By David P Beiter

From: (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
Date:  Tue, 20 May 1997 08:05:28 GMT
Organization:  Mantra Corporation
Keywords:  MENA politics news Jai Maharaj
Newsgroups:  soc.culture.usa,misc.headlines,,

Forwarded article; may not contain poster's opinions.

> From Larry-Jennie 

The Washington Weekly
May 12, 1997

		  A New Look at the Mena Story

By Daniel Hopsicker

  Everybody wants to be wanted, even television  producers.  So
  even  though  the  little  production company of which I am a
  part already has a business magazine television show  up  and
  modestly  successful (Global Business 2000; don't tell us you
  haven't seen it) we wanted more. We had  seen  with  our  own
  eyes, for example, the sickening spectacle of what passes for
  entertainment  these  days:  Tammy  Faye  Bakker   at   NATPE
  (television  production  convention) last year, peddling some
  talk show in syndication. And with one of the  major  studios
  distributing, yet!

  We asked ourselves: have they no shame?  In  today's  America
  that  is what is known as a rhetorical question. What is this
  woman famous for?  And  the  answer  (Her  husband  embezzled
  hundreds  of  millions  from  little  old ladies who couldn't
  afford it) was so depressing, we decided one day to offer  up
  something  of our own to add to America's no-longer-all-that-
  rich cultural stew.

  Then one night while eating Mexican down on Melrose  we  came
  up  with  it:  "conspiracy: the secret history." Remember "In
  Search Of" with Leonard Nimoy? Back in  those  more  innocent
  times,  nobody  was  running  around  in  camouflage uniforms
  talking wildly about The New World Order. We wanted to do  an
  "In Search of" for the paranoid '90s.

  This is the story of the filming of the lead segment on  that

Mena, Arkansas. If you haven't heard of it, don't  worry:  either
you  will,  in which case the whole sordid mess has finally found
the audience it so richly deserves, or you won't, in  which  case
you  were  probably  better off not knowing anyway. Because after
months of research, the one thing we can say with certainty about
US  Government  drug  policy  is, "If you have to ask, you're not
allowed to know."

The Mena story reeks of government hypocrisy on  the  subject  of
drugs.  It's  the  place  mentioned  when  talk of Oliver North's
contra-guns-and-cocaine operation comes up (not often, in  polite
conversation,  and  we still wonder, wazzup wit that?) It's where
drug smuggler Barry Seal based planes  that  flew  guns  down  to
Central  America,  then  drugs  back, then guns down again, etc.,
with impunity, literally right  under  the  noses  of  local  law
enforcement.  If  there  is,  in Bill Moyers' legendary phrase, a
"Secret Government," a  government  that  runs  the  other,  more
official one, Mena is a good place to look for it.

For Mena is  what  the  'Clintongate'  scandals  are  all  about,
really;  the  commodities  money  was  and is small potatoes, the
Whitewater real estate deal simply par for the course in American
political life. But around Mena swirls the smoke of real scandal:
allegations of massive drug-smuggling with government complicity,
whiffs  of  Oliver North's illegal, unconstitutional and national
soul-corroding Iran/contra/cocaine connection. And  all  flavored
with spicy rumors of secret Swiss bank accounts, hastening murder
by death.

That's what makes Mena so important. If  there's  to  be  a  real
Watergate-type  Sam  Ervin  at-the-gavel scandal in the next four
years, Mena is where it will be focused.  So  Mena  is  where  we

		    * * * * * * * * * *

  The market in opium, heroin, cocaine  and  marijuana  in  the
  United States of America generates a gross volume of business
  in excess of US $130 billion a year, making the  importation,
  sale  and  distribution of drugs an enterprise that generates
  more  revenue  than  any   of   the   largest   multinational
  corporations  in  the  world.  It  makes  the gross volume of
  illegal drugs in the United States  greater  than  the  gross
  national product of all but a dozen nations in the world.

It takes longer to get to Mena than it should; the map shows none
of  the  slow  winding  curves  that crawl back and forth through
mountainous western Arkansas. From Little Rock to Hot Springs  is
a snap, then, just as you begin planning on lunch near the fabled
Intermountain Regional Airport located in  Mena,  the  road  west
recedes in front of you in torturous twists and turns, and before
you're there it's late afternoon, and deep  shadows  are  turning
the  landscape  into  a  black  and white picture with some sepia
tinges where the setting sun hits the tops of bare  white  trees.
It's  pretty,  almost  picture-perfect  country; the question is:
does it hide a secret that could bring down a government?

Because it's here, in this town nestled below  the  dark  emerald
ridgeline  of  the  Ouchita  range, that the netherworld of crime
intersects  with  that  of  our  nation's   secret   intelligence
operations  in  a  way  that  is  perhaps  more visible, if still
indistinct, than at any time since  the  Kennedy  'hits'  of  the

Once in Mena itself, you're rewarded, first, with  a  feeling  of
being  as  far  away  from  the rest of the world as, say, Nepal.
There's an almost eerie sense of being outside  of  the  ordinary
scope  of  everyday existence, a feeling that must have been felt
by the renegades, bandits, moonshiners and civil  war  irregulars
who  have  called  these densely forested hillsides home. When we
pull our dusty crew van piled to the top with video gear into the
asphalt parking lot outside the Sun Country Motel (the biggest of
three in town) its empty of cars. And there's not much traffic on
the main drag either.

We're a typical electronic news-gathering crew: a writer/producer
(me), a cameraman who'd really rather be a cinematographer, and a
sound engineer, who's already missing his girlfriend back in  San
Jose. And, as I check us in at the front desk (the gracious small
town desk clerk showing no surprise at all at one more film  crew
pulling  in)  fatigue  from  the  long travel day makes me wonder
about our seemingly quixotic quest, our perhaps deluded,  because
self-funded, effort to shoot a pilot for a television show. (True
story: the first producer I ever worked for in Hollywood had said
to  me,  "Kid,  anything  worth making is worth making with other
peoples' money." ) But we were passionate about this project,  as
all creative people have to be, or pretend to be, and besides, as
one waggish agent put it, we  were  shooting  "The  X-Files,  for

And so we've driven this icy  road  to  see  for  ourselves  this
place,  without which Bill Clinton might be able to serve out his
second term in peace. And also to meet The Man.

That's because you can't talk  about  "Mena"  without  mentioning
Russell  Welch,  the  legendary  big-boned  lawman  who  has been
compared favorably with John Wayne in more than one retelling  of
this  tale.  Assigned  to investigate drug smuggler Barry Seal in
1982, an assignment he never wanted and for which he felt himself
outgunned,  Welch had single-handedly fought the Dark Side forces
(so well-hidden he was never even sure who they really were) to a
standstill.  He  may not have stopped drug-smuggling through this
airport, that may have been built expressly  for  "Special  Ops,"
but he sure slowed it down a tad. Or...did he?

That's one of the questions we've come to ask him. His  voice  on
the  phone is gruff but friendly. He'll be over to meet us at our
motel in an hour. And so I rustle through my notes for the  fifth
time,  trying to be as prepared as possible with the acknowledged
facts, and knowing, at the same time, that  except  for  the  few
Mena  scholars  out  there, full knowledge of the case in all its
frequently political perambulations is well nigh impossible.

The facts of the Mena story, already much reported in venues from
CBS  to the Wall Street Journal, have somehow failed to catch the
nation's attention. The reason, some analysts feel, is  that  the
playing  field  on  which  the  Mena  story  takes place has been
incredibly muddied by political operatives of both the  left  and
right,  attempting  to use the case for partisan advantage. Welch
and the other players and eye-witnesses are chary, wary, and,  in
some  cases,  downright  scared  for their lives when microphones
begin poking in their faces. And  not,  according  to  the  story
we're about to hear, without good cause.

So we're not holding out much hope of prying any new  revelations
from  Mr.  Welch.  We just want to ask him some simple questions:
"If drugs are the biggest industry in the world today, who's  the
industry's  General  Motors? And, who did he think had the bigger
airline  distribution  system:   Federal   Express   or   Cocaine

We've decided not to go for the minutiae connected  with  Welch's
years-long  thwarted  probe  into  government complicity in drug-
smuggling. Instead we'll try to tell the story from  a  different
angle, so as to not get bogged down in the already-cited recitals
of things like the value of drugs imported by Mena  figure  Barry
Seal,  for  example  ($3-5 billion, according to one governmental
body with some knack with figures, the IRS). Besides, the  "Just-
the-facts-ma'am"  trap always ends in dry recitals of charges and
counter-charges. Like the  Robert  McNamara-esque  'body  counts'
from  the  Vietnam  war, it masks a bloody reality in statistics.
And when in doubt, we turn to  Mark  Twain,  who  said,  "There's
three  kinds  of  liars: Liars, damn liars, and people that quote

A tactic we think 'might could work,' as some say in this part of
heaven,  to tell the story of gun and drug-running in Arkansas in
the 80's, might be this: if you want  to  find  the  truth  about
possible  US  Government  involvement  in  drug-smuggling  in the
'80's, you'll have to look  around  the  periphery,  out  of  the
corners of your eyes. Because, face it, these boys are pros. Give
the devil his due. Trade craft is what  they  DO.  And  Plausible
Deniability is their middle name(s).

So we've decided to look not for the smoking  gun,  but  for  the
bent twigs. The local people, citizens, lawmen, and honest public
officials, whose lives have been changed,  in  some  cases  lost,
whose careers have been ruined, because of the invisible elephant
of drug smuggling that came to squat over  the  Arkansas  of  the
1980's.  We  would look for the casualties of friendly fire. What
the Pentagon calls "collateral damage." And  we  didn't  have  to
look far, to find a story with an extraordinary human dimension.

		    * * * * * * * * * *


The Train Deaths, they're called in Arkansas, and our first  stop
on  our  'conspiracy'  shoot  in  Arkansas had been right outside
Little Rock, to visit the site of the murders of Kevin  Ives  and
Don Henry, two high school students who were murdered in 1987.

Avenging their deaths has been a cause celebre for local citizens
and news people for nine years. Its one of those small town cases
where every one in town--except the people with  the  handcuffs--
seem  to  know  who  was responsible for the murder of two youths
whose presence complicated or compromised  a  drug  and/or  money
drop.  It  took place in Saline County, in the bedroom suburbs of
Little  Rock,  in  an  area  where  nearby  neighbors  had  often
registered  complaints  to  police  about  low-flying  aircraft--
presumably on drug and money drops--that would buzz  their  homes
at night with their lights off.

We had first learned of the story, as one finds out about so many
non-  establishment-sanctioned  things  these  days, on the World
Wide Web. (For a complete  telling,  check  out,
and,  by  all  means,  order the compelling documentary available
from the site.)

Some people will tell you that, today, the Internet is  the  only
free  press  in  America.  These same folks, probably, think that
ever-growing press conglomerate Time  Warner's  corporate  slogan
should  be:  "Bringing  You the Finest in Cradle-to-Grave Thought

We don't know  about  that.  We  confess  to  having  less  lofty
ambitions  when we first got online. 0ur first big project was to
download  some  dirty  pictures  before   the   advent   of   the
Communications  Decency  Act.  A  juvenile ambition, sure, but we
found it to be a lot harder  than  we'd  thought  it  would,  and
devoted  what  felt like several man-years to the attempt. It was
our own mini-Manhattan Project,  and  it  taught  us  more  about
computers   than   everything   we'd   learned   before.   (Never
underestimate sex as a motive force; Freud was right.)

But juvenilia soon loses its excitement. The  Internet,  for  us,
had  not.  We  had  discovered a whole new world. Information was
loose on Planet Three! And the story we  discovered  online,  and
soon  became  fascinated with, concerned two high school seniors,
Don Henry and Kevin Ives, who were run over in the middle of  the
night  by  a  Union  Pacific train on August 23, 1987. All of the
engineers  on  the  train  reported  that  the  boys  were  lying
motionless beneath a tarp, bodies laid out identically across the
tracks, with almost military precision.

Despite this, the  Arkansas  State  Medical  Examiner  ruled  the
deaths accidental. The mother of one of the two boys, Linda Ives,
sensed foul  play.   So  did  others  in  the  community.  Almost
immediately  suspicions  among  the  local  citizenry  focused on
speculation that the boys' deaths might have resulted from  their
stumbling  upon  a drug drop. Just what--in 1987--would have made
the local population spring to such a conclusion?

This speculation leaped out at us as  being  more  than  slightly
curious.  "Death by Drug Drop" is not a common cause of death, at
least not where we live. And the citizens of Saline County, where
the  deaths  took place, seem anything but a conspiracy-mongering
bunch. They live  and  work  in  mostly  bedroom  communities  30
minutes  outside  the  State Capital of Little Rock, with all the
anonymity of middle class people everywhere. They go  to  church.
They pay their taxes. They mow their lawns. They sew.

Linda Ives is the mother of one of the slain boys. She graciously
allows  us  to  invade  her  well-kept suburban home with all the
detritus--lights, camera, cables,  donuts--a  video  crew  brings

Today she speaks of the death of her son, and the  crusade  which
has  transpired,  with a detachment borne of regular retelling of
the tragedy.  Still,  her  composure  breaks  at  almost  regular
intervals,  as  the  import of what she has to say sinks home. At
those places her narrative  loses  its  third  person  feel,  and
become a simple story of a mother losing a son.

"To be the mother of a boy killed in one of the most vicious  and
notorious  murders  in Arkansas was, and is, not something easy,"
she begins slowly. "When this happened, in August of 1987, I  was
a  teller  at a local credit union. The very first thing we heard
was that the boys had been shot,  and  then  tied  to  the  train
tracks. Then we're being told, no, the coroner is saying the boys
consumed massive amounts of marijuana, then fell  asleep  on  the

The evidence pointing towards murder, and  away  from  accidental
death,  was  almost  immediately apparent. "There were suspicions
immediately in the community," she continues.  "We  were  hearing
things  from  Kevin's friends, and then from people who'd been at
the scene. Everyone was saying that the  ruling  of  'accidental'
death was just ridiculous. We got word from one of the paramedics
at the scene that the boys blood wasn't right, that it  was  dark
and  tar-like,  that it indicated the boys had been dead for some
time when the train arrived."

And then there was the matter of the tarp.

"The engineer and crew on the train all said the  boys  had  been
under  a  tarp  on the tracks. But the sheriffs office said there
had been no tarp, that it had been an optical illusion. They even
went  so  far  as to tell us they had conducted tests on the boys
clothes, and had found no fibers that  would  indicate  they  had
been under a tarp."

The deceit began to unravel, said Mrs. Ives, partly owing to  the
fact  that  her  husband,  Larry  Ives,  has been a Union Pacific
engineer for 31 years. He knew the crew that had manned the death
train  well. "They (the crew) told Larry that they had even taken
the sheriffs deputies back to where the  tarp  had  landed,"  she
says grimly. "They pointed it out to them."

"Later we found out that the sheriff's' had done no tests on  the
boys' clothes; it was just another in a long string of lies."

Thus the political education of a grieving mother began.

"At first we were just very confused, and frustrated  with  local
law enforcement. We discovered that the first deputy on the scene
immediately ordered it worked as an accident. When other officers
showed  up,  they  argued strongly that it should be treated as a
crime scene. They were overruled by higher  authorities.  So,  we
learned that it had then been worked as an accident. Learned that
the scene was never even  roped  off,  and  that  the  supposedly
thorough  investigation  they  told  me had been done had left my
son's foot in a sneaker lying in plain sight for over two days."

So Linda Ives began a struggle--still ongoing--to bring the boys'
killers  to justice. For killers there are, or at least appear to
be, in this story. And like so many of the  monstrous  sociopaths
that  have heavily sprinkled American society for the past thirty
years (I'm thinking, now, just of the ones who conveniently  kept
diaries)  these  killers  are still on the loose. They have never
been brought to answer for their crimes, despite  seven  separate
local, state, and federal investigations into the case.

"As a parent, when I would  hear  about  the  "drug  problem,"  I
thought about local kids," states Mrs. Ives. "You never think the
"drug  problem"  concerns  local  law  enforcement,  and   public
officials. But slowly, over time, that's what I came to believe."

First there were the uncooperative state officials.

"We held a press conference, and laid out everything.  The  media
was  very supportive, and that, along with public outrage, helped
get the case to a grand jury. But from state  officials,  we  got
absolutely no cooperation. We ran into brick walls everywhere."

The stonewalling even included refusals to obey court  orders  to
turn  over documents and test results on the part of the Arkansas
State Crime Lab.

"The Little Rock Crime Lab defied a court  order  to  supply  the
things we were requesting in order to have a second autopsy done.
So we called the State Attorney General's Office.  They  said  it
was  illegal  for the crime lab to defy our court order, but that
they would not intervene in any way.  When  I  asked--given  that
they  wouldn't help enforce the court order--what recourse I had,
they said, 'none.' "

But 'murder will out,' as the Bard  said.  The  parents'  crusade
resulted  in  a  grand jury investigation, which ruled the deaths
criminal. The second autopsy, done by a  noted  Atlanta  forensic
pathologist,  showed  that  the  face of one of the boys had been
smashed in before death,  and  that  his  cheek  still  bore  the
imprint  of  a  rifle butt. The other boy had been stabbed in the

All of which the State Medical Examiner,  Dr.  Fahmy  Malak,  had
failed somehow to ascertain.

"There have been now a total of seven local, state,  and  federal
investigations  into  the murders on those train tracks. And over
the course  of  those  seven  investigations  I've  learned  some
amazing things," Linda Ives states.

"We've learned the sheriff's lied about testing for fibers on the
boys  clothes.  We've  learned  that  Don Henry was stabbed, that
Kevin's face was crushed with a rifle butt, that  the  weight  of
their  lungs,  filled  with  blood,  was  clear  proof  from  the
beginning that they didn't die from the impact of that train.

"But the most amazing thing we learned was  that  Kevin  and  Don
were killed because of a very large drug smuggling operation that
involved public officials and  public  corruption,  even  in  the
murders themselves.

"There were witnesses to my  son's  murder;  witnesses  who  have
passed  FBI polygraphs, placing government officials on the train
tracks with those  boys  before  they  were  murdered.  And  this
information is also corroborated by other witnesses."

Mrs. Ives' pauses, and we call a halt to shooting. My crew and  I
sit  in  stunned silence at what we have been hearing. Linda sees
this, and smiles, almost for the first time. When we had arrived,
we'd made much of the 'small-town-y' nature of the directions she
had given us to her home, directions a little in  the  old  'Turn
left  where  the  old  Ben  Franklin  used to be' school. Now the
tables have been turned.  Linda  looks  bemused  at  our  cityboy

"Its all true," she states matter-of-factly. "Just ask Jean."

		    * * * * * * * * * *

The "Jean" she is referring to is Jean Duffey. Today Jean  Duffey
is  a high school algebra teacher in a suburb of Houston Texas, a
handsome woman with short-cropped brown hair, a woman  who  looks
just  like  the  soccer  moms  we  heard so much about before the
recent election. But  six  years  ago  she  was  the  prosecuting
attorney  of  a federally funded Drug Task Force in Saline County
Arkansas, whose undercover agents  began  to  come  to  her  with
revelations about the murders of the two boys.

And no soccer mom encounters I'd ever had prepared  me  for  what
she told us right at the beginning of our interview.

"The FBI has eyewitnesses to the slayings," she tells us in  that
matter-of-fact  tone  affected  by  those  who,  for professional
reasons, are forced to cultivate as much detachment as they  can.
"One  witness at the scene even passed a polygraph. But still, to
this date, nothing has been done. It's been  this  way  from  day
one, with seven separate investigations, each one stopped."

The initial hue and cry by local citizens and the  media,  Duffey
explains,  was  directed at the unbelievable verdict of the State
Medical Examiner, who ruled the  boys'  deaths  accidental.  This
forced  the  second examination we'd heard about from Linda Ives.
Remember? The one showing that one boy had been  stabbed  in  the
back,  while  the  other's  face had been smashed in, bearing the
imprint of a rifle butt?

Hearing this  stomach-wrenching  information  related  to  us  on
camera for a second time in two days, I had a curious reaction. I
felt slightly giddy. There was a disconnect  between  the  events
being related, and my reaction. I was tempted to ask: "What could
Dr. Malak have been thinking about, that day those boys' lifeless
bodies crossed his examining room table? Lunch?"

Later I was to feel that my feelings were not as inappropriate as
they  appeared  at  first blush. How can one react in the face of
what feels like sheer malignant evil? As I listened further,  the
threads  of--dare  I say it?--conspiracy--began to weave tighter,
and I began thinking of  Dr.  Malak  not  as  of  someone  merely
incompetent,  but  as  of  someone both incompetent and sinister,
sort of a backwoods Joseph Mengele.

"Fahmy Malak was  bulletproof  in  Arkansas;  he  was  completely
protected,"  states  Duffey. "And that was true, even in the face
of incredible adverse publicity from the media after  the  second
examination   showed   how   clearly  ridiculous  his  ruling  of
accidental  death  was.  We  are  way  beyond   the   bounds   of
incompetence here; we are into criminal intent."

So, I asked, was Dr. Malek  an  accessory  to  murder?  Ever  the
prosecutor,  Duffy  considered her words carefully. "Accessory to
murder," she said slowly, "is different from conspiracy to  cover
up, which is what I believe Dr. Malak was involved in."

But we are getting slightly ahead of ourselves.  I  ask  how  Ms.
Duffey's  Drug Task Force came to be involved in the Train Deaths
murder investigation.

"I had  hired  seven  undercover  investigators,"  she  explains.
"Their  job  was  to  make  drug  buys, and work their way up the
ladder to drug suppliers. That's  who  we  were  after.  But  the
connections began to lead almost immediately to public officials,
who were either protecting the drug trade or actively involved in
the drug trade themselves."

"And the person whose name came up most often was also the person
who  had  been  the  special prosecutor in the initial grand jury
investigation  into  the  Train  Deaths,   a   nearly   year-long
proceeding that did nothing but establish that the cause of death
was not accidental, but was indeed homicide."

"His name is Dan Harmon. It became  apparent  almost  immediately
that Dan Harmon was a key player in the drug trafficking activity
taking place in Saline county."

Duffey pauses, remembering. "About three months after we were  up
and running, one of my undercover investigators asked if he could
open the Trains Deaths case, which was, at that  point,  two-and-
a-half  years  old,  and  perhaps  Arkansas' most famous unsolved
mystery. It had been featured twice on the TV program, and people
who were possible witnesses were turning up dead."

"I asked him why he thought that we  should  get  involved.  'Two
reasons,'  he  told  me.  'First,  because  its drug related. And
second, because we can solve it.'

"Why, I asked him, did he think we could solve a crime that other
investigations  had  been  unable to? Because, he said, the other
investigations were cover-ups. No real investigation had yet been
conducted thoroughly and forthrightly."

Duffey's Drug  Task  Force  investigators  proceeded  to  develop
startling  evidence  that  had previously been ignored. First, on
the drug-related aspect of the crimes.

"One of the first things my investigator  did  was  to  interview
people  living  in  the  vicinity  of  where  Kevin  and Don were
murdered. He discovered that drug drops had been rumored in  that
area  over  the six months before the boys murders, that citizens
had filed reports of low-flying  aircraft  buzzing  over  in  the
middle of the night with their lights turned off.

"When a citizen made one of these complaints, an officer would go
out  and take a report, and then do nothing. No investigation was
done. These reports were sitting in  the  sheriff's  office  when
Kevin  and  Don  were  murdered.  But  the connection between the
planes and the deaths was not made."

Duffey allows herself a wry  smile  "I  found  it  very  hard  to
believe  that  my undercover officer could see the obvious, while
no one else could."

Duffey continues speaking in her prosecutorial monotone,  telling
how  a  confessed drug dealer had testified that she had, as part
of her participation in an  "officially"  sanctioned  drug  ring,
picked  up cocaine that had been 'dropped' on the train tracks in
the same vicinity.

Apparently, cocaine was raining from  the  darkened  night  skies
over Arkansas.

"The system kept me from prosecuting," she continues.  "Our  Drug
Task  Force  was  actually doomed from the beginning. On the very
day I was appointed to head the drug task force, Gary Arnold,  my
boss, walked into my office, stared at me hard, and instructed me
not to  use  the  Drug  Task  Force  to  investigate  any  public

There was a massive cover-up, Duffey states in an even tone.  "My
drug  task  force was shut down cold. Because we were getting too
close. We were not allowed to get there."

What happened next? "I got smeared," says Duffey.  "There  was  a
massive  smear  campaign  against  me, led by Dan Harmon, who fed
misleading and untrue information to the local papers."

So Jean Duffey's career began to follow  a  familiar  trajectory,
one  often  seen  in those who refuse to look the other way. Doug
Thompson, a local reporter on the main  Little  Rock  paper,  the
Arkansas  Democrat,  led  a campaign against her, while being fed
information by the man who would later became the focal point  of

And, at that point, Duffey says, she realized  she  could  do  no
more, and took the case to the US Attorney.

And the smear campaign? The one that ran courageous and crusading
prosecuting  attorney  Jean Duffey right out of state? What about

Duffey almost smiles. "Today I realize, after  working  with  the
FBI  for  eighteen  months  beginning  in March of 1995, what the
basis was for Dan Harmon's  viciousness.  I  now  know  that  Dan
Harmon  was  on the tracks with the boys the night that they were

This was the point during the shooting of this story at  which  I
began  to  feel  like  the Greek Chorus at an outdoor play. I was
thinking of a  writer  from  the  heartland  of  America.  I  was
thinking  of  Kurt Vonnegut, who gave us a refrain so constantly-
repeated that it seemed to have become a mantra in the 60's.  'So
it goes,' his characters would say.  'So it goes.'

But I started this tale in Mena, and  the  alert  reader  may  be
forgiven  for  asking, how does Mena connect with two unfortunate
murders which, let's grant for the sake  of  argument,  may  well
have been committed in the course of drug smuggling activities in
Arkansas, and may well have involved corrupt officials?

What does Mena have to do with  the  Train  Deaths,  events  that
occurred half a state away?

Well, this, for starters: if the drug smuggling in Mena, Arkansas
was  widespread  and pervasive, it would still just be the tip of
the  iceberg,  albeit  a  very  big  tip.  What  Russell   Welch,
acknowledged  as  the  expert in Arkansas drug smuggling, even by
his drug-smuggling foes in those  times,  such  as  Barry  Seal's
brother-in-law  Bill Bottoms, (who has lately discovered a highly
vocal mission to portray Mena as  a  myth)  could  tell  us,  was
simple: was Mena an anomaly, an isolated incidence in an isolated

Or did what happened there bespeak a  larger  corruption  of  the
Arkansas  bodily  public  in those heady years of the 80's, years
before the American public at large began to wonder  whether  the
drug policy of its government was Just Say NO...or Just Fly Low.

After all, cocaine had never been known to rain  from  the  skies
anywhere I lived during the 80's. And I lived in Los Angeles.

{{{850912, Drew Thorton, Knoxville, TN.}}}

We were on a journey, we now realized, to see the Wizard. But  we
had two brief stops first.

Our first stop was to visit with the reporter whose  fingerprints
are  all  over  the case, Doug Thompson of the Arkansas Democrat,
the state's main paper, since it  bought  its  competition.  It's
located  in  a  handsome  gray  stone  building near the heart of
Little Rock.

Thompson seemed happy to see us, and agreed to talk, but not  on-
camera.  "Of  all  the TV people who have been down here to cover
Mena," he told me. "You're the first one to stop by  to  see  me.
And my name's on all the clips."

Indeed it was. Thompson is a burly affable man, easy to like.  He
had  covered  the  Train Deaths through most of its permutations,
over almost a seven year span. But his easy manner seemed at odds
with  what  Jean  Duffey had told us about him, that she had been
hounded out of state at least partly by his coverage of  her.  We
asked about his role.

"Driving that woman out of state is the thing I'm proudest  about
in  my  years at this paper," he stated. "Did you know, while she
ran the task force, her 18-year old daughter  used  her  mother's
position to obtain a drivers' license stating she was 21?"

I did my best to look shocked. Shocked! And I was. As soon as  he
retailed this innocuous-enough but still faintly scurrilous piece
of information, I became uneasily aware of being in the  presence
of  someone  who  might  not  turn  out  to  be  a  disinterested
information broker to the out-of-state truth-seeker.

An 18-year old girl procuring fake ID did not seem like a capital
crime to me. Maybe it is to you. But it did strike me as just the
sort of thing someone attempting to prove a  point  might  dredge
up. Suddenly it seemed an agenda had reared its ugly head.

"She's crazy, Jean is," he continues. "Jean Duffey and Dan Harmon
are  both  crazy,  they  both belong in a lunatic asylum, just in
separate wings."

Ah-Hah! The plague-on-both-your-houses defense. We  smiled.  Doug
smiled. Later, when we did stand-up on our story, on the sidewalk
just outside the paper's offices, security guards stood  uneasily
just inside the main door.

		    * * * * * * * * * *


That left just one stone left unturned.  Billy Bob "Bear" Bottoms
is  a  genuine  Louisiana  piece  of  work,  as  anyone  with two
nicknames can be safely assumed to be.  He  is  also  the  former
brother-in-law  of Barry Seal,  and one of his drug pilots during
the 80's, as well as a former US Navy pilot.

Lately Bob Bottoms seems  to  have  discovered  a  new  vocation:
destroyer  of what he calls the "Mena Myth," first in a Penthouse
article, widely quoted by debunkers of the San Jose Mercury  News
"Dark  Alliance" series on the CIA, the Contras, and Cocaine. And
then he has surfaced suddenly to become a highly visible presence
at  those meeting grounds on the Internet where topics like these
are bandied about, inspiring  heated  discussion  in  forums  and
information         lists        like        CIA/Drugs        and (Yes, there really is  such
a 'place.' Isn't cyberspace grand?)

The clear consensus about Bottoms was that he was, at some  third
party's  behest,  supplying  disinformation to lead investigators
seeking an intelligence agency hand in drug smuggling in Arkansas
off  the  scent.  He  admitted smuggling massive amounts of drugs
(and had the newspaper  clippings  to  prove  it).  And  he  also
admitted  to  working for the DEA for six years (more clippings).
What he didn't admit was to ever having gotten  caught  smuggling
drugs,   a  fact  which  normally  precedes  contrition  in  drug
smugglers. On this point most knowledgeable observers see a  hole
in the bottom of Mr. Bottoms curriculum vitae.

We were also warned about the dangers  of  meeting  with  him.  A
dispatch reached us alleging that Bottoms has been known to plant
drugs on innocent people and then turn them in.

So when we arrived for our meeting, at a hotel in Baton Rouge, we
eyed  him  a  bit  nervously.  But  he has a disarming smile, and
intelligent blue eyes to go with a brown bomber jacket, jeans and
a heavily-weathered if handsome face.

The thrust of Bottoms' argument is that Mena was a small airfield
from  which a small drug operation took place over a small period
of time during the 1980's. Period. During our  conversation  over
breakfast,  we  took  no notes, but gauged, as best we could, the

And to our chagrin, we found we  liked  him.  He  seemed  more  a
swashbuckling  type than the kind of sleazeball we've all seen in
movies like "Scarface."

He made much of the fact that several of the  principals  in  the
Mena  story,  including,  most  notably,  Terry Reed, were liars,
people for whom he shared,  along  with  Russell  Welch,  a  fine
contempt.  He  had even posted to the Internet his correspondence
with Welch, from which one could glean a wary mutual respect.

I took two  things  from  our  inconclusive  encounter.  First  I
realized  what  true  'babes  in  the  woods' most of us would-be
truth-detectors must appear to people schooled  in  the  arts  of
dissemination,  as  Bottoms  has  been.  And,  second,  I wanted,
despite the chill temperature, to crawl under  our  crew  van  to
check for packages that weren't there before.

		    * * * * * * * * * *

Russell  Welch  arrived  unannounced  and without   ceremony   at
our   motel   in  Mena.  He  looked  every  inch  the  undercover
investigator  he  no  longer  is:  alert  green   eyes,  slightly
slouched,  nondescript  clothing. The man seems born to skulk.

What he agreed to do with us was this: go to dinner, but not  eat
dinner,  at  a local place called the Cutting Board, which served
hamburgers the size of small flying saucers. Or of small fedoras,
if  you're one of the few who has not yet seen (or been aboard) a
saucer. He would talk to  us,  he  said,  but  not  with  cameras

At this point, perhaps a word or  two  about  Russell  Welch  for
those  of you tuning in late might be in order. Although hundreds
of thousands of words have already been written  about  him,  his
story is not yet a well-known one.

Trooper Russell Welch of the Arkansas State Police  was  assigned
to  investigate drug smuggler Barry Seal in the early '80's. Seal
had made the small Interregional Mountain  Airport  in  Mena  his
home  field. Thinking this not an entirely peachy idea, the State
Police put Welch on the case.

Seal had been in Special Forces in the 60's. In 1972,  as  a  TWA
pilot,  he  had  been arrested for smuggling explosives for anti-
Castro Cubans. Seal's C-123K cargo plane,  "The  Fat  Lady,"  was
procured by Seal from Air America, the known CIA subsidiary.

After Seal 'sold' the plane, it  crashed  in  1986,  with  Eugene
Hasenfus  on  board.  This  marked  the  first public exposure of
Oliver North's secret contra war, set up in  contravention  of  a
Congressional Act, the Boland Amendment, which made such activity

There  has  been  much  talk  about   interference   in   Welch's
investigation, and about prosecutions which were subverted. Welch
himself has been quoted to this effect. He had his career  ruined
by his seemingly quixotic quest to bring drug smuggling to a halt
at the Mena airport. He is either a pitiful Dudley  Do-Right,  or
an American hero of the first order.

After spending the briefest possible amount of time with him, I'm
clear  about  where I come down on that question. I'd name my kid
after him, had I one to name.

)From this brief outline, several things should be  clear  to  anymeathead
with the slightest hint of gray matter beneath his cap.
A secret government  operation  was  run  out  of  this  remotest
possible  outpost  of the Empire. A "Bamboozle in the Boondocks."
Some of it involved drugs.

And nobody bothered to let Trooper Welch in on the joke.

The  punch  line  was  not  too  funny  for  Russell  Welch.   He
'contracted'  anthrax,  the  military  warfare  biological  agent
variety. His doctor told him someone had sprayed it in his  face.
Then   an   FBI  agent  was  about  to  arrest  him  for  illegal
wiretapping, but a local sheriff dissuaded him,  on  the  grounds
that Welsh had been in the hospital dying of anthrax at the time.
(If you're not Welch, some of this seems funny.)

Finally, Welsh retired from the Arkansas State Police. Alive. But
not through lack of trying.

Today Welch is an understandably wary man. At dinner he  outlined
for us the way things went at Mena.

"The whole method of  smuggling  was  an  excellent  system  that
Seal's  men  had  been carefully instructed in. Flying back, they
would 'kick drugs' at a previously unknown spot. After the  drugs
were 'kicked,' the coordinates of the spot were given to a ground
or a helicopter crew and they would then go to a remote area  and
pick  them  up. Then the planes would land back in Mena, and they
would be clean."

Welch pointedly mentions that Barry Seal was  neither  the  first
nor  the last drug smuggler to call Mena home. We coaxed him, "So
you're saying there were smugglers here before..."

"Sure. Oh yeah. Before Seal and after Seal. And  I  assume  there
are smugglers here right now."

Be still my beating heart... This is  the  first  reference  I've
heard  to  current  drug  smuggling out of Mena Arkansas. Russell
grins.  He's got a good sense of humor. "Its legal here."

He goes on to relate a story about a local radio station  with  a
Howard  Stern wanna-be who had announced one morning that the big
news that  day  was  that  the  local  prosecuting  attorney  had
legalized  cocaine  out at Mena airport. You could tell Welsh was
trying to be funny, but his heart wasn't in it.

"Did it come as a surprise to you," we asked him, "when  the  CIA
finally admitted that they had conducted training at Mena?"

"Oh, no."

"That was something you knew?"

"Yeah, that was commonplace. But long long ago."

"Are they telling everything?"

"No they're not," Welsh answers slowly. "They just mentioned this
one two-week operation they had here, which I suspect was testing
of an airplane. They had some top-secret spy plane out there, and
the  deputies  caught them, and everyone at the airport knew what
was going on, word got around, and so they eventually went to the
local  sheriff  and  gave him one of those little coins that they
give to people who discover them."

Here's news! Coins! Ferret out a black op somewhere,  and  you'll
get a commemorative medallion.

"When the deputies drove up on them at the airport  one  of  them
swept the area with his flashlight and saw people standing around
wearing those labsuits that look like spacesuits. It caused a bit
of fear."

Welsh is grinning again. "Part of that operation's still here."

But that's it. Nothing more is clearly forthcoming. We change our
tack. "The FBI tried to frame you for an illegal wiretap?"

"Yeah. Fortunately I was in the hospital dying at  the  time  and
muffed their case up a bit."

"You were dying of anthrax, correct?"

"Yeah. That's what I was diagnosed and treated for."

"How did you find that out?

Welsh doesn't grin this time. "Doctor says,  'you're  dying,'  or
words to that effect..."

We ask him about Bill Bottoms, and get another taste of  reality,

"Old Billy Bottoms is a liar. But Billy tells  a  lot  of  truth.
Billy Bottoms is who he says he is."

Ah. The art of disinformation.

"One of the biggest things Billy Bob is doing wrong is not saying
in posts that he's limited, that he doesn't know everything. This
operation with Barry Seal isn't the  limit  of  what  took  place
here.  Barry  Seal was very limited. Barry is a cocaine smuggler,
he got busted, he rolled over, he got  burned  and  then  he  got
killed. Barry Seal wasn't in charge of nuthin.'

"From 1984 on, Barry Seal  is  trying  to  stay  out  of  prison.
Struggling to keep his importance, struggling with Billy Bottoms'
buddy Jake Jacobson that he (Bottoms) stayed with after Seal  was
dead,  begging him for something to keep him important. Something
that will keep him important in the DEA's  eyes,  and  then  they
dumped  him  in  July  of  '84, and that's when he really started
struggling--he's trying to help them find Pablo Escobar.

And when Duncan and I interviewed him in December of '85, he  was
a  scared  desperate  man.  He wasn't in charge of nothing. He is
trying to stay alive. He knew a contract was out on him then.  He
talked  about  it.  He's  trying  to stay out of prison. And he's
scared to death of Arkansas. Because he wasn't protected; he  was
protected everywhere, except at the state level in Arkansas."

"Was that because of you?"

"Because of me. He talks about it in the transcription of my  and
Duncan's  interview with him. It was almost a defeatist attitude.
Like, I'm a dead man anyway. And two months later, he was a  dead

Welsh was passionate now, and  he  went  on  to  talk  about  the
numerous  congressional subcommittees, "every subcommittee that's
been through here--four or five of them--are independent  hotshot
investigations to expose everything--and all they end up exposing
is witnesses."

He mentioned the name of one, relating how she had  been  exposed
to  peril  after  being assured of something he referred to as "a
congressional umbrella." He snorted  derisively.  "I'm  not  sure
that  there  is  such a thing. They dumped her, they forgot about
her, but she was exposed for what she did."

Welch stands  angrily.  We're  uncertain  what  comes  next.  Its
getting late. Maybe we've had our interview. "C'mon," Welch says.
"I'll give you a tour of the airport."

		    * * * * * * * * * *


We have no tape recording of what  follows,  so  paraphrases  are
inexact.  Even  if  we had been carrying a recorder, Welch pulled
the old trick of cranking the radio up in his car as he drove  us
around the outside of the Interregional Mountain Airport.

But we caught, clearly, the gist of what he had to say.  Mena  is
not  about  just  things  that went on in the early 80's. Mena is
about things that are going on right now.

"See that hangar?" he would  say,  pointing  out  this,  or  that
building  looming  in the darkness. "That's owned by..." And then
there would be an anecdote.

"That's owned by ______, who today owns almost half the airport,"
he  said  at  one  stop on our tour. "He doesn't exist in history
back past a safe house in Baltimore in 1972."

Or: "That hangar's owned by ____ ___ . He smuggled heroin through
Laos back in the Seventies."

Or: "That hangar's owned by a guy  who  just  went  bankrupt.  So
what's he do? Flies to Europe for more money. Don't tell me crime
don't pay!"

He shows us a half dozen lumbering Fokker aircraft parked  on  an
apron.   "The  DEA's been tracking those planes back and forth to
Columbia for a while now."

It goes on like this for a while. At the end, he seems spent, but
satisfied. He looks over across the car seat at me. "You know how
many nights I spent out here in the dark,  watching  planes  take
off and land?" he asks softly.

Then he tells me one of his secrets. He  illustrates  by  getting
out  of the car, and walking over to a parked plane. As he exits,
I notice a revolver lying on the drivers' seat he's just vacated.
It seems that one of Trooper Welch's few pleasures, back in those
days when he was attempting to bring drug smugglers to heel, was,
when  the call of nature overcame him on his lonely night vigils,
to relieve himself on the side of a plane that flew drugs in  and
out of American airspace with impunity.

It seems a perfect gesture. They may get you  in  the  end,  but,
fuck  it--piss  on  'em.  A  rebel  gesture,  purely American. As
American as--well, lets save that  for  the  big  close.  Trooper
Welch's eyes grow solemn, even in the dark.

"I could tell you what's going on, but when you leave  here,  I'm
still here with my family. And just the fact that you're going to
do a television show, that may not even mention  me  or  anything
you  got  from  me...just  the fact that you're going to do it is
gonna cause me a bunch of shit. It  always  has,  and  it  always
will. Its gonna cause me problems that you can't even define."

		    * * * * * * * * * *


We had made our pilgrimage to Mena. And we felt duly chastened by
what  we think we learned. But the tale we set out to tell, after
all, was a little story  that  should  belong  to  its  two  main
protagonists, Linda Ives and Jean Duffy.

Linda Ives, mother of one of the slain boys, has made  a  crusade
out  of  finding  his  killers  and bringing them to justice. She
thinks she's fulfilled the first of those two objectives. Its the
second one she wonders about.

"This is not just a case of  local  corruption,"  she  says  with
quiet  determination.  "We  knew  that early on because the state
police just weren't doing their  job.  Then  there  were  Federal
investigations,  and  we were promised indictments would come out
of them. But they were shut down too.

"Who has the power to shut down  a  federal  investigation?"  she

"We too had heard about Barry Seal's operation dropping drugs and
cash  around  the state. We made contact with a pilot who claimed
to have many times flown the drop at the place where my son died.
Local  law  enforcement was in charge of securing those drops, he
told us.

"And just prior to Kevin and Don's deaths a drop at that location
had  gone  local  law enforcement was on Red Alert.
They were waiting for somebody to try to steal their  next  drop.
And Kevin and Don happened by. Several witnesses place two police
officers beating up two boys at a little grocery store  right  by
where they found the boys' bodies...

"I believe that Kevin and Don were grabbed by these two officers,
interrogated, and subsequently killed."

"These two officers, whom I believe  to  be  Kirk  Lane  and  Jay
Campbell,  are  Pulaski  County narcotics officers. They are good
friends  with  (former  Clinton   friend   and   convicted   drug
distributor) Dan Lasater, and have flown in his jet many times.

"I believe the reason these investigations have gone  nowhere  is
because  of  the connections of the two officers seen beating and
kicking those boys, Kirk Lane and Jay Campbell, to  Dan  Lasater,
and  on  up to Bill Clinton, and I also believe these connections
filter down to the criminals and thugs that are public  officials
to this day here in Saline county.

"I believe that the evidence is overwhelming  that  Bill  Clinton
knew  what  was  going  on in Mena Arkansas and made no effort to
investigate or eradicate it."

In a more measured  but  no  less  impassioned  way  Jean  Duffey
largely concurs.

"Did you ever in your  wildest  dreams  while  you  were  in  law
school,"  we  asked  her,  "entertain  the  idea  that  the  U.S.
Government condoned smuggling drugs?"

"No," she responds. " I did not."

"Who is responsible, ultimately, for those  boys'  deaths?  Where
did the chain of command end?"

She hesitates. "In my opinion, I believe it began  with  the  CIA
smuggling  drugs,  so whoever was giving the command might be who
is ultimately responsible."

"Is there any explanation you can think  of  for  seven  thwarted
investigations  into  the  Train  Deaths  other  than  government
complicity in drug smuggling in Arkansas?"

"Absolutely no other explanation."

"Was Barry Seal a big enough drug  smuggler  to  conduct  a  drug
smuggling  operation  that  involved  drug drops near those train
tracks with the regularity to provoke  citizen  complaints  about
low flying aircraft?"

"Probably not."

"But you clearly believe the people  responsible  for  those  two
boys' deaths were working for someone else?"


"And  that  they  were  involved  in  a  criminal  enterprise  of
surprising scope and sweep?"


"Where does that lead you to speculate?"

"As a prosecuting attorney I had to stick to the facts. But prior
to  getting  to  a jury I'm allowed to speculate, and process all
the information I have from whatever direction it comes. What  in
my  opinion  has  been  involved is a CIA or rogue CIA operation,
conducted by the CIA or CIA operatives. To smuggle drugs into the
United  States  from  South  America,  using  Barry  Seal's  drug
smuggling operation in Mena.

Duffey stopped a moment, surprised, I believe,  at  the  thoughts
she  was  voicing.  Then  she  continued.  "I  believe there is a
possibility that Oliver North  was  involved  with  the  National
Security Council; that Oliver North was working for....

A noise startled her. She stopped. I called for the cameraman, in
some  exasperation, to stop tape. Jean looked at me, and although
we had been having a conversation for over an hour now, it was as
if she saw me for the first time.

"I have not talked about this before," she protested.

"But everyone else has," I answered.

"I'm not the one to answer questions about Oliver North smuggling
drugs in the Iran/Contra affair," she stated tentatively.

Then, I witnessed something that felt extraordinary. I watched as
she  let  herself go... Her voice grew stronger as she continued:
"Again, sticking to the facts, I know that when North was  before
Congress  in  the  Congressional  Hearings  about the Iran/Contra
affair, two questions came  up  about  Mena  Arkansas.  And  both
times, the investigation went into closed door session...

"Now, if Oliver North had not been involved in Mena, wouldn't  he
have simply said, 'No, I don't know anything about Mena?"

"Why did the committee go behind closed doors? That's a fact that
can't be ignored."

"This is an opinion now I'm asking for," I told her.  "If  Oliver
North,  or someone on Oliver North's level, had not been involved
in Mena, there would not have been a Mena, would there?"

"That's a reasonable assumption that I would have to agree with."

"And if there had been no Mena, there would have  been  no  train
track deaths either, would there?"

She blinked. I wasn't sure if she knew where I was  leading  with
these  questions,  but  she sensed it was somewhere she wanted to
think very closely about first.

"That's not as clear cut," she said slowly.  "There  could  still
have been the murders."

"Let me try it this way," I  said.  "Was  even  a  powerful  drug
smuggler  like  Barry  Seal  big  enough to have conducted a drug
smuggling  operation  with  the  regularity  to  provoke  citizen
complaints about low flying aircraft?"

"Probably not. And in fact, it wasn't until the time frame  after
Oliver  North  got  involved  in Mena that there was so much drug
activity, low flying planes, over those train tracks."

I took a deep breath. "So, does it seem at all possible  to  you,
that if Oliver North had not been charged with flying guns to the
contras and bringing back cocaine that  could  be  then  sold  to
finance  the  contra war,that those two boys might still be alive

There was a long silence. Then, almost in a whisper, she replied.
"It seems apparent that they would be."

		    * * * * * * * * * *


So, we'd stared into the Heart of Darkness. The Heart of Darkness
had stared right back.

Allegations and speculation are not proof. The truth, indeed,  is
still out there.

But, for what little they're  worth,  here  are  my  speculations
about our journey into the secret history of our life and times.

I don't believe that the 'drug smuggler' Billy Bob Bottoms is any
more  a  drug  smuggler than you or I. I believe him to be a paid
representative of the government of the United States of  America
acting  under the doctrines of plausible deniability. Why? Just a
hunch. I liked him too much. He was a Navy pilot. His brother  in
law  Barry Seal was a Special Op guy. These were our best and our
bravest men.

Here's what I would like to know. Who  convinced  men  like  Bear
Bottoms  that  what  they were doing was in the best interests of
our country? What valid reasons might there be for our  country's
national  security apparatus to be involved in the drug industry?
Unless someone steps forward to make the argument  for  why  this
might be in our national interest, I'll wonder.

And here's what I've learned. Some things we'll  never  know  for
sure.  The  opposition's  way too good for that. For example, I'm
convinced, to the depths of my  heart,  that  there  was  a  coup
d'etat in the United States of America in 1963. That the bad guys
never got caught. And that, chances are, they still run things.

I will never, as long as I live, forget  our  'Midnight  ride  to
Mena,'  seated beside tour guide and American hero Russell Welch.
I'm convinced that what I  saw  there  that  night  was  a  fully
functional and operational secret government installation.

By that, I do not mean a secret installation of the government of
the  United  States of America. Unh-uh. What I believe I saw, and
what  I  believe  exists  in  Mena,  Arkansas  today...   is   an
installation of the secret government that runs the government of
the United States of America.

And here's what I suspect: that today, long  after  Oliver  North
has  become nothing but a minor league radio DJ... and long after
the contra war is just a  fading  memory  of  yet  another  minor
league  war,  our  government--yours and mine--is going about the
lucrative worldwide business of drug production and distribution.

It's the secret heartbeat of America. And  it's  as  American  as
apple pie.

Daniel Hopsicker
January 29,1997
All rights reserved.

[Daniel Hopsicker has now finished the TV  documentary  mentioned
in  this  story, as well as a book.  A tape of the documentary as
well as a pre-publication  version  of  the  book  are  available
through the Washington Weekly web site at:]

  Published in the May 12, 1997 Issue of The Washington Weekly.
  Non-commercial reposting  permitted with this message intact.

Forwarded article from Larry-Jennie  ;
may not contain poster's opinions.

Jai Maharaj
Om Shanti

Subject:  Mena Airport, C-123s & More
From: Larry-Jennie 
Date:  Mon, 26 May 1997 20:06:40 -0700
Message-ID:  <>
Organization:  InterAccess, Chicago's best Internet Service Provider
Newsgroups:  alt.conspiracy,alt.impeach.clinton,alt.president.clinton,

(Russell Welch is a retired Arkansas State Police investigator)

Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 17:26:50 -0500
From: truegrit  (Russell Welch)

The Mena Airport is located about one mile from the southwestern city
limits of Mena.  It is still in a relatively densely populated area.
A major highway (by local standards), Ark.  State Hwy.  8, runs within
about one or two hundred feet of the north edge of the runway.  You
can legally park your car and walk to the end of the strip.  A major
county road runs along the west side of the airport, giving access to
the businesses on that side of the runway.  The hangers are no more
than 30 or 40 feet off the road.  Another major county road runs along
the south end of the strip, about 300 feet (maybe more) from the south
edge of the strip.  Again, you can legally park your car and walk out
there is you want to.

These are major thorough fares, by local standards.  They all have a
lot of daily traffic.  A short state maintained hwy runs along the
east end of the runway, Ark State Hwy 980.  This hwy runs maybe half
the length of the strip.  After that it turns into a dirt road and
provides access to private land and residences.  A local bootlegger
used to live down that road.  The area surrounding the airport is
peppered with houses.  In addition to that, immediately accross the
road from the airport, on the west side, there is a housing
sub-division.  Across the highway on the north side, there is a
trailer park.  I'll scan a map of the area and send it to you.

My house is located about a mile-and-a-half northwest of the airport.
Al Hadaways house is about a mile due north of the airport.  You can't
land or take off, using the north approach, without going directly
over Hadaway's house.  You couldn't fire up the engines of the C-123
without hearing it from my house, and there's a hill between my house
and the airport.  From Hadaway's house, I would be surprized if you
couldn't feel the walls shake a little bit.

During that time, when Hadaway wasn't working at being a sheriff, he
was at the airport.  He was a pilot and loved aviation.  He eventually
quit the sheriff's office, after being completely worn down (burned
out) as a result of the Seal investigation.  His response to the
media, when he quit was, "How can I arrest people for relatively minor
drug offenses when cocaine smugglers go untouched?"

Most of the laborers who worked at the Mena Airport were local
citizens with families who took part in all of the social affairs of
the community.  I went to church with some of them.  One of my fellow
church members actually worked at Rich Mountain Aviation while Seal
was there.  A good man with a good family.  Unfortunately, Freddie
Hampton was able to moniter me at church and this man would get
harrassed and intimidated for so much as shaking hands with me during
fellowship.  I never put him and his family into jeopardy by
soliciting information from him, but towards the end, he got tired of
the intimidation and started volunteering information to me.

The local people have watched activity at the Mena Airport and don't
approve of any illegal activity.  Local policticians and certain
businessmen have ranted for years that adverse publicity is hurting
the airport and "local people are tired of it." That's wrong.  Local
people are tired of illegal activity at the airport; but, know that
they need to keep their mouths shut.  In Arkansas truth is declared by
the people with the power.  Those who try to oppose that, can get
squashed.  The safest and easiest thing for them to do, is to keep
their mouths shut and enjoy their families.

That's why I had some consternation as I saw that my involvement in an
investigation was becoming inevitable.  I knew that I would be on my
own and essentially living with the enemy.  There was no place for me
to go and be anonymous.  Although, Billy Bottoms says that all of
Seal's people were non-violent, it would have been stupid for me to
think that, at the time.  On top of all of this, being in a small
town, there was a constant flow of information, mixed with a gernerous
smattering of gossip.

People were constantly calling me to give me information on a wide
range of subjects, including activity at the airport.  It was the same
way with Hadaway.  When Seal flew the C-123 away, for the final time,
I could hear the engines firing up over the air conditioner at my
house.  I still got two telephone calls from people telling that Seal
was about to leave in the Fat Lady.

I went out to the airport and watched for a while as they worked on it
at Rich Mountain Aviation.  When it appeared that they would not be
leaving any time soon, I went back home.  A couple of hours later, I
heard the engines fire up again.  This time I got four telephone
calls.  I went back out to the airport and found the C-123 at the
north end of the runway.  I parked directly across from it on the east
side of the runway, at Rose Upholstry.  He tinkered with it for a
while and then gave it some gas.  Flames shot out behing the engines
for about 20 feet.  If anybody had been in the car with me, we would
not have been able to talk because of the noise.  A C-123 makes a lot
of noise.

I know that Seal could see me because I was right across from him and
he looked my way a couple of times.  I watched to see if he would flip
me off as he began his take-off.  He didn't pay any attention to me.
I guess he was busy flying the plane.  As I was leaving the airport I
stopped and talked to an acquantance at the one of the hangers.  He
made some jokes about the Fat Lady and I went back home.

The point I'm trying to make is that, sure - the C-123 could have made
some trips without Hadaway or me knowing about it; but, there were so
many people at and around that airport that it was impossible for it
to come and go without somebody knowing.  Very few of the people that
live next to the airport have anything to do with the businesses
there.  Some of them did not mind reporting suspicious activity on
occasion.  Jack Rose of Rose Upholstry volunteered his business to me
for surveillance at night time.  Everybody knew that Seal was a
cocaine smuggler and at least some of the other businessmen didn't
like the fact that Freddie Hampton had brought him to their airport.
I can say that the C-123 left at least a couple of times.  Maybe, it
left three of four times; but, I don't think so.

The area around the strip at Nella is also relatively congested.  A
major county road runs along one end of the strip.  While Seal was
active at the Mena airport, there was a thin line of saplings grown up
between the strip and the county road.  The sapplings are cleared off
now.  You can park your car on the side of the county road and walk a
few feet onto the strip.  Another road, that appears to be kept up by
the county runs along the other end of the strip.  A private drive,
with public access runs along the north edge of the Nella strip.

Nonetheless, on at least one occasion two game wardens were rudely
ordered away from one of these roads by men who identified themselves
as federal agents.  The game wardens were responding to a complaint of
night hunters.  But, that's another story; much of which hasn't been
made public.  I'm sure we can get into that later.

There are houses scattered out all over that area.  This area of the
Ouachita National Forest has been used for years for some Special
Forces Training.  Back in the 80's Fort Chaffee, at Fort Smith, about
85 miles north of Mena, was converted to what they call a "Joint
Readiness Training Center." I found out from a newspaper clipping on
the west coast, read to me by a federal investigator, that, included
in the JRTC mission, was the training of South and Central American
military forces.  There was some reason for me to believe that they
mayhave crossed over that line when they used the area to train El
Salvadorian assassins.

Seal probably thought that the things he said and did at Rich Mountain
Aviation were kept in confidence but that was not the case.  As soon
as Seal left, Freddie would tell somebody and before long it would
spread over a wide area.  After Seal started doing some legal stuff,
I'm sure that Freddie couldn't wait to tell someone.  As soon as Seal
told Freddie Hampton or Joe Evans that he was bringing in a C-123 to
do a sting with the DEA, the story was bound to spread, and Hadaway,
without a doubt would have been one of the first to hear it.

There was another C-123.  As far as I know, this other plane never
came to Mena.  It was camouflaged like the Fat Lady.  It was being
monitored by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and a sheriff's office,
two counties into Oklahoma from Mena.  The OBN dealt with me on the
subject because they thought it was the same plane that was parked at
Mena.  We were able to determine that it was not the same plane.  We
made that determination one day when the OBN called me and asked me to
go to the Mena Airport and see if the Fat Lady was there because they
had their camouflaged C-123 in the air at that time.  I went to
airport and observed the Fat Lady.  Hence, two C-123's.

This information has not been freely given out, in the past, so that
many of the charletains have not been able to weave it into their
story.  It has been provided to an investigative unit out of DC.  For
the same reason that I can say that the Fat Lady rarely moved, I think
I can say that this other C-123 never came to Mena.  I've heard the
suggestion that, maybe when the Fat Lady took off the other plane came
and sat at the same place, so nobody would know that the Fat Lady was
missing.  Maybe that did happen, but it would have been so obvious,
and based on the other kinds of information that I was getting from
the airport at the same time, I can not conceive of that occuring
without me, Hadaway, and just about everybody else in the Mena area
knowing about it.  At the very least, it would have been foolish for
anybody to try that and not expect to be caught at it.

The Mena airport is not out in the middle of nowhere.  It's almost in
the middle of Mena.  It's been my experience, since 1987, that they
don't try to be too clandestine with so called "covert activity,"
anyway.  If they want to do something they'd just do it and lie about
it.  It's not easy to catch a dirty cop.  If you catch him in the act
of doing something, he's just going to say it was part of an ongoing
investigation; and, the chances are you're going to have a hard time
proving otherwise.  You may have actually had a smoking gun, but it
gets turned around on you, and there's not much you can do about it.

While I was still investigating, I had the opportunity to go to
Southern Air Transport, in Miami.  It was just a small olive green
quantset hut, sandwiched in between some larger hangers.  By small I
mean "size small." If you're familiar with quantset huts, you know
what I mean.  They didn't even have their own hanger.

Larry, I hope this helps.  It seems like there was another question
that you asked.  I'll check and get back with you.  Below is part of
an email that I sent to Hopsicker, before my patience ran out with
him.  I've got a great deal of my own documentation that I have never
made available.  It's possible that my documentation, along with my
personal experience will help to clear up a lot of questions (and
expose some charletains).  Unfortunately finding a good outlet has not
been easy.  Publishers are hesitant to deal with the subject.  Short
posts on the Internet seem to raise more questions than they answer;
although, I'm more than glad to answer your questions.  I had hoped
that Hopsicker might provide an outlet; but, he has his own agenda.
You have my permission to post all of this.

Best Wishes,

>From '86 until the Gulf War, there annual war games stages out of
Mena,called "Coronet Centry." The army brought missile launchers,
field radar, various weapons and supplies and had a war game for a
week or two.  They put all of this stuff up on peoples property around
Mena.  The mayor (same one who tried to get the Cali Cartel to keep
doing business here) gave speeches about what a boost the local
economy was getting from the military.

There was some reason to believe that not all of the supplies were
returned to supply.  One BATF agent asked me to help him with an
investigation of gun running at the Mena airport.  He told me that he
had an informant in Little Rock who had been tested on another case.
The informant was the ex-wife of an Army Colonel.  She wanted to
snitch off her husband for his part in running guns out of the Mena

I wasn't anxious to turn up the heat on the frying pan that I was
already in, but I said that I would help.  He called me three of four
times as he was preparing to start his investigation.  The last time
he called me, he said that he had talked to his boss, Bill Buford, who
as far as I know still runs the Little Rock BATF office.

Bill Buford told him that he would authorize the investigation, but
warned him that several "BATF agents had lost their jobs" as a result
of the Mena Airport.

This is the only time that I have ever heard and I don't know anymore
about it.  The agent said that the warning was serious enough that he
wasn't going to start his investigation.  I've given this information
to certain investigative bodies out of Washington DC.  It's my
understanding that they were never able to get any cooperation out the

At the risk of getting a rumour started let me say that I think the
BATF agent I talked to was the same one killed at Waco.  If it wasn't
the same one, let the BATF fork up the right agent and tell what he
knows.  I raised my right hand for the DC investigators and said,"I
swear to God Almighty and put me on polygraph." If they're not getting
any cooperation from the BATF that's probably as far as it will go.

I tried to get them in touch with Bill Hobbs, a BATF agent that
retired after the Waco siege.  He said that Waco was the last straw
for him.  If he can remember, I feel like he will know something about
the aborted investigation.  Bill Hobbs is a good man.  He lives in

I had information in the 80's that M-16's were available that came out
of the Mena NG Armory.  The source of the M-16's was member of the NG
that worked at the armory.  Later, he and a full time NG seargent were
arrest for the offense.  They were also trying to sell LAWS missiles.
The arrest took place in Dequeen, about 45 miles south of Mena.  They
had to take them to Fort Smith immediately to appear before a
magistrate (Federal law)so they came through Mena.  There were five
marked police cars from Dequeen, with blues and sirens busting through
the red lights in Mena.  It looked like the Sugarland Express.  There
was no publicity and the offenders plead (pleded?) guilty to minor

There has been talk of a new east/west runway at the Mena Airport
since about 1987.  Originally, it was going to be built by the
military.  An army engineer unit was parachute in and build the
thing.  The work would be done for free and the army would get the
training for building a combat zone airport.  The early plans even had
barracks on them.  This fell threw, aparently because of adverse
publicity and curious questions that local business men and
politicians attributed to me.  All I could say was, "Hey, if it's
legal why did they stop just because somebody asked what they were
doing?" Later when the C-130's started coming in, a ground engineer
from Australia told me that when they came here they intended to use
the Mena Airport for some black ops, as well as, legitimate jobs.

After they got here, they found it to be such a great location that
they didn't intend to do anything except black ops.  They were going
to fence in the entire airport, set up their own security, and not let
anybody in without an ID badge pinned on.  These intentions were
actually placed in the local newspaper.  The fence and security part
of the deal got some local publicity.  About 50 feet of the fence was
actually put in at Rich Mountain Aviation.  If you can remember, I
showed that to you.  Hampton stated in the local newspaper that the
fence was being put in by the USG because of high level government
contracts at the Mena Airport.  Hampton said he was working on top
secret stuff for the Strategic Defense Initiative (Starwars) out of
Kwagalein, in the South Pacific.  Gene Wheaton called the Pentagon.
The Pentagon made an official statement that they did not put up a
fence at the Mena Airport and there were no high level contracts at
the Mena Airport.  RMA had been given a small contract to do skin
maintenance on some of their airplanes that were being used in the
Marshall Islands.  That stretch of fence is now a monument to Freddie
Hampton's bullshit.

The ground engineer also stated that the project, which included a new
7000' east/west runway, was going to be financed with $10 million from
a man in Washington who owned a professional ball club.  When things
drug on because of me and publicity, he had to stick the money
somewhere else because of the IRS.  What they were putting together
here sounds a whole lot like a military base.

The north/south runway was repaved in 1983, I've got some surveillance
photos of Seal's stuff while it was being paved.  I think it's about
5,300 feet long.  They have been trying to get a 7000' east/west
runway since '86 or 87'.  They wanted an ILS system for the new runway
but the FAA kept turning them down because a part of the flight path
goes through a mountain near my house.  A month after I was taken off
their problem list (retired) the FAA reconsidered and granted approval
to the plans.  Federal money was offered for the project which is
under way right now.

Subject:  Starr Targets Arkansas Law Enforcement
From: (Larry-Jennie)
Date:  Mon, 19 May 1997 21:58:05 -0600
Organization:  InterAccess,Chicagoland's Full Service Internet Provider
Newsgroups:  alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater

not to be used for commercial purposes

Starr Investigation Targets Law-Enforcement Complicity
By Jamie Dettmer and  Paul M. Rodriguez
INSIGHT magazine: May 29 1995

An ongoing money-laundering probe, led by independent
counsel Kenneth W. Starr, is churning up details of possible
state and law-enforcement ties to criminal misconduct in

In the late 1980s during the swirl of Iran-Contra
allegations about narcotics trafficking and weapons
shipments, senior officer in the Arkansas State Police began
a methodical operation to destroy sensitive documents
linking some of the state's most prominent political and
business figures to illegal activities - spin-offs from
Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North's cover arms for hostages

Arkansas connection to Iran-Contra were, at the time,
obscured nationally.  Attention was riveted on Washington,
Ronald Reagan and North's manic shredding of files detailing
the "enterprise" that provided arms for the release of
American hostages in the Middle East and guns for the
Nicaraguan Contras.  Arkansas seemed a long way from the
action in the nation's capital.

Until Bill Clinton ran for president, an Arkansas dimension
to Iran-Contra remained ignored by mainstream news
organizations and federal officials.  Now though, what in
the 1980s has moved to center stage.  It's not just shady
land deals surfacing, but widespread wrongdoing by the state
politico-business establishment that behaved as though it
was above the law - and with the help of police officers,
was allowed to be.

The conspiracy theorist, of course, have run riot and
attempted to pin all the blame for misdeeds in Arkansas on
Clinton.  But what slowly  is unfolding is a far more
complicated story of negligence, opportunism and rank
exploitation by a one-party political system that bent the
rules and turned a blind eye to alleged criminal activity
when it was carried out by some of its own.

Enter KWS.  As the independent counsel pursues the money
trail of Clinton and his wife, Hillary, in a land deal
called Whitewater, the inner workings of Arkansas government
and law enforcement are coming under the spotlight.  What
KWS is finding, according to a former senior federal
official familiar with the probe, is a good-ole-boy network
of "corruption and obstruction" in a state seemingly awash
in narcotics money - some almost certainly of Iran-Contra
origin and some from more home-grown enterprises.

INSIGHT now has learned that Starr's team of more than 125
FBI and IRS agents and U.S. attorneys are investigating what
appears, on the surface, to be unrelated aspects of the
Whitewater deal.  His investigators are delving heavily into
Arkansas narcotics and homicide cases, some of which have
remained unsolved for years.  And what is being uncovered,
according to federal and state officials who agreed to be
interviewed, is layer upon layer of complicity by state and
local law-enforcement agencies and a maze of allegations
that has investigators widening their inquiries at every

One of the most startling discoveries so far is an extensive
and regular pattern of document shredding in the late 1980s
on the orders of senior state police officials.  According
to law-enforcement sources in Little Rock, the shredded
documents were federal and state intelligence records and
police investigators' files on prominent Arkansans.  Some,
such as businessman Dan Lasater, were significant
contributors to Clinton's gubernatorial campaigns.  Also
shredded was material on the murky drug-running and arms-
smuggling operation based at the Mena Intermountain Regional
Airport (see INSIGHT, Jan. 30, 1995).

The shredding, which was conducted in a tiny office in the
office in the state police headquarters, was furtive and
known only by a handful of officers at the highest levels in
the Arkansas State Police - that is, until Starr's
investigator (missing) nessmen with close ties to Clinton
personally.  The destruction of documents was at its most
intense in 1988 and 1989.

Col. Tommy Goodwin, former Arkansas State Police commander,
says, "I am not aware of any documents that were shredded."

Former state troopers, who in the 1980s attempted to
investigate prominent Arkansas allegedly involved in the
cocaine parties and drug sales, are not surprised by the
disclosures of the shredding. Julius "Doc" Delaughter claims
he resigned from the state police in 1988 after his
superiors blocked the mounting of certain inquiries.  He
recalls how documents concerning other cases, such as the
Lasater investigation, would turn up missing.  "A deposition
I took from a friend of Lasater was stolen off my desk and
was never seen again," says Delaughter.

The deposition Delaughter says he secured could have proved
embarrassing for then-Gov. Clinton if it had been leaked.
It dealt with a cocaine party allegedly organized by Lasater
in Hot Springs, Ark., hotel suite.  The party hastily ended
with the arrival of Clinton, who was scheduled to meet with
Lasater.  Lasater subsequently was convicted of cocaine
distribution and sentenced to prison.

In another case, a state police captain was apparently so
concerned by the regular destruction of potentially
embarrassing material that he maintained for safekeeping a
copy of a lengthy memorandum revealing that a Mena-based
drug-running suspect was allowed to consult investigators'
telephone records with the knowledge of Goodwin, who retired
last June.  According to the memo, a copy of which INSIGHT
has obtained, the suspect a former state narcotics officer,
learned from his search of the phone logs that state trooper
were cooperating with the FBI agents on a probe of Barry
Seal, a notorious, confessed drug trafficker who claimed,
before his assassination in 1986 at the hands of Colombian
hit men, to have been part of North's Iran-Contra

The 10-page memo provides a revealing look into the close-
knit world of Arkansas law enforcement.  Written on Jan. 9,
1987, by Lt. Doug Williams (now a captain), the memo, which
was sent to his superior officer, Capt. Doug Stevens,
related how the suspect requested help in learning the
nature of the investigations being mounted at Mena airport
and into himself and his associates.

The suspect complained to Williams that the "local sheriff's
office had started watching the airport."  He mentioned he
had visited a senior state police officer, Maj. Richard
Rail, "which he did often," and that they had talked about
how investigators charged long-distance calls to state
credit cards.  According to the Williams memo: "He [the
suspect] stated that he took most of the day at the capitol
building checking these [telephone] records and that the
gentleman that was helping him there told him he could not
copy these records; however, he could sit down with the
records and make hand notes from them and that Colonel
Goodwin had been advised of his being there and periodically
checked back to see if he was still there and each time the
colonel checked back, the man would walk in and say Mr.
Goodwin just called back to see if you were still here and
how you were doing."

Rules governing public access to state police phone records
and credit cards should have restrained the suspect.
According to Wayne Jordan, a spokesman for the Arkansas
State Police, records connected with active intelligence
operations and ongoing probes are strictly off-limits.  Only
when cases are closed, according to Jordan, are records
available for public inspection; then any inspection
requires a Freedom of Information Act request and approval
by the head of the Arkansas State Police.

The complex events surrounding Mena-the clandestine flights
of guns and drugs in the dead of night; the peculiar
stifling of local investigations as well as probes mounted
by federal and even less to do with
Clinton.  But Starr's investigators seem to be convinced,
based on their questions to witnesses and requests for
documents, that the flow of drug profits and the alleged
diversion of that money into businesses in Arkansas and even
into Clinton's campaign finances warrant major

In his bid to trace donations to the then governor's
election coffers, the independent counsel's FBI agents have
reviewed thousands of pages of case files connected to
suspected narcotics operations and money laundering by
reputed criminals in Arkansas and surrounding jurisdictions.
Starr's investigators also begun question the Mena pilots
responsible for air-dropping sturdy duffel bags full of
Central American cocaine and cash at pre-arranged sites in

"The Feds are primarily interested in money-laundering
activities," says Joe Evans, one of the pilots interrogated
recently.  "The questioning had to do with where the money
was coming from, where the money was going.  They asked me
from which banks in the U.S. or internationally the money
originated.  They asked me how frequent were the flights and
how large were the shipments."

During the interview with Evans, Starr's investigators also
were interested in a mysterious and as-yet-unsolved double
homicide near Little Rock in 1987 that has been the subject
of considerable local controversy.  Again, it is money
laundering that seems to be foremost in the minds of Starr's
investigators as they review the cold-case files concerning
the murders of teenagers Don Henry and Kevin Ives, who were
found stabbed and bludgeoned on railroad tracks along the
Pulaski-Saline county line on the outskirts of Little Rock.

INSIGHT has learned that the double homicide also is the
subject of a separate FBI investigation and that a grand
jury has been impaneled in Little Rock to take testimony in
the case.  The targets of that investigation, according to
sources, are a handful of suspected drug dealers from
northwest Arkansas, a Little Rock prosecutor and several
former members of the sheriff's departments in Pulaski and
Saline counties.  Two of the alleged drug dealers under
suspicion in the murders were mentioned regularly in
Arkansas State Police intelligence files, copies of which
INSIGHT has obtained, contain raw and unsubstantiated
allegations about wrongdoing by a number of prominent
businessmen in Arkansas.

There have been many theories put forth to explain the
murders of Henry and Ives.  A persistent one argues that the
teenagers stumbled upon a Mena narcotics drop site shortly
before drugs were due to be unloaded.  This theory appears
to have caught the attention of Starr's team.  Mena pilots
have been asked about a drop site code-named "A-12" by the
smugglers.  They also have been asked about "Flight 50" -
all Mena flights were numbered - which coincided with the
date and time of the boys' deaths.

Starr's investigators have interviewed several convicted
drug offenders in Arkansas prisons who are believed to be
connected to the homicides of Henry and Ives.

Current and former members of Congress and law-enforcement
officers who have looked into the Mena drug and money-
laundering operations long have suspected that there was -
and continues to be - complicity by people at both the state
and federal levels to keep a lid on the events in Arkansas
during the 1980s and early 1990s.  They believe that what
began under the guise of national security involving Iran-
Contra blossomed into an extensive, tangled conspiracy to
hide the links between Mena and nonfederal corruption
through out the region.

"Starr should be investigating the Arkansas police," says a
former high ranking federal official who worked behind the
scenes to put together pieces of the Mena puzzle.  "What is
coming to light now is that there was a broad-based
conspiracy to hide the truth drug
conspiracies and the latest turns in the Starr inquiry.

"I could never understand why no one went down this path
before," says Bill Duncan, a former IRS agent and
congressional investigator who for three years tried to
secure indictments in connection with Mena drug smuggling.

In a confidential memorandum to House Judiciary subcommittee
on crime dated Oct. 8, 1991, Duncan wrote: "On this date I
received a telephone call from Paul Whitmore concerning a
conversation which he had just overheard at the El Paso
Intelligence Center.  Whitmore related that, just minutes
ago, he heard the Central Intelligence Agency EPIC Resident
Agent tell the U.S. Customs EPIC Resident Agent that the CIA
still has ongoing operations out of the Mena, Ark., Airport,
but that 'some other guys' are still operating out of the
airport also, and that one of the operations at the airport
is laundering money."  Whitmore was the IRS agent stationed
at EPIC, formally called the El Paso Intelligence agencies.

Duncan's memo concluded: "The CIA agent then told the
Customs Agent that if the laundering of cash was a par of
Customs Operations, he wasn't going to worry about it.
According to Whitmore, they also discussed checking the
registration of various aircraft which are currently at the
Mena, Ark., Airport."

For Duncan, the memo is just one more piece of evidence
pointing to "a bizarre mixture of drug smuggling, gun
running and money laundering."

[Three photos accompany the article.
   1. Photo of Goodwin.
   2. Photo of a C-123 cargo plane at Mena.
   3. Photos of Henry and Ives.

INSIGHT is a weekly news magazine published by
Washington Times Corp

Subject:  MENA REDACTIONS:  Rich Mountain & Fred Hampton
From: (Larry-Jennie)
Date:  Sat, 24 May 1997 11:07:50 -0600
Organization:  InterAccess,Chicagoland's Full Service Internet Provider

Note the deletions in this sworn deposition about Mena cocaine

Excerpt from:
In December 1996, the Portland Free Press secured a copy of Richard
Brenneke's 21 June 1991 sworn deposition before Congressman William
Alexander, Jr., and Chad Farris, chief deputy attorney general of
Arkansas.  Mr. Alexander did the direct questioning and Bushman Court
Reporting, Inc., did the recording.

Q. And when you landed at Mena, what would be the disposition of the

A. On one or two occasions the cargo was taken off by people who were
not residents of the Mena area and put into other aircraft which
departed from there. However, the most frequent activity was that the
aircraft would be unloaded in front of [deleted]'s hangers and it would
be stored in the back of the hanger....

Q. And go back in your mind to the first trip you took and describe to
me the disposition of the cargo; that is, the cocaine, once it returned
to Arkansas, once it was delivered to Arkansas? And I am especially  I
am particularly interested in the identification of persons other than
[deleted]. You've talked about [deleted]. You've identified him. Can
you identify other people who might have received this cocaine?

(He talks about Gotti and the New York Mob.)


Excerpt from:
"Truth on Mena, Seal shrouded in shady allegations
Drug smuggling rumors just won't die"
By  Michael Arbanas
December 22, 1990

	A similar tale, though in a broader setting, is told by Richard
Brenneke, a Portland, Ore., businessman who claims a history as a CIA
contractor and whose name has come up several times during the
Iran-Contra investigations.
	Brenneke said in an August interview with Duncan, who is now
pursuing the investigation as a private citizen, that he flew as many
as six shipments into the Mena airport from Panama from 1983 to 1986
as part of a CIA-sponsored effort to supply the Contras.
       He laundered money for the operation, Brenneke said, and ferried
Latin Americans, mostly Panamanian Defense Forces, to Mena for
training in the Ouachita National Forest.
	Brenneke said he got his instructions from CIA contacts and
carried several groups of 10 to 40 Latin Americans for training,
dropping them off in their civilian clothes at Rich Mountain. He
said he had made three or four trips to the Nella airstrip.
	He met Seal once at the airport, he said, but Seal was not part
of the same operation as far as he could tell. He also claimed to
have seen an associate of John Gotti, the reputed New York mobster,
at the airport, saying he knew the man from earlier money-laundering
	Brenneke is not one of the Bush administration's favorite
people, and officials have loudly attacked his credibility. He has,
though, shown himself on occasion to know more about the
international arms trade than the average real estate property
       He first drew media attention in November 1986, when The New
York Times reported that he had written a series of memos to the
United States government in late 1985 and early 1986 asking to get in
on a deal to sell arms to Iran. The story hit the newsstands just
days after Attorney General Edwin Meese said on national television
that only a few top administration figures and private consultants
knew about the deal.
	This year, Brenneke was acquitted of five counts of perjury. He
was charged with lying in 1988 when he told a federal judge that he
had participated in 1980 meetings in Paris in which Reagan campaign
officials cut a deal with Iran to postpone the release of the 52
American hostages in the American Embassy in Tehran until after
Reagan won his election challenging President Jimmy Carter.
Paramilitary reports
       Reed's and Brenneke's accounts don't seem too far-fetched to
Welch, who said state police and local sheriff's offices got regular
reports of automatic weapons fire, low-flying planes and small groups
of uniformed men crossing streams and roads in the National Forest.
       "There was talk of paramilitary activity in the forest between
the Nella community and Lake Ouachita," Welch said. "We thought
maybe it was somebody like the CSA (the Covenant, the Sword, and the
Arm of the Lord, a white supremacist paramilitary group that operated
in Northern Arkansas during that era)."


From: "Bear Bottoms" 
To: "The ciadrugs mailing list" 
Cc: "cas list" 
Subject: ciadrugs] Re: Black Eagle?
Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 17:41:00 -0500

I have a unredacted version.  Implant Fred Hampton and Rich Mountain
aviation in the redacted area.


What National Security roles or secrets were being protected when
"Rich Mountain" and "Fred Hampton" were blacked out in the sworn

Note how the deposition was released only this past December,
so the National Security redaction justification remained active.


$$                                                     $$
$$  The CIA cocaine smuggling on behalf of the Contras $$
$$  through Mena, Arkansas corrupted the Presidencies  $$
$$  of Bill Clinton, George Bush and Ronald Reagan.    $$
$$  For details, see:                                  $$
$$        $$
$$                                                     $$

Subject:  The Heart of the Octopus
From: (Wayne McGuire)
Date:  Wed, 28 May 1997 07:27:52 GMT
Message-ID:  <>
Organization:  Kersur Technologies
Newsgroups:  alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater


My ISP lately has been failing to receive a
goodly number of important posts in this

I discovered your post below, which is
excellent, on Alta Vista.

A brief comment: I think this information
is getting exceedingly close to the heart
of the Octopus, which involves a criminal
conspiracy between the Mossad and a
corrupted wing of the CIA.

The conspiracy perhaps began with
the October Surprise, continued with
Iran-Contra and Mena, and is alive and
well in dominating pockets of the
Clinton administration.

It is not a shock that Chinagate
has the look and feel of Iran-Contra;
the same political forces are
probably at work in the current

I wouldn't be surprised to see the
uncorrupted wing of the American
national security and intelligence
communities begin to take on this
problem in a truly serious way in
the near future.

My source on Amiram Nir's
involvement in Mena is Terry
Reed's "Compromised."

 --- BEGIN ---

Re: Foster & Mena & JQP Distorts
From           Randolph Langley 
Organization   Florida State University
Date           26 May 1997 04:46:10 -0400
Newsgroups     alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater
Message-ID (Wayne McGuire) writes:

> wrote:
> >Wayne McGuire wrote:
> >>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >> >Larry-Jennie wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >> In article <> writes:
> >> >>
> >> >> >Larry-Jennie wrote:
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> In article <5m8lfe$>
> >> >> >Moore ) writes:
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> >You're being stupid JQP. Tossing away evidence without justification
> >> >> >> >other than personal whim is arrogant and stupid.
> >> >>
> >> >> Larry-Jennie wrote:
> >> >> >> JQP does that all the time.
> >> >> >>
> >> >> >> He claims no cocaine came into Mena via Barry Seal's organization.
> >> >>
> >> >> John Q. Public wrote:
> >> >> >Trying to drag another thread off topic, Lar?
> >> >>
> >> >> No.  I was pointing to another example how John Q. Public tries to
> >> >> control discussion through distortion and bullying.  He has to semar
> >> >> since he can't argue the evidence and testimony.
> >> >>
> >> >> Also, there is a linkage between Vince Foster and Mena.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >Trying to drag another thread off topic, Larry?
> >> >
> >> >This one used to be about Foster and CW, until you showed up.
> >>
> >> I think you and Martin McPhillips are
> >> part of the same campaign that harassed
> >> Patrick Knowlton and entrapped Chuck
> >> Hayes. I think you are here to bury the
> >> truth, not to expose it. I think you in
> >> particular are especially nervous about
> >> Mena because Israel was involved in the
> >> operation and related operations.
> >
> >Looky here! Wayne's wading in on Mena, and
> >guess what? He says it was *the Jews*!
> No, I am saying the terrorism adviser
> for Menachem Begin, Amiram Nir, was
> involved in Mena. That means that the
> Israeli government was heavily involved
> in Mena, and probably in every other
> illegal operation run by the Reagan
> administration and CIA director Bill
> Casey.

Nir? What's your source on that? That would be a most interesting
connection. Nir was a principal in the whole Iran-Contra mess; the
book "By Way of Deception"[*] has a most interesting few pages
[327-331] on this, which by the oddest chance I was reading today.

Speaking of books, the book "Dangerous Liaison"[**] does indeed place
the Israelis front and center in Oliver North's drug and gun running
schemes, although Nir is not specifically mentioned. Mike Harari is
prominent, however. On pages 254 and 255 the Cockburns write:

   [ed: Quoting Blandon] "Harari was part of a powerful network, a more
   complete network --- the Israelis. The most important country to
   supply arms to Central America between 1980 and 1983, especially in
   Guatemala and El Salvador, was Israel. From 1983 to 1985, the most
   important network to supply arms to the contras was this [ed:
   Harari's] network." The Israeli arms conduit preceded the host of
   U.S. operatives who later flooded the region, airlifting arms until
   one of their planes was shot down over Nicaragua in October 1986, thus
   exposing the operation. But there was reluctance on Capitol Hill to go
   into precisely what Israel had contributed. With literally hundreds of
   tons of captured weapons from PLO stocks shipped at the request of
   Casey, with seasoned Israeli military trainers like Emil Sa'ada and
   Amatzia Shuali in the field, and with the Panamanian operation run by
   Mike Harari, the contribution was substantial.

   There was, however, a rather delicate problem with the Harari
   arrangement: his reported involvement in the cocaine trade.  According
   to Blandon, "Harari was part of the Noriega business.  They moved the
   cocaine from Colombia to Panama." From there the former intelligence
   adviser explained, the product was transshipped to "airstrips in Costa
   Rica or Honduras and on to the United States.  Since the beginning of
   the supply of arms to the contras, the same infrastructure that was
   used for arms was used for drugs. The same pilots, the same planes,
   the same airstrips, the same people." As the former Panamanian consul
   general saw it, the cartel used Noriega's involvement with the contras
   to gain access to the facilities of the cover war while "Noriega used
   the connections that Harari had in Israel and they put together a
   complete business."

   When asked whether the CIA knew of the dark side of Harari's
   business dealings, Blandon stated that the agency had known of
   Noriega's involvement with the Colombian cartels since 1980 and
   that "since 1980, Israel has supplied arms in Central America... and
   the relationship between Israel and the United States in terms of
   these things is so close that I don't believe the United States
   didn't know about that." The United States certainly did know
   that some of the arms destined for the contras were purchased with drug
   money. That was made very clear in the diaries of Oliver North.

This goes on in the same vein, exploring interconnects between Israel
and the CIA in the Iran-Contra affair. While Nir (apparently) did not
survive this whole contretemps [B.W.O.D., pages 328-329], Harari
retired to Israel and built "an impressive house in a posh enclave
outside Tel Aviv." [D.L., page 259].

Oh well. Who says crime doesn't pay? Certainly not the Clintonites,
or Mike Harari.


[*] "By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer"
by Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy. ISBN is 0-312-05613-3.

[**] "Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert
Relationship" by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn. ISBN is 0-06-016444-1.

 --- END ---
Wayne McGuire

Subject:  Welch: "No feather in my cap"
From: (Larry-Jennie)
Date:  Mon, 9 Jun 1997 21:04:30 -0600
Organization:  InterAccess,Chicagoland's Full Service Internet Provider

Date: Mon, 09 Jun 1997 13:08:30 -0500
From: Russell Welch 
Subject: ciadrugs] No feather in my cap

Let me say that I do not intend to be a life long member of this mailing
list.  Reliving my history in short episodes tends to be a little
painful; however, some things seem to be clearer looking back on them
than they were at the time they occurred.  I find it alluring that a
group of people are interested in a piece of American history of which I
had some participation.  I believe that somewhere in the dialogue that
Billy Bottoms and I have shared, the members of this group have gotten a
glimpse of what Barry Seal was about.  Bottoms and I don't agree on
everything; but, we have learned from each other.  One thing I learned
from a career in law enforcement is that history is very fragile.  If
two people can't agree on what they both saw yesterday, what happens to
"facts" after a year, or ten years, or a hundred years? Every time I
started an investigation I initiated a journal where I kept my "field
notes." Most of the time my field notes were kept in a spiral notebook.
This would protect the integrity of my field notes by making it
impossible to remove a page without it being noticed.  I always tried to
make my entries immediately after the event.  If, per chance, a couple
of days went by before I made the entry, I would make a note that time
had passed between the event and the entry.  A part of my  goal was to
accept accountability for every thing that I did, right or wrong.  I
doubt that I ever worked a case where I didn't make some kind of an
error or mis-judgement.  My court testimony was based on documents in my
case file, including my field notes.  Occasionally, I found that my
memory of an event did not match my notes.  My field notes could always
take me back to what I was thinking when I wrote them.  The notes were
intended to be an objective record for both the suspect and the
prosecuting attorney.  I never assumed the roll of a cop who just tried
to put people in prison.  I followed the evidence and made my findings
available to defense attorneys as well as prosecuting attorneys.  My
solution rate was very high but I never got a "feather in my cap." I
never expected one.  I was nominated for Trooper of the Year for my Rich
Mountain Aviation investigation but I didn't get it.  Instead they gave
me an official commendation for catching a serial killer.  I always let
somebody else take the credit - sheriff, chief of police, my supervisor,
etc.. Life was easier if these people didn't think I was trying to steal
their thunder.  Daniel Hopsicker chose to make a public statement that I
am egotistical.  That statement could not be further from the truth.  If
I was trying to feed my ego I would have been a lot more public.  I do
want to make it clear that I do not have any patience with people who
play with the truth for their own gain.  I've seen facts from my case
file twisted by charlatans.  Several people have obtained documents from
my case file and sold them to various news agencies or other interests
that were willing to pay. Over a year ago, investigators from Leach's
banking committee wanted to share some documents with me and get my
response.  I was able to show them my markings on the documents.  The
documents had been taken from my case file.  Who ever gave these
documents to the banking committee just lost all of their integrity.
Leach and Starr have both said they were having trouble investigation
some allegations because so many of their sources were not credible.

Anyway, the reason I started this letter was to respond to a couple of
statements by Billy Bottoms.

First, I had a very strong case put together against both Freddie
Hampton and Joe Evans; but, the strongest case was actually on Joe Evans
because he had more hands-on involvement with Seal and I could put him
with Seal before he move to the Mena Airport.  Joe Evans and his wife
forged signatures on the fuel truck to establish their fictitious
business, "H&L Explorations."  I think Joe used the fictitious name,
"Bill Elder." If you remember, Billy, this is also the fictitious name
that Barry frequently used while in Mena.  Reed didn't seem to have that
information when he wrote Compromised.

I don't think Billy Bottoms and I are going to be able to agree
concerning who was protected by Barry's plea agreement.  The fact that
it didn't end up on paper is a good indication to me that it wasn't a
part of the final terms.  I, also, feel certain that Barry would have
mentioned it when Duncan and I interviewed him.  Jacobson and Joura
never mentioned it in their depositions, either.

I want to take exception with Billy's statement that officers in
Arkansas were trying to get a feather in their cap.  Maybe cap feathers
are a noble reward in some places, but the most I could ever hope for
was to just break even.  Duncan and I were the only ones investigating
in Arkansas.  FBI agent Tom Ross showed up occasionally, but he wasn't
investigating.  I don't know what he was doing.  I couldn't drop an
investigation just because I wanted to go and do something else.  I did
not start the investigation of Rich Mountain Aviation because I was
looking for glory.  That case was assigned to me by Colonel Tommy
Goodwin.  It was what we called a "target file."  These types of
investigations could only be initiated by the Director of the State
Police.  The Director issued the case file number, which was designated
with a "T."  The Rich Mountain Aviation target file number was "T-57,"
meaning that this was the 57th target file assigned by the Director.
Prior to that, T-18 had been a catch-all file for dope activity at the
Mena Airport.

Barry Seal was killed on Feb. 19, 1986.  For awhile I wandered if there
was something significant about the month of February.  Emile Camp was
killed on Feb. 20, 1985.  Eric Arthur was killed on Feb. 17, 1984, when
he "accidentally" walked into the prop of his own plane.  Billy, you
can't blame a cop for being just a little bit suspicious when he finds
out that the same day Arthur walked into the prop, Barry lost $950,000
in gold Krugerands.  Duncan and I actually speculated that February of
1987 would be your month.  The investigation of Rich Mountain Aviation
lingered on into 1988.  I never ran out of leads but I got very tired
and there were other cases to work.  I had to go undercover on another
smuggler at Mena.  This one is still in prison.  I had some demanding
homicides that I had to tend to.  I had another undercover case going
between Dallas and Hot Springs.  Things go on.

In 1987, however, some new players came to the airport that did not have
anything to do with Seal. By then, Barry Seal was ancient history; but,
Rich Mountain Aviation and the Mena Airport was going strong.  What
happened after that didn't bare any resemblance to Barry Seal's
operation. After that you could go to the airport and hear people
talking about the State Department, C-130's in Africa and Miami and
Australia.  Men dressed in El Salvadorian military uniforms were
frequently seen at a local motel.  Arabs in native dress were commonly
seen at the airport, and so on. Some of these new people talked about
their activity with Oliver North's deal at Southern Air Transport.  It
was after 1987 that I started having trouble with the Arkansas State
Police for drug investigations that I was doing at the Mena Airport.  It
was in 1987 that the assistant director of the ASP allowed the business
manager from Rich Mountain Aviation to look through my investigative
files - files for which Rich Mountain Aviation was the target.  This is
when uniformed State Police officers were coming to the airport and
visiting with known smugglers.  This is when my supervisors began giving
me direct orders to stop drug investigations at the airport.  This is
when drug evidence, that I had sent to the lab for trace testing, was
returned to me, untested. Things continued to get worse. In 1991, I was
poisoned.  The envelopes that carried the poison were sent to me from
State Police headquarters in Hope, Arkansas. I'll leave it at that.
Billy Bottoms is right. You win a few, you lose a few. That's no reason
to quit my job with the state police.  Barry Seal had nothing to do with
my separation from the Arkansas State Police.  Barry Seal was a piece of
cake compared to what came after him.

Russell Welch

Subject:  Dennis Byrne: Conrad Black's DuPage Dupe Columnist
From: Tom Deflumere 
Date:  Sun, 15 Jun 1997 17:18:20 -0500
Organization:  EnterAct L.L.C. Turbo-Elite News Server

From: (Larry + Jennie)
Subject: WALL STREET JOURNAL on CIA Cocaine, 4/22/87
Keywords: CIA, cocaine, Ronald Reagan, Oliver North, Eugene Hasenfus, Barry Sea
l, Mena, Drug Enforcement Administration, George Bush, Pablo Escobar, Humberto

Here is the JOURNAL's first report on the CIA-connected cocaine
trafficking through Mena, Arkansas.

"U.S. officials have rejected accusations of major drug
trafficking by the Contras. The handling of those accusations
now is being reviewed by two congressional committees and the
independent counsel for the Iran-Contra affair."  Too bad one
of those congressional committees and the independent counsel
totally ignored the evidence given to them regarding CIA cocaine
trafficking.  The chariman of the other congressional committee,
Sen. John Kerry, was plagued with charges of being a Communist

"The imprisoned drug pilots say Mr. Seal was involved in
flights that brought weapons to Central American airfields
for the Contras and sometimes returned to the U.S. with
drugs. The pilots claim that their Contra weapons deliveries
were directed by the CIA. The people they say they worked
with are known to have been supervised or monitored by the
CIA and by Lt. Col. Oliver North, the National Security
Council staffer fired for his role in the program to sell
arms to Iran and fund the Contras. As is its practice, the
Central Intelligence Agency refuses to comment."

Who knows?  Had the Select Committee on Iran-contra asked Ollie
North the questions that this report prompts, then the USA
probably would never have had a President William Jefferson Clinton.

Note that George Bush's office was made aware of Barry Seal's
drug trafficking expertise.


"Dope Story:
 Doubts Rise on Report
 Reagan Cited in Tying
 Sandinistas to Cocaine
 Little Evidence Backs Tale,
 Which Came From Pilot
 Who Claimed CIA Link
 Deal for a Lighter Sentence"
By Jonathan Kwitny
April 22, 1987

In the early-morning darkness of June 26, 1984, Adler
Barriman Seal, a wealthy, convicted drug smuggler working as
a federal informant in hopes of leniency, landed his C-123
cargo plane at Homestead Air Force Base near Miami. On board
was 1,500 pounds of cocaine he said he had brought from
    Within a few weeks, unnamed "administration officials,"
citing information provided by Mr. Seal, leaked to the press
stories saying that top Nicaraguan leaders, including a
brother of President Daniel Ortega, were trafficking in
cocaine with the help of Soviets and Cubans.
    The Reagan administration has used the Seal story -- which
Nicaragua denies -- ever since in attempts to rouse
congressional and public support for aid to the Contra rebels
fighting to overthrow Mr. Ortega's Sandinista government. On
March 16 of last year, in an appeal for a Contra aid package,
President Reagan displayed on national television a photo
taken by a camera hidden in Mr. Seal's plane.
    "I know that every American parent concerned about the
drug problem will be outraged to learn that top Nicaraguan
government officials are deeply involved in drug
trafficking," Mr. Reagan said. "This picture, secretly taken
at a military airfield outside Managua, shows Federico
Vaughan, a top aide to one of the nine commandants who rule
Nicaragua, loading an aircraft with illegal narcotics bound
for the United States."
     But Mr. Seal's evidence of Nicaraguan drug trafficking
doesn't appear to be as sweeping as he or the Reagan
administration portrayed it.
     The Drug Enforcement Administration says the cocaine on
Mr. Seal's C-123 is the only drug shipment by way of
Nicaragua that it knows of -- and Mr. Seal said he had
brought it there to begin with. The Nicaraguan "military
airfield" that officials said Mr. Seal flew from is in fact a
civilian field used chiefly for crop-dusting flights, the
State Department now concedes. That concession undermines the
basis for linking Defense Minister Humberto Ortega, President
Ortega's brother, to the operation.
     In fact, the man who supervised Mr. Seal's work for the
government -- Richard Gregorie, chief assistant U.S. attorney
in Miami -- says he could find no information beyond Mr.
Seal's word tying any Nicaraguan official to the drug
shipment. As for Federico Vaughan, the man Mr. Reagan called
an aide to a Sandinista commandant, federal prosecutors and
drug officials now say they aren't sure who he is.
     Asked about the matter, a White House spokesman says, "We
got the information from DEA and have received no indication
from them of any change in their original assessment."
     Meanwhile, some DEA officials complain that the
administration's use of Mr. Seal's story against the
Sandinistas sabotaged a much bigger drug case, against
     Now there are allegations that besides drugs, Mr. Seal may
have been involved with other sensitive cargo. Four drug
pilots in prison in Florida say they knew Mr. Seal as part of
a network that delivered weapons to airfields in Central
America for the American-backed Contras and then sometimes
flew back to the U.S. with cocaine. Over the years, Mr. Seal
told associates and testified in court that he sometimes did
work for Central Intelligence Agency operations. Though the
Justice Department was quick to follow up Mr. Seal's
Nicaraguan story with an indictment, it rejected allegations
from the pilots and others of drug dealing by Contras.
     The Seal case is a complex double helix of politics and
law enforcement. Mr. Seal provided his story about Nicaragua
after contacting Vice President George Bush's anti-drug task
force and offering to be an informant. He gave the
administration the photographs and testimony it used to
accuse Nicaraguan leaders of drug trafficking. In return,
federal prosecutors helped him wriggle out of a long prison
term he faced on three drug convictions. He got six months'
     Doubts about portions of his story first were raised last
year in the Village Voice and Columbia Journalism Review by
Joel Millman, who helped locate sources for this broader
investigation of the case.
    It is clear Mr. Seal was a major drug runner. He had a
fleet of at least four planes, and he testified in federal
court that he earned more than $50 million smuggling dope. He
said he made $600,000 or $700,000 while working for the DEA
in the Nicaraguan case, which the government says it let him
keep to cover expenses.
     The money did him little good. On Feb. 19, 1986, as Mr.
Seal was getting out of his white Cadillac at a Louisiana
shelter where his probation required him to spend nights, a
squad of hit men gunned him down.
     When Mr. Seal first faced various drug charges several
years ago, he initially got nowhere in seeking a deal. He
twice went to Justice Department and DEA officials in Florida
seeking a milder sentence in exchange for doing undercover
work to catch big Colombian drug-cartel leaders, and he made
the same offer in another federal drug case in Louisiana. The
prosecutors all decided they preferred to have Mr. Seal in
     So in March of 1984 he called Mr. Bush's drug task force,
got an appointment and flew his Learjet to Washington, he
explained later in testimony at drug trials of others in
federal court in Miami and Las Vegas. Two task-force staffers
say they met Mr. Seal on a Washington street and escorted him
to a meeting with Kenneth R. Kennedy, a veteran DEA agent.
     The Justice Department says that he was accepted as an
informant to trap Colombian dealers and that everyone was
surprised to learn later of a Nicaraguan connection. But Mr.
Kennedy recalls Mr. Seal's saying at their first meeting that
"the officials of the Nicaraguan government are involved in
smuggling cocaine into the United States, specifically the
Sandinistas; that he would go through Nicaragua and get loads
and bring them back; that he had brought loads of cocaine
{through Nicaragua} in the past and he could continue to do
     Thomas Sclafani, who was just becoming Mr. Seal's lawyer
in Miami at the time, says that he is "absolutely" sure that
nailing Nicaraguans was "a key ingredient" in the deal Mr.
Seal offered the government.
     Mr. Kennedy sent Mr. Seal to agents Robert Joura and
Ernest Jacobsen in the DEA's Miami office. They authorized
him to go to Colombia and Panama to arrange a drug shipment,
but they say it was a total surprise when he returned with
news that cocaine-cartel leaders were moving their operations
to Nicaragua because of law-enforcement pressure in Colombia.
     Mr. Seal testified that the cocaine leaders explained to him,
"We are not communists. We don't particularly enjoy the same
philosophy politically that they do. But they serve our means
and we serve theirs."
     Mr. Gregorie, the federal prosecutor in Miami, says the
politics of it made no difference to him, either. "Nobody
cared," he says. Nicaragua "was just another place they {the
cocaine cartel} did business."
     As Mr. Seal related the story in his testimony, it was in
Panama in mid-May 1984 that the Colombians introduced Mr.
Vaughan to him as "some sort of a government official from
Nicaragua." He said Mr. Vaughan claimed to be a top aide to
Tomas Borge, the Sandinista interior minister and
security-police chief.
     Mr. Seal testified that Mr. Vaughan took him and a
co-pilot to Nicaragua on an airliner, dodging customs at the
airport, and that they stayed at Mr. Vaughan's house
overnight. Then, he said, a Nicaraguan military driver gave
them a tour of an airfield and Mr. Vaughan pointed out
antiaircraft batteries they should avoid, before putting them
on a flight to Panama. As evidence of the trip, he offered
his boarding pass on an airliner to Managua and a receipt for
payment of the Managua airport tax; neither document appears
to bear any date or name identification.
     On his first scheduled drug run after becoming an
informant, Mr. Seal testified, his plane skidded off a muddy
Colombian airstrip and crashed as he was taking off. He said
the accident forced the cocaine shipment onto a smaller plane
that needed to refuel to reach the U.S.; the refueling stop
was in Nicaragua, he said, and Mr. Vaughan met the flight. As
he related it, after taking off again, his plane was hit with
anti-aircraft fire and limped into the main Managua airport,
where he and his co-pilot were held by military officers.
     Eventually, Mr. Seal testified, Mr. Vaughan's military
driver brought a truck to the Managua airport, transferred
the cocaine off the plane and drove it away. He said he was
jailed overnight, then picked up by Mr. Vaughan and given a
small plane to fly home to the U.S., leaving the cocaine in
Nicaragua. He said this plane was owned by Pablo Escobar, who
the DEA says is a major partner in Colombia's largest cocaine
     On the night of June 24, 1984, Mr. Seal continued, he, a
co-pilot and a mechanic headed back to Managua to get the
coke, flying his newly acquired C-123 cargo craft. Hidden
within it was a secret camera, installed by the Central
Intelligence Agency at Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio.
     Although the camera didn't work right, he said, he managed to
squeeze off dozens of grainy, shadowy photographs.
     Most of them show a few men in casual attire lounging
against a grassy background. Mr. Seal identified one as Mr.
Vaughan, one as Mr. Escobar, the Colombian drug kingpin, and
a third as another Colombian drug dealer. Several pictures
show men, whom U.S. officials called soldiers, carrying
canvas bags.
     After this trip the DEA sent Mr. Seal back down to
Nicaragua with $1 million, and he said he arranged with Mr.
Vaughan for another cocaine shipment. But in mid-July of
1984, DEA agent Joura remembers getting a call from his
agency in Washington saying that a story based on Mr. Seal's
C-123 trip would shortly appear in the Washington Times.
     Chances of using Mr. Seal to catch members of the
Colombian drug cartel vanished. "At that time, there was a
Contra funding bill that was up for approval, and I guess
that precipitated the leak of the photographs," says Mr.
Joura. "It ruined the case. We hoped to go a lot further with
     Mr. Joura did have time to tell Mr. Seal to round up some
Florida distributors and another pilot for a meeting so they
could be arrested. (It was at the 1985 Miami trial of these
men that Mr. Seal, as a government witness, related his
Nicaraguan story. He repeated it at another federal drug
trial that year, in Las Vegas.)
     The Washington Times story, which touched off many other
press accounts, quoted "U.S. sources" as saying that "a
number of highly placed Nicaraguan government officials
actively participated in the drug smuggling operation,"
naming Interior Minister Borge and Defense Minister Humberto
Ortega. U.S. officials have said that the defense minister
could be implicated because the drug shipment used a military
airfield, Los Brasiles.
      But the State Department now confirms reports from
Nicaragua that Los Brasiles is a civilian airfield used
mainly for agricultural flights. It is also listed as a
civilian field in a Defense Department Flight Information
      The Justice Department said in 1984 that
cocaine-processing labs had been established in Nicaragua and
that the drug was being shipped in "multi-ton" amounts.
      Within a month after the story of the flight broke in the
press, Mr. Vaughan was indicted.
      The department says it knows that Mr. Seal's C-123 went to
Nicaragua because a device aboard the plane enabled
satellites to track it. But Mr. Gregorie, the federal
prosecutor in Miami, and the DEA's Mr. Joura concede that
their only evidence of who Mr. Vaughan is comes from Mr. Seal
and a tape of a call to a man Mr. Seal identified as him. The
Nicaraguan government says that a Federico Vaughan worked in
1982 and 1983 as the deputy manager of an export-import
company run by the Sandinista government but had left before
the Seal flight and was never an aide to a commandant.
      Mr. Vaughan hasn't been put on trial. Though the U.S. has
an extradition treaty with Nicaragua, the federal prosecutors
never tried to extradite Mr. Vaughan. Mr. Gregorie says the
State Department told him it would be futile.
     While the account of Sandinista drug involvement brought
swift Justice Department action, U.S. officials have rejected
accusations of major drug trafficking by the Contras. The
handling of those accusations now is being reviewed by two
congressional committees and the independent counsel for the
Iran-Contra affair.
     "There have been allegations that the laws have not been
evenly and appropriately carried out, so we're looking into
that," says Hayden Gregory, an investigator for a House
Judiciary Committee subcommittee.
     The imprisoned drug pilots say Mr. Seal was involved in
flights that brought weapons to Central American airfields
for the Contras and sometimes returned to the U.S. with
drugs. The pilots claim that their Contra weapons deliveries
were directed by the CIA. The people they say they worked
with are known to have been supervised or monitored by the
CIA and by Lt. Col. Oliver North, the National Security
Council staffer fired for his role in the program to sell
arms to Iran and fund the Contras. As is its practice, the
Central Intelligence Agency refuses to comment.
      Mr. Seal once was a pilot with Trans World Airlines, but
he lost the job in 1972 after being charged with smuggling
explosives to Mexico. The explosives, he later testified in
federal court in Las Vegas, were for CIA-trained personnel
trying to overthrow Cuba's Fidel Castro. An appeals court
threw out the indictment.
      Fred Hampton, whose Mena, Ark., firm does a global
business repairing aircraft, says Mr. Seal used to talk in
1982 and 1983 about working for the CIA. He says Mr. Seal was
secretive about it but discussed aerial reconnaissance of
Nicaraguan air bases when the subject came up.
      Jack Terrell, a former Contra mercenary who now opposes
U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, says that "we knew he {Mr.
Seal} was flying for the Contras" at Aguacote, a Honduran
supply base. And a jailed drug pilot named Gary Betzner says
he once ran into Mr. Seal at Illopango air base in El
Salvador, where much of the Contra weaponry was transshipped.
       Another imprisoned drug pilot, Michael Tolliver, says he
was recruited into the Contra supply network by Mr. Seal,
whom he had known since they were both airplane enthusiasts in
Louisiana. He says Mr. Seal called him in the spring of 1985
and said, "I've got some interesting flying for you to do."
Says Mr. Tolliver: "I figured it was government because
everybody knew he was working for the government."
      Following Mr. Seal's drug convictions, his undercover
efforts served him well with sentencing judges. In federal
court in Fort Lauderdale, Judge Norman C. Roettger reduced a
10-year drug sentence to six months' probation after DEA
agents spoke to him. The judge specifically praised Mr.
Seal's cooperation in the Nicaraguan case. Then, under a deal
worked out with the Justice Department, Mr. Seal also got
probation for another Florida drug conviction and for drug
charges in Louisiana.
      But the judge in the Louisiana case, upset at the leniency
of the Justice Department terms, required Mr. Seal to spend
nights during his probation at a Salvation Army shelter in
Baton Rouge. The requirement made him easy for his enemies to
find, and one day early last year some of them did. Three
Colombian men have been charged with killing him.
      Of the two others Mr. Seal said went to Nicaragua on the
C-123, one, co-pilot Emile Camp, died in a crash of his
one-man plane. The other, mechanic Peter Everson, who has
never been charged or asked to testify, won't discuss Mr.
Seal's story except to say he would corroborate it if called.
       He lives in a fortress-like building in Louisiana.
       One final footnote: Mr. Seal's C-123, after a change in
ownership, crashed in Nicaragua last October while on a
Contra supply run. The Nicaraguans captured an American cargo
handler who survived. His name was Eugene Hasenfus, and his
capture began the unraveling of secret U.S. efforts to supply
the Contras.


Too bad the rest of the American media ignored this, and much more
evidence, that operatives connected to the Central Intelligence
Agency were, and are, deeply involved with the global narcotics


Subject:  Dennis Byrne: Professional Skeptic or Professional Idiot?
From: Tom Deflumere 
Date:  Sun, 15 Jun 1997 17:10:30 -0500
Organization:  EnterAct L.L.C. Turbo-Elite News Server

   Earlier this week, the Sun-Times columnist Dennis Byrne joined the
chorus of government puppets dismissing the investigative series by Gary
Webb of the San Jose Mercury News into the CIA-Contra cocaine pipeline;
I thought the time was right to revisit some recent history ( two more
posts to follow, including one from the noted liberal paper The Wall
Street Journal )...

From: (Larry + Jennie)
Subject: CIA Cocaine: Washington Post 10/22/94

This article is as close as the WASHINGTON POST has ever
come to reporting on the CIA Contra cocaine trafficking.  This
major story was enough to hurt Oliver North's Senate campaign
in an extremely tight race against LBJ son-in-law Charles Robb,
but not enough to make Mena cocaine a national issue.

Despite the importance of this long article, it was published on
a Saturday, the newspaper's lowest circulation day.  Savvy
newsmakers try to hide bad news by announcing it on Friday
so it is reported, but buried, in Saturday's edition.  Believe me,
Saturday is the most important day to read newspapers.

BTW, I am of the opinion that the two Senatorial candidates
could have worked together.  Ollie North could have sold cocaine
to Chuck Robb so he could pick up babes at the beach.  :)


"North Didn't Relay Drug Tips; DEA Says It Finds No Evidence
Reagan Aide Talked to Agency"
By, Lorraine Adams
October 22, 1994

      For almost a decade, Oliver L. North has been dogged by
questions about what he did to make sure U.S. government flights to
help the Nicaraguan contras were free of drug traffickers.
     In personal diaries North kept in 1985, he wrote down a trusted
aide's tip that drugs were being brought into the United States on a
contra supply plane. He recorded the type of aircraft and a stop on
its route - New Orleans. In testimony he gave to Congress in 1987,
North said he gave that information to the Drug Enforcement
     But the DEA, when asked to verify North's testimony, issued a
statement Friday saying, "There's no evidence he talked to anyone.
We can't find the person he talked to, if he did talk to them.
There's no record of the person he talked to."
       Along with the new DEA comment, government records,
depositions, hearing testimony and interviews with former officials,
the diary entries again raise questions about what North did to
maintain the integrity of the contra supply efforts that he oversaw
as a National Security Council aide.
       North declined to grant an interview for this story, and he did
not respond to written questions asking him to explain the diary
entries and identify whom in the DEA he told.
       He issued a statement in which he said: "I did all in my power
to ensure that when ever the slightest rumor or concern was raised
about drugs, the matter was immediately referred to the cognizant
authorities in our government."
       But top law enforcement officials - including the former heads
of the DEA and U.S. Customs Service - who met with North at the time
on a variety of issues said in recent interviews that he did not
pass the information on to them.
       Former State Department, CIA and White House officials also say
North did not tell them about the New Orleans plane. Nor, they said,
did North tell them of other information - relayed to him by the
same aide in a memo - about an aircraft and crew listed in law
enforcement records as being suspected of drug trafficking. As a
result, former State Department officials said, that plane and crew
continued to be used as official carriers of U.S. government
humanitarian supplies to the contras.
       Many of these officials, when recently read the diary entries
and memos, expressed surprise at how much North knew.
      The diary entries are but a fragment of the Iran-contra affair,
in which North and others secretly sold weapons to Iran to free
American hostages, then diverted profits from those sales to a
congressionally banned effort to arm the contras fighting the
Marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua.
      In the campaign by Republican nominee North to unseat Sen.
Charles S. Robb (D-Va.), a major issue has been character. Polls,
and the candidates themselves, have repeatedly raised questions
about Robb's honesty about his personal life and North's candor
about the Iran-contra affair.
       Drugs have been a minor but persistent theme. North has accused
President Clinton of avoiding the war on drugs and reminded voters
that Robb was present at Virginia Beach parties where drugs were
     In his written statement Friday, North said, "It is a moral
outrage and a cheap political dirty trick by desperate opponents, to
even suggest that I or anyone in the Reagan Administration, in any
way, shape or form, ever tolerated the trafficking of illegal
substances or any such activities."

	       Drug-Trafficking Allegations

       In 1979, the Marxist-led Sandinista National Liberation front
toppled the dictatorship in Nicaragua. President Reagan authorized
covert CIA support to the anti-Sandinista groups, or contras, two
years later.
      The same year, in an unrelated move, then-Marine Maj. Oliver L.
North was detailed to the National Security Council staff. North
worked on various projects - among them counterterrorism and the
Grenada invasion.
	In 1984, Congress prohibited direct or indirect military
support to the contras, and North became the administration's "point
of contact" with the contras at the request, North said, of CIA
Director William J. Casey and National Security Adviser Robert C.
	In April 1986, published media reports said federal
investigators were looking into possible illegal support for the
contras, some of it financed by drug-smuggling. A Senate
subcommittee chaired by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) began looking
into those allegations.
	On Nov. 25, 1986, Reagan held a news conference in which he
said he had not been fully informed about North's operations,
specifically the diversion of profits from Iranian arms sale to the
contras. He announced North's dismissal.
      Two years later, the Kerry committee's final report concluded,
"It is clear that individuals who provided support for the contras
were involved in drug trafficking." A Kerry staff aide said the
committee found evidence, including North's diary entries, that
North knew about the trafficking.
	Another subcommittee, chaired by Rep. William J. Hughes
(D-N.J.), ran out of time and money before concluding its
investigation, Hughes said, but "found that there were ties between
the contras and drugs," though North's role was not completely
	In his written statement Friday, North said, "Special
Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh conducted a multi-million dollar,
seven-year inquiry into every conceivable aspect of my life and
never once made any such charge or allegation."
	Sources close to the Walsh investigation said the fact that
questions about drugs and North were not acted upon or fully
explored was in no sense an exoneration. The prosecutors did not
receive North's voluminous notebooks until he took the stand in his
1989 trial, which made questioning him about them difficult.
      North ultimately was convicted of three felonies - overturned
 on appeal - but after his trial, the Walsh probe's focus shifted
 away from him.
	Between 1984 and late 1986, when the alleged drug trafficking
 was occurring, there were many efforts to help the contras. During
 that period, North was trying to control those efforts. Some
 involved military supplies and were secret. One public effort was
 carried out by an agency created by Congress in 1985 called the
 Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office, or NHAO. Based in the
 State Department, its job was to get $27 million in strictly
 humanitarian supplies to the contras.
	 North flew occasionally to Central America for contra-related
 meetings, but for the most part, he kept track of the secret and
 public efforts from his office in the Old Executive Office Building
 with a bank of telephones, a computer and a spiral-bound notebook
 where he kept a daily diary.
	 North relied on Robert Owen, who traveled among Central
 America, Miami, New Orleans and Washington, to be his "eyes and
 ears," as North once described him.
	A former staff member of Sen. Dan Quayle's and a fervent
 contra supporter, Owen worked for the contra leadership in 1984. He
 helped them, he said, "in any way I could," including bringing lists
 of needed arms to North and distributing money, provided to him by
 North, to contra leaders.
	At North's urging, NHAO hired Owen as a contractor. By day,
 Owen worked on the humanitarian effort, and in his off-hours,
 unbeknownst to NHAO's director, Robert W. Duemling, Owen reported to
 North and helped with the secret weapons supply network.
       Duemling said NHAO reported, as a practical matter, to a group
 whose key members were North, in the National Security Council;
 Elliott Abrams, assistant secretary of state for Latin American
 affairs; and Alan Fiers, chief of the CIA's Central American Task
       NHAO officials say they didn't know about North's covert weapon
 supply. They knew little about the contras' own effort to ship
 weapons with aircraft they leased or owned. They knew little of
 efforts of private citizens - including exiled Cubans and
 paramilitary groups.
      Owen's memos from the period are filled with details about all
 of the groups. He shared with North suspicions about some of the
 contra leaders' drug ties, political maneuvering among the groups,
 the contras' desperate need for arms.
       Just before NHAO was up and running, after meeting with Owen on
 Aug. 9, 1985, North wrote in his diary: "Honduran DC-6 which is
 being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for
 drug runs into U.S."
      The information apparently stayed in North's mind, because the
 next day he wrote, "Meeting with A.C. --Name of DEA person in New
 Orleans re bust on Mario DC-6."
       A.C. could be contra leader Adolfo Calero, brother of Mario,
 who was in charge of a warehouse and shipping operation for the
 contras in New Orleans. Pilots familiar with contra supply
 operations say Mario Calero regularly used a DC-6, based in
 Honduras, that made runs between New Orleans and Central America.
 Mario Calero is deceased.
       The entry's references to a DEA person in New Orleans and a
 bust are cryptic. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,
 when asked by The Washington Post to search for any records of drug
 trafficking by Mario Calero, or by a company associated with him,
 say they could find none.
       In a closed session before Congress in 1987, North testified
 that he reported to the DEA the information that the DC-6 might be
 making drug runs into the United States. In the session, which has
 since been declassified, North was read the entry, and responded:
 "It was a DC-6 registered in {name of country} and someone had told
 me - in fact it was probably Rob Owen who told me that. I turned it
 over to the DEA immediately."
       Jack Lawn, the former head of the DEA, talked to North on
 several occasions in 1985 and 1986, mostly about DEA informants in
 the Middle East. But "Ollie did not provide any intelligence to me"
 about the New Orleans tip, Lawn said.
	Robert Bryden, then the DEA special agent in charge of the New
 Orleans office, said neither he nor anyone in his office ever
 received any drug information from North, the White House or anyone
 else concerning Mario Calero or any DC-6. Bryden said he would liked
 to have known.
      "Our business is drugs, so if somebody knows about an airplane
 using drugs, we would like to know about it," Bryden said.
	Former national security adviser McFarlane, North's boss at the
 time, said North did not relay the drug suspicions about the DC-6 to
       "He never reported it to me," said McFarlane, who has harshly
 criticized North since their work together for Reagan. "He certainly
 should have reported anything which is a violation of U.S. law,
 which it sounds like that was."
	William Von Raab, then head of U.S. Customs, said he is
 "absolutely stunned" by the North notebook entries. "I had dealings
 with North. I was a trusted conservative guy. While extremely
 law-abiding, I was on their side ideologically. He should have told
 me. Were any information like that available, as a courtesy, as a
 routine practice, he should have told me."
       Former deputy CIA director Robert Gates also was surprised by
 the entries. He said he would expect anyone provided with such
 intelligence "to immediately go ballistic, to talk to Von Raab, to
 DEA. A normal person would have reacted strongly."
       NHAO director Duemling and five other NHAO officials
 interviewed said North never alerted them to any concerns about
 Mario Calero or any aircraft of his associated with drug
 trafficking. "On the contrary, he wanted me to work with Mario,"
 Duemling said.
       A former ambassador and a career Foreign Service officer,
 Duemling admits he knew little about getting supplies to a rebel
 force in hostile territory, or about the contras. He said that he
 relied on North, as an expert on the contras, to guide him and that
 North instructed him not to disturb the contras' logistics
	Duemling said he believed North should have relayed to him the
 Owen leads about drug trafficking.
       "I'm disturbed and disappointed that senior U.S. officials
 would be guilty of this kind of malfeasance," Duemling said.
      "We're talking about the business of the U.S. government, about
 senior officials in the U.S. government. We're talking about the
 responsibility of implementing the foreign policy of the U.S.
 government. These are not things you should be playing games with."
	Abrams, one of the three officials including North whom NHAO
 reported to, said he couldn't answer why North didn't tell Duemling,
 but said the drug allegations concerned "air charter companies and
 you're dealing with a lot of fly-by-night operations."
       "It was really not easy to find out what was the last previous
 trip of that plane or what would happen to that plane when they were
 done with it," he said. "And legally speaking, that was none of our
       He said that when he and North found out about two people in
 the contras' own organization who were suspected of drug
 trafficking, they were kicked out. Abrams would not name them on the
 record. "We had no proof, just rumors, and the rumors were enough
 for us to act," he said.
       North's involvement with NHAO went beyond providing advice.
 Over time, North piggybacked his arms effort onto the publicly
 sanctioned humanitarian effort.
      "It became fairly clear to me as time went on, by January
(1986), what was really happening was Ollie was hijacking the NHAO
operation," Fiers testified in a 1992 trial.
      That system, documented in numerous Iran-contra records, worked
like this: NHAO aircraft loaded with humanitarian cargo flew from
New Orleans and Miami to Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador, and
sometimes Aguacate, Honduras.
      There, humanitarian supplies were offloaded and stored. The
NHAO planes then became part of North's secret operation and were
loaded with military supplies for flights to contra camps in
Honduras or for air drops into Nicaragua.
      NHAO paid only for the humanitarian leg of the flights. The
military leg was paid for from Swiss bank accounts North set up to
finance the covert operations.

	       Another Owen Warning

       Six months after Owen warned North about Mario Calero and the
DC-6, he warned him about an NHAO contractor.
       Owen's memo of Feb. 10, 1986, reads: "No doubt you know the
DC-4 Foley got was used at one time to run drugs, and part of the
crew had criminal records. Nice group the Boys choose. The company
is also one that Mario has been involved with using in the past,
only they had a quick name change. Incompetence reigns."
       The only DC-4 listed in NHAO records was one supplied by
Miami-based Vortex Air International Inc. One of the company's key
officers, who is mentioned in North's diaries, has a long record of
serious drug allegations.
	In testimony to the Iran-contra committee about his DC-4 memo,
 Owen identified Foley as Pat Foley of Summit Aviation, which still
 operates in Middleton, Del. Owen identified "the Boys" as the CIA.
       In a recent interview, Foley denied the implication in Owen's
 memo that he worked for the CIA, but agreed he gave NHAO a list of
 air cargo companies that could be hired, including Vortex. He said
 he was unaware of any drug allegations against the company.
      Those drug connections surfaced when the DC-4 had engine
 trouble on an NHAO flight and had to land on San Andreas Island in
 Colombia, where it was detained. Colombian authorities had
 discovered that the plane was flagged in international law
 enforcement records as having been used to fly drugs and that some
 of the crew had criminal records.
       Owen, who recounted that incident in testimony to the
 Iran-contra committee, said his concern was: "In my mind, it was
 stupidity to use a plane that at one time had been used, or at least
 targeted, as having carried drugs, and also it was stupidity to use
 people who had a criminal record."
	Frank McNeil, then senior deputy assistant secretary of state
 for intelligence and research, confirmed Owen's account in an
 interview. According to McNeil, Colombian police contacted the U.S.
 Embassy in Colombia, and it cabled the State Department.
       "We queried the CIA, and after they did some checking, they
 responded, something to the effect, `It's unfortunate, but it's
 pretty hard to find folks to do this work,' " McNeil said recently.
       McNeil would not reveal the identity of the CIA official
 involved. The emergency landing was suspicious, he said, because the
 island was a shipping point for drugs. After the Iran-contra
 investigations, McNeil learned the group had continued to supply the
 contras. "The whole thing is too sleazy for words," he said. "It is
 not a happy chapter in American history."
       Owen's warnings about Vortex's drug problems didn't end its
 NHAO flights, and North's notebooks show that he was aware they were
 still working for the agency.
       The name of Vortex, and one of its officers, who had numerous
 drug charges - Michael Bernard Palmer - appears twice.
       The diary entries show North had detailed knowledge of Palmer
 and Vortex's NHAO flights. On April 22, 1986, North wrote: "Call
 from Rob. 900 Uniforms, 1800 Pr boots, 1700 ponchos, 1700
 suspenders, SOX, belts, hats) Vortex/Miami."
     Two days later, a second entry lists a Vortex flight's
destination, the type of aircraft, identifying tail number, pilot,
and departure and arrival times. It ends with Palmer's name and
phone number.
       During the congressional inquiries into the contra drug link,
Palmer was an important witness. Under a grant of immunity in 1988,
he testified that he flew for major drug organizations between 1977
and 1985, making frequent runs between Colombia and the United
       Before Vortex's contract with NHAO, Palmer, himself a pilot,
landed in a Colombian jail on drug charges, according to grand jury
testimony in one of Palmer's later drug cases. He was released in
Colombia under circumstances never fully explained.
       Palmer was indicted in Detroit in June 1986 while Vortex was
still under contract to NHAO. The Detroit indictment named Palmer in
a conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana, beginning in 1977
and ending in June 1986.
       In 1989, a federal indictment in Louisiana charged Palmer with
helping to bring 300,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States
from South America in a 1982 operation.
      The Detroit prosecutors would not explain why that case was
dropped. In the Louisiana case, Palmer boasted to prosecutors that
his drug running was sanctioned by the government, and the
prosecutor, Howard Parker, said he dropped the charges to avoid a
       The idea that Palmer worked secretly for a government agency,
even after his NHAO contract was over, is supported by declassified
Customs records. The documents, supplied to congressional committees
looking into alleged contra drug ties, show Palmer was working in
1987 for a government agency, the name of which was blacked out.
       The records describe an incident in which Palmer protested a
Customs inspection of a DC-6 that Vortex was servicing at Miami
International Airport. The records say: "Normal U.S. Customs Service
procedures for incoming flights are expedited" at the request of the
unnamed agency.
      The unnamed agency's officials knew of the open drug charges
against Palmer, but "our records do not go beyond allegations, the
substance of which did not preclude us from using these
individuals," the Customs records state.
       Palmer said in a recent interview that he didn't know North. The
drug cases were dropped, he said, because he was not guilty of the
      Vortex was not the only company used by NHAO with an officer
accused of drug trafficking.
	During the time NHAO was operating and hiring air cargo
companies, Duemling and NHAO's attorney said they requested
background information from the Justice Department about the NHAO
contractors, but never received a reply.
       It wasn't until after NHAO had closed down, when Sen. Kerry's
subcommittee published its report, that it became clear that several
cargo carriers and suppliers NHAO had used were either owned or
operated by individuals under investigation by federal law
enforcement for drug trafficking.
       In addition to Vortex, the report listed DIACSA, based in
Miami. DIACSA received $41,120 in NHAO work; Vortex received
$317,425. Two foreign firms were listed in the report: SETCO Air, a
Honduran company, and Frigorificos de Puntarenas, a Costa Rican
      DIACSA's owner, Alfredo Caballero, and Floyd Carlton, who ran a
drug and money laundering operation out of DIACSA's Miami offices,
according to DEA affidavits, were under indictment at the time of
the NHAO contract. Carlton pleaded guilty to a cocaine trafficking
charge. Caballero was indicted in a cocaine conspiracy and pleaded
guilty to one count, but the specifics of the plea are sealed.
Carlton later became the star government witness in the drug trial
of Manuel Noriega.

From: (Larry-Jennie)
Date:  Thu, 19 Jun 1997 21:23:30 -0600
Organization:  InterAccess,Chicagoland's Full Service Internet Provider
Newsgroups:  alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater

In article (Martin McPhillips) writes:

>For those who have always bought the line
>that Whitewater was *just* a land deal that
>lost money, here's a little something from
>Partners in Power by Roger Morris.

Partners in Power
By Roger Morris
Pg. 393 -- 399

But drugs were only one commodity in a bustling commerce. Especially after
the spring of 1983, Seal's flights to Latin America to pick up cocaine
commonly carried arms for the Contra rebels fighting to over- throw the
Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. Part of what was later exposed as the
Iran-Contra affair, they were one channel of the CIA and the Reagan White
House's efforts to evade congressional restrictions, including the Boland
amendment, that went into full effect in the autumn of 1984. Though major,
the Arkansas precincts of Iran-Contra remained unexplored in the
circumscribed investigations by both Congress and the independent counsel.

Along with arms pouring into the Mena airport from US arsenals and the
private market, nationally and internationally, weapons bound for the
Contras also came from local Arkansas sources, including a Fayetteville
gunsmith named William Holmes, who had been crafting weapons for the CIA
since the mid-1950s and now produced for the agency a special order of 250
automatic pistols with silencers. Under oath he later told a federal court
that he was taken to Mena twice to meet Barry Seal, who paid for some
special orders in cash. Though Holmes dealt with other CIA agents, too, he
regarded Seal as "the ramrod of the Mena gun deal." Not long after Seal's
operation began, the terrain around Mena, similar to the landscapes in
Nicaragua, became a CIA training ground for Contra guerrillas and pilots.
Like the money laundering, the flow of weapons and the covert maneuvers
supplied Mena with still more whispered stories, of crates of arms unloaded
from unmarked black trucks, of Spanish-speaking pilots who flew practice
runs in and out of the airport, of state game wardens in the backwoods who
came upon contingents of foreigners in camouflage and armed with automatic
weapons; of caches of weapons secreted in highway culverts and mysterious
nighttime road and air traffic around neighboring Nella.

Though the CIA and other intelligence agencies routinely denied
responsibility for Seal and Mena, security for the operation was generally
careless; cover-up from Arkansas to Washington seemed taken for granted.
There was a paper trail of federal aircraft registrations and outfittings.
Some of Seal's fleet, which included a Lear jet, helicopters, and former US
military transports, had been previously owned by Air America, Inc., widely
reported to be a CIA proprietary company. An- other firm linked to Air
America outfitted Seal's planes with avionics. Between March and December
1982, according to law enforcement records, Seal fitted nine of his aircraft
with the latest electronic equipment, paying the $750,000 bill in cash.
Senior law enforcement officials happening onto his tracks in Arkansas were
quickly waved off. "Joe [name deleted] works for Seal and cannot be touched
because Seal works for the CIA," a customs official noted during an
investigation into Arkansas drug trafficking in the early 1980s. "Look,
we're told not to touch anything that has Barry Seal's name on it," another
ranking federal agent told a colleague, "just to let it go."

At the same time, customs officers and others watched the Mena contraband
expand far beyond the Contras to include the export of munitions to Bolivia,
Argentina, Peru, and Brazil - a hugely lucrative black market in arms
variously called the Southern Tier or Southern Arc. By any name,
intelligence sources described it as a CIA operation, often under cover of
bogus front companies, though occasionally with the knowledge of executives
and workers in "legitimate" corporations providing spare parts. The
smuggling was known to have made millions in criminal profits for CIA rogue
operations, mainly from what one former air force intelligence officer
called the "clockwork" transshipment of weapons and other contraband from
"meticulously maintained" rural airports in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky,
Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Arizona. According to several official
sources, Mena was not only the base for Seal's traffic in guns and drugs but
also a hub in this clandestine network of government crime.

Like the Seal runs, Southern Tier flights came and went with utter immunity,
protected or "fixed," as one law enforcement agent called them, by the
collusion of US intelligence and other agencies under the guise of "national
security." The most telling evidence in Seal's own thick files would be what
was so starkly missing. In hundreds of documents revealing fastidious
planning - Seal's videotapes even recorded him rehearsing every step in the
pinpoint drop of loads of cocaine, down to the seconds required to roll the
loads to the door of the plane - there was no evidence of concern for
cross-border security or how the narcotics were brought into the country.
Engaged in one of the major crimes of the century, neither he nor his
accomplices showed the slightest worry about being caught. The shadow of
official complicity and cover-up was unmistakable in Seal's papers. In 1996,
a former Seal associate would testify to congressional investigators how the
operation had been provided CIA "security" for flights in and out of the US,
including a highly classified encoding device to evade air defense and
surveillance measures.

Those who met Seal in Mena in the fall of 1983 found him at the zenith of
his influence. He was already a businessman of note in Arkansas, with an
address book listing some of the state's well-known names, and contacts in
Little Rock's banks and brokerage houses, and what a fellow CIA operative
called a "night depository" for bags of cash dropped from "green flights"
onto the ranch of a politically and financially prominent Arkansas family.
An associate, a pilot who came with Seal from Louisiana in 1982, would later
testify about their first weeks in Arkansas, when they were introduced to
pivotal figures in state government and business. "Barry Seal knew them all,
and they knew him, the Clinton machine," he remembered. "There was no limit
on cooperation by the good ole boys," a federal agent would say of Seal's
Arkansas friends.

At the height of his Mena operation, Seal made daily deposits of $50,000 or
more, using a Caribbean bank as well as financial institutions in Arkansas
and Florida. He casually admitted to federal agents that he took in $75
million in the early 1980s, and under court questioning said he made at
least $25 million in 1981 alone. A posthumous tax assessment by the IRS -
which officially noted his "C.I.A.-D.E.A. employment" and duly exempted him
from taxes on some of his government "income" for the years 1984-85 - would
show Seal's estate owing $86 million in back taxes on his earnings in Mena
in 1982 and 1983. Far from entertaining thoughts of paying taxes, Seal
detailed in his private papers his own plans for the money, including
setting up a Caribbean bank and dozens of companies, all using the name
Royale - from a television network, casino, and pharmaceuticals firm to a
Royale Arabian horse farm.

By 1984, the Seal operation began to unravel. While the Mena traffic
flourished, he was charged by elements of the Drug Enforcement Agency and
federal prosecutors - a group of agents and government lawyers not
compromised in the Arkansas operation - for trafficking in Quaaludes.
Suddenly facing a prosecution and prison sentence his intelligence patrons
either could not or would not suppress, he scram- bled to make his own deal.
With typical aplomb ("Barry was always smarter than most government folks he
dealt with," said an associate), he flew to Washington at one point to
dicker with the staff of Vice President George Bush.

By the spring of 1984, Seal was DEA informant number SGI-84-0028, working as
an $800,000-a-year double agent in an elaborate sting operation against the
Medellin cartel in Colombia and individuals in the Nicaraguan regime who had
been dipping into the drug trade themselves. The same elements of the US
government involved in Mena were now eager, for political advantage, to
expose the Sandinistas in drug dealing. That summer of 1984, CIA cameras
hidden in his plane, Seal made the incriminating flights to Medellin and
then Managua, only to have the case against the drug lords and his own life
jeopardized when the Reagan administration gleefully leaked the evidence of
Sandinista involvement, including the smuggler's own film, to the Washington
Times. In a scribbled note, Barry Seal recorded with knowing cynicism the
malignant juncture of politics and crime: "Government misconduct," he wrote,
and then of himself, "Operate in a world nearly devoid of rules and record

In February 1985 Emile Camp, later identified as a member of a Louisiana
organized crime family, one of Seal's expert pilots and the only witness to
many of his more significant transactions with both drug lords and US
intelligence agents, was killed - some thought murdered - when his
elaborately equipped Mena-bound Seneca unaccountably ran out of gas on a
routine approach and slammed into the Ouachita Mountains. The flight was
carrying the original logs of one of Seal's other planes, a Vietnam-era
C-123K Seal had christened the Fat Lady; these were missing when the
wreckage was discovered. Mean- while Seal himself was becoming a star
witness for the US government against his old Colombian associates. Though
still cocky, he was now becoming increasingly anxious about his own safety.
As if personal publicity could offer a shield, he confessed a few crimes to
local Arkansas investigators in a recorded interview and even agreed to an
in-law's request that he cooperate in a documentary on his operations for a
Louisiana television station. Nevertheless, he withheld the secrets of wider
and higher official complicity in Arkansas. The Mena traffic remained
relentless. "Every time Berri [sic] Seal flies a load of dope for the U.S.
Govt.," one local law enforcement officer noted in a log on August 27, 1985,
"he flies two for himself." The bargain seemed plain: "Seal was flying
weapons to central and south America," an agent noted, recording what "was
believed" within the DEA. "In return he is allowed to smuggle what he wants
back into the United States."

By the summer of 1985 Seal's usefulness to the government had expired, and a
scapegoat for the illegal operation in Mena was imperative. That same year
the CIA abandoned him, refusing even to acknowledge in camera to a federal
judge his role in the Sandinista sting, much less his long and seamy
clandestine service. In a tangled plea bargain on the old Quaalude charges,
a bitterly defiant Seal, still holding onto his Mena secrets and still
contemplating a profitable return to Arkansas, found himself on a
court-ordered six months' sentence to a Salvation Army halfway house in
Baton Rouge. It was there that assassins found him alone in his trademark
white Cadillac on a wet February night in 1986. With remarkable dispatch and
no further inquiry a group of Colombians, said to be working for Medellin,
were arrested and sentenced to life. That same winter President Reagan went
on nationwide television to denounce the Sandinistas as drug runners, using
Seal's covert film to demonstrate his outrage. The Seal family buried Barry
in Baton Rouge with a Snickers bar, his telephone pager, and a roll of
quarters, under the ironic epitaph he had dictated for himself - "A rebel
adventurer the likes of whom in previous days made America great."


Only hours before his gangland-style assassination, Seal had been making his
habitual calls to Mena. After the killing, activities in the Ouachitas
continued unabated, proving the operation went far beyond a lone smuggler.
In October 1986 the Fat Lady was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of
arms for the Contras. In the wreckage was the body of copilot Wallace "Buzz"
Sawyer, a native of western Arkansas; detailed records on board linked Fat
Lady to Seal and Area 51, a secret  nuclear weapons facility and CIA base in
Nevada. It would be the head- line-making confession of the Fat Lady's lone
survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, that would hasten a partial public airing of the
Iran-Contra affair. Though the Mena operation remained largely concealed in
the ensuing expose, records showed that there had been several calls around
the time of the Fat Lady's ill-fated mission from one of the CIA
conspirators in Iran-Contra to Vice President Bush's office in Washington
and to operatives in western Arkansas.

"After the Hasenfus plane was shot down, you couldn't find a soul around
Mena," remembered William Holmes, who now found that the CIA refused
to pay him, reneging also on one of the last gun orders. The hiatus at
Intermountain Regional was brief. By early 1987 an Arkansas state police
 investigator noted "new activity at the [Mena] air- port," the appearance of
"an Australian business [a company that would be linked with the CIA] and
C-130s." At the same moment two FBI agents warned the trooper, as he later
testified under oath, that the CIA "had something going on at the Mena
airport involving Southern Air Transport [another concern linked to the
CIA]... and they didn't want us to screw it up."

Since the CIA is expressly prohibited by law from conducting any such
operations within the US, the documented actions constituted not only
criminal activity by the intelligence agency, but also suborned collusion in
it by the FBI. In August 1987, eighteen months after Barry Seal's
assassination, an FBI telex advised the Arkansas State Police that "a CIA or
DEA operation is taking place at the Mena airport."

In the late 1980s, as intelligence sources eventually confirmed to the Wall
Street Journal, a secret missile system was tested, CIA planes were
repainted, and furtive military exercises were carried out in the Ouachitas.
As late as the fall of 1991 an IRS investigative memorandum would record
that "the CIA still has ongoing operations out of the Mena, AR airport...
and that one of the operations at the airport is laundering money." When the
story of those more recent activities leaked in 1995, the rival agencies
behaved in time-honored Washing- ton manner with the media, the CIA
furtively explaining Mena as "a rogue DEA operation," the DEA and FBI
offering "no comment."

Months before Seal's murder, two law enforcement officials based in western
Arkansas - IRS agent Bill Duncan and state police detective Russell Welch -
had begun to compile what a local county prosecutor called a "mammoth
investigative file" on the Mena operation. Welch's material became part of
an eventual thirty-five-volume, 3,000-page Arkansas State Police archive
dealing with the crimes. Working with a US attorney from outside Arkansas, a
specialist in the laundering or "churning" of drug proceeds, who prepared a
meticulous presentation of the Mena case for a grand jury, including
detailed witness lists, bookkeeping records from inside the operation,
numerous other documents, and an impressive chain of evidence, Duncan
drafted some thirty federal indictments on money laundering and other
charges. "Those indictments were a real slam dunk if there ever was one,"
said someone who saw the extensive evidence.

Then, in a pattern federal and state law enforcement officers saw repeated
around the nation under the all-purpose fraudulent claim of "national
security," the cases were effectively suppressed. For all their evidence and
firsthand investigation, Duncan and Welch were not even called to testify
before appropriate grand juries, state or federal. At one point a juror from
Mena had happened to see hometown boy Russell Welch, a former teacher, at
the courthouse and "told the others that if they wanted to know something
about the Mena airport," as one ac- count described it, "they ought to ask
that guy out there in the hall." But "to know something about the Mena
airport" was not what Washington or Little Rock would want. Though the
Reagan-appointed US attorneys for the region at the time, Asa Hutchinson and
J. Michael Fitzhugh, repeatedly denied, as Fitzhugh put it, "any pressure in
any investigation," Duncan and Welch watched the Mena inquiry systematically
quashed and their own careers destroyed as the IRS and state police
effectively disavowed their investigations and turned on them. "Somebody
outside ordered it shut down," one would say, "and the walls went up." Welch
recorded his fear and disillusion in his diary on November 17, 1987: "Should
a cop cross over the line and dare to investigate the rich and powerful, he
might well prepare himself to become the victim of his own government....
The cops are all afraid to tell what they know for fear that they will lose
their jobs."

From: (Larry-Jennie)
Date:  Thu, 19 Jun 1997 06:18:45 -0600
Organization:  InterAccess,Chicagoland's Full Service Internet Provider
Newsgroups:  alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater

In article
(Martin McPhillips) writes:

>Getting Those Close To Him *Dirty*
>from "Love and Hate in Arkansas: L.D. Brown's
>Story," by Daniel Wattenberg in The American
>Spectator, May 1994

Here is more abut what L.D. Brown had to say
about the shenanigans of Clinton's Arkansas:

Excerpt from:
by Roger Morris
pg. 404-411

Early in 1984, a twenty-nine-year-old Arkansas trooper named Larry Douglass
Brown was eagerly applying for work with the Central Intelligence Agency.

As he told the story with impressive substantiation from other
accounts a decade afterward, Brown had been privy to some of the
Clintons' most personal liaisons, their biting relationship with each
other, their behind-the-doors bigotry toward "redneck" Arkansas, and
other intimacies; he and a stoic Hillary had even talked earnestly
about problems in their respective marriages.  At one point in the
early 1980s, Brown had come in contact with Vice President Bush during
an official gathering.  Th e"rather conservative' young officer, as
one friend described him, had been impressed by Bush.  Afterward
Clinton has twitted him about his Republican "hero," though the two
remained close.  Regarded as among the better state police officers,
Brown received some of the most sophisticated training that national
law enforcement agencies offer regional police officers, including
advanced courses provided by the DEA and Customs in intelligence
gathering, drug importation, and conspiracy cases.  Because of Brown's
extensive training, Clinton handpicked him to serve of a state
committee studying the drug epidemic to help develop educational
programs in Arkansas, and Brown wrote several of the panel's position
papers later cited as evidence of the state government's fight against

By Brown's repeated accounts, including hundreds of pages of testimony
under oath and supporting documentation, the sum of the story was
stark: The governor had clearly been aware of the crimes of Mena as
early as 1984.  He knew the Central Intelligence Agency was
responsible, knew that there was major arms and drug running out of
western Arkansas, believed the smuggling involved not only Barry Seal
but also a cocaine dealer who was one of Clinton's most prominent
backers, and seemed to know that approval of the Mena flights reached
as high as Vice President Bush.  Brown remembered how Bill Clinton had
encouraged him to join in the operation -- "Clinton got me into this,
the governor did," he would testify -- and how Clinton had then
dismissed his repugnance at the evidence that Seal was trafficking
cocaine under CIA auspices.  The state policeman watched in "despair,"
his brother recalled, while the governor did nothing about the drug
smuggling.  Brown would still think a decade later that Bill Clinton
"was surprised only in that I had found out about it."

Clinton had urged him to answer a newspaper ad for CIA employment that
ran in the NEW YORK TIMES on April Fool's Day, 1984.  "L.D., I've
always told you you'd make a good spy," Clinton remarked to him when
Brown showed him the paper and asked "if this is for real?" "Well, you
know that's not his name," Clinton said of a personnel officer listed
in the ad, "but you need to write him a letter." Brown did just that
two days later.  "Governor Clinton has been an inspiration for me to
further my career in government service," he wrote, " and in
particular to explore the possibilities of employment with your

Clinton proceeded to show an avid interest in Brown's application.  He
urged Brown to study Russian for an intelligence career, and Brown
characteristically took the advice to heart, practicing the foreign
script in a copybook and artlessly, proudly informing the CIA of his
"understanding the Cyrillic alphabet." He and Clinton talked, too, of
the role of an operations officer, with Clinton explaining the CIA's
diplomatic cover abroad and the recruitment of informers.  "It was
strange, you know.  He was into the fiction aspect of it and
intrigue," Brown remembered.

At one point Clinton told him he would personally call the CIA on his
behalf.  "He, obviously, from all our conversations, knew somebody,"
Brown recounted in a sworn deposition.  "I don't know who he called,
but he said he would.  He said he did.  I made a note one day that he
made a phone call for me." But in a private conversation Brown would
go even further with the story of the call.  Clinton, he said, had not
bothered to go through any officeholder's liaison or other formal CIA
channel in Washington but had simply telephoned someone directly at
the agency, someone whom he knew on a first-name basis and with whom
he talked for some time.  As usual, Brown was impressed with his
boss's knowledge and contacts.  Early in the process the governor had
begun to greet him whenever they met with a grinning question they
both understood to refer to Brown's relationship with the CIA.  "You
having any fun yet?" Clinton would ask.

By the end of the summer of 1984 -- four months after taking and
passing a CIA entrance examination -- Brown had met with a CIA
recruiter in Dallas, someone named Magruder, an "Ivy League looking
guy" who spoke "admiringly of Clinton," and whom Brown would later
recognize in photographs and identify to congressional investigators
in 1996 as a onetime member of Vice President Bush's staff.  This was
the man who asked him if he would be interested in "paramilitary" or
"narcotics" work as well as "security." Brown said he wanted to be
considered for such assignment and, in the course of the interview,
duly signed a secrecy agreement.  Somebody, he was told, would be
giving him a call.

On September 5 he received formal notification of his nomination for
employment.  Scarcely a month later the expected CIA call came to his
unlisted number at home.  As Brown testified, the caller "talked to me
about everything I had been through in the meeting in Dallas, ...
made me very aware that he knew everything there was to know." He
asked Brown to meet him at Cajun's Wharf in Little Rock, a popular
restaurant and bar off Cantrell Road in the Arkansas River bottoms
just below the white heights.  His name, he said, was Barry Seal.

At their meeting, the corpulent Seal was memorable for the athletic
young state trooper.  "Big guy.  He had one of those shirts that comes
down ...  outside your pants, big-guy kind of thing." Seal was cryptic
but again seemed clearly to know details Brown had provided on his CIA
application.  "He knew about the essay and everything I had done, so
absolutely there was no question in my mind," Brown testified.  Seal
also spoke vaguely about working for the CIA: "He'd been flying for
the agency, that's all I knew." In comnversations over the next few
weeks, Seal referred casually to Clinton as "the guv" and "acted like
he knew the governor," Brown recalled.  He invited Brown to join him
in an "operation" planned to begin at Mena Intermountain Regional just
before sunrise on Tuesday, October 23, 1984.

Arranging his shifts at the mansion to make time for the flight, Brown
met Seal at the Mena airport in the predawn darkness and was surprised
to find them boarding not a small private craft but a "huge military
plane" painted a dark charcoal with only minimum tail markings, its
engines roaring with a "thunderous noise," he remembered.  "Scared the
shit out of me just taking off."

Seal ordered him matter-of-factly to leave behind all personal
identification, including his billfold, keys and jewelry.  Along with
Seal at the controls sat a copilot whose name Brown never learned, and
in the back of the aircraft sat two men, "beaners" or "kickers" the
trooper called them.  Though he did not know it, Brown was aboard the
FAT LADY, and his later account marked the flight as on of Mena's
routine gun-and-drug runs.

After a refueling stop in New Orleans and the flight to Central
America, the C-123K dived below radar, then climbed and dipped again
for the "kickers" to roll out on casters large tarp-covered palettes,
which were swiftly parachuted over what Brown could see out the open
cargo door was a tropical, mountainous terrain.  Later Sal told Brown
the loads were M-16s for the Contras.  On the return they landed in
Honduras, where Seal and the "kickers" picked up four dark green
canvas duffel bags with shoulder straps, which Brown did not see

Back at Mena Seal handed Brown a manilla envelope with $2,500 in small
bills, presumably as payment for his time -- "used money just like you
went out and spent," Brown recalled -- and said he would call him
again about another "operation." As the ambitious young trooper
testified later, he was diffident about this apparent audition with
his CIA employers, reluctant to ask questions, even about the cash.
"This guy (Seal) obviously knew what he was doing and had the blessing
and was working for the agency and knew everything about me, so I
wasn't going to be too inquisitive."

At the mansion on Brown's next shift following the run to Central
America, Clinton greeted him with the usual "You having any fun yet?"
though now with a pat on the back.  With a "big smile" Brown
answered, "Yeah, but this is scary stuff," describing "a big airplane"
which he thought "kind of crazy." But Bill Clinton seemed unsurprised
and unquestioning, casual as always about what Brown told him about
the CIA, Seal and Mena.  "Oh, you can handle it," he said again.
"Don't sweat it."

Brown was startled at the governor's obvious prior knowledge of the
flight.  "He knew before I said anything.  He knew," Brown testified.
Asked later under oath if he believed the Seal flight had been
sanctioned by the governor, Brown would be unequivocal.  "Well, he
knew what I was doing.  He was the one that furthered me along and
shepherded me through this thing." Did he have any doubt that Clinton
approved of the flight from Mena to Central America:?  "No," he
testified.  Did he believe the Seal run "a sanctioned and approved
mission on behalf of the United States?" "Absolutely.  I mean, there
is no doubt."

Not long afterward, in the later fall of 1984, Seal called the trooper
as promised, again inquiring about Clinton: "he always asked me first
thing, how is the guv?" They talked about the first flight and Seal,
ruminating on his service for the CIA, confirmed that they had dropped
a load of contraband M-16s for the Contras.  "That's all he talked
about was flying and (the) CIA and how much work he had done for them,
and that's all he did.  That's all we would talk about," Brown
recalled.  They met again, this time at a Chinese restaurant near the
Capitol, and arranged for Brown to go on another trip in late

On Christmas Eve, 1984, once more with the governor's encouragement,
Brown again flew with Seal to Central America on what he still
understood to be some kind of orientation mission for his CIA
employment.  Seal picked up two duffel bags on the return through
Honduras, and just as before, back at Mean he offered Brown $2,500 in
small bills.  Yet this time Seal also brought one of the duffels to
Brown's Datsun hatchback in the Intermountain Regional parking lot and
proceeded to take out of it what the former narcotics investigator
instantly recognize as a kilo of cocaine, a "waxene-wrapped package,"
as he called it, "a brick."

Alarmed and incensed, brown quickly told Seal he "wanted no part of
what was happening" and left, speeding back to Little Rock in mounting
agitation, not least over the role of the state's chief executive.
"I'm just going nuts in my mind with all the possibilities," he would
say.  "I'm thinking, well , this is, this is an official operation.
Clinton got me into this, the governor did.  It can't be as sinister
as I think it is ...  He knew about the airplane flights.  He knew
about it and initiated the conversation about it the first time I came

Returning to the guardhouse, Brown first called his "best friend," his
brother Dwayne in Pine Bluff, who remembered his being "terribly
upset" and later went to the mansion to see him when the Clintons were
away.  According to the two men, Brown told his brother part of what
he had encountered, though without mentioning the CIA involvement.
"Who's pushing this.  Who is behind it?" his brother asked at one
point.  In reply, as each recalled clearly, Brown "nodded over towards
the governor's mansion."

Brown decided to approach Clinton directly about what he has seen.
When they were together soon after the second flight, a smiling
Clinton seemed about to ask the usual question.  But Brown was angry.
He asked Clinton if he knew Barry Seal was smuggling narcotics.  "Do
you know what they're bringing back on that airplane?" He said to
Clinton in fury.  "Wait, whoa, whoa, what's going on?" the governor
responded, and Brown answered, "well, essentially they're bringing
back coke." More than a decade later, Brown would testify to his
dismay at Clinton's response" "and it wasn't like it was a surprise to
him.  It wasn't like -- he didn't try to say, what?  ...  He was
surprised that I was mad because he though we were going to have a
cordial conversation, but he didn't try to deny it.  He didn't try to
deny it wasn't coming back, that I wasn't telling the truth or that he
didn't know anything about it."

In waving off Brown's questions about Mena, Clinton had made another
remark as well, added as what seemed both justification and warning.
"And your hero Bush knows about it," he told Brown.  "And your buddy
Bush knows about it."

Brown was chilled.  "I'm not going to have anything else to do with
it ...  I'm out of it," he told Clinton.  "Stick a fork in me, I'm
done," he added, an adolescent phrase from their shared Arkansas
boyhood.  The governor had tried to calm him: "Settle down.  That's no
problem." But Brown turned away, hurried to his car, and drove off,
leaving behind his once-promising career.  "I got out of there, and
from then it was, you know, not good."

The trooper immediately called the CIA to withdraw his application,
albeit discreetly.  "Just changed my mind," he recalled telling them.
But he saw no recourse, no appeal to some higher level of government
in a crimes in which both the governor of the state and Washington
were knowledgeable and thus complicit.  "I mean if the governor knows
about it ...  and I work for the governor," he remembered thinking,
"exactly who would I have gone to and told?  I mean, the federal
government knows that this guy is doing this ...  I don't know what
authority I would have gone to." More than a year later, as they were
having drinks in Jonesboro, Brown would tell the commandant of the
state police, Colonel Tommy Goodwin, but even then he acted out of a
desire to confess his unwitting involvement rather than out of any
expectation that Arkansas would move on the crimes.  All the while, he
was bothered by the role of his onetime hero at the mansion.  "Number
one," he would testify later of Bill Clinton, "he didn't deny it.  I
wanted him to tell me, OH, GOOD GOSH, THAT'S TERRIBLE.  WE'VE GOT TO
REPORT THIS.  And I wanted him to deny knowing anything about it or
explain it away to me ...  THEY'VE GOT A BIG STING PLANNED, AND
was no surprise to him.  He was surprised, I think -- this is what I
think -- that Seal showed it to me.  That's what I think to this day."

But perhaps what most disturbed L.D.  Brown was a direct reference by
Clinton to a member of the governor's own inner circle.  Clinton
"throws up his hands" when Brown mentions the cocaine, as if a
crucial, somehow rationalizing distinction should be made between the
gunrunning and the drug trafficking.

"Oh, no," Clinton said, denying that the cocaine was related to the
CIA Brown was hoping to join.  "That's Lasater's deal."

For a free subscription to the CIA Drugs mailing list:
In the "Subject," write: SUBSCRIBE

$$                                                     $$
$$  The CIA cocaine smuggling on behalf of the Contras $$
$$  through Mena, Arkansas corrupted the Presidencies  $$
$$  of Bill Clinton, George Bush and Ronald Reagan.    $$
$$  For details, see:                                  $$
$$        $$
$$                                                     $$

[end of message ... text also available at  ]

Date:     Sun Jun 29, 1997 11:34 pm  CST
From:     ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:       ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414
BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] Public Enemy No. 1 (From Jean Duffey)

-------------Begin Forwarded Material From Jean Duffey------------------

Public Enemy No. 1

Update:  June 29, 1997
The "train deaths"

"Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and
the simple, however cruel; our worst enemies are
the intelligent and the corrupt."
				-Graham Greene


Many visitors to our website have taken it upon
themselves to contact several of the public officials
involved with the train deaths case.  One of those
officials sometimes contacted is I.C. Smith, who is
the head of the Arkansas FBI office.  Some who have
spoken with Smith were so appalled by what he said,
they have called or e-mailed to tell us.  To begin
with, Smith purports that the FBI is "NOT CONVINCED

Is this stupidity or what?  From January of 1994 to
well into 1995, the FBI had an agent assigned full-time
to investigate the murders.  The investigation was shut
down, not because there was a sudden determination
that the boys weren't murdered after all, but because it
became impossible to ignore the Mena connection.  Is
Smith really expecting, or even wanting, us to believe
that the FBI conducted an eighteen-month-long murder
investigation before they determined there even was a
murder?  Rather than exposing the Mena drug-smuggling
operation, the FBI wants us to believe that their
incompetence amounts to idiocy.

Even if the boys' bodies were never exhumed, and second
autopsies were never performed, and a team of seven forensic
experts did not agree and report that the signs of murder
were clear, questions surrounding the case cries COVER-UP,
and accidents are not covered up.

If the boys had accidentally laid down on the tracks and
gotten themselves run over by a train, why have local,
state, and federal agencies put money and manpower into
seven seperate investigations spanning nearly a decade?
What other accidental deaths have received that kind of
attention?  Why have these investigations been allowed
to go forward just to be shut down suddenly when the
inevitable connection to the Mena drug-smuggling
operation is made?

How did Dan Harmon, now known to have been involved in
the murders, just happen to be appointed by Judge John Cole
to head the Saline County grand jury investigation of the
murders?  Why did Cole refuse to hear the complaints of
the grand jurors that Harmon would not allow them to see
the evidence and hear the witnesses they wanted?  Why did
at least seven witnesses turn up dead?

Why did U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks shut down a federal
investigation after I took him information connecting the
murders to a major drug operation involving public
officials?  Why did Banks clear Harmon when federal grand
jurors were unanimously ready to indict him on drug-related
charges?  Why did Harmon's RICO indictment exclude his
involvement in the murders even though the FBI have three
eye witnesses placing Harmon at the scene?  Why have I
been able to locate a fourth eye-witness that the FBI says
they can't find?

ENOUGH!  We know why.  It's because those who have the power
to call the shots do not want the crimes of Mena exposed.
So, it has become I.C. Smith's assignment to dispel any
such notion that a crime was even committed.  Lot's of luck.
Smith has got to be feeling like an imbecile for even making
such a suggestion.  That must be why he has other suggestions
up his sleeve.  Like, the boys were not all that wholesome,
and the parents were not all that attentive.

I'm not making this up.  I'm just repeating what sources
have told me Smith said to them.  And I can tell you, I
am personally more offended by such slurs against
Kevin and Don and their parents, than I am by Smith's
asinine statement that they were not murdered.  For
argument's sake, let's say the boys had been very
troubled teens and that their parents did not supervise
them properly.  What is Smith's point?  Is he saying this
somehow justifies their deaths?

Smith has been caught in numerous lies, he has attempted
to generate bias against the parents of murdered children,
and he has hinted that Kevin had a criminal record - if
that was true, Smith would be breaking the law for disclosing
a juvenile criminal record.  Since it isn't true, Smith is
telling a slanderous, bald-faced lie.

Why do our tax dollars have to pay the salary of the likes of
I.C. Smith?  Fax or mail this update to Smith and FBI Director
Louis Freeh.  We have the right to let them know how we feel
about such behavior from a high-ranking, high-salaried public

Do not doubt that each of you who takes the time to express
your concerns can make a difference.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
people can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing
that ever has."
				-Margaret Mead

Best wishes to you all,
Jean Duffey

If anyone can locate an e-mail address
on Smith or Freeh, please share it with

I. C. Smith, Arkansas Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Suite 200
Two Financial Centre
10825 Financial Centre Parkway
Little Rock, AR. 72211-3552
Phone: (501) 221-9100
Fax: (501) 228-8509

Louis J. Freeh, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
Telephone: (202) 324-3000

Update:  June 29, 1997

For list service help, send a message to with a subject of HELP.

Date:     Mon Jun 30, 1997 11:44 am  CST
From:     ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:       CTRL
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414
CC:       ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414
BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] CTRL-Mena, old as the hills?

an excerpt from:
Scarlet and the Beast - A History of the War Between English and French
John Daniel (C)1994
John Kregel, Inc.
 P. O.  box 131480
Tyler, Texas 75713
ISBN 0-9635079-0-7
can be purchased from:
Global insights
675 Fairview Dr. #246
Carson City, NV 89701
800-729-4131(orders only)
[not me & and no way related except human; Roads End ;^)> ]
As always Caveat Lector. Om

Foreign newspapers are reporting on President Bill Clinton's political
corruption, while our own Masonically controlled press remains silent. In
February 1995, The Times of London, tied Bill Clinton's rise in politics to
illegal drugs:

What is the basic truth of this Whitewater matter? To put it briefly: The
state of Arkansas was corrupt the way Mexico is corrupt, long before Bill
Clinton entered state politics, long before he was born.
The corruption goes back over a hundred years to the period after the Civil
War [when 33rd degree Freemason Albert Pike ran the political machine in
Arkansas]. In the 1970s, the corruption came to be financed by drug money,
even before Clinton became governor. People got killed; we even know the
names of some of the hit men.
By the early 1980s, drug importation through Arkansas, much of it through
Mena airport. reached billions of dollars.
The new narco-millionaires bought political protection by bribery and by
financing political campaigns, including Clinton's. They made it their
business to involve and implicate their political allies.

They killed dangerous witnesses. including schoolboys and probably including
Vincent Foster; his body was moved, his suicide was faked.

As governor, Bill Clinton set up his own unaccounted $700 million ADFA
operation, which made loans to his supporters and friends, many of whom
subscribed to his political fund.

In the 1980s, Arkansas was awash with cocaine and money-launderying. It may
have been impossible for Bill Clinton to keep his hands clean, but his great
mistake was to think that he could go from being governor of Arkansas, a
deeply corrupted state, to being U.S. president without the truth emerginCA
Long Range Navigation (LORAN) radar. Flying at low level, they could evade US
Customs and Defense radar detection systems.... When this was not feasible, a
shadow aircraft, typically US Air Force with a scheduled night plan, was used
to conceal the radar signature of a drug aircraft flying in close
proximity.... Once over American soil, they would be intercepted by CIA
aircraft and led over Inertial Landing Systems (ILS) radar. Positive
identification was established with Identify Friend or Foe (IFF)
transponders, that were installed on both trafficker and CIA aircraft. The
CIA chase aircraft, having taken the helm, would lead the drug aircraft over
a drop zone. The drug plane would then track on the ILS radar beam, typically
associated with landing, and release his cargo to agents on the ground. We
were those agents. Once we gathered up the cargo, we would transport it to a
pre-designated area and fly it to Mena, Arkansas.(28)

With revenue generated from the illegal sale of these drugs, the CIA funded
the Contras of Nicaragua in their fight against the communists. This
operation flew under the banner of patriotism.
26. Mike Royko, "Rupert Murdoch and the Arkansas narco-fiends," The Orlando
Sentinel (21 February 1995) A-9; quoting William Rees-Mogg in The Times.
27. Kenneth C. Bucchi, C.LA.: Cocaine in America (New York: Shapolsky
Publishers, 1994) 137.
28. Bucchi 52.
Aloha, He'Ping
Om, Shalom, Salaam.
Peace Be, Amen.
Roads End
For list service help, send a message to with a subject of HELP.

Date:     Wed Jul 02, 1997  3:09 am  CST
From:     ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:       ciadrugs mailing list
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414
BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] We're Having An Effect

We're Having An Effect

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
people can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing
that ever has."
		       -Margaret Mead

Update: July 2, 1997 The "train deaths"
Until now, government officials have never had to deal
with an informed public - the internet generation.
Arkansas FBI Head Agent, I.C. Smith, is being put on the
hot seat by readers of my latest update, "Public Enemy
No. 1." Smith doesn't understand that, unlike talking to
mainstream media, the internet medium will challenge his
lies and half truths. If you missed it, you may read
that update at
The statements Smith made to internet comrade Chris Blau
in a thirty-five minute telephone conversation yesterday
are in response to that update. My comments follow
Smith's statements.

* Smith says, there are only one or two witnesses
placing Harmon on the tracks with the boys the night
they were murdered, and one of them failed four or five

ONLY one or two witnesses! What does he mean, ONLY?
Well, anyway, which is it - one or two? Neither, there
are five witnesses that I know Smith knows about. Two of
them are in prison. And guess who prosecuted them. Dan
Harmon. Can you beat that? After U.S. Attorney Chucks
Banks shut down the 1990 federal grand jury that was
unanimously ready to indict Harmon, Harmon went after
those two witnesses.

A third eye witness came forward to Linda Ives in 1993,
was taken to the FBI, and passed a polygraph test. The
FBI said the witness corroborated what they already
knew, and a case file was opened. During that
investigation, the agent in charge told Linda of a
fourth witness; an ex-cop who participated in placing
the bodies on the tracks. The fifth witness is one the
FBI said they could not locate. I recently found out
where he is, though, so how hard could it be?

Now, about the witness Smith says failed a polygraph
four or five times. Well, which is it - four or five?
Neither, it's two. Smith is talking about Sharline
Wilson, one of the two witnesses Harmon prosecuted after
he was cleared by Banks.

Sharline, a confessed cocaine dealer, dated Harmon
several years in the 1980's. When Sharline lost custody
of her son (by a previous marriage), she began to clean
up her life. She gave testimony to the 1990 federal
grand jury against Harmon, and later, she tells about
driving Harmon to the tracks the night the boys were
murdered. According to Sharline, Harmon left her with an
eight-ball of cocaine which kept her high for several
hours while she sat waiting in the car. Sharline says
she knew the area was a drop zone for drugs but says she
didn't know what had happened that night until she heard
about the boys the next morning.

After Banks cleared Harmon in June, 1991 of "all
wrong-doing," Harmon was not the only one still
interested in Sharline. She was interrogated by several
agencies, including the FBI, and says she often felt
like she was being badgered and harassed. She
volunteered to be polygraphed but became so upset during
the pretest interview, the polygrapher said he couldn't
even get a positive reading when she stated her name.
Failed polygraph number one.

The next time she was polygraphed was after she had been
arrested by Harmon's drug task force for what she says
was "a set up." She had been terrorized by Harmon and
had been sitting in jail for months. The night before
the test, she was transported to another facility where
she spent the night in isolation. By then she was an
emotional wreck, and claims she told them what they
wanted to hear. She "confessed" to killing the boys
herself. Failed polygraph number two.

It's amazing that Smith would use those bogus test
results to discredit a witness against Dan Harmon.

* Smith says he is responsible for Dan Harmon's
conviction and is not being given credit.

Fine, if he wants credit for Harmon's conviction, he's
got some explaining to do. Two of his own agents, one in
a taped telephone conversation, said the FBI has known
about Harmon's illegal activities for years. Why did
they wait to do anything about it until a small-town
newspaper ran a story about Harmon's ex-wife being
caught with cocaine packages from his district's
evidence locker? The answer is in the question - it was
reported in the newspaper. The feds (Smith, since he
wants the credit) were forced to do something. They
conducted an eighteen-month-long showy investigation
which resulted in an eleven count indictment, but a
conviction on only five counts. The government (Smith,
since he wants the credit) should have asked for
indictments for Harmon's criminal activity ten years
back which is allowed under federal RICO law. This would
have given the case the strength of a mountain of
evidence my task force had against Harmon. No excuse or
explanation has been given for cutting Harmon's
indictment off at August of 1991, just a month after
Banks held a press conference announcing there were no
dirty public officials in Saline County.

* Smith says he doesn't doubt there was or is drug
activity around Mena.

So, what is he doing about it?

* Smith says he is not sure the FBI has the jurisdiction
to investigate the murders.

This is one of the most incredible statements Smith
makes repeatedly. The FBI has jurisdiction over any
drug-related/public official-related crime. If the
FBI's jurisdiction was questionable, why was an agent
assigned to work the case full-time for more than
eighteen months? It wasn't lack of jurisdiction that
stopped the investigation. It was the link to the Mena
drug-smuggling operation that caused that shut-down as
well as six previous investigations of the murders, and
is likely the real reason Harmon's indictment didn't
include his involvement in the murders. (Smith can have
credit for that, too.)

The tragedy of Kevin and Don's murders is compounded by
the government's cover-up to hide it's involvement in
the drug trade. The tragedy is further compounded
because it is far from being an isolated incident.
Another of many is the murder of Tommy Burkett . If you
aren't familiar with Tommy's story, please visit his
parents' website at Their
own struggle with the FBI to expose the truth has given
them insight into an agency that most Americans still
trust and value. Tom Burkett says: "The FBI is not in
the business of truth; it is in the business of

I believe, however, that we can force change. We must
arm citizens with truth and confront officials with
knowledge. Our public officials can no longer be
sheltered by corporate media. They are having to face
us, the internet generation. We're on a roll, so we
can't stop now. Go to "Congress E-Mail" at and send the
Senators and Representatives of your choice (all of them
would be better) a copy of "Public Enemy No. 1" and my
responses to I.C. Smith in this update. John F.
Williams, an internet comrade, provided us with
Congress's E-mail list. He has already sent out "Public
Enemy No. 1" with this message to our illustrious
leaders: "For those of you who think that a conspiracy
theory is a conspiracy theory, wake up, before it is too

It is up to us to give them their wake-up call.

"Corruption flourishes in an atmosphere of tolerance
that allows it to prevail."
			       - Capt. Frank Furillo

The best to you,
Jean Duffey
Update: July 2, 1997
For list service help, send a message to with a subject of HELP.

Date:     Wed Jul 02, 1997  6:54 pm  CST
From:     ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:       ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414
BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] The Mafia, CIA & Barry Seal

The Mafia, CIA & George Bush
By Pete Brewton
S.P.I. Books, 1992
Pg. 154-160

There was something more to Herman K. Beebe than just the drinking, the
skirt chasing, the business wheeling and dealing, the La Costa hangout, the
Teamsters, Carlos Marcello and the Mafia.

There were the helicopters for the CIA agent in Guatemala who was training
Contras in Belize; there was Gilbert Dozier, the former Louisiana
agriculture commissioner serving time for extortion and bribery, who was
going to turn state's evidence against Beebe until President Reagan pardoned
him at the request of CIA Director William Casey," there was Beebe's
financing the establishment of Palmer National Bank in Washington, D.C.,
which was helping funnel money to the Contras three blocks from the White
House; and there was E. Trine Starnes, Jr., one of the biggest borrowers at
Beebe-controlled S&Ls and one of the biggest private donors to the Contras.

But first there was Barry Seal and the C-4 explosives in a Shreveport
warehouse destined for anti-Castro Cubans in Mexico.

Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal - "El Gordo" - the fat man, also known as
"Thunder Thighs," was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Called the world's
greatest pilot, he was at least the youngest ever to captain a Boeing 747,
at the age of twenty-six. But several years later he turned to the Dark Side
of the Force: He was caught dealing with Mafia associates and CIA operatives
in one of the most bizarre and inexplicable criminal cases on record.

It went down this way:

On July 1, 1972, Seal was taking some sick leave from his job as a captain
flying 707s and 747s out of New York to Europe for Trans World Airlines. As
he walked out of his motel room near the New Orleans International Airport,
he was arrested by federal agents and charged with violating the Mutual
Security Act of 1954, which prohibited the exportation of weapons without
the permission of the U.S. State Department.

Also involved in the plot and arrested that day were eight other individuals
in Shreveport, Louisiana, New Orleans and Eagle Pass, Texas. A DC-4 that
Seal had recently purchased in Miami was seized at the Shreveport Regional
Airport. On board were 13,500 pounds of C-4 explosives, 7,000 feet of
explosive primer cord, 2,600 electric blasting caps and 25 electrical
detonators. The explosives, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in
Louisiana, were destined for Cuban exiles in Mexico, who were going to use
them in an effort to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

Arrested in New Orleans along with Seal was a man from Brooklyn, New York,
named Murray Morris Kessler. Kessler was the key middle man in the deal. He
was the one who agreed to sell the explosives to the Cubans and then
arranged for the transportation.

Kessler, who had six previous criminal convictions and was awaiting trial in
New York on income-tax fraud when he was arrested, was well known to the
Brooklyn Organized Crime Strike Force. He was a friend and business
associate of Emmanuel "Mannie" Gambino, a member of the Gambino Mafia crime
family and nephew of Carlo Gambino, the boss of the Gambino family.

Kessler and Mannie Gambino were partners in Neptune's Nuggets, a Long Island
frozen stuffed-seafood packaging firm that had been criticized in Newsday
articles for having a product that was extremely low in seafood and
extremely high in bacteria. About a month before Kessler was arrested in the
explosives scheme, Mannie Gambino dropped out of sight. Gambino, reported by
Jonathan Kwitny in Vicious Circles to be a loan shark, had been murdered.

The man who brought Kessler into the scheme was just as interesting as the
mob associate from Brooklyn. He was Richmond C. Harper, a millionaire banker
and meat-packing plant owner from Eagle Pass, Texas, a small town on the Rio
Grande between Laredo and Del Rio. After he was charged in the conspiracy,
Harper told reporters, "I do know Murray Kessler. He is a friend of mine.
And I have loaned him my airplane occasionally when he is down in this part
of the world. I don't know what business he is in. To be truthful, I really

In a statement Seal made after the trial, he said that the "request for arms
and ammunition was brought across the border to a rancher/ banker by the
name of Mr. Richmond Harper in Eagle Pass, Texas, who had very deep ties
right into the White House." One of those people in Washington close to
Harper was Myles J. Ambrose, the U.S. Customs Commissioner, who at that time
was also in charge of the Federal Narcotics Bureau, the predecessor of the
Drug Enforcement Administration. Ambrose would come to visit Harper and go
hunting with him on his ranch in Mexico, according to a former Customs
official under Ambrose: "We tried to warn him [Ambrose]. Tell him that this
guy [Harper] is bad. He wouldn't listen." Ambrose's visits to Harper were
also discovered in 1976 by the House banking subcommittee investigating the
Texas rent-a-bank scandal.

Ambrose resigned his position in November 1972, apparently after learning
that Harper was going to be indicted in the case. Harper was indicted the
next month.

(One of Ambrose's running buddies was Jack Caulfield, a White House
undercover spy and aide to John Ehrlichman, and one of the conceptual
fathers of Richard Nixon's White House Plumbers, the leak-pluggers who
turned to perpetrating dirty campaign tricks.)

 In addition to the scheme to sell explosives to anti-Castro Cubans, Harper
had also been observed by Customs agents flying arms and ammunition to
Shreveport, and earlier to Alexandria, Louisiana. It may be just a
coincidence, but Herman K. Beebe moved from Alexandria to Shreveport in

In a written statement after the trial, Seal said that "Flores [one of the
defendants] contacted Richmond Harper, who contacted alleged Mafia
connections in New York, who contacted a representative of theirs in
Louisiana, who contacted me, Adler B. Seal, for the contract for the

This statement is important because it shows Seal - for the first time that
I am aware of - admitting to a connection to the Mafia. Was it Beebe's

The possibility that it was increases with three additional pieces of
information. One, the warehouse where the explosives were stored in
Shreveport was owned by Beebe, according to a private investigator and a
Customs official who is familiar with the case. Two, with the help of
Beebe's partner, Ben Barnes, Harper obtained a $1.9 million loan from Surety
Savings in Houston - where Beebe was doing business and brokering deposits.
And three, one of the principals of a helicopter company that Beebe financed
was a longtime, childhood friend of Seal's.

Seal, Harper, Kessler and the other defendants were not brought to trial
until the summer of 1974. The trial seemed to be proceeding in a normal
fashion until the fifth day, when Seal's attorney requested a mistrial and
the judge granted it.

It seems that the government prosecutors couldn't produce two key witnesses
against the defendants. One, Jaime Fernandez, was involved in the explosives
scheme when the government began its investigation and later became a
government informant, according to prosecutors. Jimmy Tallant, the lead
prosecutor from the Organized Crime Strike Force, told the judge that
Fernandez was a co-conspirator until he went to Mexican authorities with the
scheme. Tallant stated that he went to Mexico to try to get Fernandez to
come to Louisiana to testify, but Fernandez refused.

The second witness, Francisco "Paco" Flores, was a defendant, but federal
agents couldn't find him. The judge declared a mistrial and the charges were
later dismissed by an appeals court. End of story, or so it seemed.

However, after the trial, Seal wrote out a four-page statement, apparently
because he felt he was being unjustly harassed by the Customs Service in his
subsequent travels into and out of the United States. In this statement,
Seal spins a fantastic story about how the whole scheme was a government
sting operation set up to ingratiate our government with Fidel Castro so
that he would sign an anti-hijacking agreement. In the proposed agreement
Castro would let American planes hijacked to Cuba return without having to
pay stiff fines.

The Customs Service undercover agent who carried out the sting was Cesario
Diosdado, according to Seal, who "through records I have obtained from a
private investigative agency in Denver, Colorado, has been proved to have
been an ex-CIA agent who worked in the Bay of Pigs invasion and had been
working both sides of the fence in the Miami/Cuban area."

Diosdado testified in the trial that his investigation began with Jaime
Fernandez, but earlier stories indicated that Diosdado had either started
the ball rolling or picked it up and ran with it, even traveling to New York
to show Kessler some letters of credit with which to buy the explosives.

But much later, ten years after the trial, Seal changed his story about the
purpose of the operation. In sworn testimony in a trial in Las Vegas in
which he was a government witness, after he had turned informant, he
testified that the explosives were for CIA-trained anti- Castro Cubans.

Several law enforcement officials familiar with the case said that
regardless of whether the scheme was a Customs sting or a CIA operation for
or against Castro, the CIA pulled the plug on it during the middle of the
trial. The agency did so because some of the key participants and witnesses
worked for the CIA and it didn't want to compromise their identities as CIA

Russell Welch, an officer with the Arkansas State Police who has spent years
investigating Barry Seal, said the case was dismissed because "Seal and
others were protected, because the informant was protected, the CIA didn't
want to burn him."

Richard Gregorie, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Miami, who used Seal
as a drug informant in 1984, told Rodney Bowers of the Arkansas Democrat
that the case was dismissed because of "government misconduct."

"Although Gregorie said he had no knowledge of prior undercover work,"
Rodney Bowers reported in December 1989, "he told the Democrat in a recent
interview that the 1972 incident gave an 'indication' that Seal might have
been involved in a government operation at that time."

After the charges were dismissed, Seal, who had been fired by TWA, began to
work full-time as a CIA asset and a drug smuggler. His activities between
the explosives case and his murder on the parking lot of a halfway house in
Baton Rouge in February 1986 - allegedly by associates of the Colombian
Medellin drug cartel - have been well reported by journalists Kwitny,
Bowers, John Cummings, John Camp and Jerry Bohnen, who revealed that:

After the explosives case was dismissed, Seal began working full- time for
the CIA, traveling back and forth from the United States to Latin America.
By 1977 he had turned to narcotics trafficking, and became one of the most
proficient, if not THE most proficient, drug smuggler in this country. But
in 1983 he was turned in by an informant in Florida, convicted and sentenced
to a long jail term. Desperate, he tried to make a deal with the DEA to turn
informant, but no one would listen to him until he spoke to George Bush's
Vice Presidential Task Force on Drugs.

Seal told Bush's Task Force that the Sandinistas in Nicaragua were involved
in drug smuggling. Even though there was not one shred of evidence for it,
and still isn't, this "revelation" thrilled the task force to bits, and Seal
was basically forced onto the DEA as an informant.

One of his first tasks was to catch the Sandinistas in the act. So he took
his C-123K cargo plane to the CIA, which installed a hidden camera in it.
Seals flew the wired plane to Nicaragua and allegedly took some pictures -
he said the camera malfunctioned and he had to operate it by hand - of a
purported Sandinista official loading cocaine onto the plane. The CIA and
Oliver North decided to blow Seal's cover and use the pictures as
anti-Sandinista propaganda. The story appeared in the Moonie paper, the
Washington Times, and President Reagan displayed the picture on national
television in an attempt to get Congress to restore aid to the Contras.

Several journalists later blew the story out of the water as a setup, and
there has been no evidence before or since then that the Colombian cartels
have transshipped narcotics through Nicaragua. There has been, however, much
evidence that some Contras and their supporters were trafficking in drugs.

Meanwhile, Seal had been busy training Contras at his new base of operations
in Mena, Arkansas. At least seven pilots have told reporters of Seal's work
with the Contras. The last one to go public, Terry Reed, said he was
introduced to Seal by Oliver North. Reed said that North wanted him to turn
over a light plane he owned to North's Enterprise and then report it as
stolen and collect the insurance. Reed declined to do so, but the plane was
later stolen, and Reed collected on his insurance. The plane turned up in
Seal's Contra resupply operation and Reed was charged with fraud.

After Reed began talking about Seal, North and the Contras, and subpoenaed
North for his trial, the government, after going after Reed with everything
it had, dropped the case against him - but not before requiring the local
prosecutor to get a security clearance and requiring Reed not to comment on
the case for 30 days afterwards.

The federal government also went after Bill Duncan, an agent with the
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, who was
investigating the flow of drug money through Barry Seal's operations. When
Duncan was called to testify before the House Subcommittee on Crime
regarding federal interference in Arkansas and Louisiana police
investigations of Seal, he was ordered by one of his IRS superiors to
perjure himself if he were asked questions about Seal's relationship to
then-Attorney General Ed Meese and whether Meese had ordered evidence
withheld from a federal grand jury investigating activities at Mena, Arkansas.

Duncan resigned over the matter, after 17 years with the IRS. He then went
to work for the House Subcommittee on Crime in an investigation of Seal's
operation, but eventually got stymied there as well. He was arrested when he
took a gun inside a House office building, even though he was authorized to
carry a weapon. The House subcommittee cut his travel funds, and once again
he resigned in frustration.

Another investigator probing into Seal's operations was Gene Wheaton, the
former Pentagon criminal investigator who went to work for the Christic
Institute after parting company with Oliver North and Richard Secord.
Wheaton said he tracked Seal's C-123K cargo plane flying from Mena to
William Blakemore's Iron Mountain Ranch in West Texas. (There is also an
Iron Mountain in Arkansas near Seal's Contra training grounds.)

Blakemore said he had no knowledge of this.

Seal's C-123K, which he called the Fat Lady, would go down in history after
its "Fat Man" was murdered. This was the C-123K that was shot down in
October 1986 by the Sandinistas as it was making a resupply run to the
Contras. The resulting crash blew the lid off the White House's secret
support of the Contras, as the plane and its occupants were tracked to the
CIA-connected Southern Air Transport in Miami and to Oliver North.

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Date:     Wed Jul 02, 1997 11:15 pm  CST
From:     ciadrugs
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BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] Russell Welch Interview, March 1996

Copyright   1996 The Washington Weekly ( All Rights
Reproduced by special arrangement with Informatics Resource and the
Washington Weekly.


	  Former Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch
		   Interviewed by Marvin Lee, March 1996

LEE: When did you first hear about Mena airport or Rich Mountain Aviation?

WELCH: I took over as the criminal investigator in Mena in 1981. My duties
were to maintain intelligence on Mena airport concerning smugglers,
basically. There was one smuggler here by the name of Simon Frazier who,
like Barry Seal, was busted in Florida and rolled over [turned informant]
to stay out of prison, and was later either killed in an airplane crash, or
the crash was used as a front for a witness relocation.

LEE: When did you first learn about Barry Seal and the CIA?

WELCH: The first time that I heard of him was, probably, in late 1983, when
the Sheriff of Polk County, where Mena is located, had started an
investigation and one of his deputies, Jimmie Jacobs, told me that Sheriff
Al Hadaway was conducting an investigation of an alleged smuggler that had
moved in here. The deputy sheriff said that his first name was Barry and
they didn't know his last name. He came from Louisiana. The investigation
was serious enough that the sheriff wasn't saying too much about it.
According to the deputy sheriff, Hadaway was giving his information
directly to a federal task force that was investigating Barry Seal in New
Orleans. Their investigation was called operation "coin roll."

LEE: Was that the DEA?

WELCH: It was a Vice Presidential [George Bush] task force. According to
the deputy, Sheriff Hadaway felt that it was over the head of the state
police, it was out of our league. That's the reason he skipped us and went
directly to the task force - which was, in retrospect, probably a good
idea. It was out of our league. Although I believe to this day that if he
had come through me, Barry Seal might still be alive. He'd be working on a
pea farm at the prison in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but still be alive.

LEE: What about the CIA?

WELCH: When Sheriff Hadaway wanted to seize Seal's C-123, the people from
Rich Mountain Aviation contacted him and set up a meeting at their
attorney's house, in Mena, where they showed him a video that had been made
by John Camp called "Uncle Sam Wants You." It was a piece of crap. The only
report that linked Seal to the CIA, that I'm aware of, concerned the trip
on the C-123 to Nicaragua. Somebody from one of the first subcommittees
told me, on the telephone that they had confirmed a CIA interest in that
flight. Under the conditions at that time, they should have had an interest
in it if they were doing their jobs. For the most part, it looked like
Barry Seal was just trying to keep his cocaine smuggling butt out of jail.
My investigation should have been fairly simple once I got a handle on
things. But, little problems kept jumping up. The longer I investigated the
bigger they got.

When leaders in my own department allowed one of the subjects of Bill
Duncan's investigation, and an employee of Rich Mountain Aviation, to go
into the basement of the capitol building in Little Rock and make notes
from my investigative telephone records, those problems had grown into
whoppers. Those records had the telephone numbers of witnesses and
informants from, not just the Barry Seal investigation, but any other
investigation that I might be working on. They put witnesses and
informants, not to mention myself, in danger. I have no way of knowing how
much damage that caused. I don't know what may have happened to certain
people as a result of their action. When you finish a case people just go
on and you assume that they're getting on with their lives, but you don't
know. I understand that certain members of the state police are saying that
they had a right to see those telephone records under the FOI Act. A year
later FOIA requests for my files were still being turned down. How can they
expose people to that kind of danger? Why would a person want to deal with
the police over a telephone if they know that anybody could go look at the
officer's telephone records. This same person tried to get into the
telephone records at the sheriff's office in Mena. The sheriff and local
circuit judge told him there was no way he was going to see those records.
At least one person got a visit because telephone records were made

LEE: John Camp, that is the guy now working for CNN, right?

WELCH: The same. He actually did the video for Barry Seal and it was aired
on Channel 2 in Baton Rouge. It was obvious that the video was
choreographed by Barry Seal. To watch that video you'd have to say that
John Camp was the only person in the world that didn't know that Barry Seal
was a cocaine smuggler, because it was an hour-long tirade of Barry Seal
being harassed by law enforcement officers when he was really working for
the federal government as a paid informant. [When John Camp later joined
CNN, he made a hit piece on Terry Reed and later he made a hit piece on
Chuck Harder, a publishing partner of Reed.] I later found out that Seal
already had two unrelated indictments in Florida. The only reason he did
anything for the DEA was to stay out of prison. The Rich Mountain Aviation
people showed that video to Sheriff Hadaway and tried to convince him that
they had been working for the CIA all along. The sheriff didn't believe it
and neither did anybody else.

When I started the case I hoped that I would find that Barry Seal was and
had always been involved in DEA or CIA activity and I'd close the case out
and get out of it. I would get on with other things, things that were less
heavy to carry around on my shoulders.

That wasn't the case. I found a clear window of criminal activity where
Barry Seal was definitely smuggling cocaine just for himself and his
people. And there was no collusion or involvement with the DEA or CIA or
any legitimate covert operation.

LEE: Did the CIA know about that?

WELCH: Barry testified in court, as did DEA agents, that they wanted him to
continue acting like he had done before. Now that can be interpreted in
different ways...

LEE: When did your own investigation start?

WELCH: In 1985. Emile Camp crashed between Mena and Nella. Emile Camp was
one of Barry's pilots. Freddy Hampton [of Rich Mountain Aviation at Mena
airport] asked me to come out to the airport and take a part in the
investigation. He was, at that time, concerned because, in his own words,
Emile Camp was an important witness in a trial that was going on in Florida
at that time. There was some concern that Emile Camp's death wasn't an
accident, that he had been sabotaged. He kept that attitude until about
three days later when Barry Seal showed up and took control. Everybody's
attitude changed. At first they told me that Camp was an extremely good
pilot who had flown through these mountains numerous times, day and night.
After Barry Seal arrived they said, "Well, Emile Camp wasn't a very good
pilot anyway, he probably flew right into the side of the mountain." It was
obvious that Barry Seal, among other things, had done damage control.

We looked for Emile Camp's crash for three days before Barry Seal showed up
but couldn't find it. The business manager from Rich Mountain Aviation,
Rudy Furr, told me that he had contacted the governors office and Governor
Clinton had promised to send some National Guard helicopters to help in the
search. They never showed up, because of the weather, I think. Rudy Furr
also said that the orbit of a satellite had been changed to help with the
search. He said they were going to place the satellite over Mena to see if
it could pick up an ELT.

About 15 minutes after Barry Seal showed up, he found the crash, just
before dark. It reeked of him knowing where the crash was before he got
there. The first words that I heard Barry Seal say were on a radio from his
helicopter, as he was explaining how he found the crash so fast. He said,
"I know my plane and I know how Emile flies," or something like that.

LEE: And then you tried to find out why it had crashed?

WELCH: There was nothing to make a determination. Like most airplane
crashes it was eventually ruled a pilot error, and there wasn't anything
left to determine whether it had been tampered with or not. During my
investigation I did some checking with a number of people who knew Emile
Camp and they all said he was just as good a pilot as you could find.

LEE: So, did you find any motive or did you have any suspicions?

WELCH: Well, at that time I wasn't sure what was going on. Freddy Hampton
told me about this trial in Florida and Seal's trip to Nicaragua, allegedly
to do a cocaine deal with some Sandinistas. I asked him who would benefit
most from Camp's death, and he said well, Seal could benefit from Camp's
death because that would give him more bargaining power because there were
only three people that went on a C-123 trip to Nicaragua. I still don't
know what that meant.

LEE: A year later Barry Seal died himself.

WELCH: Just before Barry died, he made a tape recording of himself, DEA
agent Jacobson and another person in Panama. It was a three way telephone
conversation. The tape recording was with Barry in his car when he was
killed. He was returning from his office in downtown Baton Rouge with a
couple of boxes and other items. And on the tape recording, among other
things, there was this conversation with these three people. And Barry was
a desperate man, you can tell by his voice. He is trying to help find Pablo
Escobar, and the agent - you can tell by his voice - that there's nothing
he can do with Barry anymore, he's done his thing and the agent is trying
to get rid of him on the telephone. Barry is desperate, he is trying to
keep his position and status [as a valuable DEA informant]. His trials were
finished and he was about to be put on the streets. I think every cop goes
through this some time in their career. The bad guy says, "I'll snitch off
my friends if you keep me out of prison." The cop says, "Okay, you go
first." When it's over the cop tries to keep his end of the bargain and
then send the bad guy back home. You don't want to take 'em to raise.
Sometimes snitches want to move in with you. Barry had been indicted in two
different federal jurisdictions in Florida on drug charges. He was about to
go to prison for a long time. Barry Seal snitched of some of his people,
made some pretty good cases, and in return, he didn't have to go to prison.
The convictions still stood but he was not in jail. Unfortunately for Seal,
he still had some music to face in Louisiana, and those folks didn't like
him very much. Anyway, on this tape recording, he is trying to give
directions to the person in Panama, they are talking about streets, and
Barry keeps telling him, "Don't use my name on the telephone," because all
the telephones in Panama are tapped. The DEA agent comes in and says "Yeah,
don't use Barry's name on the telephone!" And you can hear this fatalistic
laugh of Barry in the background, like "I'm dead."

That was probably a month or two before Barry was killed [by drug cartel
hit men].

[Excerpted and edited. Published in the March 25, 1996 issue of the
Washington Weekly]

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Date:     Thu Jul 10, 1997  7:26 pm  CST
From:     ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:       ciadrugs
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BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] More Giroir, Huang, Lippo & Mena

by Anthony Kimery

     In the late 1980s, federal and Arkansas state law enforcement
     officials became suspicious of a small and seemingly insignificant
     backwater Arkansas bank. A financial institution that had little
     comparison to the Citibanks of the world, but which was a
     profit-making cog in this state's most important banking empire. An
     empire owned by influential and powerful friends of the Governor, Bill
     Clinton, and his wife, Hillary.

     The little bank popped up while the investigators were poking around
     inside the $3 to $6 billion drug trafficking and money laundering
     operation of the late Barry Seal. It was one of three banks the
     investigators had stumbled across in which some of Seal's profits
     appeared to be being laundered. The bank was the First National Bank
     of Mena, and criminal investigators had produced compelling evidence,
     which SOURCES has reviewed, to indicate it was being used to launder
     money derived from Seal's narcotics trafficking operations at Mena's
     Intermountain Regional Airport, an airstrip that's been linked to
     Reagan era covert intelligence activities and which was being used for
     "black" operations as late as the early 1990s.

     But there was something else a little troubling about this particular
     bank, something that caused the investigators to tread cautiously. It
     not only was owned by long time Clinton financier (and one-time
     BCCI-front man), Jackson Stephens, but one of the principal
     stockholders in Stephens' banking consortium was the director of the
     board of The Rose Law Firm.

     The Rose Law Firm claimed as partners the likes of Governor Clinton's
     wife and other powerful state politicos. This was important. As the
     investigations probed deeper, claims were unearthed to the effect that
     some of Seal's profits had flowed into Arkansas government businesses
     owned or operated by prominent state figures, and claims were
     unearthed that Clinton's gubernatorial administration, as well as
     federal authorities, acquiesced in Iran-Contra-related narcotics
     trafficking at Mena. As late as last year, FBI agents working for
     Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr reportedly investigated
     possible ties between Clinton gubernatorial campaign finances and drug
     money, and they interviewed several pilots about Colombian cocaine and
     cash drops in Mena and elsewhere in Arkansas.

     For these reasons, the House Banking Committee has taken a keen
     interest in Seal's alleged drug money laundering at the First National
     Bank of Mena while it was owned by the Worthen Banking Corp., then
     Arkansas's largest bank holding company in which Stephens had a
     dominating interest. Stephens acquired his interest in Worthen Banking
     Corp. in a partnership with powerful conservative Indonesian banker
     Mochtar Riady in February 1984 when they bought controlling interest
     in First Arkansas Bankstock Corp., (FABCO). Go to: Background on
     FABCO's owners. A billionaire, Riady is one of the wealthiest men in
     Indonesia with ties to his country's dictator, General Suharto. The
     Riady family controls the Lippo Group, an unconsolidated conglomerate
     of far-flung businesses, including Lippobank Ltd., Bank of Central
     Asia, and the Hongkong Chinese Bank, all financial powerhouses in

     At the same time Stephens was getting his hooks into FABCO, FABCO was
     acquiring four banks owned by C. Joseph Giroir, Jr., a former Justice
     Department and Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, and
     chairman of the board of The Rose Law Firm. At the Rose Law Firm,
     Giroir, there since 1968, was the boss of Gov. Clinton's wife as well
     as of since-convicted felon Web Hubbell. In March, 1984, shortly after
     Stephens' acquisition of FABCO and its purchase of Giroir's four
     banks, FABCO's board of directors formed an executive committee and
     appointed Giroir as its vice chairman.

     The Rose Law Firm, and Giroir in particular, had long handled the
     legal affairs for Stephens' businesses, and was well versed in the
     black arts of high and creative financing (he was the only trained
     securities lawyer in the state). It was Giroir who helped change state
     laws allowing the Stephens banking empire to balloon. Indeed, while
     head of The Rose Law Firm, Giroir led a band of lobbyists in a
     successful effort to persuade the state legislature to change
     Arkansas' usury law, which made owning an Arkansas commercial bank
     very attractive. He also played a pivitol role in talking state
     lawmakers into changing the law restricting the formation of new bank
     holding companies through acquisition.

     It was this change that allowed Stephens and Riady to make the deal
     for FABCO, and for Giroir to sell them the four banks he owned. Of
     course, it was Governor Clinton who signed the bills his wife's boss
     engineered, and her law firm profited from the legal fees that were
     generated for handling the FABCO-related transactions. Worthen also
     became a major repository for state tax receipts, which it promptly
     lost $52 million of when it bought government securities from a shady
     New Jersey brokerage business several of whose principals eventually
     went to jail for fraud. Worthen likely would have collapsed in the
     process had its major shareholders and the bank's insurance company
     not stepped in.

     Oct. 5, 1986 in Nicaragua a C-123 airplane previously owned by Seal
     (one which had often been parked at Mena's airport) was shot down
     trying to drop supplies to the contras. This downing of a supply plane
     set the stage for the unraveling of the Iran-contra scandal. Within a
     week, Worthen entered into an agreement to sell the First National
     Bank of Mena. By this time the bank had grown to $64 million in
     assets, from $56 million when Worthen acquired it in 1984. (When the
     bank was originally bought in 1979 by FABCO in a deal that was
     reputedly in violation of the Bank Holding Company Act, it only had
     $28.5 million in assets). On Nov. 22, a month and a half after Seal's
     old C-123 was shot down and a week after Worthen announced it would
     have to restate its third-quarter earnings following a review of its
     loan portfolio, Worthen President William L. Cravens suffered a heart
     attack. He resigned in mid-January, 1987, and Worthen was eventually
     sold to a large regional bank holding company.

Failed Banks and Farhad Azima
Mena, Arkansas under the Magnifying Glass
John Hendrix and More activities in Mena
Robert Thompson and Azima and Others
L. Ray Adams and Azima and Others

    SOURCES eJournal÷ copyright   1996, DSO, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Date:     Thu Jul 10, 1997  9:11 pm  CST
From:     ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:       ciadrugs
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414
BCC:    * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  ciadrugs] Oral Deposition of William Duncan #1

Found at:










Mr. WILLIAM ALEXANDER, M.C., United States Congress, 233
Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

*** Apprearing as a Member of the United States Congress
with Investigative Authority under the Constitution ***

MR. WINSTON BRYANT, Attorney General, State of Arkansas,
Office of the Attorney General, 200 Tower Building,
323 Center Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

MR. CHAD FARRIS, Chief Deputy Attorney General, State of
Arkansas, Office of the Attorney General, 200 Tower
Building, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

MR. LAWRENCE GRAVES, Esq., State of Arkansas, Office of
the Attorney General, 200 Tower Building, 323 Center
Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

*** Apprearing for the State of Arkansas
Office of the Attorney General ***


			   201 East Sixth Street
			Little Rock, Arkansas 72202
			       (501) 372-5115

THE ORAL DEPOSITION OF WILLIAM C. DUNCAN, a witness produced at the

request of the Attorney General's Office, taken in the above styled

and numbered cause on the 21st day of June, 1991, before Jeff Bennett,

C.C.R., Certificate ~19, of BUSHMAN COURT REPORTING,

INC., Notary Public in and for White County, Arkansas at the Office of

the Attorney General, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, Arkansas at 11:40



the witness hereinbefore named, having been previously cautioned and

sworn, or affirmed, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing

but the truth testified as follows:



Q. Would you state your name, age, and address, please?

A. William C. Duncan, age forty-four, 513 Pine Bluff Street,

Malvern, Arkansas.

Q. Mr. Duncan, briefly would you tell us your educational

background, for the benefit of those who might read your


A. I graduated from the University of Arkansas at

Fayetteville, December 1983, BS/BA marketing.

Q. And what was your first job that you received after having

graduated from college?

A. Special agent with the U.S. Treasury Department,

Intelligence Division.

Q. Did you receive any special training with the Treasury


A. Yes, I did. A variety of Criminal Investigation Division

training and Internal Revenue Service training.

Q. You were a criminal investigator for the U.S. Treasury


A. Yes, perpetually from December of '73 through June 16,


Q. And as a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department,

did you have occasion to investigate matters surrounding

activities in Mena, Arkansas?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And were you assigned to Arkansas for that purpose?

A. I was already stationed in Arkansas at the Fayetteville,

Arkansas post of duty when I became involved in those


Q. Would you describe the nature of your instructions and the

manner in which you carried out those instructions as they

relate to activities surrounding the Mena Airport matter?

A. I was assigned to investigate allegations of money

laundering in connection with the Barry Seal organization, which

was based at the Mena, Arkansas airport.

Q. And can you -- how long a duration were you involved in

this investigation?

A. I received the first information about Mena and illegal

activities at the Mena Airport in April of 1983, in a meeting in

the U.S. Attorney's Office, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Asa

Hutchinson was the U.S. Attorney then. Also present at that

meeting was Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Jim Stepp,


Q. Did you discover what you believed to be money laundering?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Who was the object of your investigation, and what


A. Rich Mountain Aviation, Incorporated based at the Mena

Airport. Barry Seal was not actually a target. We had targeted

the employees and cohorts of his which operated out of the Mena

Airport, including Freddie Lee Hampton, Joe Evans, Rudy Dale

Furr, and there was a banker that was also involved in

allegations of the money laundering, his name was Gary Gardner,

vice-president at Union Bank of Mena

Q. Now, all these persons that you mentioned, were they

residents in and around Mena, Arkansas?

A. Yes, they were.

Q. What did you do with the evidence of money laundering that

you gathered from your investigation?

A. Presented it to the United States Attorney's Office,

Western Judicial District, Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Q. And what were your recommendations to the U.S. Attorney?

A. That those individuals and corporation -- the corporation

be prosecuted for violations of the money laundering statutes,

also there were some perjury recommendations and some conspiracy


Q. Did you present to the U. S. Attorney a list of prospective

witnesses to be called?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. For a grand jury?

A. Yes.

Q. And do you have the names of those witnesses?

A. There were a variety of witnesses. There were some 20

witnesses. He called three witnesses. The witnesses including

-- included the law enforcement personnel who had participated

in the investigations, Barry Seal, members of his organization,

people who were involved in the money laundering, and various

financial institution officers who had knowledge.

Q. Mr. Duncan, the money laundering to which you refer, did

that arise out of an alleged drug trafficking operation managed

from the Mena, Arkansas airport?

A. It did.

Q. And it has been alleged that the Central Intelligence

Agency had some role in that operation. Is that the same

operation that you investigated?

A. Yes.

Q. And when you submitted the witnesses, the names of the

prospective witnesses to the U. S. Attorney in Arkansas, are you

referring to Mr. -- what was the name of the U. S. Attorney?

A. Asa Hutchinson.

Q. Asa Hutchinson. And what was his reaction to your


A. It had been my experience, from my history of working with

Mr. Hutchinson, that all I had to do is ask for subpoenas for

any witness and he would provide the subpoenas and subpoena them

to a grand jury. His reaction in this case was to subpoena only

three of the 20 to the grand jury.

Q. Now, of the three witnesses, who were -- what was the

nature of the evidence that would have been elicited from those


A. Direct evidence in the money laundering.

Q. And did those witnesses testify for the grand jury?

A. yes, they did.

Q. Were you present at the time of the grand jury?

A. No, I was not.

Q. You were not?

A. I was in the witness room, but I was not in the grand jury.

Q. I see. What was the result of the testimony given by the

three witnesses to the grand jury?

A. As two of the witnesses exited, one was a secretary who had

received instructions from Hampton, Evans, and I think on some

occasions had discussed with Barry Seal, the methodology. She

was furious when she exited the grand jury, was very upset,

indicated to me that she had not been allowed to furnish her

evidence to the grand jury.

Q. Which witness was this?

A. Kathy Corrigan Gann.

Q. Kathy Corrigan Gann. Do you know her address?

A. She is in Mena, Arkansas.

Q. Mena, Arkansas. Now, she was a witness?

A. She was the secretary for Rich Mountain Aviation, who

participated in the money laundering operation upon the

instructions of Hampton, Evans.

Q. You talked to her about her evidence given to the grand


A. Yes. I had taken two sworn statements, recorded sworn

statements prior to the grand jury, and those transcripts were

furnished to the U. S. Attorney.

Q. And what did she say about the evidence that she was

allowed to give the grand jury as it might have been different

from the evidence that you wanted her to give to the grand jury?

A. She basically said that "she was allowed to give her name,

address, position, and not much else.

Q. Mr. Duncan, are you saying that the prospective witness was

not permitted in your judgment to give evidence of the money

laundering to the grand jury?

A. That's what this witmess told me.

Q. And there were two other witnesses, I believe you made

reference to, did you talk with them?

A.I talked to another one, his name was Jim Nugent, who was a

Vice-president at Union Bank of Mena, who had conducted a search

of their records and provided a significant amount of evidence

relating to the money laundering transactions. He was also

furious that he was not allowed to provide the evidence that he

wanted to provide to the grand jury.

Q. And was there a third witness?

A. There was a third witness, I don't recall her name

off-hand. She was an officer at one of the financial

institutions in Mena, and she did not complain to me.

Q. She did not complain?

A. No.

Q. What was the result of the grand jury inquiry into the

money laundering investigation which you had conducted?

A. There were never any money laundering indictments.

Q. There was no indictment?

A. No.

Q. Did you have occasion to talk to any of the jurors that

were impaneled on the grand jury that heard the evidence?

A. At a later date, I came in contact with the deputy foreman

of the grand jury, who had previously given testimony to an

investigator for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime,

concerning her frustrations as the deputy foreman of the grand


Q. Do you remember her name?

A. P. J. Pitts.

Q. Do you know her address?

A. She's in Mena. I don't have her current address.

Q. And could you relate to us any other conversation you might

have had with her concerning her appearance before the grand


A. Well, she was perpetually involved in the grand jury as it

heard evidence concerning the Barry Seal matter, and she related

to me the frustrations of herself and the entire grand jury

because they were not allowed to hear of money laundering


Q. Do you recall any statements that she made to you

concerning that grand jury, her service on the grand jury?

A. .She stated to me that they specifically asked to hear the

money laundering evidence, specifically asked that I be

subpoenaed, and they were not allowed to have me subpoenaed.

Q. What was her reaction to the unavailability of you as a


A. She said the whole grand jury was frustrated. She

indicated that Mr. Fitzhugh, who at that time was the U. S.

Attorney, explained to them that I was in Washington at the time

and unavailable as a witness, which was not the truth.

Q. Mr. Duncan, are you saying that the grand jury that was

impaneled to hear your investigation, hear evidence of the

investigation that you had conducted for the U.S. Treasury as a

special investigator, was compromised?

A. The evidence was never presented to the grand jury. The

evidence gathered during that investigation was never presented

to the grand jury.

Q. What was your reaction to the failure of the grand jury to

receive the evidence?

A. Well, I was frustrated for a long period of time because I

expected to be called and expected to summarize the evidence

over several years there that we gathered with respect to the

money laundering to the grand jury.

Q. There were no indictments?

A. Never any indictments.

Q. There were no prosecutions?

A. None.

Q. In effect, the evidence that you gathered has not been

acted on by the U. S. Attorney's Office?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you complain to your superior?

A. Yes.

Q. What was his name?

A. Paul Whitmore, Chief of Criminal Investigation. I also

complained to my group managers, Tim Lee, Charles Huckaby and

Max Gray.

Q. And what did they -- what was their response?

A. They were very frustrated, also. Mr. Whitmore, in fact,

made several trips to Fort Smith, Arkansas to complain to the

U. S. Attorney's Office.

Q. Did he relate to you the conversation he had had with the

U. S. Attorney?

A. On several occasions, and also related to me that the U.S.

Attorney wrote him a letter telling him not to come to his

office anymore complaining, that that was unprofessional


Q. What was the conclusion of Mr. Whitmore concerning your

investigation and the manner in which it was handled by the U. S.

Attorney in Arkansas?

A. That there was a coverup.

Q. Are you saying -- do you agree with his-with Mr.

Whitmore's conclusion?

A. Absolutely.

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Subject:  ciadrugs] Oral Deposition of William Duncan #2

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Q. Are you stating now under oath that you believe that the

investigation in and around the Mena Airport of money laundering

was covered up by the U. S. Attorney in Arkansas?

A. It was covered up,

Q. Would you state that succinctly for the record in your own

words, so that we might -- to have the benefit of how you would

state your opinion and conclusions as a result of your

activities as a special investigator -- as to this


A. I was involved from April of 1933, really to this date, in

gathering information, gathering evidence, until 1987-1988. I,

on a perpetual basis, furnished all the evidence, all the

information to the U. S. Attorney's Office. In January of 1986,

a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney from Miami, I believe, who was

a money laundering specialist, came to Fort Smith, met with then

U. S. Attorney Fitzhugh and myself and drafted a series of

indictments. I think there were 29 indictments, charging the

aforementioned individuals and Barry Seal, as I recall, as an

unindicted co-conspirator in the money laundering scheme. At

that point in time I had every indication that the cases would

go to the Grand Jury, that the evidence would be presented to a

grand jury. We experienced a variety of frustrations, mid '85

on, not able to obtain subpoenas for witnesses we felt were

necessary. I had some direct interference by Mr. Fitzhugh in

the investigative process. Specifically he would call me and

interrupt interviews, tell me not to interview people that he

had previously told me were necessary to be interviewed.

Q. Did you have any interferences or interruptions from anyone

within the U. S. Treasury Department that would interfere with

your investigation?

A. They interfered with my testimony before the House

Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.

Q. Would you tell us about that?

A. In late December of 1987, I was contacted by Chief Counsel

for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Hayden Gregory,

who told me that they were looking into the reason why no one

was indicted in connection with the Mena investigations. The

Internal Revenue service assigned to me disclosure litigation

attorneys, which gave me instructions which would have caused me

to withhold information from Congress during my testimony and to

also perjure myself.

Q. And how did you respond to the Treasury Department?

A. Well, I exhibited to them that I was going to tell the

truth in my testimony. And the perjury, subornation of perjury

resulted in an -- resulted because of an allegation that I had

received, that Attorney General Edwin Meese received a several

hundred thousand dollar bribe from Barry Seal directly. And

they told me to tell the Subcommitte on Crime that I had no

information about that.

Q. What is this about Meese? Where did you get that


A. I received that from Russell Welch, the State Police


Q. Mr. Welch will be deposed subsequently by -- in this --

during this line of questioning.

Mr. Duncan, did your experience at the Mena -- in the Mena

case interfere with your employment with the Department of


A. Yes, it did.

Q. Could you tell us what happened, how it affected it?

A. I received a subpoena, in July or August of 1983 from

Deputy Prosecutor Chuck Black from Mt. Ida, who was going to

present evidence that Mr. Fitzbugh and Mr. Hutchinson had not

presented to the grand jury for the purposes of seeking

indictments against the individuals at Mena. The Internal

Revenue Service Regional Office told me just to have him send a

subpoena, and that I would be allowed to testify or assist him

in his investigation. About the same time, I believe, that you

were making inquiries also attempting to interview me. The

Internal Revenue Service told me I would have to go back and

deal with the same disclosure litigation attorneys who attempted

to get me to withhold information from Congress and perjure

myself, and I refused to do that. At the time my

responsibilities were -- as Special Operations Coordinator for

the Southeast Region, my responsibilities included oversight for

aviation activities for the Criminal Investigation Division also

undercover and technical operations. They withdrew support for

the operations and basically kept me in the regional office in

Atlanta and did not allow me to fulfill my responsibilities.

This ultimately resulted in my resignation in June of 1989.

Q. Did you resign by forwarding any particular communication

to the Treasury Department; did you write them a letter?

A. Yes, I submitted a formal resignaton.

Q. Do you have a copy of that letter?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. Do you have it with you?

A. No, I do not.

Q. Would you make that part of this record?

A. I'd be glad to.

Q. Okay. We would ask that Mr. Duncan's letter of resignation

be submitted as a supplement to this record as Exhibit 1.

(Deposition Exhibit 1 was identified. )

MR. ALEXANDER: Let's go off the record a minute.

(Off-the-record. )

Q. (BY MR. ALEXANDER) Mr. Duncan, prior to your resignation

from the Department of Treasury, do you recall any other

conversations you may have had with your superiors concerning

the investigation of Mena?

A. With respect to what?

Q. With respect to the manner in which the case was attempting

to be covered up?

A. We had continuing discussions because none of us, my

managers nor myself, had ever experienced anything remotely akin

to this type of interference. I had a very good working

relationship with all the Assistant United States Attorneys and

the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western Judicial District, never any

problems. The office was open to me, and I visited with them

everytime I was in Fort Smith. And we couldn't understand why

there was this different attitude. I had found Asa Hutchinson

to be a very aggressive U.S. Attorney in connection with my

cases, then all of a sudden, with respect to Mena, it was just

like the information was going in but nothing was happening over

a long period of time. Mr. Hutchinson did not directly

interfere as did Mr. Fitzhugh. But just like with the 20

witnesses and the complaint, I didn't know what to make of

that. Alarms were going off. And as soon as Mr. Fitzhugh got

involved, he was more aggressive in not allowing the subpoenas

and in interfering in the investigative process. He was

reluctant to have the State Police around, even though they were

an integral part of the investigation.

For instance, when the money laundering specialist was up

from Miami, Mr. Fitzhugh left Mr. Welch in the hall all day

until late in the afternoon and refused to allow him to come in.

We were astonished that we couldn't get subpoenas. We were

astonished that Barry Seal was never brought to the grand jury,

because be was on the subpoena list for a long time. And there

were just a lot of investigative developments that made no sense

to us.

One of the most revealing things, I suppose, was that we

had discussed specifically with Asa Hutchinson the rumors about

National Security involvement in the Mena operations. And Mr.

Hutchinson told me personally that he had checked with a variety

of law enforcement agencies and people In Miami, and that Barry

Seal would be prosecuted for any crimes in Arkansas. So we were

comfortable that there was not going to be National Security


Q. Did you discuss the Mena investigation with anyone in


A. I discussed the Mena investigation with people in the

national office.

Q. And with whom did you discuss it?

A. With Joe Pagani, who was the Deputy Assistant Commissioner

for Criminal Investigation, with a variety of other of his

staff. Now, this was at the point of interference by the

disclosure litigation attorneys.

Q. Anyone else in the, say, the Commissioner's Office that you

discussed this with?

A. Peter Filpi.

Q. Peter Filpi?

A. Who was Mary Ann Curtin's supervisor.

Q. Now, did you discuss it with Mary Ann Curtin?

A. She was the briefing attorney. She was the one that I was

-- was supposed to be involved in preventing disclosure of tax .

return information and grand jury information.

Q. Can you think of anyone else that you talked with up in

Washington? Did you receive any orders from any of the

higher-ups in Washington concerning this investigation?

A. None.

Q. Did you ever talk to a Mary Ann Curtin?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. What was her job?

A. She was the disclosure litigation attorney in Washington

assigned to counsel me, provide legal advice with respect to my

testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.

Q. What was her advice to you?

A. Told me not to offer any opinions, even if specifically

asked for my opinion by the Subcommitte on Crime. Told me not

to volunteer any information. Basically did not want me saying

anything that would reflect badly on the U.S. Attorney's Office

in the Western Judicial District of Arkansas.

Q. What was your conclusion from her instructions to you?

A. It made no sence for me not to give full and complete

testimony to the subcommittee on Crime.

Q. Mr. Duncan, do you get the impression that she was ordering

you to cover up the investigation?

A. Absolutely.

Q. If you were asked to state that in your own words, what

would you say?

A. I would say that we had conducted textbook investigations

of all the individuals at Mena, there were a variety of legal

issues involved, which I had always had them in loop on. We had

proceeded very soundly. There was nothing for us to be ashamed

of. The investigations were thorough, to the extent that we

could conduct the investigation without subpoenas. And I would

have thought that the Internal Revenue Service would have wanted

a complete disclosure to Congress about the problems that we

encountered, but quite the opposite was true. They obviously

did not want any negative testimony coming from me concerning

the U.S. Attorney's Office.

At one point when we were arguing about the Meese

allegation, she told me that she had discussed my frustrations

with the personal assistant to the Commissioner of Internal

Revenue, who was Larry Gibbs at the time, and the personal

assistant's name was Bryan Sloan. And that Bryan Sloan told

her, "Bill is just going to have to get the big picture."

Q. Now, when you say "she" and "her" you're talking about

Mary Ann Curtin?

A. Yes.

MR. ALEXANDER: Any questions?



Q. Bill, let me ask you a few questions. I want to take you

back to your investigation at the Mena Airport. How many

federal agencies were involved in that investigation at the time

you first went there?

A. I was aware that U.S. Customs Service was involved..I was

aware that the FBI was involved, the Drug Enforcement

Administration. Those were federal agencies. The Arkansas

State Police was involved. The Polk County Sheriffs Office was

involved and also the Louisiana State Police was involved in

investigating a link between Louisiana and Arkansas.

Q. In your opinion, were those agencies actively involved in

the investigation of the Mena operation and specifically Barry

Seal at that time?

A. Actively involved since at least 1982.

Q. And when did you first go to Mena?

A.In May of 1983.

Q. And after you were involved in the investigation, when did

you make your presentation to the U.S. Attorney for the grand

jury laundering allegation that you had prepared?

A. The reports, the prosecutorial reports went to Mr. Fitzhugh

in December of 1985.

Q. At that particular time were all federal agencies still

actively involved in investigating the Barry Seal matter or had

they--had their interest cooled, or how would you describe it?

A. It was a very strange thing, because we were dealing with

allegations of narcotics smuggling, massive amounts of money

laundering. And it was my perception that the Drug Enforcement

Administration would have been very actively involved at that

stage, especially along with the Arkansas State Police. But DEA

was conspicuously absent during most of that time. The FBI

appeared on the scene intermittently. Usually when Russell and

I were going to conduct some credible interviews, Tom Ross, from

the Hot Springs FBI Office, would suddenly appear on the scene.

He would make some trips to Baton Rouge with us. U.S. Customs

was conspicuously absent, also. It was primarily just Russell

Welch and myself.

Q. Regarding the allegations of drug running and weapons

running and any other things that you might have heard, what

information do you have to, number one, substantiate that there

might have been drugs brought to the Mena Airport?

A. We were receiving information from a variety of sources

that Barry was doing some work for the United States Government,

but that be was smuggling on the return trips for himself. We

knew from his modus operandi in Louisiana that he many times

dropped the rugs in remote areas and retrieved them with

helicopters. He had helicopters in the hangers at Mena and a

variety of aircraft, smuggling type aircraft on the ground in

Mena. And we heard, you know, all the time that he was making

on return trips -- Terry Capeheart, a Deputy at Polk County

Sheriff's Department, had received information from an informant

on the inside at Rich Mountain Aviation that drugs were actually

brought into Rich Mountain Aviation, and on one occasion guarded

with armed guards around the aircraft. He had also received

information from this informant that Freddie Hampton had

personally transported a shipment of drugs to Louisiana from

Rich Mountain Aviation for Barry Seal.

Q. What specific physical evidence did you observe at the Mena

Airport that would indicate to you, that in your professional

opinion, drugs were brought to Mena or that Mena was being used

as a base for drug smuggling?

A. primarily I was reviewing evidence gathered by the law

enforcement agencies, surveillance logs, their representations

to me. I was focusing on the money laundering and financial

analysis end of it, and did not conduct a lot of physical

surveillance myself. But we had a lot of intelligence reports

and surveillance reports of various airplanes in there being

refueled, leaving in the middle of the night, N numbers being

changed, typical modus operandi of a smuggling.

We also had testimony that his aircraft had been plumbed

with longer range tanks and bladders, that illegal cargo doors had

been installed in the aircraft. And there was a lot of evidence

of that.

And I was seeing on some of the cashier's checks, Barry

Seal's name on cashier's checks.

The secretary that was -- doing both secretaries, Lucia

Gonzalez and Kathy Corrigan, stated that when Barry would come

in in his airplanes, the next morning many times there would be

stacks of cash to be taken to the bank and laundered.

Q. In connection with your investigation into the laundering

activities, what -- how much money was laundered in your opinion

through the Mena bank?

A. At the time we couldn't proceed any further because of the

lack of subpoenas. I would have to review the records, which

the Internal Revenue Service has now. But it seems like there

was a quarter of a million dollars, $300,000, something like

that that we had documented, that had been laundered through the

Mena banks, just the Mena banks.

Q. And when you say "laundered," what specifically do you

mean; what happened?

A. They were obtaining cashier's checks in amounts of $10,000

or less at a variety of financial institutions in Mena and some

further north from Mena or sometimes different tellers in the

same banks to avoid preparation of the Currency Transaction

Report. Kathy Corrigan testified that her instructions from

Freddie Hampton were, that they were to do this to avoid the

Internal Revenue Service knowing about the money and to avoid

payment of taxes on the money.

Q. Now, are you saying the' someone from Rich Mountain

Aviation would appear at a local bank with $10,000 or less in

cash, and then give that to the bank in exchange for a cashier's

check, was that the typical arrangement, or what was the typical


A. They would go with, say, $9,500, or they might go with

$30,000, but they would break it up in increments of $10,000 or


And on one occasion Freddie Hampton personally took a

suitcase full of money, I think it was seventy some thousand

dollars, into this bank officer, and the testimony of the

tellers revealed that the bank officer went down the teller

lines handing out the stacks of $10,000 bills and got the

cashier's checks. Those cashier's checks, in that instance,

went to Aero House of Houston for the building of Barry Seal's

hanger. This, as I recall, was November of '82.

Q. Do you have any doubt in your mind that Mena was used as a

base for drug operation. headed by Barry Seal?

A. Do I have any personal doubt?

Q. Do you have any personal doubt in your mind that that is

not the case -- that that was not the case?

A. I very much believe that was the case.

Q. You had an occasion to interview Mr. Seal yourself, did you


A. That's correct.

Q. Now, when was this?

A. This was December of '85.

Q. Was this prior to the laundering grand jury or after?

A. After.

Q. After. Was there any particular reason why Barry Seal was

not called to testify at the grand jury?

A. I never received an explanation from the U.S. Attorney's

Office as to why he was not called. Because we were given

assurances that he would be called to the grand jury. He was on

the witness list, and I issued him a subpoena at the time I

interviewed him for appearance at the grand jury.

You've already stated you, as a law enforcement official

did not testify?

A. That's correct.

Q. Did any law enforcement official testify before the grand

jury, to your knowledge?

A. It's my understanding that Larry Carver with DEA testified

before the grand jury sometime maybe in '87 or '88. Russell

Welch testified before the grand jury, and also Terry Capaheart

testified before the grand jury.

Q. And when was this?

A. The last--one of the last two grand jury --

Q. But in. 1985, when the first grand jury was convened, no law

enforcement official testified; is that correct?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. In your professional opinion as a law enforcement official

with extensive experience, is that -- wouldn't it be highly

unusual in extreme cases where law enforcement officials who

investigated the case would not be called to testify?

A. Every grand jury case that was ever presented where I

conducted the investigation, I was the law enforcement officer

who summarized the evidence before the grand jury. I find it

highly unusual.

Q. And isn't it highly unusual that Barry Seal was not called

to testify in view that he was - - in view of the fact that he

was the principal involved in the investigation?

A, We found it highly unusual.

Q. You had an opportunity to interview Mr. Seal. Did Mr. Seal

make any admissions regarding drug operations that he headed?

A. I would have to review a copy of that transcript. he

basically admitted that he had been a smuggler, that he had

smuggled drugs. he told -- he said that he told the people at

Rich Mountain Aviation that they were guilty of money laundering

and should be prepared to plead guilty to it. That he provided

instructions to them that resulted in them getting involved in

money laundering. "Not to put his business on the street," I

think is the way he put it. And I think probably the copy of

his testimony could be introduced into the record. I believe I

have a copy of that.

MR.. BRYANT: Could we make that Exhibit Numbers 2

or Exhibit B to Mr. Duncan's deposition.

(Deposition Exhibit 2 was identified. )

Q. (BY MR. BRYANT) Bill, is there any other information that

you are aware of that might assist whoever reads this deposition

to understand the case that either Congressman Alexander or I

have not asked?

A. I interviewed two witnesses in Fort Smith, Arkansas, named

one Horton Elzea, E-L-Z-E-A, and Carl Smith. Carl Smith is an

architect in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Horton Elzea is a

draftsman, I believe. Those individuals related to me a

conversation they had with Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Snyder,

who was with the Fort Smith U.S. Attorney's Office. Those

witnesses stated that Mr. Snyder told them that they received a

call from Miami telling them to shut down the Mena

investigations at a point in time when they were ready to indict

and present information to a grand jury. Both of those

witnesses have stated that they would be willing to submit to a

polygraph exam concerning that conversation with Mr. Snyder.

Q. And, in fact, Mr. Duncan, weren't those two witnesses

interviewed on television?

A. Yes., they were.

Q. Okay.

A. And they were also interviewed by the House Judiciary

Subcommittee on Crime investigator Ralpheal Maiestri and myself,

also, in my capacity as a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime



MR. ALEXANDER: I've got a couple of questions.



Q. Mr. Duncan, we've talked about -- you have testified that a

one Barry Seal, in your judgment, laundered money from -- that

was derived from the sale of drugs --

A. Yes.

Q. -- in several banks in and around Mena, Arkansas. He had

to get those drugs -- "he," Barry Seal, , had to get those drugs

from somewhere. Do you know the source of those drugs?

A. The specific drugs in the Mena operation?

Q. Well, Barry Seal got drugs that he sold for money. Are

those the drugs that came to Mena from Central America?

A. I don't have direct evidence of that.

Q. Do you have any evidence as to where Barry Seal might have

gotten the drugs that he sold for money that was laundered at


A. I believe that he testified that he had a history of

smuggling narcotics, marijuana and cocaine, from Central


Q. Did Barry Seal have a connection with the so-called Mena

operation, drug smuggling operation?

A. The evidence that we have indicates that his entire base of

operation moved from Baton Rouge to the Mena Airport in

approximately 1982, late 1982.

Q. Mr. Richard Brennecke testified earlier today that he was a

former contract employee with the CIA, and that as a pilot he

transported guns and munitions from Mena, Arkansas to Panama.

And that on the same airplane returned with a cargo of drugs,

mostly cocaine but some marijuana, that was brought back to Mena

and delivered to one Hampton, Freddie Hampton, and to

representatives of the Gotti New York crime syndicate operation,

the Mafia from New York. Do you know whether or not any of

those drugs that were described by Mr. Brenneke went to Mr. Seal

as well and were sold in the United States in exchange for the

money that he laundered at Mena?

A. I have no personal knowledge of that.

MR. ALEXANDER: Thank you very much.



Q. Even though, while you do not have personal knowledge of

that, Bill, would Mr. Brenneke's scenario, based on what you

personally know happened at Mena, be consistent?

A. What Mr. Brenneke has related concerning the Mena operation

would be consistent with testimony from a variety of individuals

and additional information that we received concerning the

method of operation at Rich Mountain Aviation. For instance,

Kathy Corrigan related that on numerous occasions they would be

forced to stay inside their offices because airplanes would land

and strange faces would be around, Central American or Mexican,

Spanish origin folks would be around that they had not seen

before. But on those occasions they were given instructions by

Hampton and/or Joe Evans to stay in the office and make no

contact with those individuals. Airplanes landing in the middle

of the night, hanger doors opening, the airplanes going in, then

leaving out before daylight, numerous, dozens and dozens of

accounts like that. Great secrecy surrounding the entire

operation at Rich Mountain Aviation.

Q. So if everything that Mr. Brenneke stated regarding his

relationship with the Mena operation were true, it would fit

into the overall picture as you understand the situation at

Mena, would it not?

A. Yes, It would. With respect to the training at Nella, we

had numerous reports of automatic weapons fire, of people in

camouflage in the middle of night, low intensity landing lights

around the Nella Airport, twin-engine airplane traffic in and

about the Nella Airport. Reports as far as 30 something miles

away of non-American type of troops in camos moving quietly

through streams with automatic weapons, numerous reports like

that from a variety of law enforcement sources. Also, reports

that -- from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission people that

they found vast quantities of ammunition hulls secreted in

shacks around the Nela Airport. On one occasion the Game and

Fish officer was warned away from the Nella Airport by someone

who purported to be an FBI agent and exhibited a badge, On and

on and on.

Q. Regarding the Nella Airport, have you been there


A. Yes, I have.

Q. And so there is another airport not far from the Mena


A. Yes, there is, approximately ten miles north.

Q. And would there be any other reason for the Nella Airport

other than clandestine activities, paramilitary training, use by

planes to bring in drugs, illegal contraband and so forth?

A. Not to my knowledge. There are no hangers out there. The

type of reports that we had from individuals living around the

airport would indicate that type of an operation. Some of those

people said that there were frequent visits by people from Rich

Mountain Aviation basically asking what they were seeing and

hearing. There was a large expenditure of money in preparation

of the strip by Freddie Lee Hampton. The type of expenditure

that you wouldn't make just for an out-of-the-way little country





Q. Mr. Duncan, you've made some statements in the nature of

corroborating the evidence that has been presented here today by

Mr. Richard Brenneke that is consistent with your understanding

of the Mena operation that has been described and discussed here

today. Do you recall the names of other persons with whom you

have discussed the Mena drug operation, the smuggling operation,

that might also add some evidence in the nature of corroborating

what we have heard here today?

A. A variety of law enforcement officials --

Q. Can you give us their names?

A. Russell Welch, criminal investigator for the Arkansas State

Police; Terry Capeheart, former Deputy Sheriff of Polk County;

Al Hadoway, former Deputy Sheriff of Polk County; a variety of Arkansas

Game and Fish Commission personnel. I can't recall their names

off-hand. I can provide those names at a later date. Other

Polk County law enforcement officials. Mr. -- let's see, the

FBI agent involved primarily in the Mena investigation was Tom

Ross from the Hot Springs Office of FBI. He conducted several

interviews in and about the Nella Airport. Discussed the Mena

operations with Larry Carver, Drug Enforcement Administration.

Several Louisiana State police investigators, including Bob

Thommason, Jack Crittenden. Discussed the operation with Brad

Myers, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Baton Rouge. Al Winters,

Strike Force Attorney at the time for the United States.

Government. There are others, I just can't recall their names

right now.

Q. Mr. Duncan, would you attempt to provide us with the

locations of some of these persons that you have mentioned?

A. Yes, I will.

Q. And together with any additional names that come to mind of

persons with whom you have discussed the Mena drug smuggling

operation, that would be very helpful?

A. Yes, I will.

MR. ALEXANDER: Thank you, very much.



Q. Mr. Duncan, do you have copies of statements under oath of

individuals who had some contact with the Mena situation, other

than Barry Seal that we've already talked about and whose

statement will be made an exhibit to this deposition?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. Do you recall which individuals you may have statements


A.When I was functioning in the capacity of congressional

investigator for the Subcommittee on Crime, I visited on numerous

occasions with State Police Investigator Russell Welch. I

obtained copies from the Arkansas State Police files of a number

of statements including Kathy Gann, I believe Jim Nugent. I

have copies of the Arkansas state police thesis concerning Mr.

Welch's investigation, and a variety of other statements that

I'll be glad to make available.

Q. I would like those to be part of your testimony, and they

may be sufficiently extensive enough that we would want to make

just a supplement to your testimony and include them in a bound

volume, might be the best way to do that.

A. Okay.

Q. But if you would, just make those available to the court


Mr. Alexander: that's all I have.

Mr. Bryant: that' all.

(WHEREUPON, at 1:00 p.m., the taking of the

above-entitled deposition was concluded.)

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