Wednesday, April 16, 2014
CIA: the C Stand for Cocaine
"For the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods Street Gangs of Los Angeles and funnelled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found.
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 cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America -- and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.'s gangs to buy automatic weapons.
It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S. backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the Uzi-toting "gangstas" of Compton and South Central Los Angeles."--Gary Webb From the introduction to the original Dark Alliance website, August, 1996
"In the name of supporting the contras... [officials] abandoned the responsibility our government has for protecting our citizens from all threats to their security and well-being." - The Kerry Commission
In 1996, the San Jose Mercury News published a front page story titled 'Dark Alliance'. The text was accompanied by an image of a man smoking crack, with the seal of the CIA superimposed upon it.
The article was written by Gary Webb, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist who had been investigating some shady business that became uncovered during the Iran/Contra hearings. He claimed to have found evidence that the CIA was behind the crack cocaine epidemic during the 1980's.
The story was universally criticized by the mainstream media. Well, first it was ignored, but uproar in urban California forced them to respond. As is thematic with conspiracy denial, the major newspapers began debunking claims that Gary Webb never made, ridiculed assertions that turned out to be true, and ignored new evidence when it came to light.
The backlash effectively ended Gary Webb's mainstream journalism career, though he would continue to write and give speeches, published a book and worked on a Government Oversight Committee in Los Angelos. In 2004, Gary Webb passed away, the cause of death was two bullets to the head. It was ruled a suicide.
Gary Webb wasn't the first journalist to tie cocaine to the covert Nicaraguan war. Nearly a decade before 'Dark Alliance' was published, in 1985 at the peak of the covert war the Associated Press ran an article titled “Contras Reportedly Trafficking in Cocaine to Help Fund War”
Nicaraguan rebels operating in northern Costa Rica have engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua's leftist government, according to U.S. investigators and American volunteers who work with the rebels. The smuggling operations include refueling planes at clandestine airstrips and helping transport cocaine to other Costa Rican points for shipment to the United States, said U.S. law enforcement officials
I want to digress here and mention that just months before this article was written, Ronald Reagan took to the public airwaves and gave a big speech condemning the Sandanistas, the communist government of Nicaragua. He stated: “Now they're exporting drugs to poison our youth and linking up with the terrorists of Iran.”
When in reality it was the Contras, our allies, exporting drugs into our country and it was America who was covertly facilitating arm sales in Iran, at the same time we were publicly supplying arms to Iraq, at the height of the Iran-Iraq war!
With the Contra sellling of cocaine, just how deep did the complicity go? Lets start with a collection of the evidence:
The Kerry Commission report, John Kerry's investigation into the affairs of the covert war in Nicaragua, found that “The logic of having drug money pay for the pressing needs of the Contras appealed to a number of people who became involved in the covert war. Indeed, senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contra's funding problems.”
The Kerry Commission Report also states: “[The Head of the Costa Rican Airforce] said that Contra operations on the Southern Front were in fact funded by drug operations. He testified that weapons for the Contras came from Panama on small planes carrying mixed loads which included drugs. The pilots unloaded the weapons, refueled, and headed north toward the U.S. with drugs.”
The DEA had been tracking Norwin Meneses, a major player in cocaine trafficking in the United States, since 1976 according to official documents. Meneses spent much of the 1980's transporting cocaine from Columbia and Nicaragua into the United States uninterrupted. He lived in California until 1989 and was never arrested.
A DEA affadavit revealed that the Feds had come across a large scale cocaine trafficking ring run by Meneses in 1978 and did not act.
Fabio Ernest Carrasco, a Columbian pilot for a major drug cartel, testified in a US court in 1990 that during 1984 and 1985, the most intensive years of the covert war, he participated in multiple flights bringing weapons from the United States to the Contras, and then returned with drugs in the plane. He claims that his flights were uninterrupted and he operated with the belief that he was being protected by the CIA.
Oliver North met with the notorious Panama dictator and drug lord Manuel Noriega in an effort to secure support for expanding covert operations in Western Nicaragua.
DEA agent Celerino Castillo reported to his superiors multiple times that cocaine was being stored at the CIA's contra-supply warehouse at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador for shipment to the U.S. No action was taken, and Castillo would end up being forced from the Agency.
Oscar Blandon, a major player, was sentenced to only 24 months for drug crimes that would put other criminals behind bars for life. He supplied Rick Ross with millions of dollars of Cocaine on a daily basis. He was the only foreign drug trafficker ever arrested to not be deported following conviction on drug trafficking. Instead he was hired by the DEA after his time served.
A 1992 document from the US Probation and Parole Department shows that Blandon had begun selling cocaine with the intention of funding the Contras, after legitimate means resulted in a lack of funds.
The Frogman Case: Key documents from the Justice Department and the CIA showed that the CIA blocked public disclosure of allegations that CIA money was being diverted to the drug trade. The Frogman Case was one of California's biggest drug busts in the early 80's, catching scuba divers with over 100 million worth in Cocaine. CIA efforts ensured that 38 thousand dollars seized was back to Contra leaders, and was not allowed as evidence in the trial.
Michael Ruppert, former LAPD Narcotics Detective, confronted CIA Director Deutch on live television claiming that he had personally witnessed CIA agents dealing drugs multiple times. The video linked is fun to watch.
An August 9, 1985 memo from Oliver North claims that an airplane used by the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) was running supplies to the Contras in Honduras and was likely running drugs back. “Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S.”
Air Force General Richard Secord told Oliver North that “14 million to finance [the arms in the warehouse] came from drugs.”
DEA officials have testified that Oliver North suggested to the DEA “that $1.5 million in drug money carried aboard a plane piloted by DEA informant Barry Seal and generated in a sting of the Medellin and Sandinista officials, be provided to the Contras.”
Blandon and Meneses have both claimed to have been working for the CIA
A 1986 affidavit shows that the Feds knew Blandon was the head of a large scale cocaine ring.
In 1985, another Contra leader "told U.S. authorities that his group was being paid $50,000 by Colombian traffickers for help with a 100-kilo cocaine shipment and that the money would go 'for the cause' of fighting the Nicaraguan government." A 1985 National Intelligence Estimate revealed cocaine trafficking links to a top commander working under Contra leader Edén Pastora.
In 1998, two years after the story broke, the CIA admitted that the Contras were indeed involved with the drug trade, CIA official had relationships with these Contra members and that they failed to take action.
"As I said earlier, we have found no evidence in the course of this lengthy investigation of any conspiracy by CIA or its employees to bring drugs into the United States. However, during the Contra era, CIA worked with a variety of people to support the Contra program. These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others. Let me be frank about what we are finding. There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations."-CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz
Piecing Together the Evidence
The Contras were organized and funded by the CIA. Ronald Reagan had authorized in 1981 "all support necessary" to maintain and expand both the Contras and other covert war efforts in Nicaragua. Leading policy makers were enthusiastic about the prospects of drug money as a means of working around funding restrictions.
Around the time of Reagan's authorization, the Contras began shipping massive amounts of cocaine into the United States. There is significant complicity from the CIA, if not outright direct involvement. The same planes that would bring weapons to the Contras returned to the States with drugs.
Once inside the United States, the cocaine would be delivered to a network of Contra supporters that distributed it across the country and funneled profits back to the covert war in Nicaragua.
Because of the massive quantities of Cocaine shipped into the United States with minimal interruptions, those with Contra connections were able to sell their drugs at cut-rate prices. Rick Ross was one of the dealers who connected with Oscar Blandon, and as a result he was able to build a massive cocaine and crack empire but undercutting any competitors. The cheapness and quantity of cocaine was the reason for the crack epidemic in Los Angeles. The connections with the Contras also allowed the Crips and Bloods, among other gangs, to purchase mass amounts of weaponry such as assault rifles, greatly contributing to the rise in gang violence.
Investigations into major players such as Blandon and Meneses were either interrupted and dismissed or never occurred in the first place. Meneses was never arrested, and Blandon was given a DEA job after serving 2 years, lending some credibility to their claims that they worked with the CIA.
The extent to which the CIA participated in drug running is unknown, but at the very least we can conclude that they approved of the activity and prevented any Federal barriers from interrupting the smooth flow of drugs, going beyond the mere complicity of turning a blind eye.
Drug running is consistent with the CIA's actions of maintaining their warped view of 'National Security' at any cost. The millions of lives ruined by drugs and gang violence is only an afterthought for these agencies, 'fallout', for the 'necessary' actions of funding the Contra terrorist organization.
Some food for thought: Is it a coincidence that 92% of heroin on the world market is exported from Afghanistan? Is it possible that drug smuggling is not an isolated incident but rather a common method of fundraising for black-budget projects?