The Journal of History     Summer 2003     TABLE OF CONTENTS


Bush, Drugs, and Serial Murder


On August 18th, 19th, and 20th, 1996, San Jose Mercury News published a three part article by Gary Webb entitled America's crack plague has roots in Nicaragua war. The article alleged that "For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency." Webb's allegations became the focus of every left-wing organization in the nation eager to protest the CIA, which was viewed as a right-wing enemy. However, as we will see, Webb only told part of the story.

According to Webb, one Oscar Danilo Blandon came to California as an exile from Nicaragua when the Samoza regime was overthrown by the Sandanistas. Blandon lost a fortune in the Sandanista takeover. In California, he raised money for the opposition to the Sandanistas by organizing various protests and fundraising parties.

In 1981, Blandon met with another exile, Juan Norwin Meneses, who was the brother of two generals that had served in Samoza's army. Meneses was known in Nicaragua as the "Rey de la Drogas" (King of Drugs). Together, Blandon and Meneses flew to the Honduras to meet with Colonel Enrique Bermudez, who had been Samoza's Washington liaison to the U.S. military, and a paid CIA agent until his still unsolved assassination in 1991. CIA agent Bermudez put drug-king Meneses in charge of "intelligence and security" for the Contras, and instructed him to raise as much money as possible for the Contra counter-revoution. "The ends justify the means," Bermudez told Meneses. By 1983, Meneses was importing as much as $3 million dollars worth of crack cocaine into the United States, per day. Blandon, meanwhile, supplied the cocaine to street gangs for distribution.

As Webb points out, Meneses is listed in the files of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as a major international drug smuggler and is implicated in 45 separate federal investigations, yet he has never spent a day in a U.S. prison. Repeatedly, investigators, including those in the United States Senate, have been hampered by the CIA or unnamed "national security" interests. This is where Webb's story ends.


On December 4, 1981, United States President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which placed all United States covert intelligence operations under the authority of the National Security Council (NSC). "The NSC," it read, "shall act as the highest Executive branch entity that provides review of, guidance for, and direction to the conduct of all national foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, and special activities and attendant policies and programs." Moreover, Executive Order 12333 allowed the use of private assets for these activities. "Agencies within the Intelligence Community are authorized to enter into contracts or arrangements for authorized intelligence purposes." Ten days later, Vice-President George Bush was placed in charge of the National Security Council, and, therefore, all United States covert intelligence operations.

The following year, Congress passed the so-called Boland Amendment, which prohibited the CIA from spending any funds to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. Hence, the CIA could no longer fund the Contras. Bush, therefore, decided to continue the funding of the Contras by other means. Utilizing his authority as head of the National Security Council, Bush and his henchmen, such as Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, went into the drug business.

During October 1984, Oliver North, who had been on the NCS staff since 1981, was designated by Bush and CIA Director William Casey to coordinate illegal supply operations for the Contras. The operation utilized a rogue's gallery of drug smugglers who had aircraft and pilots to conduct clandestine flights into Central America. Cargo planeloads of cocaine were brought into the United States, and weapons were brought back. Two of the main transshipment points were a federal airbase in Mena, Arkansas, and Ilopango Airport in El Salvador.

Under the orders of Bush, Ilopango Airport had been set up in early 1985 as a Contra supply base by "ex" CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, with whom Bush coordinated his drug-running activities. When the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Representative in Nicaragua, Celerino Castillo, caught up with Bush on January 14, 1986, he confronted him as follows: "I met George Bush," said Castillo, "at a cocktail party in Guatemala city. It was at the ambassador's residence. He came up to me, and asked me what my job description was as a DEA agent in Guatemala. I told him that I was an agent conducting international narcotics investigations, and I told him there was something funny going on at Ilopango Airport. As soon as I said that, he shook my hand, he smiled for the cameraman, and then just walked away from me without saying a word. I knew then that he knew what I was talking about."

Celerino Castillo survived the confrontation, but many others who knew about Bush's covert operations, which went far beyond Ibero America, were not so fortunate. Among the victims were DEA agent Enrique Camarena, CIA agent Barry Seal, French General Rene Audran, German State Governor Uwe Barshel, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Israeli intelligence agent Amiram Nir, Canadian weapons manufacturer Gerald Bull, Belgian government minister Andre Cools, and Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme.

Olaf Palme, for example, found himself in an untenable position as the chief enforcer of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran and Iraq at the same time he was privy to Bush's covert weapons trafficking to Iran. His assassination followed a raid on the offices of Swedish arms broker Karl-Erik Schmitz, where documents seized by Swedish Customs officials detailed the activities of a global arms and munitions cartel with George Bush at the center. Apparently, Olaf Palme knew too much. In a desperate attempt to cover up the assassination, the mainstream media blamed Lyndon LaRouche.

Nonetheless, it soon emerged in a South African courtroom, where a Colonel Eugene de Kock was on trial for a series of apartheid-era assassinations, that one Craig Williamson was responsible for the Olaf Palme hit. Williamson was the director of Giovanni Ricci's international weapons trading company, GMR. Together with one James Anthony White, who was later named as the actual assassin of Palme, Ricci and Williamson ran an operation in South Africa known as Longreach, which spied on anti-apartheid activists, and smuggled weapons into South Africa through George Bush's networks. Moreover, Ricci was a member of the powerful and secretive P-2 lodge in Italy, whose Grand Master was Licio Gelli, a war-time Nazi collaborator. P-2 member Michael Ledeen, who brokered the infamous arms for hostages deal with Iran, was a key consultant to Bush's National Security Council.

Another significant covert operation in which Ricci and Williamson played a prominent role was Operation Lock, which was a creation of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The mission of Operation Lock was to trigger violence in South Africa between Nelson Mandela's African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party. Operation Lock was run by Sir Jimmy Goldsmith's security company, KAS, which was staffed by British Special Air Services (SAS) personnel. Goldsmith, meanwhile, was a key member of Prince Bernhard's Club of the Isles, and a close personal friend of George Bush.

A number of other connections into Bush's networks flow from the super-elite Club of the Isles, which, on account of its global dominance of strategic raw materials, trade, finance, and media, is easily the most powerful group of oligarchs in the world. Club of the Isles member Giani Agnelli, for example, worked closely with Count Ferdinando Borletti, who ran Valsella, one of the largest Italian arms companies. Borletti brokered arms and drug deals with Syrian arms and drug-trafficker, Mansur al Kassar, who was Bush's channel into Iran.

Another example is Club of the Isles member Tiny Rowland, who worked closely with East German Stasi arms broker, Alexander Schalk-Golodkowski, to plan a joint British-East German covert operations in southern Africa. Under these arrangements, the British, SAS-staffed arms company, Hall & Watts, landed a contract to train elite troops in Mozambique. Hall & Watts also mediated an arm deals between Mansur al-Kassur and Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, George Bush's direct underling in the National Security Council.

In a 1989 interview with an associate of this author, Swedish arms dealer Karl-Erik Schmitz, admitted, "This is a well-established and international arms trading system that has been in place and operating for decades -- You have what are called 'red' countries and what are called 'green' countries. If you are forbidden by law to export to a 'red' country, it is well established you go to the 'green' country to export. They then reship the material to the 'red' country. This is well established." Throughout the 1980s, until a C-123 cargo plane illegally transporting U.S. arms was shot down over Nicaragua--an event which precipitated the famous Iran-Contra scandal--Bush's National Security Council was the glue that held much of the international arms and drug traffic together. As we have seen, arms were not the only commodity.


The Journal of History - Summer 2003 Copyright © 2003 by News Source, Inc.