Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #729 Interview with Daniel Hopsicker: Strange Doings South of the Border

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MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Introduction: Continuing an investigation of apparent drug-smuggler Walid Makled Garcia, this program fleshes out elements of the networks for which Garcia apparently works.

The background against which this event must be viewed is the years-long investigation Hopsicker has undertaken into clandestine airlines and flight schools which, taken together, are in the service of the intelligence community and utilized for drug trafficking by those same elements. It is through this environment that Mohammed Atta and some of the 9/11 hijackers infiltrated.

Of primary interest is the spin being put on Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chavez’s role in these events. Although he certainly appears to be involved with narcotics trafficking, Chavez is NOT the kingpin in these events. Indeed, elements of the shady aviation networks appear to be operating on behalf of those trying to overthrow Chavez.

By the same token, Hopsicker’s assessment of the alleged Al Qaeda/drug smuggling is somewhat flawed. Although there certainly IS involvement by Muslim Brotherhood elements in the Maghreb in this concatenation, elements of these networks are involved with that element of U.S. intelligence that appears to have been complicit with 9/11. [The Brotherhood is the parent organization of Al Qaeda.]

Billed as a “kingpin” Garcia actually appears to have been functioning in an auxilliary role, aiding co-conspirators that were not named.

Program Highlights Include: Review of the links between the clandestine aviation networks and the milieu through which Mohammed Atta and company infiltrated; review of the links between this milieu and a subsidiary company of Titan, a major defense subcontractor; support given this network by the GOP political infrastructure in both California and Florida.

1. Much of the program focuses on Walid Makled Garcia. Arrested and touted by the DEA as a kingpin of the drug trade, Garcia appears to have been a lesser figure.

The background against which this event must be viewed is the years-long investigation Hopsicker has undertaken into clandestine airlines and flight schools which, taken together, are in the service of the intelligence community and utilized for drug trafficking by those same elements. It is through this environment that Mohammed Atta and some of the 9/11 hijackers infiltrated.

Of primary interest is the spin being put on Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chavez’s role in these events. Although he certainly appears to be involved with narcotics trafficking, Chavez is NOT the kingpin in these events. Indeed, elements of the shady aviation networks appear to be operating on behalf of those trying to overthrow Chavez.

By the same token, Hopsicker’s assessment of the alleged Al Qaeda/drug smuggling is somewhat flawed. Although there certainly IS involvement by Muslim Brotherhood elements in the Maghreb in this concatenation, elements of these networks are involved with those element of U.S. intelligence that appears to have been complicit with 9/11. [The Brotherhood is the parent organization of Al Qaeda.]

Billed as a “kingpin” Garcia actually appears to have been functioning in an auxilliary role, aiding co-conspirators that were not named.

The now-famous DC9 from St Petersburg Florida caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine in the Yucatan four years ago is back in the news, as the centerpiece of a new DEA campaign of “projective or reverse propaganda.”

Just four months ago federal prosecutors used the bust of the cocaine-laden DC9 to finger Wachovia Bank, then the U.S.’s fourth largest, for laundering drug money used to purchase the plane.

An incredible $450 billion had been run through Wachovia, said U.S. prosecutors, whose origins and provenance were considered… (here they used the same word a Federal Judge in Tampa used, to describe the circumstances surrounding SkyWay Aircraft’s bankruptcy)… murky.

The bank was allowed to plead guilty to laundering a fraction of that amount, was fined $160 million, and then sold off to Wells Fargo Bank.

How much had Wachovia made for washing all that filthy lucre? The figure was never revealed.

Dollars to donuts (or sub-prime mortgage securities) the bank made a killing.

As ever, the U.S. treats some elements of the drug trade (Republicans?) as more equal than others.

“Chairman Hugo just don’t sound right”

Today the DEA is gearing up to go after—to Noriega-ize—Hugo Chavez, accusing him of engaging in a global drug trafficking conspiracy of staggering dimensions.

Hugo Chavez is the latest victim of a U.S. reverse propaganda campaign.

The term, first coined by eminence grise Professor Peter Dale Scott, the leading academic authority on the drug trade, describes a U.S. tactic repeatedly used for over 50 years of accusing a current American foe of drug trafficking that the U.S. is itself guilty of conducting with covert assistance from U.S. proxies and allies.

For example, the U.S. blamed Red China in the 1950’s for trafficking heroin into the U.S. being transported by Air America from Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Chinese strongholds in the Golden Triangle.

More recently, President Reagan blamed the Sandinistas for flooding America with cocaine actually being supplied by drug traffickers supporting the Contras and flown to the U.S. by life-long CIA assets like pilot Barry Seal, in an operation coordinated in the White House by Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North.

Acting DEA Administrator Chats with American DrugLord

The propaganda campaign began in earnest last January. That’s when an unidentified official from the Dept. of Homeland Security announced the discovery of a pipeline, using cargo planes and even Boeing 727’s, pumping cocaine from Venezuela across the Atlantic to West Africa.

The surging sales and burgeoning supply of cocaine in Europe could be blamed on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

And, can you guess?

Al Qaeda in North Africa.

“Al Qaeda linked to rogue air network: U.S. official” read the headline on a January 14, 2010 wire service report.

From the FARC to Chavez to Al Qaeda… It was a terrorist tri-fecta.

It must have been the closest thing to a wet dream that grizzled old U.S. drug war apologist Gen. Barry McCaffrey has had since Jane Russell starred in “The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown.”

Too bad it isn’t true.

“A kingpin among kingpins.”

Whatever Chavez’s faults–and drug trafficking is certainly one of them–he is not the head honcho sitting astride a global drug trafficking Colossus.

But don’t take our word for it.

Let’s take a look at the affidavit filed in support of Walid’s indictment by DEA Special Agent Gregory Ball, and compare it to the widely-quoted news conference held earlier this month by DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart and Manhattan U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara, who fingered Syrian-born Walid Makled-Garcia, 43, a former crony of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, as a drug kingpin.

Walid Makled was “a foreign drug kingpin with a long history of drug trafficking, and he has built a vast global drug trafficking empire on illicit proceeds,” gushed DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart.

“His arrest will impact worldwide supplies of drugs…”

Citing Makled’s “vast international narcotics trafficking organization,” U.S. Atty. Bharara said, “Even among global narcotics traffickers, Makled-Garcia is a king among kingpins.”

“These airstrips were used by different traffickers.”

A careful reading of the indictment and DEA affidavit filed in New York Federal Court provides evidence confirming Makled’s involvement in drug trafficking. But it does not support the charge that Walid Makled-Garcia is a “kingpin among kingpins.”

It states Makled operated and controlled several airstrips in Venezuela between 2006 and 2010 which were “used by different drug trafficking organizations.”

Makled was responsible for paying off local law enforcement officials in Venezuela so that planes carrying drug loads could leave Venezuela, said DEA Agent Ball’s confidential informant.

They weren’t Makled’s drugs. They weren’t Makled’s planes either.

But wait. It gets worse.

He coordinates. You know, like, a wardrobe coordinator?

Ball’s affidavit cites Makled for just two overt acts.

The first is his role in the 5.5 ton DC9 drug move. Makled isn’t named for being responsible for delivering the drugs to the U.S. His job, states Ball, was to “coordinate the transportation to Mexico” of the 5.5 ton load.

In the second overt act, a plane loaded with 1.5 tons of cocaine (1500 kilos) left Venezuela on May 10, 2009 bound for Honduras. On that flight Makled once again “coordinated the transportation from Venezuela to Honduras.”
The flight crashed with three people onboard, one of whom died in the crash.

Was it Makled’s plane that was lost? No. Was it his cocaine? No again. Was it Makled who suffered the loss?

If the answer to any of these questions were “yes,” it would have been in the indictment.

Not as lot of “overt acts” for a “kingpin among kingpins”

When we look at Makled’s “overt acts” in his indictment, the situation goes from bad to worse, and ends up positively comical. Makled is again cited for coordinating the transportation to Mexico of the 5.5 ton DC9 flight.

But… what’s this? “On or about April 11 2006 co-conspirators not named as defendants possessed 5.5 tons (5600 kilograms) of cocaine in Mexico.”

On the May 11, 2006 1.5 tons of cocaine flight from Venezuela to Honduras, Makled again paid off authorities for a flight controlled by “other co-conspirators not named as defendants.”

Co-conspirators not named in this indictment? Who might they be?

Makled wasn’t even a plane-mover, just a flight facilitator. A bag man. The money he was spreading around wasn’t even his.

Makled wasn’t a kingpin. He just worked for them, bribing local officials, Generals, and Venezuela’s anti-drug czar, and making sure they stayed bribed.

And the DEA won’t name the real drug traffickers involved. Is it because they’re waiting to reel in the Big Fish?

Don’t hold your breath. You could die waiting.

Decision 2008: Too Late to Vote “No?”

It was the kind of lie we came to expect during the bad old days of the Bush Administration. Remember?

Former pest control man Tom Delay strutting around like a little Napoleon in cowboy boots?

But this… this here’s the Obama Administration.

Who ever thought Obama would second the nomination to head the DEA of someone chosen by someone, former President George W. Bush, whose drug war credentials include the rumor which has been abroad for two decades that he was caught offloading cocaine off a plane by “DEA Agent” Barry Seal?

Acting DEA administrator Michele Leonhart is a clear early favorite for the Asa Hutchinson Looking the Other Way Award.”

Maybe that’s why Leonhart was consorting with FOX News reprobate North on her recent look-see trip to the heroin capital of the world, Afghanistan.

Maybe she was checking out firsthand the testimony in court of the Colombian assassins of Barry Seal, who said they’d been directed while in the U.S. by an anonymous U.S. military officer, who they quickly figured out was Oliver North.

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian,” said one of North’s own pilots about him, “anymore than going to a carwash makes you a car.”

“Chairman Chavez, Oliver North & ‘Co-Conspirators Not Named as Defendants'” by Daniel Hopsicker; MadCowMorningNews; 12/1/2010.

Discussion

4 comments for “FTR #729 Interview with Daniel Hopsicker: Strange Doings South of the Border”

  1. Thank you for this post. After the first interview, FTR #728, I had more questions than answers. It is much clearer now. I am a relatively new listener and I must say that this topic is probably the most subtle. Frontiers are very tenuous between the different actors in play and it takes great research/journalistic vigilance to be able to represent the whole picture in an accurate way. I agree that Chavez as a drug kingpin was difficult to believe and didn’t fit the pattern we use to see in world affairs. Well, you Dave Emory and Hopsicker have been doing a great job! I look forward to get updates, precisions, new findings, etc. Thanks again.

    Posted by Claude | December 20, 2010, 9:08 am
  2. Is there any evidence that Amanda Keller knew Atta

    We know she knew Bohringer and co. but these guys all deny knowing Atta.

    Posted by adam | October 12, 2011, 7:41 pm
  3. @Claude: But don’t Dan and Dave always do their best to provide a truthful and accurate narrative anyway? ….Yeah, I think so, too. =)

    Posted by Steven | October 23, 2011, 4:01 am
  4. February 11, 2011 at 3:15 am
    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/1878/venezuelan-minister-hezbollah

    Tarek Al-Aissami, the Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice, one of the key figures of the Chavez’s government, is accused by the media of having used this position to issue passports to members of Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Born in Lebanon of Syrian descent in 1980; his father, Carlos Al-Aissami, was the head of the Venezuelan branch of the Iraqi Baath political party. According to reports, before the invasion of Iraq his father held a press conference in which he described himself as a Taliban and called Osama Bin Laden, “the great Mujahedeen, Sheik Osama bin Laden.”[1] The Minister’s great-uncle Shibli Al-Aissami was a prominent ideologist and assistant to the secretary general of the Baath party in Baghdad during the Saddam Hussein regime.[2]

    The Hezbollah’s Connection

    Al-Aissami started his political career as a student leader at the University of the Andes (ULA). He apparently had political control of the university dorms, which were allegedly used to hide stolen vehicles, make drug deals and smuggle in members of the guerrillas[3]. He then headed Onidex, the Venezuelan passport and naturalization agency inside the Interior Ministry.

    Al-Aissami was appointed Minister in 2009, and designated to head Onidex by his close friend, Dante Rivas Quijada. The two attended the same university and is also reported to have ties to the Shiite movement Hezbollah.

    There are also allegations that Al-Aissami is one of the people responsible for recruiting young Venezuelan Arabs to be trained in Hezbollah camps in Southern Lebanon.[4] Al-Aissami additionally seems to have helped establishing training caps inside Venezuela, complete with ammunition and explosives.[5] Reports claim that he was working directly with most-wanted terrorist Ghazi Nasr-Din[6], a Venezuelan diplomat also born in Lebanon.

    The US Treasury Department added Ghazi Nasr-Din — along with Fawzi Kan’an, another Venezuelan born in Lebanon — to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their support of Hezbollah. Nasr-Din is also accused of having given Hezbollah donors information on bank accounts where the deposits would go directly to Hezbollah.[7]

    In 2009, Al-Aissami participated in an event in support of Palestine in the Sheikh Ibrahim Mosque in Caracas. In that occasion, the Minister declared that beyond his governmental functions: “I am a son of Arabs, I am a Palestinian, I am an Iraqi […] Our revolution is also a revolution that fights for a free Palestine. You have to know that we are ready to give our life, if needed […] Viva Palestine, Viva Hugo Chavez, Viva the Revolution!”[8]

    The Al-Aissami’s Clan

    One of the Minister’s sisters, Haifa Al-Aissami, with no diplomatic experience, has just been appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands. The appointment sparked in the media accusations of nepotism[9] in the government. Another sister of Al-Aissami, Amin Obayda El Aissami, is an executive of Intevep, the Oil Technology arm of Venezuela.

    The brother of Al-Aissami, Firaz Al-Aissami, is suspected of being involved in the case of Walid Makled, a former Venezuelan businessman of Syrian origins, arrested in Colombia. He is designated by the White House an international “drug kingpin,” also through the alliance with the FARC. The US and Venezuela are asking for his extradition. The Chavez administration is actually worried about possible evidence that would be made public if Makled would be send to trial to New York. Makled has threatened that he should he be given to the US authority, he will spill out all he knows.

    He is reported to have said that “If I’m a drug trafficker, everyone in the Chavez government is drug trafficker.” He described making payments of about $1 million a month to high-ranking civilian and military officials and separately paying the brother of Al-Aissami $100,000.[10] Makled also revealed that the Minister himself received a cash payoff made through El Aissami’s brother. Makled said the money was in exchange for favors[11] and concessions[12]. Makled also declared that he taped his meetings with the Minister’s brother. The cousin of the Minister, Aiman Al-Aissami, also appears among the names involved in the Makled’s case[13]. Aissami, of course, denies all the allegations.

    Posted by adam | July 17, 2016, 7:42 am

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