War on Drugs, part 3: 1973–1983 - From Watergate to South Central

First published by Znet on 14th September 2017.

In May 1973 the Senate Watergate Committee started broadcasting it’s hearings. It took just over a year for the 18 ½ minute gap to unravel the conspiracy and the House Judiciary Committee to start the impeachment process. On August 8th the 37th POTUS became the first President to resign from office[i]. During that process two key links between the CIA and Watergate came to light, E. Howard Hunt was one of them'[ii]. It is only with hindsight, that the true complexity of the Intelligence and OC networks at the time has revealed itself. For instance, long term associates of Lansky; Cellini, Chesler and Groves were all working with the CIA and William Mellon Hitchcock through the Miami based Resorts International. Resorts International had set up a second company, a private intelligence firm that was staffed with ex -CIA, -NSA, -BNDD, -Interpol and -Justice Department. At the same time William Mellon Hitchcock also held an account at the Paul Helliwell bank, Castle Bank and Trust in the Bahamas[iii]. Castle Bank was a funding cut-out for off-the-book covert CIA operations and an offshore money laundering facility for OC[iv]. Other Castle Bank clients included Richard Nixon, Hugh Hefner, Howard Hughes, Chiang Kai-Shek’s daughter and son-in-law, as well as numerous entertainers, drug dealers and republicans[v].

The Washington establishment couldn’t seem to break the loop. Stumbling from one very public crisis to another, the trust in government needed for a “democracy” to function was evaporating fast. And by 1975 nothing short of a public blood letting could calm the nerves. The Rockefeller Commission was set up to investigate CIA activities within the U.S., and was followed by The Church Committee to study governmental Intelligence activities. The Nedzi Committee, was then replaced by the Pike Committee, which sat as the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. These were all followed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations[vi]. There was a slight problem with the process. Unlike when citizens are accused of breaking law, when the establishment is accused of doing it, it gets to investigate itself. So, the Church Committee relied on the CIA’s own internal investigation into the CIA’s role in the drugs trade. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the CIA found no evidence that any CIA operatives had ever been involved in the drug trade[vii].

To be fair, there were a few cynics even in Washington. Soon after getting his feet under the desk the new DCI, and future vice-president, president and father to a president, was asked point-blank by Congresswoman Bella Abzug what involvement the CIA had in international drug trafficking. He replied by citing a 1954 agreement with the Justice Department which allowed the CIA to act in secret and block prosecutions of any crimes it commits in keeping the nation secure. Apparently, anyone trafficking drugs while working for or on behalf of the CIA was immune from prosecution, or even subject to discovery motions in court, both nationally and internationally. Knowing that the DEA had just been set-up in a manner that effectively gave the CIA the final say on narcotics trafficking, Congresswoman Abzug saw the flaw almost immediately. She later wrote “It was ironic that the CIA should be given responsibility of narcotic intelligence, particularly since they are supporting the prime movers”[viii].

Amidst the public outcry, the USG began making concessions. After all of the committees and investigations, the USG concluded that more vigorous operational oversight and budgetary reporting from intelligence agencies was required. It has since been alleged, that it was at this time, under the new DCI and working with British Intelligence and a previous DCIA, that the Agency set up the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) Cayman Islands affiliate the ICIC. It was to act as the base for “an intelligence consortium among the British, the Americans, and the Arabs.”[ix] Why there? The Cayman Islands, located in the Caribbean between Cuba, Honduras and Nicaragua, is a British overseas territory, with no real oversight or democracy[x]. And why then? The ex-Head of Saudi Intelligence said many years later, “In 1976, … [the U.S.] intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together … and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.”[xi]

As Helliwell’s Castle Bank in Nassau, was collapsing under the scrutiny of the IRS, the Nugan Hand Bank in the Caymans was going from strength to strength. Michael Hand, aiming to take over as the CIA’s banker was employing former U.S. military and intelligence staff as if it were part of a government retirement package. He employed ex and retired Pentagon counterinsurgency specialists, Generals, OSS officers, Rand Corporation experts, CIA Deputy Directors and Directors and even a former chairman of CAT.[xii] However, Nugan Hand came under scrutiny almost immediately after concerns were raised with the FBI and the CIA over an agent, who was officially working for the Office of Naval Intelligence, but was unofficially running a network of cut-outs and shell companies.[xiii] An agent later described how Nugan Hand was being used by the Agency for “shifting money for various covert operations around the globe’.”[xiv] Before long the Sydney Police and the Wall Street Journal had both started investigating Nugan Hand in Australia[xv]. Evidence was uncovered suggesting that drugs were being trafficked in from South East Asia, funded by Nugan Hand and involving ex-special forces and CIA in Laos.[xvi] At the same time as this was going on the IRS investigation into Castle Bank was quietly dropped amid suggestions of CIA pressure over national security concerns.[xvii]

Everyone involved in the CIA’s covert actions seemed to be having a tough time of it. Forced out of work by the same intrusive ‘democratic’ oversight, some of the CIA’s anti-Castro Cuban assets were looking for new jobs. They established the Coordinación de Organizaciones Revolutionarias Unidas (CORU). Starting of as an anti-Castro terrorist group, CORU branched out into assassinations and bombings, targeting progressive movements across Latin America.[xviii] And it was in this context that the CIA’s Los Fresnos Bomb School training manual leaked out. The CIA just couldn’t catch a break. The public discovered that the Agency had been training South and Central American security and police forces in bomb making, improvised triggering devises, incendiaries, assassinations and weapons for assassinations.[xix] The Agency’s response to having its affairs put under the public spotlight was to get better at out-sourcing them. And as the long standing war against ‘communism’, most openly played out across the ‘Golden Triangle’, drew to a close, the CIA opened up on two new fronts[xx].

In 1978 in Nicaragua, the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), after years of fighting were beginning to effectively mobilise the people against the long-standing CIA-puppet regime of Somoza. In response, the corrupt and brutal paramilitary police force called the Guardia was unleashed on the FSLN (Sandinistas). The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights investigated and reported on what appeared to be mass-killings and farm appropriations by the Guardia. Even the USG had to eventually admit to what was happening, saying ‘it appears that many of the allegations of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment during the course of National Guard operations against the [Sandinistas] were well-founded.”[xxi]

Then, in April ’79, the same month that the 39th POTUS was publicly agreeing to support the Afghan resistance to the Soviet incursions, it was being reported that the Mujaheddin was trafficking opium[xxii]. In May a deal was agreed in Peshawar that the Agency would vastly increase it’s presence in the region, and work directly with the Pakistani military and the Mujaheddin in a secret war against Russia[xxiii]. Apparently, having learned nothing from it’s experiences in Laos two decades earlier, the CIA, on behalf of the USG made contact with several major opium traffickers in the region. Shortly after the neighbouring countries of Iran and Pakistan had banned opium production, the CIA had open negotiations with one of the leading and notoriously violent drug traffickers in Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Although one of the least popular warlords amongst the Afghan resistance, Hekmatyar made up for this by being one of the only ones who accepted the British drawn Pakistan-Afghan border. So once again, the CIA, this time with the help of the Pakistan ISI, began supporting a local thug to develop his drug business into an international concern. And again, it wasn’t long before drugs cartels from all over the world began getting involved. Within months heroin processing facilities were popping up along the Afghan-Pakistan border and across the Pashtun tribal belt. In 1980, an adviser to the POTUS pointed out the glaring repetition of the failed foreign policy, asking if rather than “going into Afghanistan to support the opium growers … Shouldn’t we try to avoid what we had done in Laos?”[xxiv]

By September ’79, only six months after the Iranian revolution, CIA analysts working out of the U.S. embassy in Iran began reporting that under the new regime’s oppression the secret use of opium among the young had exploded, and consequently the annual production had increased from 200 tons to 325 tons. A new opium golden triangle was coming in to being, between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It would later be called the ‘Golden Crescent’. The analysts predicted that once the Iranian opium was harvested it would join the Afghan and Pakistani opium, and from there follow the ‘silk road’ through Turkey and onto Western Europe.[xxv] And as 1979 drew to a close, and Russia began a full scale invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the 39th POTUS ignored all the warnings and responded by issuing sanctions against Russia and began officially arming the opium trafficking Mujaheddin.[xxvi]

A few months earlier, in the July of 1979, the President of Nicaragua, realising that his days were numbered met with the U.S. Ambassador to ask for support. During the recorded conversation he reminded him of their decades long “anti-communist” alliance, spanning eight Presidencies. He reminded him of how he had aided in the U.S. led coup of Guatemala, sent troops to support the U.S. in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam, and had agreed to let them base bombers for the Bay of Pigs invasion in “his” country. It was to no avail, the regime and its Guardia were just too toxic for the new USG to be seen supporting. On July 17th 1979 the President of Nicaragua, with his friends, family and closest allies, was flown to Homestead Air force base in Florida. And as the Guardia were being overrun, he pleaded with the Americans to help them. “After you have spent thirty years educating all of these officers, I don’t think it is fair for them to be thrown to the wolves … they have been fighting communism just like you taught them at Fort Gulick … Benning and Leavenworth – out of nine hundred officers … eight hundred or so belong to your schools” he reminded them[xxvii].

The sort of people he was trying to protect, were people like the Meneses brothers who had been central to much of the Guardia’s criminal activity. A CIA and FBI investigation of Norwin Meneses in San Francisco in 1968 had unearthed criminal charges dating back to the early 1960s. The DEA knew Norwin Meneses was dealing drugs as early as 1974 and by the end of 1976 the Costa Rican DEA office had him on file as a cocaine supplier based in Managua. In 1978 the FBI were aware that Norwin and his brother were bringing 20 kilo consignments of cocaine into the United States, where his nephew Jaime was distributing it from San Francisco. In 1979, the Mexico City FBI office requested that Norwin Meneses be issued an arrest warrant, and his immigration status put on hold, so he could be stopped and questioned if he tried to enter the country. The U.S. Attorney in San Francisco refused the request citing ‘political connections in Nicaragua’.[xxviii]

Danilo Blandon was of a similar ilk. Part of the Nicaraguan ruling elite, he was the son of a wealthy landowner, the grandson of a former minister of war and Guardia commander, and was married into one of the most prominent political families. When the regime started to crumble Blandon got his pregnant wife and child onto a Red Cross convoy bound for the airport. Then, while his family flew to Los Angeles to stay with relatives, Danilo flew to Miami with his older brother. After a few weeks in Miami he rejoined his family, in what was then, the mostly Hispanic East L.A. He quickly got a job as a used car salesman for two Nicaraguan brothers named ‘Torres’. The Torres brothers, were known by the local drug traffickers as ‘The Trees’, while the police knew them as ‘The Twin Towers’. The brothers were described as being at least 6’6′, built like giant redwoods and significant cocaine traffickers. One of the brothers, Jacinto, was an ex-U.S. Marine who had served in Vietnam. The brothers lived with two sisters who were cousins of Pablo Escobar, of the soon to be created Medellin cocaine cartel[xxix].

At the same time as the Somoza regime was being overthrown, a conference on cocaine was being held in Lima. Speaking there, Dr Raul Jeri, a clinical psychologist from the National University of San Marcos Peru, claimed that as early as 1974 a new form of cocaine had swept through the most upmarket areas of Lima. It had then only taken two years to go on to “spread like grass fire” through the major cities, and onto Ecuador and Bolivia. Also giving evidence were two psychiatrists from La Paz, Bolivia, who reported the same pattern. They said that 80 per cent of their patients were saying that they had been so desperate to buy more of the new drug that they had stolen, swindled and sold their belongings. Dr Jeri warned, that in just six years, this new form of cocaine had gone from being unheard of, to being the main drug reported in admissions to psychiatric hospitals and drug treatment centres. He warned that there was no part of Lima where youngsters weren’t taking the drug and the dealers weren’t selling it.[xxx]

This new form of cocaine was called pasta basica de cocaina, basuco or base. During the processing of the coca leaves into powdered crystals, an intermediate paste was created. Compared to the powder, it was far cheaper, up to four times stronger and when dried and smoked took effect much quicker. It also wore off quicker and crashed the user back down harder. The only way to avoid the overwhelming and paralysing depression that followed was to quickly get another hit. In 1974, drug traffickers in the bay area of San Francisco who had heard about the growing trend of smoking cocaine base (with an accent over the e) in South America wanted to give it a try. They looked up cocaine base, without the accent, in the Merck manual. It told them that Base is the alkaloid of street cocaine once it is separated from the hydrochloride salt. It was from Cocaine Base that the term Freebase came. By 1977 it was possible to buy kits in the U.S. to make cocaine base. Mercifully,, it was still too expensive and required too much cocaine to make it feasible for anyone other than a very select few.[xxxi]

A few weeks after the Lima Symposium, the Cocaine Task Force of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control met. Attendees to the conference from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the White House and the State Department reported back to the committee. Amongst them was Dr Robert Byck of Yale University, who warned of a potentially catastrophic epidemic if the cocaine paste reached an unprepared U.S. population. Byck, supported by other conference attendees, pushed for a mass-program of education in the States instead of pointless attempts to eradicate the growing of it in other countries. The Committee and the Administration ignored them, and with the DEA formulated the “Andean Strategy”. Instead of research and public education, they would take military action in South and Central America. The very thing that they had been warned wouldn’t work[xxxii].

For some time, one of the key lines of defence against socialist and nationalist liberation movements in South and Central America had been the Latin American Anti-Communist Confederation (CAL). CAL was the regional arm of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), which was the international organisation for far-right and right-wing political and financial interest groups and individuals from all over the world. The WACL was originally set-up with CIA backing as a spin-off from the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League (APACL). The WACL had ties to the World Finance Corporation, Castle Bank, Financial General Bankshares (the Washington based bank-holding company that would later be taken over by the BCCI), Nelson Rockefeller and the now infamous Campaign to Re-elect the 37th POTUS. CAL had ties to all the military dictatorships, extreme right-wing paramilitary groups and organised crime syndicates on the continent, and of course the CIA. Argentina’s CIA-backed military junta often hosted the meetings and conferences. When the CIA decided that narcotics trafficking could be the foundation on which their Latin American aspirations could be built, CAL jumped on board. Then, when the revolutionary nationalist Lidia Tejada, amidst a nationwide movement of radicalised trade unions and indigenous peasants became the first female president of Bolivia in November ’79, the CIA and CAL moved quickly to put everything they needed in place to respond[xxxiii].

In March 1980 Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador was shot through heart while giving mass. He had sent a letter to the 39th POTUS, pleading with him to withdraw support for the brutal Salvadoran regime. The most likely funder of the assassination was the Salvadoran politician Roberto D’Aubuisson; a member of the WACL and a publicly declared admirer of Nazi policies[xxxiv]. He paid Colonel Ricardo Lau $120,000 three days after the assassination. Lau, the ex-Nicaraguan intelligence officer under the Somoza regime, was the leader of the Legion of September 15, the forerunners to the Nicaraguan Contras. Most of the senior officers in the Legion had worked with the CIA in their previous intelligence and military roles under the deposed dictator. The CIA eventually admitted to knowing that the Legion were financing their bombings and hijackings of civilian flights, through kidnappings, extortion and robberies. They never admitted to knowing about the assassination of Archbishop Romero[xxxv].

In Bolivia on July 17th 1980, General Luis Garcia Meza overthrew the dictatorship of General Banzer in a coup d’etat with the help of the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and the financial backing of cocaine traffickers. It was later called the Cocaine Coup.[xxxvi] The CIA had helped Klaus ‘the Butcher of Lyon’ Barbie relocate to Bolivia, where he had worked throughout the 1970s for General Banzer.[xxxvii] Since his relocation, in addition to working as a CIA asset under the alias of Klaus Altmann[xxxviii], he had also worked as a torturer, interrogator, provocateur, assassin and counter-intelligence operative in both Peru and Bolivia[xxxix]. Many years later Peter Dale-Scott would quote Senate Counsel Jack Blum who had said that their subcommittee had received testimony suggesting that the USG had “quietly encouraged other countries to act as our proxy”, going on to explain how the Argentine military and it’s intelligence service had been behind the Bolivian coup as part of this policy[xl].

In Bolivia, Barbie ran a death squad called ‘Los Novios de la Muerte’, or the grooms of death[xli]. By the time of the Cocaine Coup, ‘Los Novios’ were a para-military force of over 600 nazi-worshipping international mercenaries. Ex-DEA agent Michael Levine, in his courageous expose of the CIA’s role in the drugs trade describes the events of the coup in shocking detail. “By the evening of July 17 [1980], it was clear that the primary goal of the revolution was the protection and control of Bolivia’s cocaine industry. All major drug traffickers in prison were released, after which they joined the neo-Nazis in their rampage. Government buildings were invaded and trafficker files were either carried off or burned. Government employees were tortured and shot, women were tied and repeatedly raped by the paramilitaries and the freed traffickers. The revolutionaries next turned to crushing the national strike.”[xlii] ‘The butcher of Lyon’ was one of the main drivers of the coup, and in its aftermath was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Bolivian army[xliii]. According to Blum, the USG had helped the Argentinian Junta to use the proceeds from the cocaine trafficking in Bolivia, laundered through a finance operation based out of Fort Lauderdale, to fund an anti-communist paramilitary group to fight covertly across the continent[xliv].

On 17th September 1980, the deposed President of Nicaragua was killed, and Colonel Bermudez of the Guardia, who some allege was already a full-time CIA asset, was appointed to lead the Legion of September 15. Describing Bermudez, one USG official said “he fit the profile … he was malleable, controllable, docile”. It helped that he had a long standing relationship with the USG, having aided them in the 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic. Competing with the Legion was the UDN (National Democratic Union) who were fund-raising and equipping a paramilitary group based in Honduras called FARN (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Nicaragua). The UDN-FARN were gaining a lot of support from the Anti-Castro Cuban community in Miami, with some Bay of Pigs veterans actively volunteering[xlv].

In November 1980 the U.S. Presidential election took place, while in Iran 52 Americans were being held hostage. It has been alleged that the republican candidate, and his running mate, the ex-DCI feared that if the hostages were released in the October, the incumbent would be re-elected[xlvi]. At the time, the state of anti-White House sentiment within the Agency was widespread after having their resources and manpower drastically cut in response to the oversight requirements of the various committees that sat in the mid 1970s[xlvii]. Over a decade later allegations surfaced that the Iranian government were offered $40 million and the promise of arms sales if they delayed the release and the republican candidate was elected. On the day of the new president’s inauguration the hostages were released, shortly afterwards large arms sales with Iran were agreed. Many years later a congressional investigation found no evidence of a CIA conspiracy to fix that U.S. election[xlviii].

In March 1981 the USG authorised the Agency to undermine the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Arms shipments to Sandinista allies in El Salvador where stopped and the Agency made contact with anti-Sandinista groups dotted across the Americas. By the middle of the year the Agency was bringing the various disparate groups together into the Fuerza Democratica Nicarguense (FDN). What would later become known as the Contras, was largely made up of the military and fund-raising arms of the Legion of September 15 and the UDN-FARN. The former Somoza military attaché to Washington and CIA asset Colonel Bermudez, was tasked with leading them. Bermudez and the Meneses family had been close friends and business associates in the Guardia. In September 1981, the CIA head office was informed that the Contras were going to start smuggling narcotics into the USA in order to finance their operations against the Sandinista government, having already had one successful trial run[xlix].

That same year, according to two different former CIA operatives, two meetings were held, one early in the year and one at the end of it. These meetings were alleged to have been set-up by the CIA to organise the major cocaine dealers in Colombia into a cartel. According to one operative several CIA, OSS and DEA sources had all confirmed U.S. and Israeli Intelligence personnel were working directly with the Central and South American traffickers. The second operative went as far as to outline that the first meeting was attended by twenty of the largest Colombian traffickers, and the second meeting was attended by closer to two hundred. The main source of the cartel’s cocaine was to be Bolivia, and the main customer base was to be the American people. Once the logistics of the cartel had been agreed, there was the small matter of security. Each member that agreed to join the ‘Medellin’ Cartel paid an annual membership fee of $35,000 to bankroll a paramilitary security force. Muerte a los Secuestradores (Death to Kidnappers or MAS) was established at these meetings. MAS was a Colombian death squad, bolstered with Israeli and British mercenaries, bankrolled with cocaine trafficking profits and tasked with assassinating left wing politicians, trade unionists, activists, guerillas, organised peasants, and anyone trying to undermine the Colombian cocaine trade[l].

In California Norwin Meneses had been given the job of Bermudez’s intelligence and security advisor, with some suggesting that he was at that stage already recruiting fighters for the Contras. Blandon would later claim that by the end of 1981 the Meneses organisation had already trafficked 900 kilos of cocaine into the United States, earning in the region of $54 million dollars. In the December the POTUS sent his DCI to inform congress that he had approved an Intelligence Finding on Nicaragua. The presidential approval and the informing of congress meant that the CIA was from that point on, officially in charge of the Contras’ strategy, tactics, recruitment, logistics, supplies and funding[li].

In 1982, a FBI report stated that Meneses had a reputation in Nicaragua as a hit-man. That same year his nephew was negotiating with the National Military Police of Honduras to purchase 10-20 kilos per month of seized cocaine to traffic into the States. Blandon himself later admitted to have been funding the Contras with the proceeds of cocaine trafficking as early as 1982. It was around that time that a Ronald Jay Lister appeared to be working with Blandon. Lister spent the next seven years helping Blandon. with logistics and weapons. The CIA later denied having any knowledge of, or relationship with Lister[lii].

In 1982 in Santa Monica, at yet another cocaine conference, Dr Jeri once again warned of a potential crack epidemic in the U.S. He said that trivialising it’s use was dangerous, how nothing that they had done had stopped 50-80 per cent relapse rates once people were hooked, and how doing nothing would be like unleashing a plague. Instead, the mainstream media reported the trivial witticisms of attendee Timothy Leary. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Blandon had found Freeway Ricky Ross, who was already turning cocaine into smokable crack. Blandon went from trafficking and distributing 1-2 kilo packages to “multi-million dollar loads that wouldn’t fit into a wheelbarrow.” And in Miami, the newly formed Medellin cartel were shipping unheard of quantities through the Bahamas using special go-fast boats and planes and radar avoidance techniques.[liii]

By 1982 rumours had already started surfacing that one of the biggest South American cocaine production labs in Bolivia was being run by the CIA to help fund ‘off-the-book’ operations. Some even claimed to have seen ex-Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North there[liv]. Apparently, North was using a DEA asset’s two seafood companies as fronts for a Contras supply network moving drugs and arms[lv]. Then, when Newsweek reported that the USG was officially supporting the Contras, several politicians launched a campaign to stop it. On Christmas Eve 1982, the Boland amendment was passed, stating that U.S. tax payers would not fund activities intended to overthrow the Nicaraguan government or incite a war between Honduras and Nicaragua. Internal memos showed that the CIA, the White House, the Defence Department and supporters of the Contras in Congress all knew that there was absolutely no chance the Contras would overthrow the Sandinista government, with or without their support. Therefore continuing to fund them wouldn’t breach the terms of Boland[lvi]. It was business as usual.

In hindsight, the case can now be made that in terms of the relationship between the CIA and the Contras, and the Contras and the cocaine business, a lot of senior people in the White House, the Military and the CIA knew about it while it was going on[lvii]. After Boland, Agency money was flooding into the Contras[lviii], at exactly the same time, according to some, that the CIA were already using the Ilopango airstrip in El Salvador as a supply base for the Contras and a transit point for U.S. bound narcotics[lix]. Eye witnesses at the base claim that the pilots there, were openly talking about the fact that they were flying drugs in to the U.S. and cash into Panama, while loading and unloading their illicit cargoes in plain sight of everyone[lx]. Then, in February ’83, a large cocaine ring in San Francisco was shut down. Amongst the 20 arrests were several Nicaraguans with ties to the Contras leader Aristides Sanchez[lxi]. While the U.S. media didn’t make the connection for three years, the Nicaraguan press made it within weeks'[lxii].

It has since been claimed that the DEA knew that Blandon and his wife were drug traffickers before the State department even granted them political asylum. By ’83, there was no doubt. Blandon told the CIA that Bermudez had told him that it was no longer necessary for him to fund-raise for the Contras, as the CIA were now funding them. According to Meneses, Blandon never stopped sending money. By ’83 Blandon had been selling cocaine to Ricky Ross for at least a year, who in turn had established a crack empire from L.A.. The DEA estimated that Ross’s sales went from around 40 kilos, or 1.25 million doses of crack every month, to 200 kilos per month, and then onto an eye-watering 600 kilos per month, or 15 million doses. This was at the same time as Blandon and Lister had started supplying the L.A. gangs with automatic rifles, sub-machine guns, walkie-talkies, pagers, police scanners, voice scramblers, cellular phones and anti-eaves-dropping equipment.[lxiii]

Word count: 5,004 words

i http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/timeline.html

ii The CIA’s Greatest Hits, Zepezauer,Mark 1994 p50

iii Acid Dreams, Bruce Shlain, Martin A. Lee, 1985 p245

iv Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 p92

v Acid Dreams, Bruce Shlain, Martin A. Lee, 1985 p245

vi https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/Post-Watergate_Intelligence_Investigations.html

vii The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 p xviii

viii http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/11/creating-a-crime-how-the-cia-commandeered-the-dea/

ix Drugs, Oil and War, Dale Scott, Peter, 2003 p46 and Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p53

x Treasure Islands, Shaxson, Nicholas, 2011 p8, 10, 16, 19, 27, 130

xi https://theintercept.com/2015/11/02/the-deepest-state-the-safari-club-allen-dulles-and-the-devils-chessboard/

xii The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p469, 470

xiii http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/us/edwin-p-wilson-cia-operative-with-cloak-and-dagger-life-dies-at-84.html

xiv The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p470

xv The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p469

xvi Drugs, Oil and War, Dale Scott, Peter, 2003 – p40

xvii The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p469

xviii http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/11/creating-a-crime-how-the-cia-commandeered-the-dea/

xix Drugs, Oil and War, Dale Scott, Peter, 2003 – p77

xx Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p35

xxi Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P40

xxii Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p178

xxiii The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p451, 457 and https://history.state.gov/milestones/1977-1980/soviet-invasion-afghanistan

xxiv Dale Scott, P., American War Machine, 2010 p135, 224, 225

xxv Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p178

xxvi The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p448, 451

xxvii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P21, 22, 39

xxviii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P53, 56, 58, 59

xxix Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P38, 42, 43, 44

xxx Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P27, 28, 34

xxxi Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P28, 33

xxxii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P23, 34, 141

xxxiii Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p38, 42, 43 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_League_for_Freedom_and_Democracy

xxxiv The CIA’s Greatest Hits, Zepezauer,Mark 1994 – p68

xxxv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P47, 48

xxxvi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Bolivia_%281964%E2%80%9382%29#Transition_to_democracy

xxxvii https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/10/bolivia-germany

xxxviii The Big White Lie, Levine, Michael, 2012 – p57

xxxix https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/10/bolivia-germany

xl Dale Scott, P. in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p181

xli https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/10/bolivia-germany

xlii The Big White Lie, Levine, Michael, 2012 – p57, 58

xliii https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/10/bolivia-germany

xliv Dale Scott, P. in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p181

xlv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P46, 47, 67

xlvi The CIA’s Greatest Hits, Zepezauer,Mark 1994 – p62

xlvii The Big White Lie, Levine, Michael, 2012 – p76

xlviii The CIA’s Greatest Hits, Zepezauer,Mark 1994 – p62

xlix Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p45, 48, 52, 63, 69, 553

l Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p44, 47

li Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P62, 74, 109

lii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P50, 66, 70, 106

liii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p36, 123, 134, 140, 141

liv The Big White Lie, Levine, Michael, 2012 – p455

lv http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/11/creating-a-crime-how-the-cia-commandeered-the-dea/

lvi Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P154

lvii Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p106

lviii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P155

lix Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p ix

lx Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P255

lxi Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p106

lxii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p92

lxiii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p149, 150, 156, 176, 177, 184, 191, 193