Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Financing the Ratlines

Who was Patricia Spector Martinson?

Green Beret author, DEA and even Watergate?
Refer back to our posting of Chapter 20, in which a 1975 New York Times News Service (NYTNS) article appeared under the headline "Is Model the Link to Drug Ring?" The "model" was identified under her sketch as Patricia Richardson Martinson, said to be the former wife of a World War II intelligence officer named William H. Spector. The authors of the piece wrote that Spector had been going from one police department to another, ranting obsessively about his ex-wife's connection to a drug ring. While stirring up some investigative interest, he was unsuccessful proving his case against her.

The New York Times, had spent a month on research, the authors said, starting with unspecified documents furnished them by Spector. The police agencies which he apparently contacted (listed in the blurb to the right) go from the local cops all the way up to Interpol.

Although the NYTNS article failed to identify the French financier who was friends with President Nixon, we feel certain he could only have been Paul-Louis Weiller, creator of Air France.

It's Not MY Fault!

We get a somewhat adequate picture of Patricia from the full article linked above, but only a vague impression of her accuser, William Spector, as an outraged husband from upstate New York unable to cope with his wife leaving him. Probably just a psycho with a vivid imagination, over-reacting to being jilted, right?

Spector failed to explain why he had set up the car dealership in tiny Ogdensburg, New York, on the U.S. side of the Canadian border, when his family owned one of the biggest Cadillac dealerships in the East two hours to the south in his hometown of Syracuse. Did he perhaps know that being located so close to Canada would be useful to a drug ring operating between Canada and the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where his wife was born? And on that note, exactly how did he meet his young wife unless he had been to St. Maarten himself at the precise time the scheme was being planned?

Why did this story so pique the interest of Robin Moore, who had previously written The Green Berets in 1964, followed by The French Connection in 1971? Was there possibly much more to this story than meets the eye?

Answering these questions requires research into the murky background of Mr. Spector, beginning first with his felony indictment in 1971. Prior to October that year he had sold seven cars that had "floor plan" financing without paying the bank $18,000 on its lien. His defense attorney attempted to offer flimsy evidence that the crime began in mid-1970 when Spector said he first discovered the beautiful Patricia had secretly charged $20,000 in bills to his credit accounts. To remedy this debt he created new liens against his home and business to the bank whose money had not been paid on the cars—a worthless endeavor considering the fact that the prior lienholders quickly foreclosed (allegedly without giving personal notice to Spector) before the end of 1971, preventing these third liens from being paid off.

What children?
It is not known if Bill confronted Patricia about her spending habits, only that six months after their home and business were taken in foreclosure —from some time in May until July 24, 1971—he claimed he was hospitalized for an undisclosed ailment. He came out to find "his children" alone, his wife having returned to St. Maarten; he had to spend an entire week attending to the matter of finding a nanny, he told the jury. Unsurprisingly it took these twelve men and women only two and half hours to say they did not believe a word of that rubbish. Rightly so, it seems, as he had no children! At least his 1995 obituary mentioned none.

Most intriguing of all is that not until August 1974 (at the exact time Richard Nixon resigned) did Spector begin claiming that
"a drug ring was using his cars to smuggle heroin across the Canada-U.S. border during the early 1970's. Neither attorney brought any of these allegation to bear" in his criminal trial.
Family Background

Spector's father, Solomon Spector, was a Jewish immigrant from Russia, naturalized as an American citizen in 1914, the same year he began selling cars in Syracuse. There were four sons—Joseph, Myers, William, and Nathan Theodore—all born before Solomon and his wife, the former Ida Cohen, divorced. When Solomon died in Miami in 1978, having cut William and Theodore out of his will, they sued the estate, valued at upwards of a million dollars, settling out of court.

Two Spector brothers enlist.
Ida's Jewish father had run a grocery store in Syracuse, but her youngest brother became a physician, Dr. Nathan Cohen, in Elmira, N.Y., where William himself lived for 16 years before starting the dealership near the Canadian border. Elmira was not far from his prep school,  Manlius School in DeWitt, New York, which he attended from 1936-39, before entering Cornell.

One of Frank Wisner's OSS Agents in Bucharest

Bill Spector appears to have put off military service until he was drafted. He had already completed his degree at Cornell and moved on to the University at Buffalo when called to serve. He entered as a First Lieutenant and was shipped off to Augusta, Georgia for training. Because he had learned the Russian language from his parents, the lieutenant was assigned to the secret intelligence unit of the OSS in Bucharest, commanded from August 1944 until January 1945 by Frank G. Wisner with Major Robert Bishop, second in command. The goal in sending an OSS team to Romania had been to rescue 2,000 captured airmen held as prisoners of war there and in Bulgaria, but the mission would continue for a year after peace with a secret stay-behind unit remaining within the Soviet-controlled sphere.

Bill Spector talks about Romania.
At that time Romania was a monarchy which had gained  Transylvania, Bessarabia and much Hungarian territory after being on the winning side in WWI, but, because of strong anti-Russian sentiment in those acquired regions, a Nazi-allied Iron Guard gained political power of the country. By the time WWII began, the Romania entered the war on the German side. At precisely the moment in 1944 that the Soviet armies reached the border, however, King Michael, who had been installed by military dictator Prime Minister Marshall Ion Antonescu, switched over to the side of the Allies, possibly hoping to save its industrial base from the Russians. The wealthiest industrialists in Bucharest was a man we've met before, quite recently, Nicolae Malaxa.

Anticipating Germany's surrender, Allen Dulles left his OSS station in Bern to begin plans for secret peace negotiations with Germany at  the Berlin station. In January 1945 Wisner was assigned to Berlin, as  second in command to Dulles. As the war in Europe was coming to a  close, the OSS would be disbanded in September 1945.

Wisner's previous assignment in Bucharest was left under the temporary command of his immediate subordinate, Major Robert Bishop, and this is where things really started to become interesting for the young officer, Lt. William H. Spector, whose name appears in recently declassified Top Secret files relating to certain events that occurred in the career of Major Bishop at this time.

Major Bishop and his boss, Frank Wisner, had worked long and hard in developing Romanian intelligence agents who had penetrated Romania's Communist Party:
Many tons of German documents and film
Wisner served during the war as the self-confident and capable head of the OSS station in Bucharest. He was credited with masterminding a number of operations in the Balkans, including the pinpointing of the Ploesti oil fields in Romania for the massive raid the U.S. Air Force launched from Egypt. In September 1944 while in Romania, Wisner was informed by Romanian intelligence—which had penetrated the Romanian Communist Party undetected—that the Russians planned to impose Soviet-friendly regimes in Eastern Europe. Wisner wanted to act against the Soviet plans, but no one would allow him. Wisner's experiences with Russian forces in the Balkans laid the groundwork for a growing anticommunism that was reinforced during his tour of duty in postwar Germany. There he was second in command to Allen W. Dulles at the OSS station in Berlin. American intelligence agents often encountered hostility in their Soviet counterparts and were impeded in their missions in Russian-controlled areas. By the time the two men were recalled to the United States, Dulles had begun to sympathize with Wisner, who wanted to move on from searching for Nazis to finding out what the Communists were doing.
Wisner moved along to Berlin, leaving behind the cache of documents and files the two men had collected against the Nazis only to have the index to the files be either destroyed or rendered useless. Were these the same files that revealed the atrocities of which Nicolae Malaxa was guilty? Is it possible Malaxa, whose son-in-law, George Palade, was a medical researcher, made a deal with the Rockefeller banking establishment to bring him and his family to the United States and sweep whatever war crimes they may have committed under the proverbial rug?

Russians were supporting Malaza/Malaxa?
One page of the Report relating to the investigation of his successors against Major Bishop seems to contain Malaxa's name, (misspelled as Malaza in the black inset to left). We know there was a connection between Max Ausnitt and Malaxa, though not entirely friendly. The question becomes whether these files could have been seen by Richard Nixon during his stint as a Navy lawyer. Was he in the right place at the time these files were sent to the United States for storage? Whether Nixon discovered this on his own, or was used by someone else who did know, seems irrelevant at this point.

A Report released by the CIA as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request, however, mentions that William H. Spector was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. military in 1945, engaged to marry Elisabeth Mezey-Feher, the subject of the 1945 report :
11. Fiance: 1st Lt. William H. SPECTOR ASN 0-438 705; age 23; born Syracuse, New York Residence: 132 W. 11th St., Elmira, New York
18. Identification papers: a. Subject carries a Dutch "Protection Passport" issued April 14, 1945, by the Royal Swedish Legation in Bucharest (Charge d'Affairs K. Anjou), temporarily representing the interests of the Netherlands Government. The passport is valid until July 14, 1945. b. Major Bishop stated on April 29th that Lt. Spector had obtained a Roumanian passport and exit visa for Subject late in March through his connections with a Gen. Stonescu, Roumanian Minister of Foreign Affairs. This passport was left at the office of the Russian Legation by Lt. Spector when he attempted to obtain Russian plane clearance. The plane clearance was not granted and the Russian Passport Control Office is still in control of the Roumanian passport. Subject professed absolutely no knowledge of the above passport or transactions and is extremely anxious to have this matter clarified by her fiance, Lt. Spector. c. Allied Force Permit No. 12501. issued on April 14, 1945 by the U.S. Military Representative, ACC, for Roumania, entitling owner to travel to Italy. Valid until July 14, 1945. d. Subject has no birth certificate. She left her only certificate with the Dutch Consul in Bucharest, Mr. Charles Dozzy, from whom a copy can be obtained if necessary. e. Letter of introduction from Mr. Lolle Snit, Phillips Radio Co. representative in Roumania, Hungary and Holland (Dutch citizen) to Mr. Oscar Berntsen, Phillips Radio Co. representative in Belgrade. Subject did not visit Berntsen while in Belgrade. f. A letter of recommendation dated 16 April 1945 by Major Robert Bishop, OSS/X-2 representative in Bucharest. g. A letter by Lt. William H. Spector dated 17 March 1945 to Mr. B. Y. Berry, American Representative in Roumania, declaring his engagement to Subject. h. Several miscellaneous personal letters.
The full declassified TOP SECRET Report dated 11 October 1945 which contains the report about  Spector's fiancee is titled "Report of Investigation in case of Major Robert Bishop, AC, 0918130," who was ordered to leave the Bucharest's OSS Station just as Spector's fiancee was attempting to leave the city in his own personal automobile. By his refusal to leave as ordered, Bishop faced a severe reprimand and even court-martial. As we see from the stamp, this report was not released by the CIA until 2006, pursuant to the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. From the records of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) we learn that Major Robert Bishop of the Office of Strategic Services, was at the X-2 Branch in Bucharest, Romania before the end of WWII and that hearings were held to determine whether he had committed certain violations relating to Elisabeth Mezey-Feher, Lt. Spector's fiancee, who was a suspected informer to the German Nazis in Romania.

We do know that Max Ausnitt told the subject of one report he would pay $25,000 to anyone who helped him escape Romania. That subject was at the time none other than the fiancee of Lt. William Spector—Elizabeth Mezey-Feher (a/k/a Jocky Cristea)—rumored to be then living in Major Bishop's residence. We know that Spector obtained a Dutch passport for this "strikingly beautiful" woman who had married a Romanian man (Ionel Cristea) to head her Jewish stepfather's textile business in order to protect it from the Nazis. Her name was added to Major Bishop's list of sources of information which he eventually completed for the officer sent to replace him in Bucharest.

Both Ausnitt and Malaxa were still alive in 1951, and Frank Wisner, who by that time was back in covert intelligence work, was aware of Malaxa's deportation hearing, while struggling to keep those who had been allowed to escape away from each other's throats. Major Bishop was also back in the CIA by that time. Could he perhaps have recruited Spector as well? These men had helped develop escape routes for persons who had survived the Nazi regime and wished to find safety away from the Soviets, who were about to take charge of their post-war country.

That was all part of subterfuge which involved Lt. William H. Spector's engagement to Elisabeth Mezey-Feher. But once she escaped to Naples, and Spector was transferred to Austria, she married not Spector but another soldier named Elmer L. Kincaid, Jr. and later lived in Bronxville, NY, where she worked as a Conover (Powers) model. She sometimes was in touch with Spector, who still wanted to marry her, she told a friend not long before she made her way to Hollywood and into the movies as Lisa Ferraday. (See Lisa Kincaid, Appendix C.) She was also mentioned in a gossip column in 1949 in connection with a group that included Pat DiCicco, Howard Hughes' associate, and Cubby Broccoli, who later produced Ian Fleming's James Bond novels for the movies.

We are informed by Peter Grose in his book, Operation Rollback: America's Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain, that after the war Bishop worked for the International Rescue Organization (possibly he meant the International Relief and Rescue Committee, which was later shortened to the International Resc
Operation Rollback
by Peter Grose
ue Committee
) and that he helped develop the "rat lines" with Krunoslav Draganović, financing the escape of Nazis through the Counter Intelligence Corps' unvouchered funds. One of the men in charge of those funds was Carmel Offie, who had been in charge of the Naples OSS team, where Spector's "fiancee" escaped to. Was that a mere coincidence? (See also chapter 9 of Frances Stonor's book, The Cultural Cold War.)

Think about this for a second. Is it possible the same ratlines were used to distribute heroin? This idea is not original to me; it was suggested by David Guyatt in his essay "The Mafia, the CIA & the Vatican's Intelligence Apparatus," in which he stated:
The principal means of funding Operation Amadeus activities was the hugely profitable narcotics business. Large stocks of SS morphia had been smuggled out of Europe and into "Catholic" South America at the end of the War in accordance with the Sunrise agreement.

The morphia was accompanied by looted SS gold and large quantities of counterfeit British banknotes, forged in concentration camps by captive but skilled counterfeiters as part of an SS scheme known as Operation Bernhardt.

The escape "lines" used to move wanted men around South America, away from the prying eyes of Israeli agents, also proved ideal as smuggling routes for drugs. Decades later, the stocks of heroin smuggled into the United States for distribution by the CIA-protected Mafia would be complemented with locally grown cocaine.
French Connection Through Haiti and French Antilles

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
What was Spector's wife—or more likely Spector himself—doing between the West Indies and Canada from 1969 until 1971? It was not until Patricia Richardson (or Richards, as her name was given in the account of Spector's criminal trial) left her husband that he "discovered" through her diaries that she had known quite an assortment of extremely dodgy characters in St. Maarten, in the late 1960's, at about the same time she married William Spector. In Chapter Three of Henrik Kruger's book, we find these same men mentioned there as well. They were all members of Marcel Paul Francisci's international cartel, consisting of heroin refining labs in France, a distribution network run by the Corsican Mafia, and a money-laundering system of banks to hide the source of funds and make it available for reinvestment. As Kruger stated:
Most of it [heroin] was sold on the U.S. market, where Italian and Cuban wholesalers entered the scene. In 1971 the Corsican Mafia delivered 80 percent of the heroin on the U.S. market. They deposited their millions in Bahamian, Swiss, and Lebanese banks, reinvesting some of it later in legal enterprise.
The "Italian and Cuban wholesalers" mentioned above were described in greater detail in Chapter 9, where he wrote that Francisci used his connections with French politicians to negotiate an international agreement whereby his cartel could import opium into France and export the refined heroin through Italian mobstersThe distribution network (export) consisted of two air and three sea routes into the United States. As to the sea routes, he wrote:
The shipping lanes... either ended in  
  • Brazil/Paraguay,  
  • Haiti and the French West Indies, or  
  • went directly to the east coast of the United States. 
Heroin smuggled into the U.S. from the French Antilles and Haiti, like that from Paraguay, went via Florida or Mexico.
The French Antilles islands—those islands within the Lesser Antilles subject to French colonial rule —are composed of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy, and the northern half of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten (an island divided between the French to the north and the Dutch half to the south). Therefore, it is not surprising that French criminals would be able to ship drugs out of St. Maarten.

French Connection to Lebanon

 It is also not remarkable that the distribution network run by French gangsters would involve Lebanese banks to launder their profits. When the League of Nations, after World War I, divided up the Ottoman Empire, the French were given a mandate over Syria and Lebanon, while the British took control of Palestine and Iraq. Additional clues about this Lebanese connection appear in Chapter 20:
Several things point to [Robert] 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 [Jim] 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 [the French financier named above as Nixon's friend];
  • 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.

*Hougan, Jim. Spooks: The Haunting of America — The Private Use of Secret Agents. New York: Bantam Books, 1979. 481 pages.