Selected Excerpts from
THE GREAT HEROIN COUP - DRUGS, INTELLIGENCE AND INTERNATIONAL FASCISM
By Henrik Kruger; Jerry Meldon, Translator
South End Press©1980: Box 68 Astor Station, Boston, MA 02123
240pps - one edition - out-of-print; Orginally published in Danish
Smukke Serge og Heroien; Bogan 1976
To heroin's victims in the United States and Europe,
And to all veterans of the War in Vietnam,
Especially those who returned strung out,
And those who did not return at all...
To victims of torture and repression in Latin America and elsewhere,
And to those who owe the monkey on their back,
And the scars on mind and body
To agents of the CIA and DEA.
The story of Christian David, an international narcotics trafficker used by the Intelligence services of at least three nations, is fascinating in itself. It is even more important for what it tells us of a larger, less documented history-‑the secret collaboration of government intelligence services and parallel police throughout the world, and their use of criminals, particularly from drug networks, for political counter-subversion. Above all it is an important book for Americans to read, since the shadow of the CIA can be seen behind Christian David's political intrigues in countries like France and Uruguay. America's role in Christian David's strange career has never before, to my knowledge, been revealed in this country. And Henrik Kruger is able to expand the story into larger perspectives on the CIA, Watergate, and current U.S. counterinsurgency tactics.
|'Mr. Big' Extradited to U.S. in Sept. 1972|
Le Monde's charges, many details of which have since been corroborated, were passed over in silence by the U.S. press. This studied disinterest in the politics of narcotics (other than the propaganda, including flagrant lies, from official press releases) is a recurring, predictable phenomenon of our press; and it has visibly had a deleterious impact on U.S. politics. If the Washington Post and the New York Times, then supposed exposers of Watergate, had picked up on stories like the one in Le Monde, then the history of Watergate might have been altered.
For the history of Nixon's involvement in Watergate is intertwined with that of his personal involvement in drug enforcement. Nixon's public declaration in June 1971 of his war on heroin promptly led to his assemblage of White House Plumbers, Cubans, and even "hit squads" with the avowed purpose of combatting the international narcotics traffic. (Among those with a White House narcotics mission, or cover, were Krogh, Liddy, Hunt, Caulfield, Sturgis, and Bernard Barker.)
Many writers have since suggested that Nixon's war on heroin was part of his "grand design" to develop a new drug super-agency, under direct White House control, into "the strong investigative arm for domestic surveillance that President Nixon had long quested after." Yet the establishment press failed to look critically at Nixon's war on heroin. Instead it blandly reported Nixon's decision in June 1971 to provide $100 million in aid to end opium production in Turkey, a country which (according to CIA estimates) produced only 3 to 8 percent of the illicit opium available throughout the world.
|7 July 1971 |
CIA Heroin Coordinator
Another, and even more cynical view of Nixon's action is to see it as a direct attack on the French Corsican networks which relied almost exclusively on Turkey as their source of supply, and which, according to Le Monde, were being deliberately forced out of the international drug trade as the result of a "close Mafia‑police‑Narcotics Bureau collaboration." Le Monde stated explicitly that it was the U.S.‑Sicilian Mafia which closed down the sluice‑gates of Turkish opium production. Was Nixon personally playing a role, as Henrik Kruger suggests, in this seamy international drug war between rival networks? Such a possibility seems less remote when we recall the rivalry which had grown up in the 1960s between deGaulle's intelligence services and the CIA, and the respective reliance of these services upon the rival Corsican and U.S.‑Italian crime syndicates.
Le Monde had no difficulty in spelling out the American side of the intelligence‑Mafia connection, even though the CIA activities of Santo Trafficante, the alleged heir to the Luciano network, were not known to it at the time:
On the French side, LeMonde was predictably more reticent; but from other sources we learn that at least two members of the competing Ricord network, Christian David and Michel Nicoli, were former members of the Gaullist Service d'Action Civique (SAC), the parallel police or barbouzes who had been used to assassinate members of the right wing Organisation de I'Armee Secrete (OAS), in revolt against de Gaulle's accommodation with Algeria. Through SAC, David and Nicoli had come into contact with SDECE operations as well.
One of the major theses of Henrik Kruger's fascinating book is that "the great heroin coup" ‑the "remarkable shift" from Marseilles (Corsican) to Southeast Asian and Mexican (Mafia) heroin in the United States, was a deliberate move to reconstruct and redirect the heroin trade, rather than to eliminate it, and that Cuban exiles, Santo Trafficante, the CIA, and the Nixon White House were all involved:
It was, needless to say, not a willful conspiracy of all the above. But we can assert with reasonable certainty that the CIA, Trafficante and other mafiosi, certain Southeast Asians, and some people in the White House must have been in the know. (Kruger, p. 122)
As Kruger tells the story, the motivations for the alleged heroin coup were primarily political: to break the power of the old Gaullist SAC connection, which by 1970 was as distasteful to de Gaulle's pro-American successor Pompidou as it was to Nixon, and (on the American side) to replace it by an alternative power base. In Kruger's analysis it was not so much a struggle between the French and American intelligence services, SDECE and CIA, as it was a struggle between old and new leaderships. The coming to power of Pompidou in France, and of Nixon in America, had created unprecedented tensions and suspicions between these two presidents and their old-line intelligence services: hence Nixon's desire to use the war on heroin as a pretext for a new super-agency under White House control. Hence also the successive agreements between Nixon, Pompidou, and their cabinet officers to crack down on the old Corsican connection.
Once again, the U.S. press resistance to the subject matter of Kruger's book suggests that there is something to his thesis. At least two books published in America, both obviously based on U.S. government sources, discussed the arrest of David at length, without mentioning either that he had worked for SAC/SDECE or that he had confessed to involvement in the 1965 assassination of the Moroccan leftist Mehdi Ben Barka‑one of the major unsolved French intelligence assassination scandals of the 1960s. The first U.S. book to mention David's confession was Newsday's newspaper series The Heroin Trail; the Newsday team also told how they
received a call from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, stating that earlier promises of French and American cooperation with our investigation would only be kept if we agreed to submit our manuscript to both governments in advance of publication for the correction of "erroneous information." We refused.
Yet even The Heroin Trail, which deserved its Pulitzer prize, states only that David "confessed to participating in the plot to murder Mehdi Ben Barka, a Moroccan leftist lured to France under false pretenses by SDECE."
[Writer and publishers sued for libel in 1980.]
Before Kruger's book one had had to go to books published in England or France to learn that it was not de Gaulle who wanted Ben Barka killed-‑quite the contrary-‑but some other government or governments and their intelligence services, and that a leading suspect in the case was the American CIA.
As the Oxford historian Phillip M. Williams wrote in 1969,
Here one point is absolutely clear. The Gaullist government not only had no interest in Ben Barka's death, but had every interest in his survival. Ben Barka was a left‑wing, anti‑American, third‑world nationalist leader with a lively admiration for General de Gaulle, and had been received at the Elysee some time before: a natural ally for Gaullist policy. Thus any official French connivance could have come only from some section of the State machine which was acting clean contrary to the wishes of the President.
Williams himself then suggests two possible hypotheses which are both compatible with each other and close to Kruger's own explanation:
One, much favoured especially among Left Gaullists, was collaboration with the CIA to eliminate the organizer of the Havana Tricontinental Congress [i.e. Ben Barka]. Another was that SDECE were obliging either Moroccan Intelligence as such, or Oufkir [the Moroccan Intelligence Chief, whom Williams describes elsewhere as "too pro‑American for the Gaullists"] in a personal vendetta against Ben Barka, in return for services rendered in the past.... That there were some SDECE officers who were violently opposed to Gaullist policy towards the United States, especially in Intelligence matters, is clear from the now celebrated "revelations" of the former SDECE agent Pierre Thyraud de Vosjoli [who was ousted from SDECE because of his services for the CIA].
In other words, an Oxford don a decade ago had already explored Kruger's hypothesis that disloyal elements in de Gaulle's cabinet and intelligence service, acting at the behest of the CIA, had Ben Barka killed. Yet Kruger's book goes much further and is, to my knowledge, the first serious study of the Ben Barka mystery to be published in this country. This alone would make it an important challenge to the current stereotype of the CIA as a bunch of exotic assassination bumblers, given to armchair fantasies about thallium foot powders, exploding conch shells, or contaminated cigars.
Kruger's book is also the first in America, to my knowledge, to explore further what Newsday called "reports" that David, "an adventurer recruited into the French secret service for terrorist activities. . . assassinated a number of African officials, and, in Latin America, infiltrated Uruguay's Tupamaro guerrillas and identified several for the police." Once again, a well‑documented French study, Dossier D comme Drogue, has confirmed David's work for the French and Uruguayan secret service in penetrating and turning over the Tupamaros, for which he was equipped with a diplomatic passport. But it is Kruger who supplies the details of the arms transactions by which David was able to penetrate to the very heart of the Tupamaro organization. And, once again, it is Kruger who points out that David's services against the Tupamaros were part of an effort coordinated by the notorious U.S. CIA police "advisor," Dan Mitrione — the same Mitrione who according to New York Times reporter A.J. Langguth arranged for the Uruguay‑an police to obtain superior electric torture needles through the U.S. diplomatic pouch.
David's successful penetration of the Tupamaros—and, before that, of the Argentine FAL (Fuerzas Argentinas de Liberacion) —helps explain why so many U.S. and French intelligence agents have been helped, by official provision of an invaluable diplomatic passport, to become important in the lucrative international arms and drug traffic. (The two traffics are frequently interrelated, as LeMonde pointed out, and can help pay for each other). It was as a well-connected criminal smuggler that David was able to persuade the FAL and Tupamaro leadership that he could procure arms for them; and it was after providing small arms to the Tupamaros that David became their trainer and adviser in weapons matters and turned them in. As we shall see, this modus operandi will be encountered frequently in Kruger's book.
When one considers that the bulk of the world's small arms traffic is dominated by the world intelligence milieu, and that the largest single wholesaler is, or was until recently, the CIA‑linked multinational Interarmco (founded by former CIA agent Samuel Cummings), one can see that it is difficult to rely on weapons as a major revolutionary asset without becoming dependent, at one's peril, upon one or another of the existing world powers.
Meanwhile, on the side of the police repressive apparatus, it is difficult to remain in sustained contact with the enormously lucrative narcotics traffic (particularly in countries where bribery is an accepted part of the political culture) without becoming partly or wholly corrupted by it. Thus the New York Times hats reported how in 1974 one major narcotics trafficker obtained a diplomatic passport from the secretary to the Bolivian president for a simple cocaine shipment; while charges against another in Ecuador were dismissed at the order of Ecuador's minister of the interior. As we shall see, this latter phenomenon of an "intelligence immunity" has become a recurring feature of justice inside the United States, even in major cases ranging from narcotics to political murder.
Again, it is part of Kruger's thesis that the CIA, even after it had decided to eliminate the Ricord network of which David formed part, was unwilling to destroy the international drug connection which allowed its agents to gather intelligence about insurrectionary movements through the tactic of selling arms to them; and which at the same time financed the organization of counter‑revolutionary death squads and "parallel police" such as the Argentine AAA (Alianza Anticomunista Argentina).
Undoubtedly, in Latin America, the stories of drugs and of death squads, such as that which arranged for the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington, have been closely interwoven.
As support for his argument that the traffic once dominated by Ricord was simply redirected to Cuban exiles in touch with the CIA and with Santo Trafficante, Kruger points to the extraordinary story of Alberto Sicilia Falcon. Somehow Sicilia, a twenty‑nine‑year‑old Cuban exile from Miami, was able to emerge as the ringleader of the so‑called "Mexican connection" which promptly filled the vacuum created by the destruction of the Ricord network in 1972. Lucien Sarti, a top Ricord lieutenant, was shot and killed by authorities in Mexico on 27 April 1972, after being located there by U.S. agents. The new Sicilia network, according to DEA Chief Peter Bensinger, was operating by May 1972, and had "revenues reliably established in the hundreds of millions of dollars" by the time of Sicilia's own arrest in July 1975.
Once again, it is virtually impossible to find any extensive treatment in the U.S. press of the mysterious Alberto Sicilia Falcon, even though his arrest led to no less than 104 indictments, 73 of them in the United States. From the noted German magazine Der Spiegel, however, one learns that Sicilia told the Mexican authorities who arrested him that he was a CIA agent, and had been trained at Fort Jackson (as had at least one of Nixon's Watergate Cubans) for possible guerilla activity against Cuba. Allegedly he had also worked in Chile against the socialist government of Salvador Allende until he returned to the U.S. in early 1973. He also, according to Mexican police, spoke of a special deal with the CIA; the U.S. government had turned a blind eye to his heroin shipments, while his organization supplied CIA weapons to terrorist groups in Central America, thereby forcing the host governments to accept U.S. conditions for security assistance.
DEA Chief Bensinger was quite circumspect in his testimony about Alberto Sicilia Falcon, merely calling him "a Cuban national" and alluding to his possible "revolutionary activity in Central and South America." From this it was easier to deduce that Sicilia was a Castro agent than the reverse. In fact, Sicilia was a Cuban exile who had come to Mexico from Miami, where he had links to the Cuban exile community, and had personally negotiated for manufacturing rights to the celebrated 9mm Parabellum machine pistol, better known as the Ingram M‑10.
Parabellum was a Miami‑based arms sales firm set up by soldier-of‑fortune Gerry Patrick Hemming, and headed by Cuban exile Anselmo Alliegro IV, whose father had been close to Batista. Parabellum in turn was sales representative for Hemming's friend Mitch WerBell III, a mysterious White Russian, OSS‑China veteran, small arms manufacturer, and occasional U.S. intelligence operative, with unexplained relations to the CIA, DEA, and the major drugs‑for‑arms deal for which he was indicted but acquitted. (The government's case failed after the chief government witness, arms and dope smuggler Kenneth Burnstine, was killed in the crash of his private plane.) As we shall see, another client interested in producing the Ingram M‑10 machine pistol in Latin America, under license from WerBell, was the international fugitive and Nixon campaign contributor, Robert Vesco.
Like other European journalists, Kruger notes that the same 9mm automatic pistol, better known (after its inventor) as the Ingram M‑10, was found in February 1977 among the effects of the Italian neo‑Fascist, Luigi Concutelli, of Ordine Nuovo, who had used it in the July 1976 political murder of the Italian centrist judge Vittoria Occorso. Its presence among Concutelli's effects was considered especially significant because the M‑10, manufactured by WerBell's former firm the Military Armaments Corporation, was supposed to be delivered only to intelligence services (such as Spain's D.G.S.), and every sale of the M‑10 required a special permit from the Munitions Control Branch of the U.S. State Department.
According to the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Concutelli's Ingram M‑10 had been modified in a clandestine arms factory in Madrid, discovered in a raid by Madrid police on 22 February 1977. Arrested in connection with that raid were six Italian leaders of Ordine Nuovo and Mario Sanchez Covisa, the leader of a Spanish terrorist group (the Guerrillas of Christ the King, or GCR) which had just assassinated a number of left wing Spanish activists on the eve of Spain's first general election after the death of Franco. According to a detailed study by the French journalist Frederic Laurent, the two chief advisers to Sanchez Covisa, the Italian Stefano Delle Chiaie and the Frenchman Yves Guerin‑Serac, escaped arrest with the others. In turn, all but one of the rest were released three months later. The reason for this leniency., according to Laurent, was that the GCR had served as a parallel police for the Spanish intelligence service (DGS) in its murderous repression of the Basque (ETA) separatist terrorist network.
Clearly the Sanchez Covisa episode had international overtones, and a number of newspapers, even including the New York Times, mentioned speculations that the GCR might be functioning in coordination with a newly created "Fascist International." Such notions gained credence when Spanish police discovered among the GCR's assets three gold ingots which had been stolen the preceding summer by a group of French rightists and OAS veterans in a spectacular $10 million robbery of the Societe Generale de Nice. The leader of this well‑organized group was Albert Spaggiari, veteran of an OAS assassination attempt against de Gaulle. When Spaggiari was captured by the French police in October 1976, the British press service Reuter noted reports from police sources that Spaggiari "had links with an international organization with members in right‑wing circles in Italy, Lebanon, Britain and elsewhere."
Spaggiari's international milieu acquired an even more intriguing dimension when it was revealed that in September 1976, after the robbery, Spaggiari had flown to Miami and offered his services as a mercenary to the CIA, citing his role in the Nice robbery as among his qualifications. Contrary to what he had expected, the CIA chose to transmit this information to the FBI, who in turn notified the French police through Interpol. It was this contact with the CIA which thus led to Spaggiari's arrest one month later.
After thirty‑seven hours of noncooperation, Spaggiari suddenly admitted his role in the Nice robbery. According to LeMonde, this was part of a negotiated deal with the French police: Spaggiari would plead guilty to the $10 million dollar robbery, and thereby escape indictment on a still more serious charge of international arms trafficking. Spaggiari gained acceptance of this proposal after citing "the name of an important personage in the Ministry of the Interior, sometime participant in the cabinet of [French Interior Minister] Michel Poniatowski, who, for various reasons, was aware of the traffics in which he [i.e. Spaggiari] was involved."
Five months later, in March 1977, Spaggiari escaped by jumping through the second‑story window of the Nice Palais de Justice, landing on the roof of a waiting truck. Meanwhile the French weekly, L'Express, revealed that Spaggiari had been in contact in 1976 with a gang in Rome, "the Marseilles clan," who in turn had been close to Concutelli, and had been indicted by the latter's victim, Judge Occorsio.
As Henrik Kruger points out, CIA‑trained Cubans and their new patrons from the intelligence service and parallel police of the military police‑states of Chile and Argentina, were also directly in touch with the so‑called "Fascist International" milieu of Concutelli's Ordine Nuovo, Sanchez Covisa's GCR and Spaggiari's connection. As he points out (Kruger p. 204), an Argentine, Jorge Cesarsky, and a Cuban, Carlos Perez, were arrested in January 1977, in connection with one of the murders organized by Sanchez Covisa's GCR. Carlos Perez is of particular interest to U.S. readers, because he was the Madrid representative of the Movimiento Nacionalista Cubana (MNC), an ideologically Fascist Cuban exile group, two of whose leaders (Ignacio and Guillermo Novo Sampol) have recently been convicted in connection with the assassination in Washington, in September 1976, of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.
As has now been confirmed in part by a U.S. court, the assassination of Letelier by MNC members and Chilean intelligence agent Michael Townley was one of a series of "crimes in which Cuban exile terrorists and Chilean officials have collaborated since 1973." Senior members of the Chilean junta intelligence service (DINA) initiated the Letelier murder, while junta leader Augusto Pinochet himself, according to a U.S. government official, was personally responsible. One of these shootings, that of former Chilean Christian Democratic leader Bernardo Leighton and his wife (who was left paralyzed for life) took place in Rome in October 1975. Zero, a Cuban exile terrorist group allied to the MNC, took credit for the shooting in a well‑informed communique. American sources have claimed that the attack was arranged through either Michael Townley or his wife Mariana Callejas, working for two Chileans who had collaborated earlier on the murder of Chilean General Rene Schneider. European journalists have added that the terrorists in Rome were connected to a former mercenary group, once based in Lisbon, known by its cover name of Aginter‑Press, and more particularly to Aginter's Italian "correspondent" Stefano Delle Chiaie. Both Aginter‑Press and the Townleys had collaborated in the 1973 Chilean coup group Patria y Libertad (a group indirectly subsidized by the CIA), while Delle Chiaie and his friend, the Italian Fascist Prince Valerio Borghese, had visited the Chilean junta in 1974.
Delle Chiaie has already come to our attention as the Italian attached as senior adviser to the GCR in Spain, along with Yves Guerin‑Serac, the former leader of Aginter‑Press and, like most Aginter members, a veteran of the OAS. We should like to recall that Delle Chiaie and Guerin‑Serac escaped because of their relationship to the Spanish, DGS arrest for the same murder in Madrid which led to the temporary arrest of Cuban MNC representative Carlos Perez. In other words the Letelier killing, horrible in itself, was only one incident in a larger web of international conspiracy.
The Latin American aspect of this larger story has already been told in the United States: the creation of an international Cuban exile terrorist network at the service of dictatorships such as Cuba, Brazil, and Nicaragua (under the Somozas), in exchange for payments in arms and future support in actions against Fidel Castro. Thus the Letelier killing has been traced back to the creation of a Cuban exile umbrella organization, CORU (Coordinacion de Organisaciones Revolucionarias Unidas), in the Bonao mountains of the Dominican Republic, in June 1976, under the leadership of Cuban exile terrorist Orlando Bosch, who had visited Chile in December 1974 with Guillermo Novo, and had spent a year there at junta expense.
Bosch himself spoke to New Times reporter Blake Fleetwood about these activities. While declining to talk about the Letelier killing which was then under investigation, he cheerfully admitted setting up the murder of two Cuban diplomats in Argentina, in conjunction with the Argentine right wing terrorist AAA (to which Jorge Cesarsky, arrested in Spain, belonged). Government sources told Saul Landau of the Transnational Institute in Washington that the Bonao meeting, attended by a U.S. Government informant, broke down into workshops for the planning of specific crimes, including the murder of Letelier and the October 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner, in which seventy‑three people were killed. Bosch returned from the Bonao meeting to Venezuela, at the invitation, he maintains, of the Venezuelan intelligence service DISIP, who gave him a DISIP identification card.
Given the nature, and the scope, of this network of governmentassisted terror, of which the U.S. government was well‑informed, it is interesting to recall the initial charade which the U.S. intelligence agencies put on for the benefit of the U.S. press:
On October 11, 1976, Newsweek magazine reported that "the CIA has concluded that the Chilean secret police were not involved in the death of Orlando Letelier." The CIA also reassured the U.S. Department of Justice of this "fact." A Washington Star reporter (8 October 1976) was told by FBI sources that "Letelier might just as well have been killed by leftist extremists to create a martyr." David Binder of the New York Times reported (12 October 1976) that "intelligence officials" were "pursuing the possibility that Mr. Letelier had been assassinated by Chilean left wing extremists as a means of disrupting U.S. relations with the military junta" .... But the biggest flood of distortion and rumors came from former and retired FBI and CIA officials.... Members of such groups as the Association of Former Intelligence Officers headed at that time by David Phillips (Phillips, incidentally, headed the CIA's Latin American covert action department at the time of the Sept. 11, 1973 coup in Chile) delivered documents from Letelier's briefcase [to suggest, falsely] that Letelier was... not only a Cuban agent, but... a Soviet agent as well.
After persistent pressure from Letelier's U.S. associates and friendly journalists, Letelier's principal assassin (Michael Townley) has received a 10 year sentence (he will be eligible for parole in 1981). For some reason the CIA was withholding relevant information from the Justice Department at the same time it publicly advocated its theory of DINA's innocence. Those who ordered Townley's crime have not even been indicted. On the contrary, a related case against another Cuban exile for receiving heavy‑caliber arms, reportedly in "part payment for the Letelier‑Moffitt murders," was unsuccessful; largely, it has been charged, because the CIA helped throw the case. As I write these words, a Congressional Committee has just released a bill which responds in part to mounting pressures to "unleash" the CIA. Thus Kruger's book is urgent and timely: it lifts the veil on the global networks of these parafascist terrorists who can so frequently plot and murder with impunity, thanks to their relationships and services to the intelligence agencies of the so‑called "free world." In short, it tells a story which our own media have systematically failed to tell.
I cannot promise that his account is flawless. He writes about intrigues where disinformation is rife and the truth about an event is frequently misunderstood even by its participants. But he has brought together a prodigious amount of information, supported by shrewd analysis, particularly with respect to the European scene which he knows best. As for the American scene, it may be difficult on first reading to accept his hypothesis of a huge "Miami conspiracy", now "reaching out with a vengeance to Latin America" (Kruger p. 204). Other observers of the so‑called "Fascist international" phenomenon (to use the term first given respectability by Le Monde), have seen it as more polycentric, continuously divided by sectarianism, paranoia, and the ultimate inadequacy of national socialism as an international ideology. But, even if nationalist ideologues continue to clash, there is unquestionably increasing international unity among the professional terrorists. I prefer to call the latter parafascists rather than Fascists because their primary concern is neither ideology nor a mass movement, but rather to function covertly in the service of, or parallel to, intelligence bureaucracies. Among parafascists there is a tendency toward international cohesion, even if this is fluid, and requires no one single capital or base. Where Kruger focuses on Miami, others have focused on Madrid, Costa Rica or Washington.
Kruger's invaluable contribution is to have spelled out the pervasive role of narcotics in supplying finances, organization, and sanctions to this parafascist network, from the Argentine AAA to the World Anti‑Communist League (WACL) founded by KMT intelligence personnel on Taiwan. Before World War II the KMT regime in China was perhaps the best example of political manipulation of the narcotics traffic, under the guise of an "opium suppression campaign," to finance both a political and an intelligence apparatus (under General Tai Li). This practice spread after World War II to a number of other WACL member countries and groups. Today there is cause to fear that Nixon's superagency, the Drug Enforcement Administration, has, like other narcotics enforcement agencies before it, come to use corrupt personnel who are actually part of the traffic, as part of a covert war against revolution.
This is easiest to argue in the case of corrupt police forces overseas, such as the DEA‑supported Thai Border Patrol police who, by a massacre of unarmed Thai students, contributed to the overthrow of Thai democracy in October 1976. But, in addition, Harper's Washington editor Jim Hougan has raised the possibility that a supersecret internal DEA intelligence group called "Deacon 1," consisting of thirty former CIA officers, all of them Cuban exiles, was "taken over by Cuban exile extremists" who "may have felt a greater loyalty to the politics of Orlando Bosch than to the goals of the DEA." Hougan and Kruger cite the example of Deacon 1 operative Carlos Hernandez Rumbaut, a convicted narcotics trafficker who became second‑in‑command of the Costa Rican Narcotics Division and allegedly also joined a local death squad. Hougan asks whether the plans for Bosch's CORU and the DEA Deacon 1 operation in Costa Rica may not together explain the convergence in Costa Rica in 1974‑76 of Robert Vesco, Mitch WerBell, Santo Trafficante and Orlando Bosch — all of whose activities "impinge on the same areas... exile politics, smuggling, and the CIA. " In support of this disturbing question, one can note that Bosch was given no less than three passports by Costa Rica in August 1976, right after the Bonao CORU meeting; and also that ten months later Bosch's daughter and son‑in‑law were both arrested on charges of smuggling cocaine.
The U.S. government's narcotics Mafia connection goes back, as is well known, to World War II. Two controversial joint operations between OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and ONI (U.S. naval intelligence) established contacts (via Lucky Luciano) with the Sicilian Mafia; and (via Tai Li) with the dope‑dealing Green Gang of Tu Yueh‑Sheng in Shanghai. Both connections were extended into the post‑war period as the Luciano and KMT networks slowly resumed their pre‑war contacts. In Washington, in 1947, State Department official Walter Dowling noted with concern the efforts of an ex‑OSS officer to reactivate the wartime OSS‑mafia connection. Future CIA officer James Angleton (then in an interim agency, SSU) appears to have shared Dowling's repugnance; but one of the principal ex‑OSS agents concerned, Max Corvo, now enjoyed influential private backing as a consultant to Italian‑American industries in SiCily.
The deportation of Lucky Luciano to Sicily in 1946 was followed by that of more than sixty other American mafiosi, some of whom, like Frank Coppola, became not only key figures in the postwar Luciano‑Trafficante narcotics connection, but also political bosses whose Mafia muscle ensured the election of Christian Democrat M.P.s. Coppola's name has been linked, together with that of Interior Minister Mario Scelba, to a May Day 1947 massacre at Portella delle Ginestre, in which eight people were killed by machinegun fire, and thirty‑three were wounded. In all 498 Sicilians, mostly left wingers, were murdered in 1948 alone, a revealing footnote to former CIA operative Miles Copeland's benign assurance that "had it not been for the Mafia the Communists would by now be in control of Italy."
Meanwhile, in the United States, KMT agents helped establish a powerful China Lobby, and collaborated with friends in U.S. agencies to target, and in some cases drive from government, old foes of the former U.S.‑KMT‑Tai Li alliance including those inside the OSS. A scholarly book in 1960 noted that "the narcotics business has been a factor in some activities and permutations of the China Lobby," thus challenging the official Narcotics Bureau myth that KMT dope in this country was "Communist Chinese".
The Luciano and KMT networks had been in contact for U.S. dope distribution in the 1930s. Although there is no evidence of substantial collaboration between them in the 1950s, there are symptoms of increasing convergence, partly through agents who dealt with both. There is the example of George White, an FBN official and former OSS agent who testified to the Kefauver Committee that he had been approached on behalf of Luciano in 1943 by an old China trafficker, August del Grazio. White worked closely with the CIA in the postwar years and (under FBN cover) ran one of their LSD experiments in Project MK/ULTRA. In 1948 White was back in Europe, intending to check up personally on Luciano and his narcotics associate Nick Gentile, another former U.S. gangster who (like Vito Genovese) had worked for the Allied Military Government in Sicily. Soon afterwards Mafia traffickers in the United States began to be arrested, but not men like Luciano, Gentile, or Coppola.
By the time of White's visit to Marseilles, the CIA and AFL organizer Irving Brown were already subsidizing the use of Corsican and Italian gangsters to oust Communist unions from the Marseilles port. Brown's CIA case officer, Paul Sakwa, has confirmed that by the time CIA subsidies were terminated in 1953, Brown's chief contact with the Marseilles underworld, Pierre Ferri‑Pisani, no longer needed U.S. support, because of the profits his newly‑gained control of the port supplied from the heroin traffic. Under the oversight of Ferri‑Pisani and the Guerini gang, Corsican traffickers worked with the Luciano network and in the 1950s were its chief source of refined heroin. This alone might help explain the apparent immunity of Luciano's network, to which Le Monde alluded, along with that of its Corsican suppliers, about which Le Monde was silent.
Although White worked on the Luciano and Corsican cases, his FBN reputation had been made in 1937 by smashing a major distribution network headed by the pro‑KMT Chinese tong (gang) in San Francisco, the Hip Sings. But by 1951 the CIA was closely allied with KMT drug operations in Burma and Yunnan, through a Miamibased proprietary, Sea Supply, Inc., organized by OSS veteran Paul Helliwell. In 1959 the FBN and White again arrested a new generation of Hip Sing officials, but only after the ringleader (Chung Wing Fong, a former Hip Sing president and official of the San Francisco Chinese Anti‑Communist League, a KMT front) had yielded his passport to the U.S. consul in Hong Kong and then travelled as ordered to Taiwan. In this way Fong became no more than an unindicted conspirator and the KMT disappeared from view; White, meanwhile, turned around and told the U.S. press the heroin came from Communist China ("most of it from a vast poppy field near Chungking"). In China, if not in Italy, White's concern about dope seems to have centered on networks within U.S. borders, not on the international suppliers.
In 1953‑54 the CIA drew on old China hands with exposure to KMT traffic (Chennault, Willauer, William Pawley, Howard Hunt) to set up the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala, an operation which at least contemplated the use of "Puerto Rican and Cuban gangsters." As part of this operation, we see CIA officer Howard Hunt, a veteran with his friend Lucien Conein and Conein's friend WerBell of OSS operations in China under Helliwell, helping in 1954 to set up what would eventually become the Latin American branch of the KMT‑backed World Anti‑Communist League. (Four years later the chairman of this group was the Guatemalan attorney of New Orleans Mafia leader Carlos Marcello.) Nevertheless, in the late 1950s it seemed unlikely that the heroin connection, outside of countries directly involved, like Laos, would either have a major impact on U.S. policy or become a significant alternative to it. With the decline of cold war paranoia, events seemed to be moving towards normalization.
All this changed with the 1960s, when the CIA reassembled for the Bay of Pigs the old Guatemala team (including Hunt, Willauer, and Pawley, who oversaw Cuban recruitment). With the failure of the Bay of Pigs Cuba became to America what Algeria had been to France. The explosive political controversy meant that thousands of Cuban exiles, many of them with backgrounds in the Havana milieu, were trained by the U.S. as guerrillas and/or terrorists, then left in political limbo. Many of them soon turned to smuggling to augment their finances, and in some cases supplant their original political objectives. At least one CIA project growing out of Operation 40 (the control, element in the Bay of Pigs invasion force), had to be terminated, when the drug activities of its members became too embarrassing. In 1973 Newsday reported that "at least eight percent of the 1500‑man [Bay of Pigs] invasion force has subsequently been investigated or arrested for drug‑dealing."
By this time many Bay of Pigs veterans were working for either Vesco or Trafficante. Both the lucrative drug traffic and its anti-Communist politics began increasingly to get out of U.S. control. This was particularly true when, after the death of President Kennedy, the U.S. lent a hand to military coups in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Greece, nations which in turn became bases for further right wing activities in other countries. America's lack of enthusiasm for the Fascist clients it had helped to procreate, only had the effect of encouraging them to plot more energetically with each other, and to lobby lavishly for more right wing policies in Washington. It was in this period that mercenary terrorism, illicit arms traffic, and drug traffic, consolidated into one increasingly global milieu. The longdelayed founding of the World Anti‑Communist League in Taiwan in 1967 may be a less significant symptom of this trend than the Greek coup of the same year, after which the KYP (the Greek CIA) became an active fomenter of parafascist terror tactics in the rest of Europe.
The official termination of the CIA MONGOOSE project against Cuba in the same year left a colossal disposal problem: what to do with the estimated 7000 trained Cubans? Here America seems to have followed the example set by de Gaulle. Some of these Cuban exiles were absorbed into other CIA and Pentagon operations, some went to work as did David for intelligence services in Latin America, some were retained by the CIA to report on their former colleagues and even to eliminate the more troublesome of them. But each of these solutions ran the risk of giving more power to the very elements whom the CIA wished to disperse. This was the situation faced by Richard Nixon on his election.
Several studies of Richard Nixon have focused on his contacts since 1946 with elements from organized crime, mostly through his early political adviser Murray Chotiner, and his close friend and business associate Bebe Rebozo. Kirkpatrick Sale has suggested that "It is possible that Richard Nixon was one more of the large number of politicians in this country who have been bought or cajoled into the service of the ends of organized crime."
Yet this dark hypothesis is, I think, as oversimplified as its opposite. Like every one of his predecessors since at least World War II, Nixon, to become elected, had made accommodations to all of the prominent political forces in the coalition he represented, including the inevitable connection to organized crime. It may well be that in his early career these connections were more prominent than in the case of Lyndon Johnson, who started as FDR's protege, or John F. Kennedy, who was born wealthy (and could leave dirty business connections to his father). But it was also apparent, even before he was elected in 1968, that Nixon sought to pursue a foreign policy that would be independent of the early KMT, and other money which had first helped him to become a national political figure.
Faced with the growing and closely related problems of right wing terrorism and of the international narcotics traffic, Nixon's approach seems to have been that of a self‑perceived political realist: to gain control of, redirect, and manipulate the problem forces, rather than to somehow make them magically disappear. It is unlikely that these objectives were unrelated to his foreign policy efforts to establish links to mainland China, for this policy challenged the powerful China lobby which had supported him in the past. It may be no coincidence that the proclamation of the war on drugs, Kissinger's secret trip to Peking, and the establishment in the White House of what the president called "a non‑legal team" (the Plumbers), including Hunt and Conein, all took place within a month of each other in mid‑1971.
Thus in Miami Nixon appointed an energetic U.S. attorney, Robert Rust, who in June 1970 rounded up ex‑CIA Cubans like Juan Restoy in Operation Eagle: this unusual zeal, according to Hank Messick, made Rust an exception to the South Florida "don't‑rock‑the‑boat" tradition. But Nixon's appointments to the Federal Court in the Miami area (one of whom was close to Paul Helliwell and had served as director of a bank accused of laundering money for Meyer Lansky) were not so gung‑ho; and eventually most of Rust's indictments in Operation Eagle were overturned in court. Meanwhile the "non‑legal team" at the White House, thanks to Howard Hunt, began to recruit men like Frank Sturgis, whose FBI file linked him to possible "organized crime activities," and Felipe de Diego, a colleague of Restoy in the CIA's Operation 40 project which had to be closed down because of its narcotics involvement.
Nixon, following de Gaulle's example, seems to have taken steps to restore control by the White House over a milieu which the U.S. government itself had helped to create. Like the French, he seems to have turned to elements of the milieu to work against it; but he seems to have had worse luck in those whom he picked. In his memoirs Nixon tells how, less than two weeks after the Watergate break‑in Haldeman said that the whole thing was so ludicrous that Dean had not discounted the possibility that we were dealing with a double agent who purposely blew the operation. Otherwise it was just too
hard to figureout.
Eight years of journalistic books on Watergate, most of which barely mention the narcotics responsibilities of the so‑called Plumbers, have not come up with any better explanation.
Edward J. Epstein's book on Nixon's drug policies, which ipso facto is a book about Watergate, analyzes this shortcoming of the journalists:
The White House timetable for consolidating its power over the investigative agencies of the government was rudely interrupted on June 17, 1972, when Washington, D.C., police arrested five men in the national headquarters of the Democratic Party in the Watergate apartment and office complex.... With Nixon's impending reelection threatening the very independence of the power base of the investigative agencies, there were strong forces within the executive branch of the government which would not only refuse to help cover up the embarrassing connection but would actively work to disclose it.... Richard Helms... had been told that Nixon planned to replace him immediately after the election, and he feared, as he told me subsequently, that Nixon also planned "to destroy [his] agency.".. . . The "battle of the leaks," as Colson called it... began to sink the Nixon Administration. . .
Consider, for example, the problem of Woodward and Bernstein, of the Washington Post. Woodward was receiving information from Robert Foster Bennett, of Robert R. Mullen and Company, that focused the blame for Watergate on Charles Colson. If he had assumed that Bennett was providing him with this information for anything more than a disinterested purpose, he would have had to ask whom Bennett worked for, what the true business of Mullen and Company was, and why Bennett wanted him to steer his investigation away from the CIA and toward Charles Colson. He then would have found that Mullen and Company was a CIA front organization and was aware that Bennett was giving information to Woodward; and that the CIA was trying to divert attention from itself (and succeeding, in the Washington Post) because a number of the conspirators involved in the Watergate burglary had also been involved in operations that the CIA had directly supported, such as the Plumbers. Moreover, the very fact that a CIA front group was providing information that was undermining the Nixon administration pointed to a conflict between Nixon and the CIA. Woodward and Bernstein, however, could not have reported these implications and thus could not have depicted the power struggle between the president and the CIA without revealing one of their prime sources. For the same reason, the reporters who received Nixon's tax returns from officials of the Internal Revenue Service could not have revealed this as evidence of a struggle between disgruntled members of the Treasury Department and the president without also revealing that they were no more than messengers for insurgents struggling against the president. By not revealing their sources, they received the Pulitzer Prize... 
Epstein views Watergate as optimistically as Edmund Burke saw the Whig Revolution of 1688 —as a restoration of decorum after tyrannous encroachment, a revolution not so much made as prevented: "The revolt of the bureaucrats thus succeeded in blocking Nixon's plan to gain control over the investigative agencies of the government in his second term." This optimism assumes that Nixon himself was the problem, not the monster DEA agency which outlasted him or the CIA Cubans it recruited. It is true that the Watergate exposures put an end to Hunt's little known "recruitment of a secret army of Cuban exiles [no fewer than 120, according to CBS], answerable only to the White House, and equipped to assassinate foreign leaders."
But some of the old China hands with network connections began moving to the new DEA. As we have seen, Hunt secured a post for his old OSS‑Kunming friend Lucien Conein in what eventually became DEA, and Conein in turn recruited his own band of CIA Cubans in Deacon I, at least one of whom, according to CIA reports, has already taken part in a death squad operation.
Nor did Watergate have a good effect on narcotics enforcement. On the contrary, the Watergate disclosures were followed by a marked drop‑off in high‑level drug conspiracy arrests. Senate investigator Philip R. Manuel reported in 1975 that "from 1917 through early 1973 Federal narcotics enforcement had its period of greatest success," but failed to hold its gains thereafter. The new DEA soon came under both Senate and Justice Department scrutiny for a series of irregularities, including what one Senate staff report called "unprofessional conduct" in failing to pursue a Vesco narcotics lead.
The terrorism connection which would survive Nixon's departure from office was not confined to Conein's Cuban squad in DEA. In 1975, when one Aginter‑Press operative was overseeing the attempted murder of Bernardo and Anna Leighton in Rome, another was consulting in Washington with right wing Senator Strom Thurmond and with an official of President Ford's National Security Council. The second Aginter operative was former OAS member Jean‑Denis Raingeard, and he sought (but failed to obtain) U.S. support for a plan by which the Azores would secede from Portugal; Aginter's Plan Usine for the secession involved a deal whereby a U.S. firm, with links to a New York Mafia family, would obtain rights for a casino, a bank, and (as one might have predicted) two diplomatic passports. Although the Ford Administration did not ultimately buy the illegal proposal (they were more worried by the Portuguese reaction) neither did they discourage Raingeard's lobbying efforts among the Republican right wing. The next year U. S. agencies helped cover up the murder of Letelier by Aginter's Cuban allies in CORU, in a plot of which they may have had foreknowledge.
Whatever one may think of the Carter administration, it does not seem to have been as protective of Aginter, CORU, or their connections in the international arms and drug traffic. There are, however, two separate reasons why Henrik Kruger's expose of the international parafascist connection is a timely one, and particularly important to U.S. readers. The first reason is that a number of recent revelations, which I have explored elsewhere, link those in the Aginter‑CORU connection to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At least three Cubans prominent in the Letelier case have also been revealed, by the recent publications of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, to have been allied in a 1963 Cuban exile junta which, the Committee reported, warranted a "thorough investigation" in the Kennedy assassination case. Lee Harvey Oswald's activities in New Orleans brought him into contact with an anti‑Castro group financially backed by this junta, and to Americans with links to the future Aginter community and possibly the OAS. And on 23 November 1963, Jean Rene Souetre, an OAS terrorist and future Aginter operative, was, according to recently declassified CIA reports, allegedly "expelled from the United States at Fort Worth or Dallas 18 hours after the assassination."
More currently, there are press reports that Ronald Reagan, if elected president of the United States, would appoint Richard V. Allen to succeed Kissinger and Brzezinski as his special assistant for national security affairs. Richard Allen (who had been Nixon's first choice for the Plumbers' unit) is known to have represented Robert Vesco in Washington back in 1972, the year in which Vesco flew from a meeting with Lansky's representative Dino Cellini to Costa Rica, and initiated the contacts which later led to the proposed deal to manufacture Ingram M‑10s in Costa Rica, between Vesco and Parabellum, Alliegro, and WerBell. Allen is also said to have been one of the U.S. contacts of the Aginter Plan Usine lobbyists who were proposing an economic free zone for the Azores (and the U.S. Mafia) much like that which Vesco, at Allen's suggestion, was proposing for Costa Rica.
Richard Allen, to be sure, is no Vesco or Raingeard, but a professional cold warrior who in 1975 helped organize the Committee on the Present Danger ‑a coalition against detente, uniting such veterans of the CIA‑military‑financial establishment as Paul Nitze, Gordon Gray, Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, Arthur H. Dean, and Vesco's attorney Edward Bennett Williams. Nevertheless, unlike any previous national security adviser, but very much like some of the younger intellectual members of CPD, Allen comes out of the circle of ideological right wing think tanks which have advocated rollback rather than containment, which have collaborated with the Chilean junta, and which have been in touch with their European opposite numbers who in turn have had contact with Aginter and/or the OAS.
Whether or not he has a future in the White House, Allen's past involvement with both the Vesco milieu and the Wall Street establishment should remind U.S. readers that there is much more to the former than Caribbean exoticism, and much more to the latter than Council on Foreign Relations meetings and the sedate journalism of the New York Times. As long as the CORU planners of Letelier's assassination remain protected and unindicted, we must accept that terrorism in this country still enjoys the intelligence immunity which it did in the 1960s in Italy and France. With the advantage of his European experience, Henrik Kruger has seen the full scope of this international parafascism, more clearly than any U.S. journalist I know of. If we in this country wish to do something about the problem he describes, we will do well to begin by studying this book.
Peter Dale Scott Berkeley, June 1980
1. Le Monde, 17‑18 June, 1973, pp. 11‑12.
2. Edward J. Epstein, Agency of Fear: Opiates and Political Power in America (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1977), p. 299.
3. Epstein, p. 252.
4. Epstein, p. 86.
5. Epstein, p. 86; Eliot Marshall, "Heroin: the Source of Supply," New Republic, 24‑31 July, 1971, p. 24; cf. Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy (New York: Bobbs Merrill, 1972), p. 212.
6. Le Monde, 17‑18 June, 1973, p. 11.
7. Newsday, The Heroin Trail (New York: New American Library, 1974), p. 124.
8. Heroin Trail, p. 108.
9. Heroin Trail, p. 110.
10. Phillip M. Williams, Wars, Plots and Scandals in Post‑War France
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 115.
11. Williams, pp. 118‑19.
12. Heroin Trail, p. 155.
13. Alain Jaubert, Dossier D... Comme Drogue (Paris: Alain Moreau, 1973), pp. 302‑03, 352.
14. A.J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors (New York: Pantheon, 1978), p. 251.
15. Of the U.S. Treasure Department's list of 710 key illicit arms dealers, in 1977, 108 were drug smugglers, 24 percent of them Class I (U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Illicit Traffic in Weapons and Drugs Across the United States‑Mexican Border, Hearing, 95th Congress, 1st Session, 12 January 1977, p. 31; cited hereafter as Bensinger Hearing).
16. George Thayer, The War Business (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969), p. 43.
17. New York Times, 21 April 1975, pp. 1, 26.
18. Evert Clark and Nicholas Horrock, Contrabandista (New York: Praeger, 1973), p. 215.
19. Bensinger Hearing, pp. 9, 11.
20. Bensinger Hearing, p. 16.
21. Spiegel, 9 May, 1977, pp. 136‑137, 148.
22. Bensinger Hearing, pp. 10, 14. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times, expanding on Bensinger's description of Sicilia as a "Cuban national," noted "reports that the subcommittee is trying to determine whether Cuba and the Soviet Union are involved in smuggling firearms into Mexico and narcotics into the United States" (13 January, 1977, 11, 6).
23. Bensinger Hearing, pp. 42‑44.
24. Interview of Gerry Patrick Hemming, Argosy (April 1976), p. 52; Jim Hougan, Spooks: The Haunting of America — The Private Use of Secret Agents (New York: William Morrow, 1978), p. 46. Anselmo Alliegro Senior was also a member of the shadowy Ansan investment group in Miami, suspected by a 1948 IRS report of being a front for Luciano funds (Steve Weissman ed., Big Brother and the Holding Company, Palo Alto, Ramparts Press, 1974, pp. 124, 259‑60).
25. Hougan, pp. 46, 15ss.; Hank Messick, Of Grass and Snow: The Secret Criminal Elite (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice‑Hall, 1979), pp. 81‑83.
26. Messick, p. 83.
27. Frederic Laurent, LOrchestre Noir (Paris: Stock, 1978), p. 366.
28. Laurent, pp. 362‑63.
29. Laurent, pp. 311, 363.
30. Laurent, p. 401; Wilfred Burchett and Derek Roebuck, The Whores of War: Mercenaries Today (Harmondsworth, Middlesex and New York: Penguin, 1977), p. 155.
31. Reuter, 31 October 1976, quoted in Burchett, p. 156.
32. Le Monde, 18 May 1977, quoted in Laurent, pp. 398‑99.
33. LExpress, 21 February 1977; cf. Laurent, pp. 365‑66, 400.
34. New York Times, I February 1977, p. 8.
35. Saul Landau, They Educated the Crows: An Institute Report on the Letelier‑Moffitt Murders (Washington: Transnational Institute, 1978), pp. 28‑29.
36. Landau, pp. 4‑13.
37. Donald Freed, with Dr. Fred Simon Landis, Death in Washington: the Murder of Orlando Letelier (Westport: Lawrence Hill and Associates, 1980) 38. Laurent, pp. 137, 312. Since the writing of this preface, a new book has identified Delle Chiaie as a key figure in the Leighton shootings; and adds that his group had informal ties to Italy's intelligence apparatus: John Dinges and Saul Landau, Assassination on Embassy Row (New York: Pantheon, 1980), pp. 117n, 196.
39. U.S. Congress, Senate, Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Intelligence Activities: Senate Resolution 21, Hearings, 94th Congress, 1st Session, Volume 7, p. 171; Laurent, p. 312.
40. New Times, 13 May, 1977, p. 48; Landau, p. 27. 41. New Times, p. 48.
42. Landau, p. 27.
43. New Times, p. 51.
44. Ironically, Ignacio Novo's conviction for perjury derived from having suggested the same flagrant falsehood ("Maybe the communists did it to create problems") to the Washington Grand Jury.
45. Landau, p. 33
46. Dinges and Landau, pp. 242, 379; William Schapp, "Throwing a Case: The
Trial of Armando Lopez Estrada," Covert Action Information Bulletin, (July
1978), pp. 8‑14.
47. Le Monde, I April, 1975; Laurent, pp. 291, 307.
48. Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), pp. 380‑83; Jonathan Marshall, "Opium and the Politics of Gangsterism in Nationalist China, 1927‑1945," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (July‑September 1976), pp. 19‑48.
49. Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, The Washington Connection (Boston: South End Press, 1979), p. 227. The Thai Border Police were supported in the 1950s by a Miami‑based CIA proprietary, Sea Supply Inc., headed by Paul Helliwell (cf. footnote 64 below.)
50. Hougan, pp. 198‑99.
51. Hougan, p. 197.
52. New Times, p. 51; Miami News, 27 July 1977. "Pinochet [chief of the Chilean junta] turned over to the United States drug enforcement administration a planeload of cocaine dealers rounded up after the coup. Their drug dealing could be blamed on Allende's ousted government. Then Pinochet's right‑hand man, Contreras, could set up his own men with DINA protection in the same cocaine factories and shipping points. The anti‑Castro Cubans had a piece of the action. The enormous profits went to supplement DINA's clandestine budget. The Cubans' share went into individual pockets and to the anti‑Castro cause." (Dinges and Landau, p. 264n.).
53. Rodney Campbell, The Luciano Project: The Secret Wartime Collaboration of the Mafia and the U.S. Navy (New York: McGraw Hill, 1977), p. 176.
54. Marshall, p. 42; Richard Harris Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligency Agency (Berkeley: University of
California Press), p. 245; Milton Miles, A Different Kind of War (New York: Doubleday, 1967), p. 508.
55. Roberto Faenza and Marco Fini, Gli Americani in Italia (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1976), pp. 13, 138; David C. Martin, Wilderness of Mirrors (New York: Harper and Row, 1980), p. 18.
56. Gaia Servadio, Mafioso: A History of the Mafia from Its Origins to the Present Day (New York: Dell, 1976), pp. 72, 108; Le Monde, 17‑18 June 1973, P. 11.
57. Servadio, pp. 125‑28; Miles Copeland, Beyond Cloak and Dagger: Inside the CIA (New York: Pinnacle Books, 1975), p. 240. The bandit Giuliano who was responsible for the 1947 May Day massacre is said to have received "aid and support from former OSS members (who in the past had furnished him with the arms of the division of [Polish General] Anders), and, it appears. of OSS Chief William Donovan personally" (Faenza, p. 138, citing a conversation with OSS veteran Earl Brennan).
58. Ross Y. Koen, The China Lobby in American Politics (New York; Macmillan, 1960), p. ix; cf. Scott, War Conspiracy, pp. 203‑04.
59. The effect of White's testimony was to suggest that OSS had rejected the proposal, or, as Smith (a CIA veteran) put it (p. 86), "OSS remained aloof, partly at the insistence of Major George White." But the lawyers implicated by White denied his charges altogether. "Three years afterward, when [New York State Commissioner of Investigation] Herlands questioned White under oath about this charge, White did not produce any kind of corroboration" (Campbell, p. 278).
60. John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control (New York: Times Books, 1979), p. 89.
61. George White letter to Harry Anslinger, 10 June 1948, George White papers, Foothill College, Los Altos, Cal.; Servadio, p. 102. The AMGOT recruiter of Vito Genovese and other mafia figures was Charles Poletti, described by Lucky Luciano as "one of our good friends" (Servadio, p. 88). Poletti, a Democratic politician under Roosevelt and law partner of his son, went on to be an overseer of Harvard University."
62. Allan Francovich and Howard Dratch, "On Company Business" (Filmed for television) KQED, 16 May 1980. Sakwa's statement lends credibility to a French report that in 1952 Brown attended a Bordeaux meeting with Antoine Guerini (the chief Corsican mafia contact of Ferri‑Pisani), and Jo Cesari (the Marseilles chemist supplying Luciano with heroin), before Brown moved on to contact mafia personnel in Italy (Jaubert, p. 46n).
63. Will Oursler and L.D. Smith, Narcotics: America's Peril (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952), p. 87.
64. Scott, p. 211; McCoy, p. 130; As head of OSS S1 Branch in Kunming, China, Helliwell used to pay for intelligence with opium (Wall Street Journal, 18 April 1980). cf. footnote 49.
65. San Francisco Chronicle, 15 January 1959, pp. 1, 4. 66. New York Times, 15 January 1959, p. 4.
67. Susanne Jonas and David Tobis (eds.) Guatemala (Berkeley: NACLA, 1974), pp. 63, 67, 71.
68. Peter Dale Scott, Crime and Cover‑Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas‑Watergate Connection (Berkeley: Westworks, 1977), p. 16.
69. New York Times, 4 January 1975, p. 9.
70. Heroin Trail, p. 169.
71. Hougan, pp. 195‑196.
72. London Observer, 7 December 1969; Laurent, pp. 11, 217‑43.
73. Kirkpatrick Sale, Power Shift (New York: Random House, 1975), p. 205. 74. Messick, p. 179.
75. Richard Nixon, Memoirs (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1978), pp. 643‑44.
76. Epstein, pp. 235‑38, 309‑10.
77. Epstein, p. 241.
78. Jonathan Marshall, "The White House Death Squad," Inquiry, 5 March, 1979, p. 15.
79. Hougan, p. 199; Washington Post, 13 June 1976, C5. Nixon's own ambassador to Costa Rica, Viron Vaky, was aware of Carlos Hernandez Rumbaut's activities and in 1973 ordered DEA to have no more to do with him. But DEA disregarded Vaky's order.
80. U.S.‑Congress, Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Federal Drug Enforcement, Hearings, 94th Cong., 1st Session, pp. 10‑11, cf. pp. 26, 70,251.
81. U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Staff Study of the Frank Peroff Case, 94th Congress, 1st Session, p. 198.
82. Fred Strasser and Brian McTigue, "The Fall River Conspiracy," Boston (November 1978), pp. 124, 180, 182.
83. Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch, Russell Statler, and Josiah Thompson, Beyond Conspiracy: The Hidden Dimensions of the John F. Kennedy Assassination (Berkeley: Westworks, 1980), cc. 12‑14.
84. Hougan, pp. 205‑06; U.S. Congress House Committee on Judiciary, Impeachment Hearings, Statement of Information, (Washington: G.P.O., 1974), Book VII, p. 602. Michael Oliver, the American adventurer behind the New Hebrides "free zone" secession movement of June 1980, had collaborated in an earlier WerBell project for an independent Abaco in the Bahamas, and is said to have inspired, with Allen, Vesco's Costa Rica project. (Hougan, Spooks, pp. 96‑98, 206‑07). According to the Wall Street Journal (14 July 1980), Vesco himself had been interested in the Azores in 1972‑3 and, through his attorney, Howard Cerny, hired Allen to explore the financial prospects there. In the same period, Allen was a paid consultant to both the Vesco organization and the Nixon White House. Moreover, while still Nixon's deputy assistant for international economic affairs, Allen flew across the Atlantic with Vesco, in Vesco's private plane.
It must have been prisoner 77,343's worst dream come true when, on 1 October 1979, he was transferred to Hell's waiting room, the federal penitentiary in Atlanta.
In Atlanta's nightmare of a maximum security prison, Dominique Orsini, prisoner 77,343's friend and partner in the branch of the French Mafia known as Grupo Frances, had been murdered in an isolation cell on 12 April 1978. In the same prison six months earlier their heroin customer, Vincent Papa, had been eliminated by contract killing. And before that, Orsini's lawyer, Gino Gallina, had been shot down in New York.
Of nine murders committed within Atlanta's walls over a seventeen‑month period in 1977‑78, at least four were contracts on Mafia connected narcotics dealers, of whom Orsini and Papa were among the elite. Since then the killings have continued, despite federal investigation of the obsolete seventy‑eight year old prison.
To the "honorable men" who drive up in black cars and flash their CIA, FBI, and DEA IDs, prisoner 77,343 remains the subject of intense interrogation, and that is another reason for his constant fear all these years. He knows prison walls won't stop his enemies or, for that matter, his friends ‑in his business there's little difference. Thus each time a guard sends in food he sniffs it, pokes at it, tastes it cautiously. That is how it's been for seven years. Only now, in Atlanta, the odds are worse than ever.
The prisoner who knows too much is Christian David, age fifty, French, known among friends as "le Beau Serge," and by more recent acquaintances in Latin America and the U.S. as "Eduardo" and "JeanPierre." Among French Connection notables he's a legend, a man whose mystique grows with each new tale of his exploits.
He's been a pimp, robber, hired assassin for French intelligence, hatchet man in Algiers torture chambers, arms trader, spy, narcotics trafficker and, true to form, lover of beautiful women. He's one of the few alive who knows the truth about the Ben Barka affair that shook France in 1965; he knows details of the brutal power struggle within French intelligence agency SDECE; of SDECE collaboration with the Corsican Mafia; and of secret CIA operations in Latin America. Ample grounds for anyone's paranoia. But David is cunning and tough, and that is why he's still alive.
He arrived in the U.S. on 17 November 1972 from Brazil, where he'd been arrested as the head of the huge narcotics smuggling ring, the Brazilian Connection. International law actually gave extradition priority to France, where he'd been sentenced to death in abstentia for murdering a police officer. But the Americans were not about to let the drug kingpin slip through their fingers.
When fetched from his cell in Brazil, David was desperate. Unsure of his destination, fearing it was France and a guillotine, he smashed a light bulb and swallowed the fragments. Even so, as he later claimed, "the Americans ... filled me with drugs and carried me off to a military plane which flew me to the USA."
Following a short hospital stay, he was hauled to a Brooklyn courthouse where the judge set bail at $2.5 million. Fearing the amount was not beyond the means of David's connections, authorities rammed his case through the labyrinth of justice. Within two weeks of his arrival, federal judge Jacob Mishler sentenced Beau Serge to twenty years in prison for smuggling half a ton of heroin into the United States.
During his trial, proof was obtained of David's activities on behalf of a very special branch of French intelligence known as Service d'Action Civique (SAC). His tri‑colored SAC ID placed on display, David explained: "I was taken from prison in 1961 to work for an organization called SAC. It was arranged by someone with connections in the highest political circles."
Of his confinement in Brazil, he had this to add: "I was tortured by the Brazilians for thirty days and fed nothing for twenty‑six days. They stole all my money. Today I can't afford a lawyer, I haven't a cent." According to Armand, his compatriot and prison mate for the trial, "When I saw David in the West Street jail, I could hardly recognize him, so terribly had the Brazilians mauled him."
This doesn't quite jibe with David's later writing a Parisian friend of his desire to be transferred back to Brazil. But the ways of Christian David are often inexplicable. And for some the thought of torture is more bearable than that of death.
After his arrival in the U.S., David's attitude often shifted, depending on where he saw the greatest dangers. After his sentence was pronounced, he told FBI detectives: "If I had been extradited to France instead of abducted from Brazil, I would only have gotten three years. They would have forgotten about Galibert" (the police lieutenant he'd murdered in Paris). But he later wrote the writer Daniel Guerin: "If you get me a guarantee I won't be extradited to France, I'll tell you the truth about the Ben Barka affair."
The French government's two official attempts to have David extradited failed. And the French press has been surprisingly indifferent. One year after David was jailed in the U.S. (at first in the Marion, Illinois pen), France Soir reported he had shaved his beard, lost weight, complained of heart trouble, and sought admission to Springfield military hospital. On examination, however, the prison doctor found him in excellent health.
Another year passed and the following item appeared: "David acts deranged ... darts about his cell, knocks his head against the wall, gesticulates weirdly, tears at his hair and screams he's being devoured by rats. . . "
Then, in the summer of 1975, the beautiful Simone Delamare, his mistress in Brazil, came to Paris to plead David's cause with the press. In a letter to her dated 29 January 1975, he had written: "I'm doing all I can to avoid extradition to France. All I ask is to be treated like any other inmate. I'm locked in a windowless 2x2 meter cell, never see a ray of sunshine, have no idea of day or night. I hardly sleep anymore because of the evil atmosphere around me. I'm afraid they'll poison my food... The doctor examines me in two minutes. I speak no English and he knows no French. So he can't understand I have heart pains."
After a long silence it was finally reported that on 6 December 1979 Ms. Delamare had visited Beau Serge in Atlanta. In a photo she had taken of their reunion, he no longer seemed particularly handsome. The loss of nearly all his hair had been compensated by a full beard. He reportedly wore strong glasses and was in bad health. A cancer specialist was said to visit him regularly.
Despite appearances, few believe that David is truly incapacitated. He will stop at nothing, the authorities suspect. After all, he escaped from prison earlier in his career by playing mad. But would it really be so strange if he were disturbed? Few can take the constant fear of a sudden death, fed by memories of a life such as his.
Christian David fears both his friends from the Mafia and SAC and his enemies from the SDECE and CIA. But some of them are equally afraid of him. Why? This book does not provide the ultimate answer, but it will lift a corner or two of the veil placed over his record.
1. New York Times, 6 May 1979.
2. France Soir, 13 April 1978.
3. Boston Globe, 10 August 1978; New York Times, op. cit.
4. In a report issued 12 January 1980 the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee concluded that the Atlanta prison "serves to stimulate criminal activity rather than diminish it" and should be closed down no later than 1984. The Marion, Illinois pen, to which David was first sent, is regarded as the U.S.'s toughest prison and known among inmates as "the end of the line." The successor to Alcatraz, it was built to confine the most hardened and escapeminded prisoners, 100 of whom are housed in an ultrasecurity unit within the maximum security prison. After the bloody February 1980 riot in a New Mexico state prison, 21 inmates there were transferred to Marion, where they joined 400 other convicts in a three‑week strike, beginning on St. Patrick's Day 1980, mostly to protest living conditions.
5. There was even a persistent rumor in 1979 that David had been smuggled back to France as an undercover agent for the DEA, and had opened up a restaurant in Marseilles.
6. The "Ben Barka affair" refers to the mysterious October 1965 kidnaping of the exiled Moroccan political leader Mehdi Ben Barka in Paris. Ben Barka had led the preparations for the Third World's first Tricontinental Congress in Cuba, which took place in early 1966. His disappearance, which involved more than one Western intelligence agency, is one of the great scandals of the century; see chapter six.
7. France Soir, 9 July 1975.
8. The Newsday Staff. The Heroin Rail (Souvenir Press, 1974).
9. L'Aurore, 20 November 1972.
10. R. Berdin: Code Name Richard (Dutton, 1974).
11. France Soir, 7 February 1974.
12. France Soir, 9 July 1975.
13. VSD (Vendredi‑Samedi‑Dimanche), 28 December 1979.