Sunday, February 9, 2014

Links Between Assassins, Green Berets and French Connection?

In one segment of the Great Heroin Coup we viewed the plan to create a "war on drugs" as a plan to change the location point from which illegal drugs would be transported into the United States. We called it "changing the middleman." When did this plan originate? Who was coordinating it?

Gearing up for war on French narcotics, propaganda.
There was a drug bust in New York City in 1961 that nobody heard of until a book came out in 1969, which was developed into "The French Connection," the movie which swept the Academy Awards in April 1972. Brahman-bred author Robin Moore dug this story out of the archives just in time for Nixon to begin his war against French heroin refiners. Was that just a fluke, or could Moore, with contacts in Special Forces since the days it was still part of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), have known that this story was about to become big news?

Who Was Robin Moore?
Robert Lowell "Robin" Moore, Jr., born in Boston in 1925, but grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, the heart of transcendentalism. His mother, Eleanor Turner Moore, was a devoted volunteer at the Thoreau Society, while raising four children--Robin, his sister Marcia, and brothers William and  John. Robert L. Moore Sr.'s mother was Mrs. James Lowell Moore, a member of the Newell family. Her father, Rev. Dr. William Newell, had been pastor of the First Parish in Cambridge 1830-68, and her historical tale delivered in 1939 about her family connections to Harvard's literary Lowell family is intriguing, to say the least.

Their neighbors in Concord included local physician, Edward Waldo Emerson, son of Thoreau's best friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. Dr. Emerson's sister, Mrs. William Hathaway Forbes, had named one son, Edward Waldo Forbes, for her brother. Another son, Ralph Emerson Forbes married Elise Cabot, and their daughter Ruth Forbes grew up to be the mother of Michael Paine. It was Michael's wife, Ruth Hyde Paine, who befriended Marina Oswald in Dallas, possibly at the request of Michael's employer, Bell Helicopter, which manufactured and sold the invention patented by Michael's stepfather, Arthur M. Young

Another son, William Cameron Forbes, "worked as a partner in his grandfather's firm, J.M. Forbes and Co., after 1899 and was appointed by President Roosevelt in 1904 to the Philippine Commission, where he held several administrative posts and then served as governor-general of the islands, 1909-1913. He also served as the ambassador to Japan in 1931-1932 and led an economic mission to East Asia in 1935." In 1927 his name was tossed around briefly as a potential  Republican candidate for President, most likely by those at Harvard who would have liked to have one of their own in a position of power.

Robin Moore, author
Robin Moore enlisted in 1944 and served in the Army Air Corps as a nose-gunner on a B-17 bomber during WWII. After the war he went to Harvard, graduating in 1949. Only eight years out of college, in 1957, he was able to purchase a 2,000-acre estate at the eastern end of Jamaica, a large chunk of which he donated to the government for a public beach. Near Port Antonio, his Blue Lagoon estate was almost 100 kilometers east of where British spy Ian Fleming was writing his tales of James Bond.

Jack Youngblood
Moore's first book (The Devil To Pay - The True Story of an American Soldier of Fortune in Castro's Revolution), was co-authored with mercenary Walter A. "Jack" Youngblood, and came out in 1961, at least four years after Moore bought his tropical island retreat. Thus the money did not come from book sales, nor from inheritance from his parents who were both still living at the time. Dick Russell wrote in the Village Voice in 1976 that the same  Youngblood whose story Moore told in 1959 was believed by James Earl Ray's attorney, Robert I. Livingston, to have been a contract assassin who worked with a man James Earl Ray claimed had set him up -- "a Latino gunrunner he'd known only as 'Raoul'," who looked very much like a man called "Frenchy," one of the tramps arrested in Dealy Plaza in 1963. Frenchy is believed by many researchers to have been a Texan named Charles Rogers from Houston, who was a first cousin of Charles Harrelson. (See The Man on the Grassy Knoll by John R. Craig and Philip A. Rogers for more on their family backgrounds and possible relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald.)

According to the Boyle column (see clipping to left), Robin Moore told him he "ran a bar call 'The Teahouse of the Blue Lagoon'." If true, judging from an old postcard by that title showing a photo of an isolated bar, Moore would not have made much money at it unless.... Perhaps the "teahouse" was a code word for something else? Possibly a warehouse for weapons sales, approachable by boat.

The CIA once checked into using the bar and other parts of Moore's property as a staging area, based on a report from Jack Reed, who went to Jamaica in 1964 and spoke at length with Moore. Whether or not they worked out a deal is unknown, but their meeting occurred at approximately the same time Paul Davis tells us Robin "went back to school,"  according to his article in Military History:
At age 37 Moore graduated from the U.S. Army’s airborne school and the Special Warfare Center – the first and only writer to do so. He arrived in Vietnam on January 6, 1964 and spent six months with the Green Berets.
At the end of that Special Forces training mission, Moore returned to Blue Lagoon and wrote The Green Berets: The Amazing Story of the U. S. Army's Elite Special Forces Unit
If the nauseating tune of "The Ballad of The Green Beret" is not already eternally etched in your memory, click below
to view a sound video. Moore wrote the lyrics to go with Barry Sadler's music.
Bahamian Tax Evaders
In 1973 Robin Moore, with two failed marriages already under his belt, married Mary Olga Troshkin, whom he met at a party given by his friend, G. Huntington Hartford II--the grocery heir who developed Paradise Island and its casino in the Bahamas. Hartford acquired the island in 1960 from the notorious Swedish Nazi, Axel Wenner- Gren, in 1962 entertained a defeated Richard Nixon there, and sold it to Resorts International in 1966. The following year Nixon attended the casino's gala opening in December. 

Wealthy Americans were being encouraged to set up secret bank accounts in these islands then being developed as tourist meccas, where money dropped in the casinos could be siphoned off by organized criminals, all in the guise of jet-setters' fun in the sun. Mitchell WerBell III, for example, was helping promote a group calling itself "Friends of Abaco," with help from John Patrick Muldoon, Michael "Moses Olitsky" Oliver, and Walter Josef "Walt" Mackem. Abaco was a Bahamian island that wanted to stay under the wing of the British monarchy. 

These tax evaders and gamblers not surprisingly had numerous connections to Mafia gunrunners, such as Jack Ruby, and all were in some way linked to ongoing intelligence operations previously mentioned with reference to Mitchell WerBell and the B.R. Fox company, allegedly created by Jimmy Hoffa's favorite wiretapper, Bernard Spindel. We will return to this scene in the future.

Sheraton Hotels and ITT
While Robin was whiling his time away with assassins and tax evaders, his father had been working with his partner Ernest Flagg Henderson II in negotiating a sale of their Sheraton Hotel Corporation to ITT, finally consummated in 1968. The elder Moore and Henderson had been roommates at Harvard before graduation in 1918. Moore then trained as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, while Henderson joined up as a pilot in the Navy. Upon release in 1920, both returned to study at MIT before entering business together. When Robin's father died in 1986, the following tribute was paid to him by the Associated Press:
Moore, who served as an ambulance driver and aviator in World War I, turned down a commission in the Army Air Force for World War II, telling the government he could be of more help working with William [Powell] Lear in development of the wire audio recorder - a predecessor to the tape recorder - and Radio Direction Finder, a navigational device. The RDF conceived and manufactured by Moore and Lear soon became standard equipment on all U.S. military aircraft. 

In 1944, having resumed his relationship with Henderson [through Atlantic Securities and Standard Investing Corporation], the two bought Boston's Copley Plaza hotel, made it their flagship, and continued building the Sheraton chain. In 1948, they merged with U.S. Realty and Improvement Corp., and the companies became Sheraton Corp. of America. In 1967, Moore and Henderson began negotiations with International Telephone and Telegraph Corp., which bought Sheraton in 1968. Henderson died during the negotiation period.
But ITT rose again to create another scandal during the Republican convention in San Diego in 1972. Jack Anderson printed a memo allegedly written by ITT's lobbyist Dita Beard.

Read entire book:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Conclusion of The Great Heroin Coup - Chapter 20

Henrik Kruger ended his study of the 1970's coup, designed to replace the "French Connection" with a Latin American one which his experts in the CIA believed they could control, with the final chapter which follows these observations. Chapter 20 provides a glimpse into what was to come: the American war on terror. Modern wars, of course, are not fought with spears or swords, nor even with nuclear bombs. Warriors must have assault rifles, tanks, grenades, Swat gear, night goggles, ballistic and anti-ballistic missiles, and all the latest in a myriad of new technology ever being developed.
Photo credit to ACLU

My own personal point of view tends to relegate much of what happens in politics and government to an issue of money. I will elaborate after posting this chapter with a separate essay to explain my thinking, but will briefly summarize those ideas here.

Richard Nixon crawled away from politics in 1962 after losing the 1960 election for President and the 1962 election for governor of California. He told the newsmen at his concession press conference, "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more." But he was so wrong.

Two wealthy businessmen, in particular, sought Nixon out, believing they could succeed in getting him elected him in 1968. These corporate executives who financed Nixon were clients of Mudge, Rose, Guthrie and Alexander, when they convinced the law firm to bring in Nixon as its senior partner in 1963.

Elmer Bobst and Donald Kendall would pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into Nixon's election campaign in 1968, but what did they expect in return? Bobst, it appears, especially wanted passage of the National Cancer Act to fund cancer research, to benefit his company, Warner Lambert Pharmaceuticals. And as for Kendall, who headed Pepsi Cola, he may have considered profits that went from heroin sales, using the Pepsi bottling center in Laos as a cover, according to Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia:
Rather than buying heroin through a maze of middlemen, [Vietnam's Air Vice-Marshal Nguyen Cao] Ky's apparatus deals directly with a heroin laboratory operating somewhere in the Vientiane region. According to a U.S. police adviser stationed in Vientiane, this laboratory is supposed to be one of the most active in Laos, and is managed by a Chinese entrepreneur named Huu Tim Heng. Heng is the link between one of Laos's major opium merchants, Gen. Ouane Rattikone (former commander in chief of the Laotian army), and the air transport wing heroin ring.

From the viewpoint of the narcotics traffic, Huu Tim Heng's most important legitimate commercial venture is the Pepsi-Cola bottling factory on the outskirts of Vientiane. With Prime Minister Souvanna Phourna's son, Panya, as the official president, Heng and two other Chinese financiers began construction in 1965-1966. Although the presence of the prime minister's son at the head of the company qualified the venture for generous financial support from USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), the plant has still not bottled a single Pepsi after five years of stop-start construction.

The completed factory building has a forlorn, abandoned look about it. While Pepsi's competitors are mystified at the company's lackadaisical attitude, the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics has an answer to the riddle. Bureau sources report that Heng has been using his Pepsi operation as a cover for purchases of chemicals vital to the processing of heroin, such as ether and acetic anhydride, and for large financial transactions.
That Kendall knew how this bottling factory was being used has not been proven, though his complicity in the CIA overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973 is documented by both Seymour Hersh and Thomas Powers. The message conveyed by Nixon and his administration was that power was for sale to the highest bidder. The old adage that money doesn't smell rang true in his case.

Nevertheless, the rationalization was that the stored gold which had been discovered and stockpiled at the close of WWII had run out, and in 1971 Nixon had to hide behind Treasury Secretary John Connally when the announcement was made that the Bretton Woods Agreement was no longer the rule; they "closed the gold window." The bankers knew there were two main reasons this step had to be taken: First, too many U.S. dollars were being spent abroad for heroin, which went primarily to French refiners; and second, the French demanded payment of deficits in gold rather than in U.S. currency. French heroin pushers would no longer be able to trade U.S. dollars for gold.

At the same time these events were taking place, OPEC (the oil trading countries' cartel) was plotting a way to prevent the collapse of oil prices. The Nixon administration, at the instigation of American- based international oil companies, agreed to send a high-ranking State Department official (Irwin Commission) to negotiate with the OPEC nations, led by Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and the Shah of Iran. Nixon and Kissinger "caved in" to the Shah's demands, to the dismay of the Saudis. Once Nixon resigned, the Saudis apparently cut a deal with Gerald Ford. According to a review of Andrew Scott Cooper's book, The Oil Kings... explained Nixon's motivation as follows:

By late 1969, Nixon was so friendly with the shah that he had granted the leader his own special oil quota. In exchange, the shah pledged to spend every cent of those additional oil revenues on US military and intelligence hardware. This worried Nixon's aides. "It was one thing to fly the flag for the West," Cooper writes, "another to arm it to face down Iraq, India and regional rebellions, pacifying a vast swath of the Middle East and Indian Ocean. Rearmament on the scale proposed by the shah," Cooper adds, "had the potential to bankrupt Iran."

Still, Nixon persisted, advising Iran's lead diplomat, Ardeshir Zahedi to "tell the shah you can push [us] as much as you want [on oil prices] ..." In short, the shah could "raise oil prices at will and pressure western oil companies and consumers" - all via a back channel implemented without cost assessment or risk analysis. Who cared what happened to the real Iranians not benefiting from oil dollars? The US had its precious outpost in the Middle East.
Why did Nixon agree to these terms, which, Cooper says, led directly to the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 and to the need for a war on terror? We will reserve our comments about this for the time being. Nevertheless, serious students of the war on drugs and terrorism need to be aware that nothing is ever as simple as we would like it to be.

 Selected Excerpts from 
By Henrik Kruger; Jerry Meldon, Translator
South End Press©1980: Box 68 Astor Station, Boston, MA 02123
ISBN 0-89608-0319-5
240pps - one edition - out-of-print; Orginally published in Danish
Smukke Serge og Heroien; Bogan 1976

Previous chapters:

Chapters 18 and 19



In August 1976 Lucien Conein's chum Mitch WerBell III (whose B.R. Fox Company had shared a Washington office with Conein's DEA Special Operations Group) was brought before a Miami federal court on charges of conspiracy to smuggle 50,000 pounds of marijuana a month from Colombia to the United States. He and several co-conspirators had allegedly hatched the plot in the summer of 1975, just when Alberto Sicilia‑Falcon was arrested in Mexico. Multi‑ton marijuana loads were to have been flown from Colombia to an isolated ranch in the Florida Everglades near the cowtown of Okeechobee.[1]

[See Editor's notes below.]

The star prosecution witness at the trial for Mitchell WerBell was scheduled to be the convicted cocaine and marijuana smuggler Kenneth Gordon Burnstine. However, weeks before he was to give testimony, he died in the mysterious crash of his P‑51 Mustang at an air show in the Mohave Desert. Without his corroboration, most of the vital tape recordings and films of meetings he had with WerBell and other defendants were not admissible as evidence in the trial.
Click to enlarge. See more Editor's Notes about Burnstine below.
WerBell's defense was that his role in the plot had been as an undercover agent for Conein. Both Conein and [Nixon aide] Egil Krogh were to have been witnesses on his behalf. But Krogh testified that he didn't know WerBell had worked for the DEA's Special Operations Branch, and Conein wasn't called at all. Another defense witness was the soldier of fortune Gerry Hemming, whose private army of Cuban exiles and Americans, the International Penetration Force [Interpen], appears, from Hemming's description of its missions, to have played an active role in Operation 40. During the trial, Hemming would stay late into the night in WerBell's hotel room.[2]

WerBell was found innocent and released, just like the Thai opium smuggler/CIA agent Puttaporn Khramkhruan before him in 1973. He went home to Georgia to pursue his weapons business and law enforcement training camp. According to writer Hank Messick, in 1978 he was involved in far Right politics with the likes of Major General John K. Singlaub (who had been relieved of his command in Korea after outspoken criticism of President Carter) and members of the American Security Council[3] — the key U.S. link to the far Right's international umbrella organization, the World Anti‑Communist League (WACL). As reported recently in the New York Times, the beneficiaries of his anti-terrorist training have included members of the far Right, anti‑Semitic U.S. Labor Party.[4] [Here, author Henrik Kruger is succinctly referring to Dennis King's revelations about Lyndon LaRouche, who contracted with Mitch WerBell to teach his organization about how to protect itself from being bugged or infiltrated and to provide security against an alleged threat on LaRouche's life. An excerpt from that book (highlighted in color) gives an insight into what WerBell was doing in the early 80's, shortly before his death:
If LaRouche and his followers wanted to meet some real live spooks, WerBell was willing to oblige. He arranged several meetings that included CIA personnel. "You're damn right he did--I was there," said Gordon Novel, a New Orleans private investigator who lived for several months at the Farm in 1977.
Editor's Note: Jim Garrison claimed he had proof during his prosecution of Clay Shaw in 1967 that Gordon Novel worked for CIA:
Novel’s own lawyer, Stephen Plotkin, has admitted that his client is a CIA agent. On May 23, 1967, Plotkin was quoted in the New Orleans States–Item as saying that “his client served as an intermediary between the CIA and anti–Castro Cubans in New Orleans and Miami prior to the April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.” And that same day, the Associated Press, which has hardly served as my press agent in this case, reported: “When Novel first fled from New Orleans, he headed straight for McLean, Virginia, which is the Central Intelligence Agency suburb. This is not surprising, because Gordon Novel was a CIA employee in the early Sixties.” There is no doubt that Gordon Novel was a CIA operative.
Jim Hougan recalls attending two meetings in an apartment at the Crystal City Marriott near Washington--referred to as a "safe house" by WerBell--where the LaRouchians explained their theories about British control of the narcotics traffic to former and active-duty CIA men.

WerBell invited LaRouche and his top aides down to the Farm to regale them with stories about Vietnam and introduce them to more spooks. One of these contacts was Major General John K. Singlaub (U.S. Army), who had spent a large portion of his career assigned to CIA covert operations in Asia and had once been CIA deputy station chief in Seoul. He first met with them while stationed in Georgia. After his retirement in 1978 they showed up at his lectures around the country and at a ceremony where he and WerBell were given medals by the Taiwanese government.

Although Singlaub dropped the LaRouchians after learning of their extremism, some of WerBell's friends were less fastidious. Ex-CIA agent Mackem advised them on the international drug traffic in 1978 while they were writing Dope, Inc., and continued to help them off and on. By 1986 they were paying him over $1,000 a month. ...

At the outset WerBell learned that being LaRouche's handler could be a nerve-wracking job. LaRouche was persuaded in August 1977 that German terrorists were out to kill him. WerBell sent a Powder Springs police officer, Larry Cooper, to Wiesbaden to reorganize LaRouche's personal security. Cooper sat in on a political discussion with LaRouche and several top NCLC members during which LaRouche suddenly brought up the idea of assassinating President Carter, National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, NATO general secretary Joseph Luns, and David Rockefeller. It could be done, LaRouche argued, with remote-controlled radio bombs activated from public pay phones.

WerBell had told Cooper that guarding LaRouche was a CIA contract job, and that Cooper therefore would be serving his country. But Cooper now realized that WerBell had not told him the entire truth. He called the Farm in a panic, and said he was coming home on the next flight and contacting the FBI. Gordon Novel was in the room with WerBell, and recalls that "the general went through the ceiling, immediately started calling Washington and canceling a lot of things and generated a kind of propaganda story, a cover story, to completely suppress the affair." Indeed, WerBell had cause for worry--his name had been connected with a radio-bomb assassination scheme once before: During the Nixon administration he had worked with a secret Drug Enforcement Administration unit under Lucien ("Black Luigi") Conein that had planned to assassinate Latin American drug dealers. As a consultant, he had devised remote-control bombs and had provided a business cover for Conein's unit. The plan was scotched when Senator Lowell Weicker found out about it and called hearings. WerBell refused to answer questions before the committee, earning the nickname "Mitch the Fifth" in right-wing circles. Apparently LaRouche had taken this incident and transmuted it in his own spy novel-saturated imagination into something that could land them both in deep trouble.

WerBell decided he'd better get LaRouche into a "reality state" fast or there'd never be an "accommodation between the CIA and LaRouche," Novel said. Shortly afterward, Novel had a falling-out with WerBell and left Powder Springs, He says he told the FBI about the Wiesbaden incident, but they showed no interest.
WerBell owns eight companies, most of them dealing in firearms used by law enforcement and intelligence units. One of the firms, Studies in the Operational Negation of Insurgents and Counter‑Subversion (SIONICS), specializes in the production of M10 and M11 silenced machine pistols. The latter two weapons, designed by Gordon Ingram and WerBell, are about the ultimate weapons for terror and extermination. Their sales agent was WerBell's Military Armament Corporation.[5]

Together with the anti‑Castro Cuban arms dealers Anselmo Alliegro and the mercenary Gerry Hemming, WerBell founded the Parabellum Corporation in 1971 in Miami.[6] [Editor's Note: Parabellum's office was in Room 305 of Jose Marti Building at the corner of S.W. 3rd Avenue and S.W. 8th Street. Room 309 of this building was in 1968 headquarters of Orlando Bosch, founder of CORU.] Parabellum was licensed to sell arms in Latin America. It was also the firm from which Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis planned to obtain weapons for Cuban exiles who were going to (but eventually did not) disrupt the 1972 Miami conventions.[7]

In 1974 WerBell-‑according to a motion filed by his own lawyer when WerBell, his son and his company Defense Services, Inc. were charged with illicit weapons sales-‑was involved in a "conspiracy among the CIA, Robert Vesco, and various corporations to finance clandestine guerilla activities in Latin America."[8] Vesco wanted to purchase WerBell's stock of 2000 silenced M10 machine pistols. When WerBell failed to secure an export license, he devised a plan to smuggle the weapons to Vesco. The two later negotiated the construction of a factory in Costa Rica which would be licensed to fabricate the pistols.[9]

Intriguingly, in that same period someone was negotiating with a U.S. firm for rights to fabricate, in Mexico, fully automatic weapons for clandestine guerilla actions in Latin America. That someone was Mexico's Cuban exile heroin czar, Alberto Sicilia‑Falcon,[10] and among the weapons he was inspecting was the Ingram M10, 9 mm Parabellum.[11]

Although the M10 and M11 could be acquired legally only with the special permission of U.S. officials, large numbers of silenced M10s turned up in the hands of European fascist terrorists in 1976‑77. when Pierluigi Concutelli, a leader of the Italian terrorist group Ordine Nuovo, was arrested in Rome in February 1977, police found in his apartment the silenced M10 which he had used to murder the Rome magistrate Vittorio Occorsio. [12] Occorsio had been shot down on the streets of Rome in July 1976 after announcing he would expose the close collaboration between Fascist terror groups and the Mafia.[13]

However, it was among Spanish terrorists in particular that WerBell's machine pistols appeared in quantity.[14] Most notably, a sizable consignment of M10s, sent to Spain under license from U.S. authorities, had been purchased by Spanish intelligence agency DGS,[15] which has allegedly coordinated the actions of Fascist terrorists.[16]

The fugitive IOS billionaire Vesco employed a large contingent of Cuban exiles in his Costa Rica sanctuary.[17] Moreover, his weapons negotiations coincided with the efforts of the fanatic anti­Castro Cuban leader Orlando Bosch to assemble Cuban exile groups into an army of terror, CORU, that would later carry out assassina­tions and other dirty work for several Latin American regimes. [Editor's Note: Recall from above that WerBell's Parabellum office was in Room 305 of Jose Marti Building in Miami, while Room 309 of this building was Orlando Bosch's office.] During Bosch's 1974‑75 drive, a wave of murder struck Miami's Cuban exile haven. Most victims had been opposed to Bosch. With the obstacles to his plan removed, CORU was established in June 1976.[18]

While Vesco and WerBell were hatching their weapons deal Bosch's base of operation just happened to be Vesco's kingdom of Costa Rica, and Mafia heroin boss Santo Trafficante, Jr. was also reportedly there between January 1974 and the summer of 1975. Journalist Jim Hougan speculates in his book Spooks that the three might have joined forces in a CIA conspiracy to escalate anti‑Communist terror in Latin America.[19]

In 1973 some of the details began to surface in a series of scandals linking these individuals. DEA undercover agent Frank Peroff charged Vesco with financing extensive heroin smuggling. For his initiative Peroff was fired summarily and his life was threatened. Before the Senate Investigations Subcommittee could probe deeply the case was squelched through the intervention of the White House. The Oval Office had already helped Vesco-‑a friend of the Nixon family-‑in his run‑in with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had sought his prosecution for the trail of swindle he had left in the world of international finance. Midway through the subcommittee investigation of the heroin charges, the DEA announced the disappearance of its Vesco file.[20]

One year later, as the subcommittee investigated WerBell's weapons deal with Vesco, it learned that Vesco had once employed government narcotics agents. In 1972 two bugging specialists from the BNDD flew from Los Angeles to New Jersey to sweep Vesco's home and office of surveillance devices. According to the subcommittee, the sweeping tour had been arranged by an admitted friend of Vesco's who was also involved in supplying the fugitive with 2000 machine guns and helping him establish a factory for the weapons in Costa Rica.[21] Guess who.
[Editor's Note: Douglas Valentine avers that BNDD and CIA were working together in a program called BUNCIN — the Bureau of Narcotics Covert Intelligence Network. Valentine's books are must-reads to get full story of the "War on Drugs".]


That was not the last heard of Robert Vesco in connection with drugs. In the summer of 1977 police uncovered the smuggling of large quantities of heroin and cocaine to Rhode Island. In one of the involved ships they discovered a ledger in which it was written: "to Vesco/6 million/he picked up w. shrimper (Lansky)/'Curier' beat UP. "[22]

Several things point to Vesco involvement in the long‑standing partnership of the CIA, the Lansky/Trafficante syndicate and the Cuban exiles, in a drugs‑for‑guns‑for‑terror deal to step up armed suppression and anti‑communism in Latin America. Journalist Hougan ventures that the conspirators might have used such go‑betweens and couriers as the beautiful Patricia Richardson Martinson. According to her ex‑husband, the former army intelligence agent William Spector, Ms. Martinson had very close relationships with almost everyone of importance in the drug business: Yussef Beidas, the Lebanese founder and managing director of INTRA Bank, known as one of the major financiers of the heroin traffic; Paul Louis Weiller, a French financier similarly alleged to be behind the narcotics trade; Eduardo Baroudi, a big‑time heroin and gun smuggler suspected of having arranged Beidas' mysterious death in Switzerland; Christian "Beau Serge" David; Conrad Bouchard, a top heroin trafficker heavily involved in Frank Peroff's Vesco heroin allegations; and Marcel Boucan, the skipper of the Caprice du Temps, which was seized in 1972 with 425 kilos of pure heroin.[23]

Yet another likely intermediary among the apparent conspirators is the CIA contract agent/arms dealer/art dealer Fernand Legros. In 1971 the CIA helped get Vesco released from Saint‑Antoine prison in Geneva, where he had been arrested in the Bernard Cornfeld/Investors Overseas Service case. Legros was in that same prison and spoke with Vesco. In January 1973 the two were reunited in Nassau.[24]

Legros was seen in the company of Beidas in Geneva and Rio de Janeiro. His closest friend was the convicted heroin trafficker Andre Labay, a close associate of Haiti's Duvalier dynasty. In Geneva Legros also met frequently with Evelyne Hirsch, the wife of the im­prisoned bankroller Andre Hirsch, whose South American heroin contact had been Christian David. Just as the U.S. put the screws on the Paraguayan government for the extradition of Auguste Ricord, Legros was in Paraguay to close out a weapons deal with President Stroessner. Later, when Legros was placed in protective confinement in Brazil, newspapers speculated on his involvement in the David Mob's narcotics deals.

Recent years' investigations into the CIA/organized crime connection have resulted in an epidemic of sudden deaths. In the CIA/DEA/ Vesco/ Syndicate scheme alone one can mention Kenny Burnstine [see below]; WerBell associate Colonel Robert F. Bayard, who was shot down in an Atlanta parking lot in July 1975;[25] another WerBell associate and codefendant in his marijuana case, John Nardi, who was shot [sic] in Cleveland;[26] and Vesco's security chief Bobby Hall, who was shot to death in his Los Angeles home in July 1976.

After the Senate Investigations Subcommittee's attempted probe into the Vesco heroin case was sabotaged from the highest quarters, committee chairman Henry Jackson asked: 
"Did the U.S. govern­ment wish to keep Vesco out of this country for some reason? Did he have some special information which he could supply to explain, in part, the national nightmare we have just lived through? "

One Senate investigator offered an answer: "More than any single person, Vesco has information which, if he talked, would make Watergate look like a picnic."[27]



1. T. Dunkin: "The Great Pot Plot," Soldier of Fortune, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1977.

2. Ibid. According to an interview with Hemming published in the April 1976issue of Argosy magazine, Hemming settled in Florida after contacting theCIA to tell the agency all he knew about Castro's operations. There he founded Interpen, which specialized in training anti‑ Castro Cuban exiles in special camps in Florida for long‑range guerilla warfare against the Castro regime. Thus began a long and friendly advisory relationship not only with the CIA, but with the Mob, the Hughes empire and other wealthy and influential Americans as well. About the financing of Interpen, Hemming said, "There were dribs and drabs from people connected with organized crime, some from the right wing, and even from some quite liberal sources." Hemming also said: "In 1961, some Mob people wanted my group to do a couple of jobs in Canada" — emphasis added — (against a ship with machinery for Cuba). . . "John Roselli I knew — but I didn't know who he was" . . . and about CIA/ Cuban terror in Latin America: "All this was a kind of Operation Phoenix for Latin America. There's a guy I know in Miami who worked on this more than once. Evidently he's now had a falling out with some Cubans involved in narcotics. He's a close friend of Bebe Rebozo, and Rebozo's interested in protecting him." Interpen reportedly disbanded in 1964.

3. H. Messick: Of Grass and Snow: The Secret Criminal Elite (Prentice‑Hall, 1979).

4. New York Times, 7 October 1979. According to the magazine Soldier of Fortune ["Terrorists Beware! - Werbell's Cobray School" by T. Dunkin] January 1980), WerBell established Cobray International, Inc., an antiterrorist school primarily for business executives, in Georgia in 1979. Its acting president, Col. Barney Cochran (USAF retired), served as "deputy commander for the Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force EUROPE " in 1970‑74, and has also been chief of the Unconventional Warfare Branch and special assistant for counterinsurgency and special activities organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the latter post he was responsible for development of "hardware" for Global Special Operations and unconventional warfare. The school's chief marksmanship instructor, Bert Waldron, holds the record for sniper killings in Vietnam — 113.

5. J. Hougan: Spooks (William Morrow, 1978).

6. Ibid.; see also Gerry Hemming's interview in Argosy, April 1976.

7. Argosy, op. cit.

8. Documents of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, in criminal case no. CR 74‑471 A (cited in Hougan, op. cit.).

9. Hougan, op. cit.

10. "Die gefahrlichen Geschafte des Alberto Sicilia," Der Spiegel, No. 20,1977.

11. U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Government Operations, Illicit Traffic in Weapons and Drugs Across the United States‑Mexican Border, Hearings,‑ 95th Cong., 1st Session (1977).

12. Time, 2 February 1977; F. Laurent: L'Orchestre Noir (Stock, 1978).

13. Time, op. cit.

14. Cambio 16, 20 February 1977. 15. Laurent, op. cit.

16. P. Chairoff: Dossier B ... comme Barbouzes (Alain Moreau, 1975); L. Gonzalez‑Mata: Cygne (Grasset, 1976).

17. Hougan, op. cit.

18. According to the November 1977 issue of the Dominican Republic Task Force Newsletter (cited in the January‑February 1978 NACLA Report), the Bonao, Dominican Republic site of the CORU founding was a club for executives of the Falconbridge Nickel Company, which is controlled by the Keck family of Houston, Texas. There is, however, some confusion about the date, which the same source indicated was June 1975. Counterspy, Vol. 3, No. 2 listed the date as June 1974. The summer 1976 date, however, is that used by Bernard Cassen in Le Monde Diplomatique of February 1977, by an anonymous contributor to the Nation of 19 March 1977, and by Blake Fleetwood in New Times of 13 May 1977. Bosch, incidentally, like Vesco and WerBell, was associated with narcotics, insofar as his daughter and son‑in‑law were arrested in 1977 for smuggling cocaine.

19. Hougan, op. cit. Vesco had his own contact in the Lansky Syndicate — Dino Cellini, with whom he had met secretly at Rome's Fiumicino Airport in 1972.

20. L.H. Whittemore: Peroff (Ballantine, 1975).

21. Ibid.

22. Messick, op. cit.; Boston Globe, 30 September 1977. 23. Hougan, op. cit.

24. R. Peyrefitte: La Vie Extraordinaire de Fernand Legros (Albin Michel, 1976).

25. Dunkin, op. cit. 26. Messick, op. cit. 27. Whittemore, op. cit. Somewhere among Robert Vesco's memorabilia floats the strange affair of the Brotherhood of [Eternal] Love. Through it thousands of potential activists were stoned for years on LSD, and enormous profits from the sales of tablets were reinvested through the Investors Overseas Service controlled Fiduciary Trust Company (Der Spiegel, No. 39, 1974). 

In the same connection, it is interesting to note that when, in the fall of 1978, Italian police investigated the American Ronald Stark's close involvement with Italian terrorists, they discovered he had been heavily involved in the Brotherhood of Love until 1971, and had run one of its LSD labs in California. In his terrorist period Stark was closely in touch with the U.S. embassy in London, which had opened a letter to him with "Dear Ron" (Panorama, 31 October 1978).

Editor's notes
The land on all sides of Lake Okeechobee, a hundred miles or so south of today's Disney World, has teemed with military or covert intelligence operations since Fidel Castro first seized power, and there is a long and sordid history in this area of real estate used as a destination for smugglers, according to a November 21, 1986 article by Jean Dubail in the Sun Sentinel:
Drug smuggling, after all, has become a leading industry in the sparsely populated counties bordering Lake Okeechobee. Wide, flat meadows and long, lonely stretches of road make ideal landing strips for light planes. Because there are so few people around, it's easy to unload planeloads of contraband without being seen. Glades County Sheriff Russell Henderson illustrates the problem this way:

"One time we took a map of Glades County," he says. "Every known strip we marked in red. The map was just about red when we got through."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim McAdams compares the lakeside counties with Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands, where smugglers have eluded customs agents for generations.

"What Everglades City was to the small go-fast boats, that area is to the small twin-engine aircraft," says McAdams, who works with the Miami-based Drug Enforcement Task Force. "Unless they happen to be trailed in by customs, they`re going to be able to land, dump their load, take off and mingle with the general public."

"It's always tough," says J.E. "Buck" Buchanan of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "A lot of smuggling going on, wide open spaces and damn few of us."

The problem is not a new one, Buchanan says. Smugglers have been bringing drugs to the lakeside counties since the early 1970s, when large two- and four-engine planes flew tons of marijuana directly from Colombia.

"We were eaten up with aircraft smugglers at one time," Buchanan says. "They were falling out of the sky."

Such planes, however, were relatively easy to spot and track. Buchanan says that fact -- plus increased demand for less bulky and more valuable cocaine -- led smugglers to start using small planes. Because these craft have a shorter range, smugglers began using the Bahamas as a jumping-off point. Lake Okeechobee is less than 125 miles due west of West End.]
Burnstine had been born in Chicago in 1933, to Ralph A. and Dolores Edison Burnstine. Ralph was the son of Isador Burnstine, owner of an automobile dealership in Chicago. Isador's parents were born in Germany, and his wife (Ralph's mother) had immigrated from Latvia with her parents in 1890. Both Ralph and his brother Herman worked in their family's car sales business, founded by Isador and his brother Isaac:
The Riviera Motor Sales Company remained a Chrysler automobile dealership under the ownership of the Burnstine family through the 1930s, as did the Burnstines’ Capitol Motor Sales Company on W. Lawrence. Isadore Burnstine then acquired another Chrysler franchise and opened the Burnstine Motor Sales Co. in 1928 at 2524 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Logan Square neighborhood. He died in 1936 and his son Ralph took over control of the family’s automobile dealerships. The Riviera Motor Sales Company operated out of the building until at least 1937 during the Great Depression. That year the Burnstine family turned over ownership of the building to the Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. Building, which owned the building until 1942, when it was sold to the 1211 Elmdale Corporation.
 The 1940 census showed Kenneth and his younger brother, Irving, living with their mother in Tucson, Arizona, but we are told by Jack R. Swike that Kenneth graduated from college in Chicago's Northwestern University, before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1954. Data available at informs us that he was selected for training as a Pfc to the First Training Battalion in Quantico, Va. and, by July 1954, had the rank of 2nd lieutenant. From there he went to El Toro, the permanent center of Marine aviation on the west coast as a member of the Service Squadron of the Air Fleet Marine Force of the Pacific (Trans Section Servron AirFMFPac). Within a few months Burnstine was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and sent to the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps in Great Lakes, Illinois. His name appeared on a Unit Diary on Jan. 18, 1956, addressed to MRI, El Toro, for Unit H and MS-11, MAG-ll, 1stMAW, FMF, location Japan. Under his name was the following: "Acc temp attp as 1Lt MCR rk 2Jan56 auth CMC 1tr DHD2742-kab of 3Jan56." His MOS was 0210, summarized in today's Marine Occupations Specialties Manual as follows:
Counterintelligence (CI) warrant officers serve in both CI and HUMINT billets. They conduct technical surveillance counter measures (TSCM), provide expertise in advanced foreign CI, and advise tactical commanders in force protection operations. Duties include serving as a CI assistant platoon commander and HUMINT Exploitation Team (HET) Commander within the HUMINT Company, service on a MEF staff, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and serving as a CI representative to unified commands and national-level agencies. CI limited duty officers function as supervisors, advisors and coordinators of counterintelligence activities and human intelligence collection operations. Duties may include serving as CIHO at the MEF or MARFOR headquarters, service with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, serving as staff officers within the CI/HUMINT Branch, HQMC, and serving as a CI representative to national-level agencies.
The history of this MOS 0210 during the Korean War is described under Section 2 of a website called Counterintelligence History. A new duty sheet dated 9 Apr 56 addressed to Quantico, gave him a new assignment with MOS 7399 (IRC ATT) to the Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois. These codes could have been abbreviations or acronyms for a variety of possible meanings, as set out in the Department of Defense Dictionary. The first two digits (73) of the new MOS, however, indicates navigation officer or enlisted flight crews, and the 99 designated that he was a flight student
Strangely enough, after all the Marine Corps' expense of training him, Burnstine resigned his commission on 16 Apr 56, based on unit diary from Great Lakes NTC to Quantico. However, Jack Swike tells us there were some very strange things going on with Burnstine at this time.

In 1956 he married Ann Mitchell and moved to Mobile, AL, where he became the treasurer of her father's real estate office, Gulf Coast Realty Co., later called the The Mitchell Company, Inc. Ann and her brothers, Mayer and Abe, were children of Joseph Benjamin Mitchell, son of a Russian Jews born in Germany who had immigrated to New York in 1889. Ann's grandfather, Meyer Mitchell, had worked in a factory that made knee pants in 1900, but had relocated with his young family, including her then-infant father, to Mobile in about 1901 and worked as a peddler of dry goods.

Joseph Mitchell, Burnstine's father-in-law, was also a co-owner in the Gulf Coast Tobacco Company with his sister Anne and her husband Samuel J. Ripps, who were prosecuted by Truman's Justice Department for tax evasion between the years 1940-45 and each man received jail time. The case was publicized in 1951 when the U.S. Attorney in charge of the tax division, T. Lamar Caudle, was fired and later investigated for taking bribes from taxpayers to prevent prosecution. Two years earlier Drew Pearson had mentioned the case:
Joe Mitchell and his brother-in-law, Sam Ripps, organized the Gulf Coast Tobacco company during the war and sold millions of dollars worth of jewelry to army post exchanges. The boys in the Army camps would buy almost anything those days and Ripps and Mitchell made a killing. Then, a couple of years later, alert treasury agents caught them keeping two sets of books, and after long investigation, recommended criminal prosecution....Treasury agents claimed they owed a minimum of $700,000; perhaps as much as $1,200.000.

When Ann's brother, Mayer Mitchell, died in 2007, a resolution was read in the Alabama state senate stating that he had been "born in New Orleans in 1933 and grew up in Mobile, AL. He earned his bachelor of science degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance in 1953. He then served as an Army first lieutenant in Korea, earning a commendation ribbon with medal pendant for meritorious service. Returning home to Mobile with his wife Arlene in 1958, Mayer founded, with his brother Abe, the Mitchell Company, a commercial and residential real estate development firm. He went on to serve as its chairman and chief executive officer for the next three decades, selling his interest in the Mitchell Company in 1986."

By 1958 Kenneth's parents, Ralph and Dolores Burnstine, had moved to Miami Beach with Kenneth's brother Irving, who enlisted in the Marines that year. Calling himself "Moe" Burnstine, Kenneth and his wife Ann were also in Miami Beach where he worked as purchasing agent for the Carillon Hotel at 6801 Collins Avenue. He and Ann divorced in 1966, and he quickly married Carole Sue Tolbert in Broward County, Florida, but they divorced in 1974. Less than two years later his plane crashed, leaving nothing but a severed finger to identify him.