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AFA 24–28: The CIA, the Military & Drugs

AFA 24: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 1
Part 1a
44:30 | Part 1b 44:48 | Part 1c 44:36 | Part 1d 44:51 | Part 1e 28:21
(Record­ed on Octo­ber 16, 1986)

The first of five AFA shows deal­ing with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the nar­cotics trade, this broad­cast sets forth much of the his­to­ry of this rela­tion­ship. In par­tic­u­lar, the pro­gram focus­es on the role of pro­fes­sion­al, post World War II anti-com­mu­nists in the growth of the hero­in busi­ness.

Begin­ning with the Bay­er company’s devel­op­ment of hero­in as a cough-depres­sant and cure for mor­phine addic­tion, the pro­gram sets forth the same firm’s inven­tion of methadone, now used to treat hero­in addic­tion. Part of the I.G. Far­ben chem­i­cal firm that served as the back­bone of Third Reich indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion, Bay­er (the devel­op­er of aspirin) devel­oped methadone as a syn­thet­ic opi­ate for treat­ing casu­al­ties pri­or to World War II. It was orig­i­nal­ly called Dolophine, in hon­or of Adolph Hitler!

Next the broad­cast ana­lyzes the role of opi­ates in the Chi­na the­atre dur­ing World War II. Using the Green Gang of Tu Yueh Sheng (Shang­hai-based opi­um traf­fick­ers), Ti Li (Chi­ang Kai Shek’s bru­tal inte­ri­or min­is­ter) fused polit­i­cal repres­sion with the drug trade. (For more on Chiang’s regime, see AFA-11.) Work­ing with Chiang’s agents, oper­a­tives of the OSS (America’s World War intel­li­gence ser­vice) grew accus­tomed to trad­ing opi­um for hard intel­li­gence, set­ting the stage for sub­se­quent involve­ment of ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence with the drug trade.

When Chiang’s army suc­cumbed to the com­mu­nist forces of Mao Tse-Tung, resid­ual ele­ments of the Kuom­intang fled to neigh­bor­ing Indo-Chi­na. Receiv­ing arms and financ­ing from the CIA to fight against Mao, the KMT forces used the assis­tance to cor­ral the Gold­en Tri­an­gle drug traf­fic instead. In Europe, anti-com­mu­nist activism also helped to pro­mote the hero­in traf­fic.

Using the Mafia forces of Lucky Luciano against Axis sab­o­tage on the East Coast of the Unit­ed States and in aid­ing the Allied land­ing in Sici­ly, U.S. intel­li­gence con­tin­ued the rela­tion­ship into the post-war era. Using Amer­i­can and Ital­ian mob­sters to sub­due the vig­or­ous Ital­ian Com­mu­nist Par­ty, the CIA intel­li­gence turned a blind-eye to the gang­sters’ use of hero­in refiner­ies and ship­ping facil­i­ties to move drugs into the U.S.

In France as well, the CIA used the Cor­si­can orga­nized crime syn­di­cates to sup­press the pow­er­ful, com­mu­nist-influ­enced dock work­ers in Mar­seille. (In addi­tion to block­ing muni­tions ship­ments to the Indo-Chi­na war, French com­mu­nists wield­ed real polit­i­cal pow­er in post-war France. As in Italy, the mil­i­tary resis­tance against Axis armies by the com­mu­nists won them con­sid­er­able polit­i­cal sup­port.) As in Italy, the anti-com­mu­nist efforts of the Cor­si­cans result­ed in the U.S. tac­it­ly sanc­tion­ing the use of Mar­seilles as an alter­nate refin­ing cen­ter when the Sicil­ian and Ital­ian refiner­ies were closed down. This quid pro quo con­sti­tut­ed the gen­e­sis of the famed “French Con­nec­tion.”

Next, the broad­cast high­lights the role of Col. Roger Trin­quier (a French offi­cer in the Indo-Chi­na war) in devel­op­ing an opi­um-for-intel­li­gence infra­struc­ture to com­bat the influ­ence of Ho Chi Minh’s com­mu­nists in the ear­ly 1950’s. By trad­ing drugs for infor­ma­tion, Trin­quier was rel­a­tive­ly suc­cess­ful in reduc­ing com­mu­nist activ­i­ty for a peri­od of time, set­ting the stage for a revival of the opi­um traf­fic as a vehi­cle for com­bat­ing com­mu­nism dur­ing the Amer­i­can involve­ment in Viet­nam. The pro­gram delin­eates the role of the South Viet­namese Air Force and the CIA’s Air Amer­i­ca pro­pri­etary air­line in bring­ing hero­in into South Viet­nam. While pro­vid­ing cap­i­tal to con­duct the CIA’s “secret” war in Laos, this traf­fic result­ed in an epi­dem­ic of hero­in addic­tion among GI’s sta­tioned in Viet­nam and, ulti­mate­ly, added to the flow of the drug into the Unit­ed States itself.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: the role of Nguyen Cao Ky (who ulti­mate­ly became Vice-Pres­i­dent of the short-lived South Viet­namese Repub­lic) in direct­ing the Viet­namese hero­in ship­ments; the involve­ment of Amer­i­can gang­sters asso­ci­at­ed with the Mey­er Lan­sky syn­di­cate and the French Con­nec­tion traf­fic (such as San­tos Traf­fi­cante) in the South­east Asian drug trade; Richard Nixon’s role in pro­mot­ing Amer­i­can fund­ing of a Pep­si-Cola bot­tling facil­i­ty that was to evolve into the largest hero­in refin­ing facil­i­ty in South­east Asia; the involve­ment of CIA offi­cers Theodore Shack­ley, Thomas Clines and Lucien Conein in the South­east Asian intel­li­gence-hero­in milieu.

AFA 25: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 2
Part 2a
44:34 | Part 2b 44:28 | Part 2c 44:15 | Part 2d 44:29 | Part 2e 18:30
(Record­ed Decem­ber 3, 1986)

This pro­gram focus­es on the rela­tion­ship between the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the arms-for-drugs trade. Rel­a­tive­ly well pub­li­cized after the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal came to light, this rela­tion­ship has exist­ed for some time. The broad­cast begins with dis­cus­sion of the Nugan Hand Bank, a com­bined CIA and Naval Intel­li­gence oper­a­tion super­vised under the juris­dic­tion of Task Force 157, and ONI sub­sidiary run by Edwin Wil­son (see AFA‑4.) Deeply involved in the South­east Asian drug traf­fic, the Bank also served as a fund­ing source for covert oper­a­tions, includ­ing the desta­bi­liza­tion of the Aus­tralian Labor Par­ty gov­ern­ment of Gough Whit­lam. The bank’s key offi­cials con­sist­ed large­ly of for­mer high-rank­ing U.S. mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials.

Next, the pro­gram high­lights the oper­a­tions of Alber­to Sicil­ia Fal­con, a Cuban-Amer­i­can deeply involved in cross-bor­der guns and drugs oper­a­tions between the U.S. and Mex­i­co. Appar­ent­ly involved in the desta­bi­liza­tion of the Echev­er­ria gov­ern­ment in Mex­i­co, Fal­con count­ed among his asso­ciates Sam “Mo-Mo” Gian­cana, the late Mafia boss of Chica­go. His oper­a­tions were con­duct­ed in con­junc­tion with ele­ments of the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

The pro­gram then sets forth an appar­ent oper­a­tion involv­ing the Latin Amer­i­can drug traf­fic and a plan to man­u­fac­ture the Ingram Mac 10 and Mac 11 machine pis­tols in Cos­ta Rica. These weapons, man­u­fac­tured by vet­er­an covert oper­a­tions vet­er­an Mitch Wer Bell (nick­named “the Wiz­ard of Whis­per­ing Death”), were to be assem­bled for the use of Latin Amer­i­can death squads. The names of Flori­da Mafia Boss San­tos Traf­fi­cante and fugi­tive financier Robert Vesco also crop up in con­nec­tion with this scheme. Much of the pro­gram con­sists of a re-broad­cast of a long sec­tion of AFA-20, deal­ing with one of the most impor­tant arms-for-drugs rings, the Stibam oper­a­tion.

AFA 26: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 3
The Great Hero­in Coup
Part 3a 45:18 | Part 3b 39:57 | Part 3c 40:04 | Part 3d 30:04
(Record­ed Jan­u­ary 27, 1987)

This pro­gram focus­es on the coop­er­a­tive role of ele­ments of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the U.S. nar­cotics enforce­ment appa­ra­tus in reg­u­lat­ing, not inter­dict­ing, the ille­gal trade in nar­cotics. The title refers to Dan­ish jour­nal­ist Hen­rik Kruger’s appel­la­tion for an appar­ent gam­bit, through which the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion, ele­ments of the CIA and ele­ments of U.S. law enforce­ment dimin­ished the role of Cor­si­can gang­sters in the inter­na­tion­al hero­in trade. This strat­a­gem strength­ened the role of Amer­i­can gang­sters in the hero­in traf­fic. Those gang­sters were, not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, con­nect­ed to both the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion and the CIA.

Much of the sto­ry revolves around Chris­t­ian David, a Cor­si­can gang­ster employed by var­i­ous intel­li­gence ser­vices, includ­ing the CIA. David was ulti­mate­ly brought to heel by the U.S., as part of the inter­dic­tion oper­a­tion against the Cor­si­cans. Kruger argues that an appar­ent “crack­down” by the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion on the hero­in trade was, in fact, a covert oper­a­tion. In addi­tion to reduc­ing the role of the Cor­si­cans in the hero­in trade, the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion’s crack­down appears to have served as a front for sup­port­ing death squad activ­i­ty in Latin Amer­i­ca. The pro­gram high­lights the role of intel­li­gence ele­ments whose names lat­er became well-known in the Iran-Con­tra affair.

Anoth­er major ele­ment of dis­cus­sion is an arms-and-drug smug­gling oper­a­tion enti­tled “The Com­pa­ny.” The name is (per­haps coin­ci­den­tal­ly) a CIA-insid­ers’ nick­name for the Agency. (The crim­i­nal enter­prise of the same name, dis­cussed in this broad­cast, may very well have been con­nect­ed with an ele­ment of the agency.)

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Chris­t­ian David’s involve­ment with the Latin Amer­i­can drug net­work of the Cor­si­can gang­ster and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Auguste Ricord; Vet­er­an CIA oper­a­tive Lucien Conein’s employ­ment as head of the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion’s assas­si­na­tion appa­ra­tus (osten­si­bly to be employed against drug traf­fick­ers); the appar­ent employ­ment of the Conein oper­a­tion as a para-fas­cist ter­ror appa­ra­tus in Latin Amer­i­ca; the appar­ent role of the Conein appa­ra­tus as a vehi­cle for elim­i­nat­ing traf­fick­ers com­pet­ing with Nixon orga­nized crime allies; CIA offi­cer Theodore Shack­ley’s oper­a­tions (appar­ent­ly) con­duct­ed in con­junc­tion with the drug trade (Shack­ley’s name became well known dur­ing the Iran-Con­tra affair); CIA offi­cer Thomas Clines’ involve­ment in oper­a­tions with Shack­ley (Clines’ name also fig­ured in the Iran-Con­tra rev­e­la­tions); the oper­a­tional back­grounds of Shack­ley, Clines and Conein in South­east Asia dur­ing the Viet­nam War; hit-man Charles Har­rel­son’s charge that ele­ments of the DEA had Judge John Wood killed (Har­rel­son was con­vict­ed of killing Wood); Har­rel­son’s claim of first-hand knowl­edge of the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy; Har­rel­son’s oper­a­tions on behalf of “The Com­pa­ny;” con­nec­tions between “The Com­pa­ny” and orga­nized-crime fig­ures from the JFK assas­si­na­tion milieu; “The Com­pa­ny” and the smug­gling of weapon­ry from the top-secret Chi­na Lake Naval Weapons Sta­tion; “The Com­pa­ny’s” traf­fick­ing of the Chi­na Lake weapon­ry to Libya (Shack­ley and Clines were involved with “ex” CIA oper­a­tive Ed Wilson’s oper­a­tions on behalf of Khadafy.) (Record­ed on 1/27/87.)

AFA 27: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 4

Part 4a 46:08 | Part 4b 38:11 | Part 4c 41:16 | Part 4d 46:42 | Part 4e 36:20
(Record­ed March 15, 1987)

Devel­op­ing a line of inquiry pre­sent­ed in the pre­ced­ing broad­cast, this pro­gram focus­es on nar­co-ter­ror­ism in Latin Amer­i­ca. Par­tic­u­lar empha­sis is on intel­li­gence-relat­ed ele­ments that fig­ured in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal, anti-Cas­tro Cubans in par­tic­u­lar. Much of the dis­cus­sion cen­ters on activ­i­ties that took place when George Bush was in charge of the CIA.

After review­ing the Latin Amer­i­can nar­cotics net­work of Cor­si­can gang­ster and Third Reich col­lab­o­ra­tor Auguste Ricord, the broad­cast focus­es on the role of Ricord asso­ciate Klaus Bar­bie in the 1980 “Cocaine Coup” in Bolivia. The Gestapo chief of Lyons (France) dur­ing the war, Bar­bie found post-war employ­ment with Amer­i­can intel­li­gence, first with the Army’s Counter Intel­li­gence Corps, and lat­er with the CIA.

With the aid of ele­ments of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency and the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church of Sun Myung Moon, Bar­bie and a group of fas­cist ter­ror­ists asso­ci­at­ed with the nar­cotics trade over­threw the Boli­vian gov­ern­ment and estab­lished a dic­ta­tor­ship under Gen­er­al Gar­cia-Meza. Under this regime, the busi­ness of cocaine king­pin Rober­to Suarez thrived, aid­ed by Bar­bie and his “bride­grooms of death.” Dou­bling as para-fas­cist ter­ror­ists and enforcers for the gov­ern­ment, Bar­bie and his cut­throats aid­ed the bloody sup­pres­sion of trade unions and the polit­i­cal left in the coup’s after­math.

Bar­bi­e’s cocaine mer­ce­nar­ies includ­ed some inter­est­ing indi­vid­u­als. Ger­man-born Joachim Fiebelko­rn (a neo-Nazi and infor­mant for the Drug Enforce­ment Agency) was joined with Ital­ian fas­cists, such as Pier­lui­gi Pagli­ai (a mem­ber of the infa­mous P‑2 lodge dis­cussed in AFAs 18,19) and the noto­ri­ous fas­cist Ste­fano Delle Chi­aie, a prin­ci­pal archi­tect of the “strat­e­gy of ten­sion.”

The strat­e­gy of ten­sion (a major focal point of AFA-19) was an out-crop­ping of what Dan­ish jour­nal­ist Hen­rik Kruger termed “the Inter­na­tion­al Fascista.” (Kruger is the author of The Great Hero­in Coup: Drugs, Intel­li­gence and Inter­na­tion­al Fas­cism, pub­lished in soft­cov­er by the South End Press of Boston, copy­right 1980. Mr. Emory views the work as the best indi­vid­ual vol­ume ever writ­ten on the sub­ject of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and the nar­cotics trade.) A con­sor­tium of fas­cists in Europe and Latin Amer­i­ca, Inter­na­tion­al Fascista includ­ed numer­ous Latin death squad ele­ments, ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence and the Pal­adin mer­ce­nary group (fund­ed by Libyan dic­ta­tor Khadafy, as well as the weapons empire of SS offi­cer and some­time CIA oper­a­tive Otto Sko­rzeny.) A prin­ci­pal fig­ure in the post­war ODESSA orga­ni­za­tion, Sko­rzeny is dis­cussed at con­sid­er­able length in AFA-22.

One of the major cogs of the Inter­na­tion­al Fascista was CORU, arguably the most mil­i­tant and dead­ly of the anti-Cas­tro Cuban orga­ni­za­tions. CORU was involved in a string of bomb­ings, assas­si­na­tions and ter­ror­ist attacks in the mid 1970’s, includ­ing the 1976 assas­si­na­tion of Orlan­do Lete­lier in Wash­ing­ton D.C. CORU’s reign of ter­ror took place when George Bush was direc­tor of the CIA, and an ele­ment of the agency appears to have been involved with it.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: “Oper­a­tion Con­dor” (an inter­na­tion­al assas­si­na­tion con­sor­tium of Latin Amer­i­can dic­ta­tor­ships); a num­ber of assas­si­na­tions and attempt­ed assas­si­na­tions con­duct­ed under “Con­dor;” Argen­tine fas­cist and P‑2 lodge mem­ber Jose Lopez Rega; Ital­ian fas­cist and Sko­rzeny asso­ciate Prince Jus­to Vale­rio Borgh­ese; for­mer Goebbels Pro­pa­gan­da Min­istry offi­cial Ger­hard Hart­mut Von Schu­bert (the oper­at­ing man­ag­er of the Pal­adin group); Pal­ad­in’s over­lap with Span­ish intel­li­gence and the CIA; Oper­a­tion Con­dor’s attempts at dis­guis­ing its acts as left-wing ter­ror; the posi­tion of the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League in the milieu set forth in this broad­cast

AFA 28: The CIA, the Mil­i­tary & Drugs, Pt. 5
Part 5a
46:15 | Part 5b 45:52 | Part 5c 42:56 | Part 5d 45:11 | Part 5e 11:25
(Record­ed April 26, 1987)

Begin­ning with the CIA’s research into LSD as part of its inves­ti­ga­tion of mind con­trol tech­niques, this broad­cast high­lights the pro­found role of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty in the dis­sem­i­na­tion of hal­lu­cino­gens and the devel­op­ment of the recre­ation­al cul­ture attached to their use.

The CIA and mil­i­tary exper­i­ment­ed with the drug (LSD) in a vari­ety of clin­i­cal and social envi­ron­ments.

The first of the LSD “evan­ge­lists” was not Tim­o­thy Leary, Ken Kesey or Aldous Hux­ley but a CIA (and for­mer OSS) offi­cer named Al “Cap” Hub­bard.

In addi­tion to pro­duc­ing psy­chot­ic and (in some cas­es) lethal results, this exper­i­men­ta­tion also served to infil­trate the drug into intel­lec­tu­al and pop­u­lar cul­ture. Writ­ers Aldous Hux­ley, Ken Kesey and Allen Gins­berg were intro­duced to the drug (direct­ly or indi­rect­ly) through the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­men­t’s LSD exper­i­men­ta­tion pro­grams.

Tim­o­thy Leary’s ear­ly research into LSD was sub­si­dized, to some extent, by the CIA. Lat­er, Leary’s LSD pros­e­ly­ti­za­tion was great­ly aid­ed by William Mel­lon Hitch­cock, a mem­ber of the pow­er­ful Mel­lon fam­i­ly. The financ­ing of the Mel­lon-Leary col­lab­o­ra­tion was effect­ed through the Cas­tle Bank, a Caribbean oper­a­tion that was deeply involved in the laun­der­ing of CIA drug mon­ey.

After mov­ing to the West Coast, Leary hooked up with a group of ex-surfers, the Broth­er­hood of Eter­nal Love. This group became the largest LSD syn­the­siz­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing orga­ni­za­tion in the world. Their “chief chemist” was a curi­ous indi­vid­ual named Ronald Hadley Stark. An enig­mat­ic, mul­ti-lin­gual and well-trav­eled indi­vid­ual, Stark worked for the CIA, and appears to have been with the agency when he was mak­ing the Broth­er­hood’s acid. The qual­i­ty of his prod­uct pro­ject­ed the Broth­er­hood of Eter­nal Love into its lead­er­ship role in the LSD trade. Stark also oper­at­ed in con­junc­tion with the Ital­ian intelligence/fascist milieu described in AFA #‘s 17–21.

The broad­cast under­scores the pos­si­bil­i­ty that LSD and oth­er hal­lu­cino­gens may have been dis­sem­i­nat­ed, in part, in order to dif­fuse the pro­gres­sive polit­i­cal activism of the 1960’s.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: CIA direc­tor Allen Dulles’ pro­mo­tion of psy­cho­log­i­cal research by the Agency; the work of CIA physi­cian Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb for the Agen­cy’s Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Divi­sion; con­nec­tions between Stark and the kid­nap­ping and assas­si­na­tion of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Aldo Moro; Stark’s mys­te­ri­ous death in prison while await­ing tri­al; Leary’s con­nec­tions to the milieu of the “left” CIA and the role those con­nec­tions appear to have played in Leary’s flight from incar­cer­a­tion; the CIA’s intense inter­est in (and involve­ment with) the Haight-Ash­bury scene of the 1960s. (Record­ed on 4/26/87.)


One comment for “AFA 24–28: The CIA, the Military & Drugs”

  1. Great Series! It inspired me to buy & read the great Hero­in coup.
    This arti­cle by Doug Valen­tine is a great sup­ple­ment
    also this archival piece from 1976 on Lucien Conein is fun

    Posted by Hugo Turner | September 20, 2016, 10:22 pm

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