War on Drugs, part 4: 1984–1998 - From Freeway Ricky Ross to Osama bin Laden

First published by Znet on 18th September 2017.

In 1984 a DEA agent based in Honduras reported that the Honduran military, which was working with Oliver North, the CIA and the Contras in their war against the Nicaraguan government, had over a 15 month period shipped in the region of 50 tons of cocaine into the States. The DEA promptly transferred the agent out of the Honduras office and closed it[i]. In the March of 1984 a Soviet oil tanker hit a Contras mine off the coast of Nicaragua.[ii] In the October, the CIA’s manual on how to wage psychological war in Nicaragua was leaked to the media[iii]. The strategy for the Americas was unravelling very publicly.

But, while the world’s Press focussed on the Contras in the southern hemisphere, the impact of the policy within the US was largely ignored. One of the key Contras funders was shipping mountains of crack into U.S. cities and building local street gangs into quasi-paramilitary forces. By the time Freeway Ricky Ross was buying 50-100 kilos of cocaine per day directly from the Colombian cartels; and Blandon and Lister were supplying more and more high-powered firearms to Ross and his partners; we can now see that sections of the USG knew what was going on. In 1997 the Justice Department reported that the DEA was informed in the early 1980s that the CIA was allowing the Contras to bring drugs in to the States in order to fund their war.[iv]

With public opinion of the Contras in free-fall, and Congress making noises about stopping the CIA’s not so secret war, psychological operations experts from the CIA, Department of Defence, National Security Council and Military Intelligence started an illegal political propaganda campaign to manipulate and influence Congress, the media and public opinion[v].

The evidence was becoming difficult to ignore. Between 1982 and 1985 cocaine consumption in the U.S. doubled to 72 tons per year, and the number of users increased by 38 per cent to 5.8 million people[vi]. In 1985, two social scientists at the University of South Carolina issued a report about the growth of crack cocaine in the States. Gary Webb likened it to reading about the bubonic plague. James Inciaridi, a Miami based drug researcher described the first time he saw inside a crack house. “I observed what appeared to be the forcible gang-rape of an unconscious child. Emaciated, seemingly comatose, and likely no more than 14 years of age, she was lying spread-eagled on a filthy mattress while four men in succession had … intercourse with her,’ Inciardi wrote. ‘After they had finished and left the room, another man came in and they engaged in oral sex.’ Inciardi discovered that she was a ‘house girl’, who got food, clothing, a roof over her head, and all the crack she wanted if she put it out for the customers.”[vii]

The political aspect was never that well hidden. In Central America, an informant claimed that Pablo Escobar of the Medellin Cartel, had said that he had done a deal with the American Vice-President, so that planes filled with guns were flown to the Cartel in Colombia, they were unloaded and then reloaded with cocaine. Then, while the cocaine was flown on to a military base in the States, the Cartel shipped the guns to the Contras. Over the course of the 1980s the Justice Department received three similar reports. An FBI informant reported that she had personally witnessed CIA contractor Southern Air Transport planes having guns unloaded and then replaced with cocaine in 1983 and 1985 in Colombia. She claimed that she had personally heard Jorge Ochoa brag about how he was working with the CIA to traffic cocaine into Florida. A CIA asset reported that as early as 1983, Medellin Cartel cocaine was being flown into Costa Rica where it was transferred to Contra planes before continuing on to Ilopango, where the Meneses network would supervise it being transferred to Salvadoran Air force and Southern Air Transport planes[viii]. Even if they had wanted to do something about it, the DEA was unable to differentiate between Contra flights, CIA flights and Cartel flights. They had little choice but to stand idly by as cocaine flooded the States.[ix]

And in yet another example of how information refuses to stay hidden; in 1985 in Mexico, DEA agent Enrique Camarena was murdered by major drug traffickers. During the course of the ensuing investigations it became apparent, that the Mexican Federal Security Directorate (DFS) and the CIA were protecting the people responsible. The relationship between the CIA and the DFS had been running since the Agency helped set it up in 1947 and continued through it’s most brutal years between 1964 and 1981 under Directors Gutierrez, Garcia and Nazar. During those years the DFS had developed and run a clandestine police unit responsible for the disappearance of thousands or government opponents. Unlike in other regions, the relationship between the CIA, the DFS and the Mexican drug traffickers has been described as being one where each relies on the others and consequently each supports the objectives of the others. Not so much a clear command and control hierarchy, but more a relationship of mutually beneficial interdependence. The three groups had become so close, that by 1985 even DEA agents knew that a DFS card was tantamount to a license to deal drugs[x]. Under pressure from the unwanted scrutiny following Camarena’s murder, the DFS was closed down and replaced with the General Directorate of Political and Social Investigations. The largest drug traffickers soon got their new badges licensing them to deal drugs and it wasn’t long before everyone was back to business as usual[xi].

In January 1986 the POTUS authorised Oliver North’s cut-out, ‘The Enterprise’, to handle the transfer of arms to Iran for the release of the hostages. At the beginning of April North wrote a memo, called the “Diversion Memorandum”, which outlined how Iranian ‘Enterprise’ money could be diverted to the Contras[xii]. The POTUS signed National Security Decision Directive 221,yet again repositioning narcotics trafficking into the U.S. as a national security issue and therefore within the Military and CIA’s jurisdiction.[xiii]

In April ’86 a U.S. Customs Services undercover asset, Joseph Kelso, entered Costa Rica looking for a drug dealer who turned out to be a DEA agent. Within months, Kelso said that he had documented evidence, and six Costa Rican and U.S. Government officials willing to testify that DEA agents were “skimming cocaine from drug seizures, making counterfeit money, sanitizing intelligence reports to Washington, and protecting cocaine processing labs in northern Costa Rica, including at least two on Contra[s] bases”. Kelso had stumbled unwittingly into Oliver North’s world. Before being deported from Costa Rica, Kelso was “chased, beaten, shot at, clubbed, caged [and] threatened with death”. His case was later used by the Congressional Committee as an example of how North undermined investigations into the Contras[xiv].

In May ’86 the U.S. media finally deemed the three year old crack epidemic decimating some of the poorest U.S. neighbourhoods front page news. NBC News, People Magazine and Associated Press talked about a plague washing through the country ”like wildfire”, as “a wave of crack addicts” spread “prostitution and crime”. Amidst the media hysteria there was little reference to how the government had been consistently forewarned time and again from as early as 1979. By November NBC had run over 400 stories, and both Time and Newsweek had printed 5 cover stories. The extent of the government’s silence and inaction was not the overarching theme.[xv]

On the 12th June, Seymour Hersh published an expose on General Noriega, directly accusing him of being involved in murder, money laundering and drug trafficking[xvi]. Officials from more than one U.S. administration had told him that Noriega’s illegal activities were known and overlooked because of his cooperation with the USG, not least of all in helping counter insurgencies across Central America. Hersh cited USG reports and interviews with officials, all stating that they knew how Noriega and a select cabal of senior officers controlled much of the Panamanian Defence Force’s drug trafficking and money laundering.[xvii] During a later DEA investigation of Noriega’s affairs it was “discovered” that his trafficking network were loading planes in Colombia with Cartel cocaine, refuelling at Contras airstrips in Costa Rica and then flying their shipments into the United States, where they would unload in Louisiana and Texas[xviii].

Looking back we can now see the extent to which the USG was aware of what was going on. In September ’83 Lister and Blandon’s company was investigated by the FBI for selling arms to El Salvador, while being paid with Saudi Government loans. Between ’83 and ’85 the FBI had five investigations running on Ronald Jay Lister for illegally supplying weapons to foreign governments. Then, in the Summer of ’86, during a raid on Lister’s house, he gave a handwritten list of business associates to the agents, requesting that it be put with a statement he had prepared a year earlier, when expecting to give evidence to a Grand Jury. On the list were Roberto D’Aubuisson, the likely organiser of Archbishop Romero’s assassination; Ray Prendes, the former head of the CIA funded Salvadoran Christian Democratic Party and Bill Nelson, who previous to working for Fluor Corporation, had been the CIA’s Deputy Director of Operations, the unofficial head of all covert operations between 1973 and 1976.[xix]

A 1986 CIA cable shows that the Agency knew that Norwin Meneses had been the main funnel between Nicaragua and Cali Colombia for cocaine and marijuana since at least the 1970s. In fact, Meneses later told the Justice Department that he had personally advised the CIA shortly after the fall of the regime on how to get in and out of Nicaragua without getting caught. By 1986 he was openly boasting of how USG agents often escorted him across U.S. borders. As so many times before, the network started to unravel under the slightest of pressures on a loose thread. In August ’86, the Torres Brothers were arrested. They told the investigating officer that they had laundered in the region of $100 million since January 1986, and were storing 1,000 kilos of cocaine and between $250 and $500 million in cash around the Los Angeles area. They talked at length about Danilo Blandon[xx].

On October 5th 1986 a plane was shot down in Nicaragua[xxi]. The plane was carrying weapons for the Contras and the flight crew had evidence linking them back to the Ilopango airbase. One of the crew survived, he was ex-Air America and a veteran of the secret war in Laos. He admitted to still be working for the CIA, named his two handlers and talked about Ilopango[xxii]. The White House denied any involvement. On October 28th, a $3.6 million arms shipment made its way to Iran, after which ‘the Enterprise’ handed $2 million to the CIA and $1.6 million to the Contras. Two Lebanese papers got hold of the story and ran with it. The story went global[xxiii]. With public approval in collapse, the Justice Department in Los Angeles quietly dropped an investigation into the Contras and cocaine.[xxiv]

To stop the entire network from unravelling compromised sections had to be cut loose and sacrificed. On the 25th November, the POTUS and his Attorney General announced to the press that Oliver North had been diverting millions of dollars to the Contras from illegal arms sales to Iran[xxv]. Congressional Committees were quickly established[xxvi], with what some experts would describe as “narrowly drawn … resolutions” unlikely “to expose present or even former CIA assets … especially the drug-trafficking ex-CIA Cubans in Miami, some of [whom had] connections to Watergate.”[xxvii]

During the hearings that would follow, the CIA official in charge of the Contras project from 1984 testified how North had told him how he had “put together a whole cascade of cover companies, just as they taught at the CIA clandestine training site”. The official explained how, not only had he not been told that North was CIA clandestine trained, but when he himself had been trained, he had not been taught how to do that. North was suspected of creating a series of offshore bank accounts with help from the DCIA, to launder the money on its way to the Contras, in order to make sure that Treasury Officers didn’t inadvertently stumble across it while looking for drug money. One of the Iran-Contras Special Prosecutors, suspected that North was a CIA cut-out which the Agency could cut loose if the operation was ever compromised.[xxviii]

At the beginning of 1987 Blandon and Meneses met in Los Angeles with a CIA agent known as ‘Roberto’ and one of Blandon’s key men who, as well as being a Torres brother, was also a senior Contras official. After the meeting the agent reported to the DEA that Ivan Torres had said that the CIA were aware and OK with him trafficking drugs, and actually had actively encouraged the Contras into the cocaine business[xxix]. This was going on around the same time that In New York, the Times was running two stories. Firstly, that certain Senators were warning that the White House investigation could potentially derail the Senate enquiry[xxx], and secondly that the Saudi government were also implicated in funding the Contras[xxxi]. When the White House commissioned report finally came out, it was highly critical of the President and several key White House staff, but concluded that it was in fact just two senior staff who had been functioning “largely outside the orbit of the U.S. Government.”[xxxii] The White House pleaded the ‘bad apple’ defence. It was in this context that the joint hearings of the House Select Committee and the Senate Select Committee began to take shape. The White House had demonstrated that it could not investigate itself, so now it was the turn of the wider USG[xxxiii]. online resource.

A year earlier, there had been suggestions that Honduras was fast becoming one of the key transit points for between a fifth and a half of all cocaine entering the States. Within a year the U.S. Embassy in Honduras had increased to over three hundred employees, making it one of the largest in the world at the time. But the rumours just keep getting worse. There were allegations that the DEA was allowing the Honduran Military to traffic cocaine, as long as they didn’t interfere with CIA operations[xxxiv]. Eventually Senator John Kerry, who chaired a subcommittee looking into the role of the USG and proxies in the drugs trade, asked the Director of the DEA point blank ‘the Head of the DEA office in Costa Rica … told us that the infrastructure that was used to supply the Contras was used to smuggle drugs. This is your DEA officer in Costa Rica. are you familiar with that report?”. The DEA Director answered “No”.[xxxv]

In a cable between the FBI in Washington and their San Francisco office, Meneses was named as an ex-DEA informant, who might still have been an active DEA and CIA informant[xxxvi]. In the March of ’88, the Contras and the Sandinistas signed a ceasefire which the CIA took no notice of. At the end of ’88 a new POTUS was elected. He was the ex-Director of the CIA and the incumbent Vice President. In January, two weeks after the new POTUS was sworn in, the San Francisco U.S. Attorney charged Meneses under a secret indictment without prosecuting it. It was then sealed from public view for nine years. Many years later when asked about it, Meneses suggested that it was to protect the USG in case the true nature of their relationship ever came to light. With the ‘send-someone-else-to-jail free card’ safe in a San Francisco filing cabinet, it was time to get back to business. Over the course of 1989 Meneses continued working for the USG on classified DEA missions in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, San Francisco, Miami and LA.[xxxvii] And when that POTUS’s tenure came to an end, he issued pardons to six government employees who had been indicted and/or found guilty of criminal charges in relation to the Contras[xxxviii].

Over the course of the 1980s, the Soviets and the CIA’s proxy army, and forerunner to Al-Qaeda, the Mujaheddin had been fighting a war in Afghanistan[xxxix]. During that time the U.S. embassy in Islamabad had seventeen DEA agents posted there who between them didn’t make one major arrest or seizure. This was at exactly the same time as the Afghan-Pakistan heroin pipeline was estimated to be supplying 60 per cent of U.S. heroin and underpinning General Zia’s regime In Pakistan. Once again the strategic objectives and the trade in narcotics became blurred. CIA assets, working with the Pakistani ISI were bringing hundreds of millions of dollars of arms into the region on the same trucks that were being used as heroin convoys on their return journeys. The CIA deal made in Peshawar in May ’79 played out exactly as many had predicted. By 1988 the Pakistan heroin trade was conservatively estimated to have reached $8-10 billion per year. It was larger than the Pakistan government’s entire budget, and equal to one quarter of the country’s GDP[xl].

And it wasn’t just the USG. Britain’s MI6, from as early as 1980 had been authorised to support the Afghan resistance. Using private companies like KMS, MI6 used ex-SAS men to train Foreign & Commonwealth Office vetted Pakistani Special Forces and Mujaheddin commando units at secret camps in Scotland. In addition to training some of the Afghan resistance, MI6 went as far as supplying weapons and communications equipment to certain groups. Amongst the recipients of British Intelligence support were Abdul Haq of Hesb-e Islami and Ahmed Shah Massoud. But we’ll come back to them later. Even then, witnesses were reporting seeing Pakistani Intelligence involved in opium smuggling, and the CIA weapons transport being used to transport opium to the heroin production facilities along the Pakistan border on their return trips. When one former SAS officer working with the Mujaheddin reported this to his CIA liaison he was told to ignore it[xli].

We now know that the BCCI, steeped in the Safari Club intelligence relationships of the 1970s and the Iran-Contras arms deal, was one of the key assets in the CIA-drug trafficker network throughout the 1980s. One of the most revealing allegations made against the BCCI was the sheer scale of its global influence. The BCCI had operations in 73 countries and was accused of financially supporting key political figures in all 73 of those countries. Three of the people implicated in these sorts of relationship, were the same three people within the USG tasked with making the decisions whether to investigate the BCCI or not. Unsurprisingly, the Treasury Secretary, and both the Democratic and Republican ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee all made the choice not to investigate BCCI. And not a moment too soon. The fact that the BCCI had been partnering with ex-CIA agents at the Safari Club and Afghan opium traffickers[xlii] to launder money on a near industrial scale was very nearly swept under the carpet[xliii]. The problem was, that as early as 1987 the Kerry committee was already looking into BCCI in terms of its role in the relationship between the Contras and cocaine trafficking, as well as having uncovered evidence implicating Noriega in trafficking[xliv]. But for all the evidence mounting against it, the BCCI’s role in the Realpolitik of intelligence and narcotics trafficking meant that it was, if only for a little while longer, effectively above the law.

In light of the history, perhaps it is not altogether surprising that one outcome of the National Security Directives of ’86 and ’89 was the legal authorisation required to militarise the U.S. presence in Colombia. Some researchers have come to the conclusion that the CIA had already been in ongoing relationships with Colombian paramilitaries from as early as the creation of MAS in 1981. What few dispute is that throughout the 1980s, the Colombian cartels were central to the channelling of ‘Crystal Triangle’ cocaine and marijuana into the States, and large parts of the funding for ‘off-the-books’ paramilitaries and death squads across the region, like the Contras[xlv].

The political situation in Colombia was intrinsically linked to its role in the Crystal Triangle. The major landowners and the Cali and Medellin cartels were buying up large tracks of cocaine producing land and building large private armies to protect their investments and keep the peasant farmers (cocaleros) in line. In response, the FARC was waging a guerilla war against those same cartels, landowners and the Government, who were all becoming increasingly reliant on U.S. military support. Throughout this period the U.S. market for cocaine grew almost exponentially. And, as a direct consequence, the Colombian cartels as the main source of cocaine from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia were generating unprecedented sums of money. It has been estimated that revenues were in the region of $6 billion per year; while the profits were estimated to be between $3-4 billion per year. The overwhelming size of the industry wasn’t a surprise to the people that keep an eye on this sort of thing either. Only a year earlier Fortune magazine had hailed the cocaine industry as one of the fastest and most profitable industries on the planet[xlvi].

By the end of the decade one of the cartel leaders was beginning to draw too much of the wrong kind of attention. Pablo Escobar was increasingly coming into direct conflict with Anti-Castro Cubans within the Cuban Mafia based out of Miami, and the Colombian ruling class as he increasingly positioned himself as a populist drug lord of the people. The industry didn’t need the attention. After ten years of the CIA supported cartels running the ‘Crystal Triangle’ drug trade through Colombia, the country had become a de facto narco-economy. It’s historical ‘Comprador’ business elite had become so entrenched in the drug trade, that they had effectively become a narco-bourgeoisie[xlvii]. Things had been working very effectively. However, when the partnership between the Cali and Medellin cartels, and their joint support for the anti-FARC MAS began to fracture, the USG repositioned Escobar and the Medellin cartel as the arch-villains of the piece. And as the decade drew to a close the POTUS launched the Andean initiative, expanding the role of the U.S. military, and dramatically increasing the personnel at the CIA station [xlviii]. The declaration didn’t dwell on the fact that in the nine months preceding the announcement the Colombian police had seized 1.5 million gallons of the chemicals used to produce cocaine in drums brandishing the logos of American corporations[xlix].

While major U.S. Banks were complicit in the laundering of narcotics profits by investing them into U.S. corporations, the USG were helping the Colombian army set up the narcotics-trafficking civilian paramilitaries. In order to maintain the ‘democratic’ narrative, the Colombian government was employing PR companies to promote several key ideas. Firstly, that FARC were narco-terrorists; Secondly, that FARC were responsible for the cocaine epidemic; and finally, that the Colombian state were fighting the terrorists to protect the U.S. and democracy from a left-wing narco-terrorist conspiracy. The American people may have been lied to, but the USG knew exactly what was going on. A declassified 1991 U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency report on the then future Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Velez, stated that when he was just a Senator, he had pushed for collaboration between the Medellin cartel and the government; had personal business links to narcotics in the US; and had been a personal friend and political ally of Pablo Escobar[l]. But we’ll come back to him later as well. The make-up of the ‘Crystal Triangle’ was once again being changed. By 1993 the Cali cartel, with the support of the Colombian and U.S. governments, had effectively destroyed the Medellin cartel in their battle to control the narcotics trade. What then followed was an ongoing war waged against any one who opposed the continuation of the narcotics trade and the wholesale exploitation of the country’s natural resources[li].

As the Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan and the dust supposedly settled, what had actually been going on began to reveal itself. Over the course of the preceding decade the main recipient of CIA military aid in the region had been Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leading opium trafficker in the region[lii]. A fact that is conveniently overlooked in the BBC’s profile on him[liii]. This type of selective-reporting by omission in relation to western governments role in the drug trade has a long history. When it was publicly revealed that Saudi intelligence was into the Iran-Contras relationship to the tune of $32 million there was much public soul searching amongst the cultural and political establishment. But when it trickled out as part of the BCCI investigations years later that the Saudi’s were into the Mujaheddin to the tune of $500 million, the media largely looked the other way. And it wasn’t just the media, a Congressional inquiry discovered that in the ten years leading up the collapse of the BCCI in 1991, the FBI, the DEA, the CIA, the Customs Service and the Department of Justice had all managed to ignore quite literally hundreds of tips on the banks criminal activities. And with the USSR in collapse, the BCCI in ruins, Afghanistan demoted down the media’s agenda, the CIA not only continued to collaborate with the Pakistani Intelligence and the opium warlords like Hekmatyar[liv], but it has since been alleged they opened up a new front in Azerbaijan. The allegations suggest that ex-CIA assets set up an ‘Air America’ type airline, which used the profits of opium trafficking to fund and transport Mujaheddin fighters around the region[lv].

It has since been argued that when the cold war ended two things happened that were entirely predictable. Firstly, because the American people would not accept yet another public outing of USG employees engaged in criminal conspiracies, the covert work was going to have to be outsourced to private military and intelligence contractors through an official process. This would ensure two things, de facto control but with plausible deniability. Secondly, with no occupation left to fight in Afghanistan the vast sums of money being generated through the opium trade was going to have to go somewhere. And just as it was predicted, by 1992 private U.S. defence contractors were being deployed in Colombia to meet official U.S. objectives[lvi] and the Afghan opium profits were spreading west and north to paramilitary insurgents in Bosnia, Chechnya, Georgia, Kosovo, Turkey and Uzbekistan[lvii].

It was at the same time that the role of the Contras in the crack epidemic was finally beginning to publicly reveal itself. While Ricky Ross was giving evidence in court against his confederates, Blandon was, by his own admission, still trafficking hundreds of kilos of cocaine to the Meneses organisation in San Francisco. Then finally, in the November 1991, a series of raids by the Nicaraguan police descended on the Meneses network. They seized 725 kilos of cocaine, California license plates, automatic weapons, and customised trafficking vehicles. In 1992 the San Francisco Chronicle reported on an on-going FBI investigation into a network of Nicaraguan cocaine traffickers and Panamanian money launderers running Cali cartel cocaine out of Colombia and into San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. By the end of the year the Nicaraguan authorities were building a case that showed that Meneses had been sent back to Nicaragua by the USG to frame high ranking Sandinista officials on drug charges. In August 1992, during the trial against Meneses, one of his high-ranking associates started talking on the stand. He implicated the DEA, the CIA and the Contras in a drugs network that stretched from El Salvador to Texas. Meneses was found guilty and imprisoned[lviii].

By 1994 it was being estimated that international organized crime was generating $750 billion per year[lix]. In that same year Ernesto Samper was elected President of Colombia with, it would later be discovered, significant amounts of his campaign funds coming from the Cali cartel[lx]. With Escobar and the Medellin cartel out of the way, the Cali cartel’s government approved monopoly had to dilute into the wider economy and state in order to survive. The cartel was broken up into between 80 to 300 different organisations that carried on working together. The overarching trade continued, but the constituent parts became legitimised into other corporations, businesses, and fortunes, as well as diversifying across international markets. By camouflaging within the wider legitimate world, the trade was able to take increasing advantage of the modern world. As well as running narcotics in ex-Soviet Submarines, the Cali cartel were also using a $1.5 million IBM mainframe and network to cross-reference and data-mine the Cali telephone exchange logs against lists of U.S. and Colombian law enforcement, intelligence and government personnel. Colombia was fast on its way to becoming a high-functioning narco-state, run by an increasingly complicit narco-bourgeoisie, aided and abetted by the USG and local drugs warlords[lxi].

In the early ’90s the wealthy Saudi Mujaheddin veteran Osama bin Laden had been very effectively building a terrorist network out of Khartoum in Sudan[lxii]. But by 1995, with the U.S. money stopped, bin Laden and al Qaeda had begun working closely with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in the trafficking of heroin and arms between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union. It was through this relationship that bin Laden’s relationship with the Taliban and the Afghan opium trade began. It has since been argued that as well as still receiving Pakistani ISI support at that time, IMU was also receiving help from several Saudi based foundations and banks. This network grew quickly, stretching to like minded insurgent groups and supporters in Bosnia, Tajikistan, Chechnya and eventually Saudi Arabia itself[lxiii].

By 1998 the figures showed that close to half of all the heroin being used in the States was coming out of Taliban controlled Afghanistan. What’s more, the relationship between the Mujaheddin, al Qaeda, the Taliban and heroin trafficking out of Afghanistan and how much the USG knew about it, was being discussed by sections of the media even then[lxiv]. Daniel Ellsberg was arguing that Congress had been told that al Qaeda was close to 95% funded by narcotics being trafficked out of Afghanistan, through processing plants in Turkey, and then onto the rest of Europe via Albania and Kosovo. In Italy, allegations of an al Qaeda/Islamist insurgency drugs network stretching across Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Chechnya all the way to Kosovo were being publicly discussed. Even when the USG eventually listed the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as an international terrorist organisation, it did so based amongst other reasons on the case that it was funded through its heroin trafficking and relationships with terrorists like Osama bin Laden. Allegations were even being made that a very senior U.S. politician was receiving pay-offs from individuals within the network[lxv].

i The Big White Lie, Levine, Michael, 2012 – p123

ii http://www.nytimes.com/1984/03/21/world/soviet-tanker-damaged-by-mine-laid-by-rebels-in-nicaraguan-port.html

iii http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/20/opinion/primer-covert-offenses-perhaps-reagan-administration-has-it-right-about-cia-s.html

iv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P160, 170, 175, 188, 189, 190

v Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P100, 166, 174, 188

vi The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p439

vii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P142, 147

viii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P253, 258, 260, 261, 262

ix The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p484

x Dale Scott, P. in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p173, 175, 178, 179

xi Dale Scott, P., American War Machine, 2010 p46

xii https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/timeline-n-i.php

xiii https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/nsdd-221.pdf

xiv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P303, 305, 306, 316

xv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P278, 279, 280, 281, 283, 284, 299

xvi http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/19/world/americas/manuel-noriega-fast-facts/index.html

xvii http://www.nytimes.com/1986/06/12/world/panama-strongman-said-to-trade-in-drugs-arms-and-illicit-money.html

xviii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P210

xix Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p111, 113, 196, 197, 561

xx Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p52, 58, 273, 274

xxi https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/timeline-n-i.php

xxii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P318, 319

xxiii https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/timeline-n-i.php

xxiv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P358

xxv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P352

xxvi http://www.nytimes.com/1987/02/27/world/white-house-crisis-excerpts-tower-commission-s-report-part-introduction.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

xxvii Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p163

xxviii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P198, 206, 234, 557

xxix Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P354

xxx Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P356

xxxi http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/13/world/new-report-of-saudi-money-for-contras.html

xxxii http://www.nytimes.com/1987/02/27/world/white-house-crisis-tower-report-inquiry-finds-reagan-chief-advisers-responsible.html?pagewanted=2

xxxiii https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/v-os1.php

xxxiv Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p62, 63

xxxv Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P212

xxxvi Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – p203, 208

xxxvii Dark Alliance, Webb, Gary, 2015 – P397, 398

xxxviii https://www.justice.gov/pardon/ghwbush-pardons

xxxix Cocaine Politics, Jonathan Marshall & Peter Dale Scott, 1998 – p5

xl The Politics of Heroin, McCoy, Alfred W., 1991 – p451, 457, 460

xli Curtis, M., Web of Deceit, 2003 p62, 63, 64

xlii Dale Scott, P., American War Machine, 2010 p11, 30. 165, 166

xliii Dale Scott, P., Drugs, Oil and War. 2003 p42

xliv Webb, G., Dark Alliance, 2015 p14

xlv Dale Scott, P., Drugs, Oil and War. 2003 p72, 85, 86

xlvi Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p19, 66, 67, 110

xlvii Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p19, 71

xlviii Dale Scott, P., Drugs, Oil and War. 2003 p87, 88

xlix Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p142

l Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p11, 54, 120, 131

li Thoumi, F. E in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p214

lii Rensselaer III, W.L in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p197

liii http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2701547.stm

liv Dale Scott, P., The American Deep State. 2003 p29, 67, 116

lv Dale Scott, P., American War Machine, 2010 p167

lvi Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p161

lvii Macdonald, D., Drugs in Afghanistan, 2007 p87

lviii Webb, G., Dark Alliance, 2015 p5, 6, 393, 401, 410, 411, 412, 413, 415

lix Dale Scott, P., Drugs, Oil and War. 2003 p41

lx Thoumi, F. E in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p217

lxi Cottle, D. & Villar, O., Cocaine Death Squads and the War on Terror., 2011 p82, 88, 92 and Thoumi, F. E in Wilson, E., Government of the Shadows, 2009 p214

lxii Scahill, J., Blackwater, 2007 p264

lxiii Dale Scott, P., The American Deep State. 2003 p58, 60, 61

lxiv Curtis, M., Web of Deceit, 2003 p65

lxv Dale Scott, P., American War Machine, 2010 p167