Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute; John Landon and Robert Ting of Litton Bionetics; Litton Industries president Roy Ash; research affiliates of MSD (the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Pharmaceutical Company), including Maurice Hilleman; and a handful of researchers at the New York University Medical Center, the New York Blood Bank, the University of California, and the CDC. Additional institutions which may have played a role in the development of such germs during the 1960s and early 1970s include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Navy's Biomedical Research Laboratory, Hazelton Laboratories, Inc., the NIAID (National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases), and the AEC (the Atomic Energy Commission).
The evidence shows a channel through which experimental (mutant) viruses, viral vaccines, other reagents, and drugs flowed between the NCI [the National Cancer Institute (which the Church Committee discovered to its dismay in the mid-1970s was a "cover" for a myriad of intelligence activities insofar as biological warfare was concerned)] and affiliated testing laboratories at Litton Bionetics and Fort Detrick (the Army's biological warfare center) to MSD and its related research laboratories in New York and Central Africa (i.e., OTRAG) was the Drug Development Branch of the NCI. The evidence suggests that through this channel, the CIA may have delivered a single roller bottle containing the AIDS viruses to Merck's hepatitis B vaccines - the very vaccines that appear to have played a principal role in infecting scores of human subjects in the early 1970s in New York City, San Francisco and Zaire. [Again, we hope to get into all this in much greater detail in upcoming issues.]
In other words, the CIA and various pharmaceutical companies needed human guinea pigs - on a large scale - for their various programs: the CIA and the military for their biological weapons studies, and the pharmaceutical companies for their vaccines, many of which involved highly experimental and exceedingly dangerous manmade "retroviruses," which - if they proved successful - meant untold profits to investors. The human guinea pigs were chosen out of populations which were "remote" from the world's mainstream, and for which average people cared little or nothing about. In order to "cover" the true nature of what they were doing - and the great danger that was involved - the experimentation was linked to vaccine programs which provided an altruistic and philanthropic front for what they were really doing; specifically the HB vaccine programs in San Francisco, New York and Zaire. In doing so, they created and simultaneously unleashed a monster: AIDS and Ebola.
It all seems so crazed - like something out of a horror film or the X-Files! - but, despite its insanity and fiendish-lunacy, it's true!! Dr. Horowitz writes:
"... (people) around the world now face a nightmarish danger. Deadly ... (manmade) viruses are now multiplying in our bodies. This, at a time when we seem to have less and less influence over the system of government on which we depend for our health and safety.
"Our reaction is to turn away, and choose ... denial as a means of coping. Such a truth tears at the hearts of especially those who embrace the paternal role of government - those who are comforted by our military, medical, and intelligence communities. Living relatively comfortable lives, unscathed by the unusual cancers and bizarre plagues that have struck so many other families, the pain threshold for the masses is but a date with destiny.
"Not so for the vast majority of Africans, and urban African Americans. This dynamic may partly explain why the vast majority of white people react to the genocidal theory of AIDS with disbelief whereas blacks largely embrace the notion."
The truth of the matter is, the connection between DOD, the CIA and the "manufacturing of diseases" in the gay and black communities is a strong one - and not just insofar as viral and infectious maladies are concerned, but the drug epidemic as well. Indeed, even more than the rumors which swirl around the AIDS and Ebola viruses (and the connection these two scourges have with the CIA and DOD), the rumors which spin and twist around the "creation" of the "drug culture" are even more ominous.
Arguably, LSD was the single most important catalyst which led to the emergence of today's "drug culture" - and there, in the midst of the LSD phantasm and the rise of today's drug culture, was the CIA; the relationship between LSD and the CIA goes a long way back - to the outskirts of Basel, Switzerland on the afternoon of April 16, 1943. There - overlooking the Rhine - lies the worldwide headquarters of the Sandoz drug and chemical empire. It was on that afternoon that the first LSD trip was ever taken by Dr. Albert Hofmann - quite by accident.
At age 37, with close-cropped hair and rimless glasses, Hofmann headed the company's research program to develop marketable drugs out of natural products. He was hard at work in his laboratory that warm April day when a wave of dizziness suddenly overcame him. The strange sensation was not unpleasant, and Hofmann felt almost as though he were drunk. Soon he became quite restless, and his nerves began to run off in different directions. The inebriation was unlike anything he had ever known before.
Leaving work early, Hofmann managed a wobbly bicycle-ride home. He lay down and closed his eyes, still unable to shake the dizziness. Now the light of day was disagreeably bright. With the external world shut out, his mind raced along. He experienced what he would later describe as "an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness accompanied by an intense, kaleidoscope-like play of colors."
These subsided after a few hours, and Hofmann, ever the inquiring scientist, set out to find what caused them. He presumed he had somehow ingested one of the drugs with which he had been working that day, and his prime suspect was d-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, a substance that he himself had first produced in the same lab five years earlier. As part of his search for a circulation stimulant, Hofmann had been examining derivatives of ergot, a fungus that attacks rye.
Ergot had a mysterious, contradictory reputation. In China and some Arab countries, it was thought to have medicinal powers, but in Europe it was associated with a horrible malady of the Middle Ages called St. Anthony's Fire which struck periodically like the plague. The disease turned fingers and toes into blackened stumps and led to madness and death.
Hofmann guessed that he had absorbed some ergot derivative through his skin, perhaps while changing the filter paper in a suction bottle. To test his theory, he spent three days making up a fresh batch of LSD. Cautiously he swallowed 250 micrograms (less than 1/100,000 of an ounce).
Hofmann planned to take more gradually through the day to obtain a result, since no known drug had ever had any effect on the human body in such infinitesimal amounts. He had no way of knowing that because of LSD's potency, he had already taken several times what would later be termed an ordinary dose. Unexpectedly, this first speck of LSD took hold after about 40 minutes, and Hofmann was off on the first actually self-induced "trip" of modern times.
Even after Hofmann and his coworkers in Switzerland published their work on LSD in a 1947 article, no one in the United States seemed to notice. Then in 1949, a famous Viennese doctor named Otto Kauders traveled to the United States in search of research funds. He gave a conference at Boston Psychopathic Hospital, a pioneering mental-health institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and he spoke about a new experimental drug called d-lysergic acid diethylamide.
Milton Greenblatt, the hospital's research director, vividly recalls Kauders' description of how an infinitesimally small dose had rendered Dr. Hofmann temporarily "crazy." "We were very interested in anything that could make someone schizophrenic," says Greenblatt. If the drug really did induce psychosis for a short time, the Boston doctors reasoned, an antidote - which they hoped to find - might cure schizophrenia. It would take many years of research to show that LSD did not, in fact, produce a "model psychosis," but to the Boston doctors in 1949, the drug showed incredible promise.
Max Rinkel, a neuropsychiatrist and a refugee from Hitler's Germany, was so intrigued by Kauders' presentation that he quickly contacted Sandoz. Sandoz officials arranged to ship some LSD across the Atlantic.
The first American "trip" followed. The subject was Robert Hyde, a Vermont-born psychiatrist who was Boston Psychopathic's number-two man. A bold, innovative sort, Hyde took it for granted that there would be no testing program until he tried the drug - which he did with the same results that Hofmann had had several years before.
Soon thereafter, the CIA got wind of what Hyde and his co-workers were up to and with Sandoz's help, cornered the market on LSD - LITERALLY! They did so using Eli Lilly and Company (which was under contract to the CIA) after the Sandoz patent on LSD expired in 1953. They hoped to use LSD as a mind-control agent (please see our articles on MK-ULTRA).
And exactly what did that mean in practical terms? It meant that all the early "goings-on" concerning LSD in the United States can be laid at the doorsteps of the CIA, from the work (so-called) of scientists and doctors like Harold Abramson and Gregory Bateson to the acid trips of Bohemians and "beatniks" like Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary; and from there to the outbreak of LSD on the campuses of this country's universities and colleges. All of it!
Evangelicals are making a big mistake in believing that the outbreak of acid on the nation's campuses in the early 1960s can be explained away simply as a result of the "hippie culture" of that era. They have it backwards. It wasn't the "hippie culture" that created acid; it was rather the government that produced it, which in turn generated the "drug culture, which led finally to the rise of the so-called "hippiedom." That's what really happened. The fact is, the LSD that Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary used to introduce a generation of students to drugs was produced in the laboratories of the Eli Lilly Company under contract to the CIA.
In 1969 the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs published a fascinating little history on LSD ostensibly designed to curb its illegal use. The authors wrote that the drug's -
"... early use was among small groups of intellectuals at large Eastern and West Coast universities (Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc.). It spread to undergraduate students, then to other campuses. Most often, users have been introduced to the drug by persons of higher status. Teachers have influenced students; upperclassmen have influenced lowerclassmen."
Calling this a "trickle-down phenomenon," the authors seem to have correctly analyzed how LSD got around the country. Take the case of Harold Abramson; Abramson apparently got a great kick out of getting his learned friends high on LSD. He first turned on Frank Fremont-Smith, head of the Macy Foundation which passed CIA money to Abramson. In this cozy little world where everyone knew everybody, Fremont-Smith organized the "scientific" conferences (under the sponsorship of the Macy Foundation) that spread the word about LSD to the academic hinterlands. Harold Abramson gave Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead's former husband, his first LSD, and in 1959 Bateson, in turn, helped arrange for his poet friend Allen Ginsberg to take the drug at a research program on the Stanford campus.
No stranger to the hallucinogenic effects of peyote, Ginsberg reacted badly to what he described as "the little doctor's closed room full of instruments," where he took the drug. Although he was allowed to listen to records of his choice (he chose a Gertrude Stein reading, a Tibetan mandala, and Wagner), Ginsberg felt he "was being connected to Big Brother's brain." Ginsberg said that the experience resulted in "a slight paranoia that hung on all my acid experiences through the mid-1960s until I learned from meditation how to disperse that."
Bateson then turned Ken Kasey on to LSD. Kasey, who later wrote, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest went on to become the counterculture's second most famous LSD visionary, spreading the creed throughout the land, as Tom Wolfe would chronicle in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid test.
Clearly, the CIA had opened a door through which a monster had escaped into the American culture.
John Marks, author of the expose on the CIA's MK-ULTA mind-control program, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, writes:
"No one could enter the world of psychedelics (and eventually the drug culture) without first passing, unawares, through doors opened by the CIA."
This, of course, is not the story one hears from the pulpits of D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, who put the blame on "lax morals;" but it's closer to the truth.
Evangelicals like to postulate that lax morals led to broken homes, which in turn led to the "drug culture." And if that's so, it's but a short jump from there to say that - because the pathology of "family breakdown" is so much further advanced in the black community - then blacks are, therefore, that much more sinful than their counterparts in the white community. And that's exactly what many whites think (please see our article on The Bell Curve).
But, again, the real truth is not at all what LeHaye, Robertson and Falwell are preaching from the safety of their suburban neighborhoods. The real truth is that government duplicity led to the introduction of drugs to America's population, which inevitably led to the creation of the "drug culture," which then led to broken homes and the chaos which today plagues America. And because poor neighborhoods are much easier targets than are middle-class neighborhoods to the lure of drugs (and the "easy money" associated with drugs), and because black neighborhoods are - on the whole - much poorer than white neighborhoods, black neighborhoods have been hit that much harder than white neighborhoods by the plague of drugs
To say anything else - for example, to say (either explicitly or implicitly) that blacks (or the black culture) - are any more prone to sin than are whites (or the white culture) is to defy the plain teaching of the Scriptures. But while many white evangelicals would admit to this truth on an objective basis, on a subjective level - and in the secrecy of their own living rooms - they think otherwise. Nevertheless, the Bible says:
"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth (white's as well as black's) may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God ...
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom. 3:19, 23)
And if that's the case - that all have sinned (and all are equally prone to sin) - than one must account for the prominence of the drug culture in the black community on grounds other than the mindless stupidity that Tim LeHaye, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, etc. are promulgating from their pulpits. And this is important! - because if we continue to listen to the mindless moralizing that emanates from the pulpits of people like these, than eventually we will make the jump to believing that blacks are more prone to sin than whites because the pathology of the "drug culture" (and AIDS, etc.) is so far more advanced in these communities than it is in white communities. It's as inevitable as the sun coming up in the east and setting in the west. And if that occurs, than fascism is close at hand!
But there's more proof to this effect! Much more! It wasn't just psychedelics that the CIA was involved in - it was also the world of hard drugs! LSD opened the door to the use of hard drugs, and once it was opened, there was the CIA pushing hard drugs through the opening.
In August 1996, when the San Jose Mercury News initiated an extended series of articles linking the CIA's "contra army" (the army Pat Robertson, Tim LeHaye, D. James Kennedy and countless other white evangelicals did so much to support in the 1980s, please see our article on this subject) to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles. [The "contras" are the same people that Oliver North passed off to the evangelical Christian community as dedicated, "tongue speaking," "soldiers of God" bent on bringing the rule of God to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica.]
Based on a year-long investigation, reporter Gary Webb wrote that during the 1980s the CIA helped finance its covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government through sales of cut-rate cocaine to South Central L.A. drug dealer, Ricky Ross. The series unleashed a storm of protest, spearheaded by black radio stations and the congressional Black Caucus, with demands for official inquiries. The long three-part series covered the lives and connections of three career criminals: "Freeway" Ricky Ross, perhaps L.A.'s most renowned crack dealer in the 1980s; Oscar Danilo Blandón Reyes, a right-wing Nicaraguan expatriate, described by one U.S. assistant district attorney as "the biggest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States"; and Juan Norvin (Norwin in some documents) Meneses Cantarero, a friend of the fallen dictator Anastasio Somoza, who allegedly brought Blandón into the drug business to support the contras and supplied him, for an uncertain amount of time, with significant quantities of cocaine. The first installment of the series, headlined "CRACK PLAGUE'S ROOTS ARE IN NICARAGUAN WAR," opened with two dramatic statements:
"For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency."
The second paragraph, which captured even more public attention, read:
"This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the 'crack' capital of the world."
The rest of the article fleshed out those assertions and explained "how a cocaine-for-weapons trade supported U.S. policy and undermined black America."
The second installment, entitled "ODD TRIO CREATED MASS MARKET FOR 'CRACK'," provided far more detail on the alliance between Ross, Blandón, and Meneses and their role in the crack explosion.
Part three, "WAR ON DRUGS' UNEQUAL IMPACT ON U.S. BLACKS," focused on an issue that outrages many in the African-American community: sentencing discrepancies between blacks and whites for cocaine trafficking, as illustrated by the cases of Blandón and Ross. Ross (a black) received a life sentence without the possibility of parole; Blandón (a white) received hardly any time at all and became a highly paid government informant. [The Justice Department freed Blandón after only 28 months behind bars and then hired him as a full-time DEA informant, paying him more than $166,000.]
The series provided a groundbreaking and dramatic story of two right-wing Nicaraguans with clear connections to the FDN "freedom fighters" (i.e., the "contras") who became major drug dealers, inexplicably escaped prosecution, and made a significant contribution to the thousands of kilos of coke that flowed into the inner cities of California. "They pay cash," a wiretapped audio records Blandón as telling an associate who complained he didn't "like niggers." Blandón continues: "I don't deal with anybody else. They buy all the time. They buy all the time." Blandón's grand jury and trial testimony along with a 1986 sheriff's department search warrant and affidavit, and a 1992 Probation and Parole Department report, documented that an undetermined amount of drug funds was going into the contra coffers, possibly as late as 1986. [And to say that people like Oliver North, the darling of many in the Religious Right, knew nothing about all this is tantamount to believing in the existence of tooth fairies.]
While much of the CIA-contra-drug story had been revealed years before in the press and in congressional hearings, the Mercury News series added a crucial missing link: it followed the cocaine trail to Ross and black L.A. gangs who became street-level distributors of crack, a cheap and powerful form of cocaine. The CIA's drug network, wrote Webb, "opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the `crack' capital of the world. "Black gangs used their profits to buy automatic weapons, sometimes from one of the CIA-linked drug dealers. All this seemed to confirm the worst rumors that had been circulating for years in the black community.
Naturally enough, CIA Director John Deutch quickly declared that he found "no connection whatsoever" between the CIA and cocaine traffickers. And the major media - the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post - ran long pieces refuting the Mercury News series. They denied that Bay Area-based Nicaraguan drug dealers, Juan Norwin Meneses and Oscar Danilo Blandon (the CIA connections to the drug traffickers), worked for the CIA or contributed "millions in drug profits" to the contras, as Webb contended. They also noted that neither Ross nor the gangs were the first or sole distributors of crack in L.A. Webb, however, did not claim this. He wrote that the huge influx of cocaine happened to come at just the time that street-level drug dealers were figuring out how to make cocaine affordable by changing it into crack.
Many in the media also postulated that any drug-trafficking the contras were involved in was carried out by "rogue" elements not supported by the CIA. But these denials overlook much of the Mercury News' evidence of CIA complicity. For example:
CIA-supplied contra planes and pilots carried cocaine from Central America to U.S. airports and military bases. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Celerino Castillo reported to his superiors that cocaine was being stored at the CIA's supply warehouse at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador for shipment to the U.S. [The airport at Mena, Arkansas was one of the "entry points" for the flow of these drugs into the United States. Evangelicals have made much of the connection between Mena and Bill Clinton - especially Jerry Falwell's "Clinton Chronicles," concluding that Clinton was involved up to his neck in the transshipment of these drugs through Mena to LA. But if that's true (and it very well may be true), what Falwell and the "Clinton Chronicles" fail to point out is that all Clinton was doing was covering for the CIA - a CIA which was acting at the behest of the Reagan Administration. The connection here is not that difficult to make; one wonders why the "Clinton Chronicles" refuse to make it; could it be a question of "selective blindness?" Is it that difficult to understand that in going after Clinton insofar as Mena is concerned, evangelicals are making a target of their own darling, Ronald Reagan? It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. The blindness of the evangelical leadership here is breath-taking!]
The DEA did nothing about all this, and Castillo, the DEA agent who had blown the whistle on the CIA connection to the drug trade in LA, was gradually forced out of the agency. When Danilo Blandón, the CIA "go-between," was finally arrested in 1986, he admitted to drug crimes that would have sent others away for life; but not Blandon. When Blandón testified in a 1996 trial against Ricky Ross (the "go-between" between Blandon and Meneses on the one hand, and the black street gangs in LA on the other hand) the Justice Department blocked any inquiry about Blandón's connection to the CIA.
Moreover, although Norwin Meneses is listed in DEA computers as a major international drug smuggler implicated in 45 separate federal investigations since 1974, he lived conspicuously in California until 1989 and was never arrested in the U.S. Senate investigators and agents from four organizations all complained that their contra-drug investigations "were hampered," Webb wrote, "by the CIA or unnamed `national security' interests." In the 1984 "Frogman Case," for instance, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco returned $36,800 seized from a Nicaraguan drug dealer after two contra leaders [the Calero brothers - the same brothers (and/or their associates) who were "wined and dined" by more than 200 evangelical churches throughout the country (including Glen Cole's Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, Jerry Falwell's church in Lynchberg, Virginia, D. James Kennedy's church in Coral Gables, Florida, etc. as well as TBN and CBN) as "dedicated Christians" bent on bringing in the Kingdom of God to Nicaragua and Central America] sent letters to the court arguing that the cash was intended for the contras.
What? - do Falwell, Robertson, Kennedy, LeHaye, etc. think it's "ok" to use drug money to "bring in the Kingdom of God?" And to say that these Christian leaders didn't know what was going on is just silly - about as silly as German civilians saying that they didn't know what was happening to the Jews during the Second World War. What did they think was happening? If they didn't know, it's because they purposefully chose not to know - and the same thing is true with Robertson et al. But, then what does one expect from people who think it's "ok" to take money from the Moonies? - the same people who blasphemly claim that Jesus had sex with the women who followed Him. (That's what Tim LeHaye thinks - i.e., that's it's "ok" to take money from them.)
It's such patently absurd farce to think that Robertson, LeHaye, Kennedy, Falwell, et al did not know what they were mixed up with. The Mercury News articles were not the first exposes on the subject. More than a decade earlier (1985-'86), allegations had surfaced that the contra forces were consorting with drug smugglers with the full knowledge of U.S. officials. This information was "public knowledge;" it was there for those who wanted to find it; the trouble was, evangelicals didn't want to find it.
The Associated Press broke the first such story on December 20, 1985. The AP's Robert Parry and Brian Barger reported that three contra groups "have engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua." Dramatic as it was, that story almost didn't run because of pressure by Reagan administration officials (see "Narco-Terrorism: A Tale of Two Stories" CJR, September/October, 1986). Indeed, the White House waged a concerted behind-the-scenes campaign to besmirch the professionalism of Parry and Barger and to discredit all reporting on the contras and drugs. They were joined in this effort by Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network which ran innumerable stories refuting the contra-drug connection in '85 and '86.
Whether this campaign of "news suppression" was the cause or not, coverage was minimal. While regional papers like the San Francisco Examiner - which ran a June 23, 1986 front-page exposé on Norvin Meneses - broke significant ground on contra-drug connections, the larger papers and networks devoted few resources to the issue. But then, as we suggested earlier, what else does one expect from the "established media" - a media that has been bought "lock, stock, and barrel" by Corporate America in the interest of "client state suppression" (please see our articles, "The American Empire," "The American System of Client States," and "The Mass Media").
Even when a special Senate subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations, chaired by Senator John Kerry, released its long-awaited report, "Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy," (please see our article on this) big-media coverage constituted little more than a collective yawn. The 1,166-page report - it covered not only the covert operations against Nicaragua, but also relations with Panama, Haiti, the Bahamas, and other countries involved in the drug trade - was the first to document U.S. knowledge of, and tolerance for, drug smuggling under the guise of national security. "In the name of supporting the contras," the Kerry Committee concluded in a sad but stunning indictment, officials (including leaders of the American evangelical community - editor) "abandoned the responsibility our government has for protecting our citizens from all threats to their security and well-being."
Yet, as we indicated previously, when the report was released on April 13, 1989, coverage was buried in the back pages of the major newspapers and all but ignored by the three major networks. The Washington Post ran a short article on page A20 that focused as much on the infighting within the committee as on its findings; the New York Times ran a short piece on A8; the Los Angeles Times ran a 589-word story on A11. (All of this was in sharp contrast to those newspapers' lengthy rebuttals to the Mercury News series seven years later - collectively totaling over 30,000 words.) ABC's Nightline chose not to cover the release of the report at all. Consequently, the Kerry Committee report was relegated to oblivion; and opportunities were lost to pursue leads, address the obstruction from the CIA and the Justice Department that Senate investigators say they encountered, and both inform the public and lay the issue to rest. The story, concedes Doyle McManus, the Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, "did not get the coverage that it deserved."
The Mercury News series, however, "touched a raw nerve in the way our stories (December, 1985) hadn't," observes Robert Parry. One reason is that Parry and Barger's stories had focused on the more antiseptic smuggling side of drug trafficking in far-off Central America. Webb's tale brought the story home, focusing on what he identified as the distribution network and its target: the inner cities of California. Particularly among African-American communities, devastated by the scourge of crack and desperate for information and answers, Webb's reporting found ready constituencies.
From Farrakhan followers to the most moderate of black commentators, the story reverberated. "If this is true, then millions of black lives have been ruined and America's jails and prisons are now clogged with young African-Americans because of a cynical plot by a CIA that historically has operated in contempt of the law," wrote Carl T. Rowan, the syndicated columnist.
Political pressure, organized at the grassroots level around the country and channeled through the Black Caucus in Washington, pushed both the CIA and the Justice Department to the wall. They had been caught by the Mercury News "with their pants down" (to put it pithily) and were now in full retreat. In November, John Deutch, then the director of the CIA - under mounting elite pressure to smooth things over - traveled to Watts to address a town meeting of concerned citizens, an unprecedented event. Deutch was responding to an invitation from Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-California, 37th District) to answer, in person, questions from residents of South Central and other areas of Los Angeles about the "Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury News. Never before had a director of Central Intelligence left the CIA's heavily guarded headquarters in Langley, Va., to face charges that the U.S. government had conspired to use the crack trade to deliberately harm the African-American community. "CIA" now meant "Crack in America," or as Rep. Cynthia McKinney stated on the floor of Congress, "Central Intoxication Agency." Joe Madison, a Washington talk-show host, who along with activist Dick Gregory was arrested in front of the CIA in mid-September in an act of civil disobedience was heard to remark, "Now we have proof."
Charles Overbeck, writing for Matrix, reported that Deutch quickly found out first hand how angry black Americans were about allegations of Central Intelligence Agency involvement in drug smuggling. He writes:
"On the evening of Friday, November 15, Deutch stared down an angry crowd of 300 skeptical, well-informed and highly critical inquisitors in the auditorium of Alain Locke High School in Watts. Flanked by police and a CIA protective force, Deutch faced a direct interrogation by some of the people most affected by the crack epidemic. No media filters, no redaction. He answered - and dodged - scathing questions that no Director of Central Intelligence has ever faced in a public inquiry ...
"Deutch asserted that the CIA Inspector General's current investigation of the allegations 'will be thorough, and the results will be made public ...' But Deutch's promises were not enough to placate the audience of South Central residents. And the rooftop snipers deployed to guard the Director were just one more indication of the growing gap between the people and the government, a gap filled with barbed wire, corrupt justice and paranoia. Community residents voiced their rage and demanded answers; some even questioned the agenda behind the meeting itself, alleging that Deutch's presence in their neighborhood was nothing more than a clever PR ploy intended to prepare the public for acceptance of the CIA Inspector General's investigation report.
"'This man coming into this community at this time, as far as we are concerned, most of us in this audience, is a mandate to close the investigation and to prepare us for him to say six months down the line that the CIA didn't do anything', said community member Matthew Dylan. 'Anything that happens next is terribly anti-climatic, and you know it'.
"'This whole thing is orchestrated, then they're going to say, 'Oh, the public got to say their mind', said activist Joey Johnson. 'Your coming here is nothing more than a public relations move for the white people of this country because you know the CIA has been dealing drugs and bringing them here since the Vietnam War', said Tarik Ricard, a member of the Community Wellness and Harmony Association.
"Public relations scam or not, the residents of South Central had a lot on their minds, and made no secret of their rage over allegations that the CIA has turned a blind eye to narcotics trafficking by operatives and assets of the agency.
"Even Leroy 'Chico' Brown, Ricky Ross' co-defendant, showed up to question Deutch on a case with which he was intimately familiar ... Brown's brother, David Brown, also spoke out. 'How can you do an evaluation of an investigation of cocaine in sixty days, when you can't even stand here and tell these people that the United States government turned their head and let this cocaine come into the United States of America'? he asked. Michael Ruppert, a former Los Angeles Police Officer who claims CIA personnel attempted to recruit him 18 years ago to assist in protecting CIA drug operations, asked, 'If in the course of the IG's investigations, you come across evidence of severely criminal activity, and it's classified, will you use that classification to hide the criminal activity, or will you tell the American people the truth'? Deutch advised Ruppert to turn over any evidence he had to the Inspector General or the LAPD, a response which earned jeers from the audience. 'That's what I did eighteen years ago, sir, and I got shot at for it', Ruppert said.
"'I must echo a lot of the statements that have been made in regards to the way that you're going to conduct this investigation', another woman said. 'How can we feel comfortable with an investigation that's going to be conducted by someone who is on the government payroll to investigate the CIA and its wrongdoings'?
"In addition to questions related to the allegations of CIA involvement in the illicit drug trade, community members interrogated Deutch on a wide range of topics which, though hotly debated in the underground media, have been largely ignored by mainstream news outlets. One woman who refused to give her name because she didn't 'want to automatically get an audit' asked how the same government that was involved in deadly syphilis experiments on black males at the Tuskegee Institute could be trusted with the investigation. 'They denied this for twenty years' ...
"Another audience member asked, 'Mr. Deutch, could you please define for us the difference between an operative and an asset, and do you have any of these individuals working in the press corps domestically, and can you please tell us do you know who Walter Pincus is'? Pincus, a former paid operative of the CIA and columnist for the Washington Post, recently wrote an article which attempted to refute Webb's claims in the 'Dark Alliance' series in the San Jose Mercury News. Deutch replied that there was no difference between a paid operative and a paid asset. 'Do you know who Walter Pincus is'? the audience member asked. 'I believe he's a reporter for the Washington Post', Deutch replied. 'Is he an asset of the CIA'? the audience member pressed. 'No', Deutch flatly denied. [That was a lie, as Overbeck (and most other reporters in Washington) plainly knew.]
Another audience member, Malik Spellman, said, 'You know and I know that there are certain derivative chemicals that are required to break down the derivatives in cocaine. Will Mobil gasoline be brought up on charges with supplying these chemicals to the Nicaraguans, for their access to the cocaine and breaking it down? And second of all, how far does this here particular story, or should I say, how does this story that you're bringing us square with Illuminati society that we have here today? And third of all, can I ask you in the name of God to please take your hands off the Minister Farrakhan so he can raise us up'? Although Spellman asked three very specific questions, McDonald (the 'master of ceremonies') intervened, saying 'I think yours was more of a statement, young man, than a question' amidst protests from the audience.
Executive Order #12333, signed by President Ronald Reagan in December 1981, was the subject of another audience member's question. EO 12333 purportedly gave Vice President George Bush special powers as the acting head of the intelligence community with access to the military and authority to use privately funded organizations for covert operations. 'You have a private network run by George Bush and Ollie North, not the CIA', the audience member said. 'You won't find these records in the CIA. They're not there. They're in these private, privatized intelligence agencies. Will you pursue that? Will you pursue Ollie North and George Bush? Ricky Ross is doing George Bush's time'.
James Otis, a filmmaker currently working on a documentary of the CIA, questioned Deutch's sincerity in light of past Agency misconduct. 'We're interviewing seven former agents', Otis said. 'One was sent down to murder the head of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Another gentleman, Colonel Philip Rettinger, was sent down to Guatemala to overthrow the government of Guatemala in 1954 (please see "American Empire"). The third agent was actually a spy on Iowa State University campus, where he spied on students, dark-skinned students, foreigners and people from other countries. He was then sent down to Cuba to poison the food supply in Havana, to poison the children of Cuba for whatever reason. So we all, I believe, already know this information, Mr. Deutch. My question to you is, if we know all of this stuff that the agency has done historically, then why certainly should we believe you today when you say certainly this could never have happen in Los Angeles when it's happened all over the world'?
"... for a community which is well aware of the CIA's history of abuses and which has seen first-hand the devastation brought on by the crack plague, Deutch's prepared statements and promises of a thorough investigation from within the CIA were simply inadequate."
Initially the national media greeted the "Dark Alliance" series with a deafening silence. No in-depth articles were published in the major papers in the month of September on the growing controversy. The elites and the mainline media did not seem to grasp the depth of the black community's fury. As the fury continued to build all through the month of September and early October, the elites began to be concerned, and when Deutch was publicly humiliated in Watts on November 15th, the "concern" turned into a panic. The elites decided to respond. Walter Pincus [the same Walter Pincus alluded to above (ninth paragraph in Overbeck's report)], a paid "asset" of the CIA who worked for the Washington Post was chosen by the elite press to lead off. He did so in an article which appeared on October 4th in the Washington Post, "THE CIA AND CRACK: EVIDENCE IS LACKING OF ALLEGED PLOT." It was a lengthy - and harsh - report that declared "... available information does not support the conclusion that the CIA-backed contras - or Nicaraguans in general - played a major role in the emergence of crack as a narcotic in widespread use across the United States" - an odd argument since "Dark Alliance" had focused mostly on the rise of crack in California.
On October 21, the New York Times covered the same ground as the Post - finding "scant proof" for the Mercury News's contentions. Shortly thereafter, the LA Times weighed in with the same conclusion. All three papers ignored evidence from declassified National Security Council e-mail messages, and the New York Times and the Washington Post ignored evidence, from Oliver North's notebooks, which lend support to the underlying premise of the Mercury News series - that U.S. officials would both condone and protect drug traffickers if doing so advanced the contra cause. The October 21st New York Times piece didn't even mention the Kerry Committee report which plainly supported the contentions of "Dark Alliance."
Now think about this! What do we have here? A cold-hearted calculation by the elites to protect the CIA. And why would they be doing that? The CIA is the elite's "ENFORCER" in America's client states where the elites have billions and billions of dollars invested in cheap-labor manufacturing facilities. There was a trade-off here. What was more important to the elites? - a drug-free minority community or the loss of their investments in the Third World. They chose to protect their investments and let America's minority communities go to hell. Now that's quite a trade-off. But then, is that really all that surprising (please see our article on the elites).
For the next several months the pounding the Mercury News took from the mainline press was breath-taking and relentless. Numerous conference calls ensued between the editorial staffs of the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times on the one hand, and the editorial staff of the San Jose Mercury News on the other - especially after the disastrous meeting Deutch had with the residents of Watts and South-Central LA. The elites were becoming ever more dismayed with the course of events and panic was in the air. Rumors were rampant that all three newspapers (most especially the Washington Post) were acting at the instigation of the CIA and other elites in Washington and New York to get the Mercury News to recant the story. Efforts were made to trash Gary Webb, the author of "Dark Alliance." The elites were in overdrive!
Finally, the Mercury News caved. While they didn't retract the story, they backed away from it and Webb was "put out to pasture." Again, the CIA is simply too important a tool for elite America to allow the peasants to trash. If the activities of the CIA were restricted, the hold that Corporate America had on its client states all over the world would be threatened (please see our articles on the "American Empire," and the "American Empire and Its System of Client States").
For many Americans, all this raised the specter of a government/media collaboration to bury the contra-cocaine story. The furor over "Dark Alliance" and the mainstream media's response to it dramatically raised the issue of responsible and irresponsible journalism - particularly in an era of growing public cynicism toward both the government and the institutional press.
So overt was the quashing of the Mercury News by the elite press that many in the mainline media were embarrassed and ashamed by it all. Even Geneva Overholser, the Washington Post's own ombudsman, was humiliated by what had happened. In her November 10th column she objected to the Post's response to "Dark Alliance." Overholser pointed out that "... the Post (and others) showed more energy for protecting the CIA (than getting at the truth)."
"The big question is still hanging out there," said one Los Angeles Times reporter who vehemently disagreed with his editors' decision to trash "Dark Alliance." What did the government know and when did it know it? This story is not put to rest by a long shot."
And then the elite media wonders why no one trusts them anymore; people don't trust them because they have so transparently become nothing more than lackeys and stooges for Corporate America. There's been too many books about the CIA's involvement in the drug trade. It simply can't be hidden anymore.
Peter Kornbluh, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, quotes Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA enforcement unit, as saying:
"In my 30year 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."
Kornbluh recounts the sordid and shameful history as follows:
1947 to 1951, France
CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrest control of labor unions from the Communist Party. The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks - ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with Mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. Marseille's first heroin laboratories were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.
Early 1950s, Southeast Asia
The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium baron of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand, and Laos), the world's largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the CIA's principal proprietary airline, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia.
1950s to early 1970s, Indochina
During the U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many GI's in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was actually used to refine the heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world's illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America's booming heroin market.
1973 to 1980, Australia
The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of U.S. generals, admirals and CIA men, including former CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering and international arms dealing. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt.
1970s and 1980s, Panama
For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated "guns-for-drugs" flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, safe havens for drug cartel officials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-CIA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellín cartel patrons). The U.S. government turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general, after ostensibly discovering he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas; there is, however, good reason to suggest that the whole Panama operation was nothing more than a CIA designed "cover-your-ass" operation intended to shut Noreiga up with regard to his drug connections to the CIA [and its links to George Bush (who had largely run the entire contra affair as Vice President during the Reagan Presidency)] which Noriega had threatened to make public. Ironically, drug trafficking through Panama increased after the U.S. invasion - giving the lie to the government's ostensible concern for drug trafficking.
1980s, Central America
The San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras, and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee)
concluded a three-year investigation by stating: "There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual contras, contra suppliers, contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the contras, and contra supporters throughout the region. . . . U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua. . . . In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter. . . . Senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the contras' funding problems."
In Costa Rica, which served as the "Southern Front" for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several CIA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation (detailed by the Mercury News) and Noriega's operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica's border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other CIA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders. In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The U.S. repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull to Costa Rica to stand trial. [Hull's plantation near the Nicaraguan border was a favorite "stopping-off" point for evangelical leaders who accompanied Oliver North, etc. on tours of the contra bases; it seems unimaginable that they could not have surmised what was happening there - after all, it was occurring in plain sight.]
Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Americans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking. They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shrimp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to channel cocaine to the U.S.
Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service-closely associated with the CIA-harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway. Additionally, the Medellín cartel's Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador.
The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies, and banks) to these CIA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received US government contracts to carry nonlethal supplies to the contras. Southern Air Transport, "formerly" CIA-owned and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well. 16 Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas (Mena) and other locations, including several military bases. Designated as "Contra Craft," these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn't apprised and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled to result in dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.
Mid-1980s to early 1990s, Haiti
While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients' drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN's mandate included countering the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some Haitian military and political leaders.
1980s to early 1990s, Afghanistan
CIA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting the Soviet-supported government, which had plans to reform Afghan society. The Agency's principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading drug lords and the biggest heroin refiner, who was also the largest recipient of CIA military support. CIA-supplied trucks and mules that had carried arms into Afghanistan were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The output provided up to one-half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. U.S. officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operation because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies. In 1993, an official of the DEA dubbed Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.
Now it's not without reason that we have gone to such lengths to paint this picture; the reason is this: what's the evangelical community doing making such common cause with the CIA? - that is to say, with an agency involved in such wickedness and vile corruption - even to the extent of corrupting an entire generation. God help us all if we involve ourselves in such an alliance! But the fact is, our churches and missionary organizations have been involved in such an alliance for years and years!! You say, you've never heard of it? Well, believe us when we say, the history is there - and it is indeed a long and sordid one! As we indicated in "THE AMERICAN EMPIRE: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago," the sad truth is, since the end of the Second World War, wherever American missionaries have gone, the CIA has gone with them.
The CIA first used the Protestant missionaries in the Philippines. They had been "employed" in that country in a CIA campaign against the Huks. There, the CIA, operating through an organization called the Free Asia Committee, had collaborated successfully with a number of Protestant missionary groups - especially two: (1) the Wycliffe Bible Translators and (2) the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) [in reality, both were really one and the same organization] - to quash the Huk uprising and install Ramon Magsaysa as president of the Philippines. To be sure, Wycliffe and the other Protestant groups had not been engaged directly in any of the combat activities directed against the Huks, but they had acted as "pamphleteers" for the CIA and as "information gatherers."
The Philippines! - that was the beginning of it all. But the real relationship was cemented in Latin America. And the two men most responsible: J.C. King, a Rockefeller ally, and "Cam" Townsend, founder of the Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Summer Institute of Linguistics. King was one of the "Old Boys" at the CIA. He had won promotion up through the intelligence bureaucracy because of his involvement in sensitive intelligence work in Argentina, one of Latin America's most volatile posts.
King had been a military attaché there shortly after the war. Nazi scientists and Gestapo officers were being recruited by the U.S. Army Command in Germany for work against local communists; many of these men were then allowed to pass through the "rat pipeline" with Vatican passports from Italy and Spain to Argentina, where King, who had gained access to seized records on secret German holdings in Argentina and other Latin American countries, was monitoring the corporate investments of the fugitives. At least a dozen of these top Nazi fugitives were "turned into" CIA assets in countries like Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Columbia, Paraguay, to say nothing of Argentina itself.
The success of King's operation in Argentina was evident by his meteoric rise to the equivalent rank of a lieutenant general in the CIA, and his appointment as the agency's first Chief of Clandestine Services in the Western Hemisphere.
For intelligence gathering, he relied on American businessmen who were overseeing subsidiaries of major corporations in Latin America, as well as the local police. The problem with these sources of information were that they were severely limited insofar as their ability to gather information at a country's grassroots level: its peasant population. American businessmen could hardly be counted on as a reliable source of information insofar as the peasants were concerned. And the peasants feared the local police. As a result, the American intelligence community was severely limited in its capacity to provide accurate and broad political intelligence on a grassroots level - particularly in the countryside, where most of Latin America's population still lived in 1952.
Other sources of information were needed, people who, if not members of the targeted population themselves, had the trust of those who were: people whose presence in the rural areas would not be threatening or lacking in reason, who were academically trained and could give insightful analysis into mores, if not political developments. The answer? - American Protestant missionaries! And the bait? - MONEY! That's what the missionaries wanted. And they got it!
The CIA turned to its corporate clients, and the money faucet was opened. Rockefeller money and other corporate funds poured into Wycliffe's coffers and the coffers of other Protestant groups. It was a bananza! Now the world could be evangelized! - but at what a price: over the bodies of millions and millions of "Third World" peasants throughout the world who were branded as communists and slaughtered in the service of U.S. corporate interests.
Missionary activity directed at helping the CIA in its "war against Communist subversion" thus became King's (and, ipso facto, the CIA's) answer for getting reliable people "on the ground" in areas "off limits" to the American business community and the local police. Missionaries could go where business people and the police were unwelcome. Moreover, they had "cover" - specifically, their missionary activity.
As we indicated in "THE AMERICAN EMPIRE: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago," it should be said that many of the missionaries involved (though certainly not all) had no idea of what was going on. All they knew is that they were receiving a lot of supportive attention from local authorities (i.e., the police and the local military) and from the U.S. embassy. Indeed, many of them received standard, pro-forma briefings from their mission boards to avoid contact with U.S. intelligence officials. Nonetheless, intelligence officers have ways of debriefing people who are not in the "know" in ways they can't imagine - and so it was with many of the Protestant missionaries. Of course, that was certainly not true with everyone. Many of the missionaries were fully cognizant of their "secondary mission" insofar as their evangelizing was concerned. And most assuredly, the upper echelons of their organizations knew perfectly well what was going on. Indeed, they not only knew what was occurring, they supported it.
They had become convinced - in their frequent conversations with their new corporate sponsors - of the righteousness of their cause. In their minds, the "War on Communism" and the "Preaching of the Gospel" became one and the same thing. MONEY HAD BLINDED THEM TO WHAT WAS REALLY HAPPENING - THAT THEY WERE BEING USED AS "TOADIES" IN THE SERVICE OF CORPORATE AMERICA, AND IN DOING SO, HELPING CORPORATE AMERICA ENSLAVE THE VERY PEOPLE GOD HAD CALLED THEM TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO. Money makes dupes out of all of us! - even the best of us, even people like Cam Townsend, founder and president of SIL and the Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Now think about everything we have said here. Think about what the CIA and it's affiliated institutions in the United States and abroad have been up to over the years. Think about the evil and misery this institution has loosed on the world. Think about the plagues and epidemics - the killings and slaughter that it is responsible for. Think about the cold-hearted way the CIA has experimented with whole populations. Think about all this - and in doing so, don't make the mistake of minimizing it. God will not minimize it.
Sean MacBride, the former foreign minister of Ireland and a 1974 Nobel Peace prize recipient, wrote:
"... democracy and the rule of law cannot survive side by side with a state agency that engages in covert operations ranging from assassinations to levying mercenary armies to directing lethal biological weapons experiments and public health policies ... The whole concept of a secret government and army within a government is a menace to the democratic system."
And if a democracy cannot exist side by side with such an institution, what makes one think that the church can enter into an alliance (the kind of alliance we described above) with such an institution and survive? It can't - but that's what it has been trying to do for the last fifty years, especially insofar as its missionary activities are concerned. The sad fact of the matter is, that - without naming names - it is probably safe to say that there is probably NO American evangelical missionary group - none - that does not have ties with the CIA! - NONE!! And if any of these missionary groups think that they can break off that relationship now, they'd better think again. One does not so easily break off from the devil!! Besides, by now, most of them are probably far too dependent upon the largesse of the CIA's corporate allies to seriously countenance such a move. Money makes sycophants and bootlickers out of us all! - or do these missionary groups really think that their corporate sponsors (and all these missionary groups have them) are actually giving them money for the sake of the poor in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Africa, etc., the very people these corporations are enslaving for the sake of "investor profits" back in America. (Again, we urge you to read "American Empire" and The American System of Client States.") Indeed, the Bible warns us about the rich - to steer clear of them. Why? - because you will be made their servant if you persist in a relationship with them. Isn't this what Proverbs 22:7 says:
"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
The fact of the matter is, if you take from the rich, you will be made their slave. And this is precisely what has happened to countless numbers of missionary groups all over the world! Why do we persist in these relationships? - "... Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?" asks the Apostle James rhetorically. (James 2:6) Yes, it is precisely the rich who do these things? Why then do we think that somehow or other they've gotten "religion" when it comes to the activities of our missionaries while all the while their ruthless and greedy business activities are telling us a different story?
There is no saving this system of Christianity - the kind of Christianity that can make such alliances and then close its eyes to what is happening. The Bible offers us only one solution:
"Come out of her!" (Rev. 18:4)
There is no other way. The Bible offers no other solution!
There are, of course, many who would say that we are being far too harsh with regard to all this; far too extreme in our assessment of the situation. But that's not the case at all! On the brink of the American Revolution, the patriot Patrick Henry warned that it is natural to indulge in illusions; to believe that things are not really as bad as they have been painted. Patrick wrote:
"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts ... Are we disposed to be the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not (Matthew 13:9) the things which so nearly concern our temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
And if that's so for the temporal state, how much more is that the case insofar as the church is concerned?
What will it take to break the trance of our complacency? What will it take to break us out of our stupor? To continue on with the "Established Church" which has so clearly made an alliance with this world and its affiliated institutions (institutions like the CIA and its associated business corporations) is to consign oneself and those one loves to eternal shame! This is what happened in Germany when business corporations like Volkswagen, Siemens, I.G. Farben, Mercedes Benz, Krupp, etc., etc. made common cause with the Nazis and the SS and used Jews as slave-laborers.
L.S. Dawidowics, in her authoritative account of the Holocaust, War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, wrote:
"The Jews, whose dazzling success in business blinded them to the encroaching blackness of National Socialism (Nazism), were caught unaware by the onslaught of Hitler. The model German Jew was metropolitan, a businessman or professional, (moderate) ... in his practice of Judaism ... (and) in his politics, with a more passionate attachment to Germany than to his Jewishness (a fact which strangely parallels the seemingly stronger attachment of American Christians to America than to their own Christianity - editor). Most German Jews regarded Zionism (the longing of certain Jews to return to their ancient homeland) as an alien doctrine; the son who left Judaism for Communism was less likely to be rejected than the one who chose Zionism."
Yet Zionism was the very vehicle that God had chosen to fulfill His promise to bring back the Jews from out of the nations to which they had been driven nearly two thousand years before by the Roman general Titus. Zionism was rooted in the Hebrew Bible and was toasted once every year at the Feast of Passover with the words, "Next Year in Jerusalem." But the toast had become a meaningless, empty ritual, and success in the world had blinded the Jews to the words of their own prophets. It was not so much the fact that they had denied their own Jewishness as it was the fact that they wanted to have the best of both worlds - the wealth that their success in Europe had brought them, as well as their own Jewish heritage. It could never be! Yet the Jews pathetically persisted. Heinz Kellerman, a Jew writing shortly after the advent of Hitler to power in Germany, wrote the astonishingly naive words:
"The time has now come which requires a renewal of the synthesis of Germandom and Jewry; holding on to ones German identity and acquiring a Jewish one."
But Kellerman wasn't alone in his breathtaking naiveté. There were many others! For example, Joseph Lehman, Rabbi of Berlin, blindly wrote in the Spring of 1933:
"Fleeing Germany is cowardly, just because five months of pain lie behind us and probably years of misjudgment, hate, and need lie ahead of us. Practically speaking, we as Jews reaffirm a life in Germany and for Germany."
Hans Joachim Schoeps, a young German Jewish intellectual who organized the Deutsche Vortrupp, also wrote in the same period:
"Germany is more than merely a community of blood and race. It is also a community of fate and history. Through the acknowledgment of fate and history, we are consciously German."
In his memoirs written after the war, Schoeps describes his nightmarish remorse for not having advised those millions of Jews who were later murdered to flee right away - no matter what the cost!
And how were the Jews of Germany so blinded? - their wealth blinded them. Wealth sets a trap for all of us. It causes us to take half measures rather than "going all the way." This is what happened to the Jews. Zionism was calling the Jews back to Israel, but in the end, very few of them went - even in the face of the impending Holocaust. Israel was too far away; it was too arid; it was too "frontier-like." It was not where they wanted to go. So what did most of them do? They took half measures - they moved to Holland, to Belgium, to France, to Italy. Half measures! But Holland, Belgium, France and Italy were not far enough! In the end, they were all caught! By the time they woke up to the fact that they had not gone far enough, it was too late!
Now God is calling us! Don't take half measures. Again, the Bible warns:
"Come out of her!" (Rev. 18:4)
Not part way out! Not most of the way out! But completely out - and get your friends and relatives out too, as many as will listen! We urge you to read our last article, "The Organized Church and the End of Days!" Read it slowly and carefully. Please also take the time to read the referenced reports in our last article as well. Your sole may be at stake.
God bless you all!
PS Have the courage of your convictions! Contribute to the ministry by making out a check to "Antipas Ministries" and sending it to -