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The Iran-Contra Scandal, the Killing of Judge Vance and the Don Siegelman Case

COMMENT: We are going to defer dis­cus­sion of the fall­out from “The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Spring” and rumi­na­tion on “Lone Nut Sea­son” here in the U.S.

Study­ing Amer­i­can pow­er pol­i­tics, one is impressed by how unresolved–often unexamined–national secu­ri­ty imbroglios feed upon one anoth­er.

Exem­pli­fy­ing this “con­spir­a­to­r­i­al pro­gres­sion” is Daniel Hop­sick­er’s [1]land­mark research on Bar­ry Seal [2], dove­tail­ing into his work on 9/11.  A mem­ber (along with Lee Har­vey Oswald) of David Fer­rie’s Civ­il Air Patrol unit, Seal pro­gressed to work for the CIA (very pos­si­bly includ­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion as a get away pilot for the JFK assas­si­na­tion [3]), and went to work as one of the Agen­cy’s drug smug­glers dur­ing the Iran-Con­tra oper­a­tion. Seal was assas­si­nat­ed as part of the Iran-Con­tra cov­er-up.

In his book Wel­come to Ter­ror­land [4], Hop­sick­er notes numer­ous con­nec­tions between ele­ments involved in the Iran-Con­tra affair and 9/11 [5]. (Mohamed Atta and com­pa­ny infil­trat­ed the U.S. cour­tesy of the Carl Duis­berg Gesellschafft and some of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s con­trolled drug net­works.) Ele­ments inves­ti­gat­ed by Hop­sick­er in con­nec­tion with the 9/11 milieu were using air­craft reg­is­tered at one time to Bar­ry Seal.

The BCCI is anoth­er lake whose waters lap upon numer­ous shores, includ­ing the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and 9/11 [6].

Updat­ing his inci­sive cov­er­age of the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al polit­i­cal land­scape in “Karl Rove’s Alaba­ma,” [7] Legal Schnau­zer high­lights the gen­e­sis of the plot against for­mer Alaba­ma Gov­er­nor Don Siegel­man and its links with the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal.

Uti­liz­ing infor­ma­tion from the sub­scrip­tion-only Wayne Mad­sen Report, the blog iden­ti­fies Siegel­man’s trou­bles as orig­i­nat­ing when he was Alaba­ma Attor­ney Gen­er­al and began inves­ti­gat­ing some of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s clan­des­tine air­fields and facil­i­ties in rur­al Alaba­ma. One of those, Doss Avi­a­tion was appar­ent­ly con­nect­ed to the Iran-Con­tra shenani­gans.

Hired to keep the real­i­ties of Doss and oth­er com­pa­nies obscured from pub­lic view, Mark Fuller has been front and cen­ter in the pro­ceed­ings against Siegel­man.

Accord­ing to Schnau­zer and WMR, the cen­tral ele­ment in this con­spir­a­to­r­i­al process is the assas­si­na­tion of Judge Robert Vance by a mail bomb in 1989. An appel­late court judge, Vance was viewed as sym­pa­thet­ic to the Chris­tic Insti­tute’s suit and like­ly to help rein­state the suit on appeal. Vance was also a for­mer law part­ner of Don Siegel­man.

As dis­cussed in the AFA series about the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal (#‘s 29 [8]-35 [9]), the Chris­tic Insti­tute had cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fied many of the play­ers in the Iran-Con­tra affair and had filed a RICO suit against many of them. Had Vance suc­cess­ful­ly enabled the case to go for­ward on appeal, the suit might well have suc­ceed­ed, and the hor­rors of the Dubya pres­i­den­cy could have been avoid­ed.

“Siegel­man Case Has Roots in the Iran-Con­tra Scan­dal and the Assas­si­na­tion of a Fed­er­al Judge in the 1980’s”; Legal Schnau­zer; 8/14/2012. [10]

EXCERPT: The roots of the Don Siegel­man pros­e­cu­tion can be traced to the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and the assas­si­na­tion of a fed­er­al judge in the 1980s, accord­ing to a new report from a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist.

The Siegel­man case also has con­nec­tions to a law­suit styled Avir­gan v. Hull, which was dis­missed in curi­ous fashion–an action that might have been a fore­run­ner to the ram­pant judi­cial cor­rup­tion we see today, espe­cial­ly in the Deep South.

Siegel­man tri­al judge Mark Fuller long has been involved in efforts to cov­er up mas­sive CIA drug- and gun-smug­gling oper­a­tions that are tied, in part, to Iran-Con­tra, accord­ing to the Wayne Mad­sen Report (WMR). Fuller also has been involved in a cov­er up involv­ing the 1989 mail-bomb assas­si­na­tion of fed­er­al judge Robert S. Vance in Birm­ing­ham.

How did Fuller become con­nect­ed to such nefar­i­ous activ­i­ties? His home­town of Enter­prise, Alaba­ma, is home to a prime air­field that has been used in the smug­gling oper­a­tions, Mad­sen reports.

Where does Siegel­man fit into this pic­ture, and how did he become the tar­get of a bogus pros­e­cu­tion that was dri­ven by the Bush fam­i­ly and their affil­i­ates? Siegel­man was our state’s attor­ney gen­er­al from 1987 to 1991, and WMR reports that he became aware of Fuller’s ties to Doss Avi­a­tion and the use of south Alaba­ma air­fields for sus­pi­cious flights to Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca. To make Siegel­man even more of a tar­get, he and Robert Vance had once been law partners–and Siegel­man con­sid­ered Vance to be one of his pri­ma­ry men­tors.

Fuller recent­ly resen­tenced Siegel­man to five years and nine months in fed­er­al prison, with a curi­ous report­ing date of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2012. Even more curi­ous, WMR reports, is a state­ment Fuller made at the resen­tenc­ing hear­ing: (WMR is a sub­scrip­tion site, and a link is not avail­able to the con­tent; we have received per­mis­sion to run excerpts from the piece.)

After Siegel­man said he accept­ed the deci­sion of the court and respect­ed the sys­tem, Fuller made a shock­ing and reveal­ing state­ment that under­scored his own crim­i­nal past–and desire for revenge against Siegel­man, Alabama’s attor­ney gen­er­al two decades ago before he became a one-term gov­er­nor from 1999 to 2003.

“You came from the high­est legal office in the state of Alaba­ma,” Fuller told Siegel­man Aug. 3, “and it has tak­en you 21 years to under­stand that, and I find that dif­fi­cult.”

This col­umn reveals for the first time the mean­ing behind Fuller’s com­ment, which stems, accord­ing to WMR sources, from the Fuller family’s involve­ment in the noto­ri­ous Iran-Con­tra arms and dope-smug­gling scan­dal of the late 1980s.

ran-Con­tra has its roots in the Rea­gan years, and fall­out from the scan­dal con­tin­ued dur­ing the George H.W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion. Mark Fuller was a pri­vate attor­ney in a small Alaba­ma town at the time, so how did he become involved? WMR explains:

The fear of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion was that its net­work of CIA-linked drug and weapons run­ners would be exposed. Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern to the con­spir­a­tors was the activ­i­ties of a group of CIA shell com­pa­nies, all most­ly deal­ing with mil­lions of dol­lars of cash trans­ac­tions, includ­ing air trans­port firms incor­po­rat­ed most­ly in the small south­east­ern Alaba­ma town of Enter­prise would be exposed.

From 1985 to 1996, Fuller was a pri­vate attor­ney in Enter­prise with the law firm Cas­sady, Fuller and Marsh. One of Fuller’s clients was a com­pa­ny called Park­er Brown Refu­el­ing Com­pa­ny of Enter­prise. In 1989, Park­er Brown Refu­el­ing Com­pa­ny was bought by investors in Col­orado Springs, and the com­pa­ny became known as Doss Avi­a­tion. The Brown in Park­er Brown Refu­el­ing was the may­or of Enter­prise, M. M. “Jug” Brown. The Cas­sady in Cas­sady, Fuller and Marsh, accord­ing to a reli­able source in Enter­prise, was Joe Cas­sady, who, accord­ing to our source, also served on the board of Doss Avi­a­tion.

Fuller’s rise in legal and judi­cial cir­cles was dri­ven, WMR reports, by his ties to Doss Avi­a­tion, CIA-backed drug and gun smug­gling, and the Bush fam­i­ly:

WMR has learned that Siegel­man, as Attor­ney Gen­er­al, was well-aware of Doss Avi­a­tion’s deal­ings and Fuller’s role in the firm. In 1996, Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Fob James had Fuller appoint­ed as the Chief Assis­tant Dis­trict Attor­ney for the 12th Judi­cial Cir­cuit of Alaba­ma and lat­er that year he was elect­ed Dis­trict Attor­ney for the 12th Cir­cuit. In 2002, Pres­i­dent George W. Bush nom­i­nat­ed Fuller as a fed­er­al judge for the Mid­dle Dis­trict of Alaba­ma in Mont­gomery.

In the span of six years, Fuller went from a large­ly unknown small-town lawyer, with thin cre­den­tials, to a fed­er­al judge. A spe­cif­ic and sin­is­ter pur­pose was behind Fuller’s rapid ascent:

As dis­trict attor­ney and fed­er­al judge, Fuller has been entrust­ed by the CIA to ensure that the ille­gal oper­a­tions involv­ing the agen­cy’s drug and weapons smug­gling oper­a­tions remain a secret. In addi­tion, Fuller has ensured that any­one who is believed to be a threat to the secre­cy of the oper­a­tion, is dealt with harsh­ly, and that includes the Attor­ney Gen­er­al who first caught wind of the Enter­prise oper­a­tion, Siegel­man.

How does this tie back to the Robert Vance assas­si­na­tion? Wal­ter Leroy Moody was con­vict­ed in 1991 of being the sole indi­vid­ual respon­si­ble for send­ing the mail bomb, but WMR reports that Moody almost cer­tain­ly did not act alone–if he was involved at all. The Vance mur­der prob­a­bly was tied to Avir­gan v. Hull, a law­suit that grew from the 1984 bomb­ing at a con­tra press con­fer­ence in La Pen­ca, Cos­ta Rica, killing one Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist (Lin­da Fra­zier) and injur­ing anoth­er (Tony Avir­gan). The Mia­mi-based Chris­tic Insti­tute brought the case under the Rack­e­teer Influ­enced and Cor­rupt Orga­ni­za­tions Act (RICO), alleg­ing that a North Amer­i­can farmer named John Hull was behind the bomb­ing. A 1990 report from the Chris­tic Insti­tute pro­vides back­ground:

Among those injured was ABC cam­era­man Tony Avir­gan. Once Avir­gan recov­ered from his injuries he joined his wife, jour­nal­ist Martha Hon­ey, who had already begun an inves­ti­ga­tion to track down those respon­si­ble for the La Pen­ca bomb­ing.

The two jour­nal­ists dis­cov­ered a trail of evi­dence lead­ing from La Pen­ca to a secret con­tra base in Cos­ta Rica, locat­ed on a ranch owned by a North Amer­i­can farmer named John Hull. Eye­wit­ness­es iden­ti­fied the ranch as the stag­ing area for the La Pen­ca bomb­ing.

Avir­gan and Hon­ey learned that Hull was a key fig­ure in the crim­i­nal enter­prise of retired mil­i­tary offi­cers, for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cials and pri­vate “sol­diers of for­tune” who were sup­ply­ing arms for the con­tra war against Nicaragua. They also learned that Hull was allow­ing Colom­bian drug traf­fick­ers to use his ranch to smug­gle cocaine into the Unit­ed States. The prof­its from the drug oper­a­tion were used to pur­chase mil­i­tary sup­plies for the con­tras.

Despite an esca­lat­ing series of anony­mous death threats and the mur­der on Hul­l’s ranch of one of their infor­mants, Avir­gan and Hon­ey com­plet­ed their inves­ti­ga­tion and pub­lished their find­ings. Real­iz­ing they had found evi­dence of a broad crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy, the two jour­nal­ists asked the Chris­tic Insti­tute to rep­re­sent them in a fed­er­al civ­il law­suit against the indi­vid­u­als respon­si­ble for the La Pen­ca bomb­ing and oth­er crim­i­nal acts. The Chris­tic Insti­tute, which had already amassed exten­sive infor­ma­tion about the crim­i­nal oper­a­tions of the Richard Sec­ord Enter­prise, agreed to rep­re­sent the jour­nal­ists.

The law­suit was filed six months before the Iran-Con­tra sto­ry broke in the press. A fed­er­al judge in Mia­mi dis­missed the law­suit, but a num­ber of reports have stat­ed that Vance was con­sid­ered a strong bet to rein­state the case on appeal in the Eleventh Cir­cuit. The appeal was pend­ing when a mail bomb explod­ed at Vance’s Moun­tain Brook home on Decem­ber 12, 1989, killing him instant­ly. Chris­tic’s appeal would be denied, and the tri­al judge’s impo­si­tion of Rule 11 sanc­tions total­ing about $1.5 mil­lion was upheld, forc­ing the insti­tute into bank­rupt­cy. That helped ensure that the truth behind Iran-Con­tra would nev­er be unrav­eled, and WMR shows how it all ties to the Siegel­man pros­e­cu­tion:

The mur­der of Vance needs to be under­stood in the con­text of the 1980s Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and Siegelman’s under­stand­able desire to inves­ti­gate it as attor­ney gen­er­al, par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en the exten­sive use of air­fields in South­ern Alaba­ma for sus­pi­cious flights to Cen­tral and South Amer­i­ca. Vance was the lead jus­tice on the 11th Cir­cuit pan­el that was con­sid­er­ing the appeal of a low­er court’s deci­sion to toss out a Rack­e­teer Influ­enced Cor­rupt Orga­ni­za­tions (RICO) suit brought by the Chris­tic Insti­tute against the Bush admin­is­tra­tion for the Iran-con­tra scan­dal, specif­i­cal­ly the 1984 bomb­ing of a con­tra meet­ing in La Pen­ca, Cos­ta Rica that killed Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Lin­da Fra­zier and injured anoth­er Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist, Tony Avir­gan. The suit was thrown out by U.S. Judge James King in Mia­mi and an appeal was filed by Chris­tic with the 11th Cir­cuit in Atlanta. With Vance’s assas­si­na­tion, the RICO appeal was doomed. Siegel­man, as some­one close to Vance and, hence, to the case, would have under­stood the impact of Vance’s assas­si­na­tion in expos­ing the entire Iran-con­tra episode, includ­ing Fuller’s involve­ment with it.
Accord­ing to WMR, Fuller knows exact­ly who helped him rise to pow­er, and he intends to pro­tect their secrets at all cost.

As dis­trict attor­ney and fed­er­al judge, Fuller has been entrust­ed by the CIA to ensure that the ille­gal oper­a­tions involv­ing the agen­cy’s drug and weapons smug­gling oper­a­tions remain a secret. In addi­tion, Fuller has ensured that any­one who is believed to be a threat to the secre­cy of the oper­a­tion, is dealt with harsh­ly and that includes the Attor­ney Gen­er­al who first caught wind of the Enter­prise oper­a­tion, Siegel­man. . . .