Arkansas Airport Called HUB of CIA Drugs and Guns Pipeline


Death of a Journalist Exposes a Secret Government
Harry Martin
with Samori Marksman

Virginia McCullough
WBAI Interview

Interview with Bill Hamilton
developer of Promis software and CEO of INSLAW


Opium poppies in Afghanistan.
An Interview with Prof. Alfred W. McCoy


New World Order

WBAI Pacifica Radio New York
Interview with Mark Swaney

By: Paul DeRienzo.

WBAI radio's fall 1991 interview with Mark Swaney from "Faithful Arkansas" a citizens group, speaking of Bill Clinton’s and George Bush’s connection with the CIA covert drug smuggling operation in Mena Arkansas in support of the Contras.

MARK SWANEY:

…. [they] set up a front company in Guadalajara Mexico. The purpose, of which, he was told, was to smuggle weapons to the Contra’s in Central America. And he was to be the front man –he was to provide the front cover for this company, but he was given to know that behind the scenes they [the CIA] would be using this company to smuggle weapons. So he was ok with that and he went down to Guadalajara and was down there until the summer of ’87–actually the plane was shot down in ’86. So this operation in Mexico continued for a year after the Iran-Contra story was breaking and that’s something that a lot of people don’t know–they think that Iran-Contra re-supply stopped when the revelations were made in ’86, but they actually continued.

Anyway in the summer of ’87, even as the hearings were going on in Congress, Terry Reed began to suspect they were using his front company for something other than smuggling weapons. And one day he was looking for a lathe in one of his warehouses by the airport there in Guadalajara and he went in and opened up an air freight shipping container (which are very large, they’re about 28 feet long, 7 feet high, 8 feet wide), and he found it packed full of Cocaine when he opened it up. He immediately realized he was in a very precarious situation because he was the only one on paper who had anything to do with that company, and if they had ever gotten caught–there was nobody to stand up and say well this guy didn’t know anything–he was going to be a patsy if anything went wrong. So he decided he wasn’t going to play the part of the patsy.

The man who was his contact man for the CIA in Mexico was Felix Rodriguez. So he confronted Felix Rodriguez and said well listen I didn’t bargain on getting into Narcotics smuggling and I’m outta this all together guys –I’m leaving now–I refuse to have anything further to do with this. And Felix Rodriguez said ok fine if you want to be out your out. Now before he was able to return to Little Rock Arkansas where his home was at the time, Governor Clinton’s Chief of Security Raymond Buddy Young, and private investigator, Tommy Baker, who is I’m told a former member of the Arkansas State Police, were framing Terry Reid for mail fraud.

What this involved was the so-called project donation that Oliver North had set up. Terry Reid’s plane had been stolen a number of years earlier –and used in drug missions and such without his knowledge –and he claimed the insurance money for his plane being stolen –and so to set him up what they did was took the airplane and put it back in his hangar before he got back to Arkansas. Governor Clinton’s Chief of Security just supposedly happened –and this is what he tells the press–he say’s "one day I just happened to be walking by this hangar, and the wind just happened to blow the door open and I just happened to look in and see this airplane that was stolen four years earlier in another state and I realized-that was the plane." And so this is how the case got started.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

How would he have known that was the plane?

MARK SWANEY:

Oh that’s never been explained. Along with a number of aspects in this famous story. We’re in contact with Terry Reid’s defense attorney in Witchita and she’s promised to send us all of the documents–we have some of the documents already that indicate –he was found not guilty–well he never went to trial.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Is that the same Buddy Young by the way who’s head of Governor Clinton’s security detail.

MARK SWANEY:

Yes he is.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Buddy Young; let’s keep his name in mind because I want to come back to him. Let’s jump now to the sight in Arkansas that was used as the landing sight, the airport in Arkansas in the town of Mena Arkansas–that was determinates of a lot of these Iran-Contra re-supply flights.

MARK SWANEY:

Yes, in fact Terry Reid has stated in that same article that you have that it was the hub of the Contra re-supply effort. Many people are not aware that Arkansas was very heavily and very deeply involved in the Iran-Contra affair all during the time that Governor Clinton governor of the state. And there were numerous stories written about it in the press. Well the story about Mena is that Mena is a very small town in the middle of the Washitah mountains in Southwestern Arkansas and not coincidentally it happens to be in Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt’s district, the Third Congressional district.

John Paul Hammerschmidt just happens to be one of George Bush’s very closest friends. He was George Bush’s Presidential Campaign Manager for Bush’s campaign in ’76 and again in 1980. The two people are very close. Anyway Mena has an airport and it looks from the outside like an ordinary, normal airport. The thing that separates Mena’s airport from any other is the fact that there are rows upon row of hangars –buildings that house aircraft refitting facilities. Now aircraft refitting is an industry that is in demand by two principal paying customers. One of them is the CIA, and the other ones are drug smugglers. And the reason is, is because if you’re a CIA guy and you’re going to do covert actions overseas –they’re almost entirely relying on air transport of some kind. Particularly if you’re going to covertly re-supply an army that’s over a thousand miles away.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Hasenfus’s plane was based there.

MARK SWANEY:

Pardon me.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Hasenfus’s plane, the plane that was shot down, was based in Mena Arkansas.

MARK SWANEY:

That plane was based there formally before Barry Seal was murdered just a few months before it was shot down. That was Barry Seal’s own personal airplane. But anyway what you need to do, if you’re a CIA or a drug smuggler is you need an airplane that can do things that normally airplanes of the civilian variety are not allowed to do. Things like have cargo doors that open to the inside of the airplane so that you can make in-flight drops—so that you can drop things out of the airplane while it’s flying–which is illegal on a commercial or civilian type of aircraft. You need to do things like install advanced navigational equipment sometimes even? You need things like roller mats to put down on the floor so that you can roll the crates forward in the fuselage of the airplane to kick them out. You need to be able to modify a civilian aircraft that is not legally allowed to have such capability so that it does have those capabilities.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

And this was done in Mena–a smalltown airport.

MARK SWANEY:

Right now Mena has the second or third largest–I don’t know which, but one of the largest aircraft refitting facilities in the United States. And as such it was–long before the Nicaraguan episode happened, it was a base of CIA covert operation and remains to this very minute a base of CIA covert operation.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Let’s jump to another name that comes up in this–a fella by the name of Larry Nichols, former employee of the state of Arkansas. He was a employee of the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority now I have an Associated Press article that came out just a couple of days ago that Larry Nichols has dropped a lawsuit that he had instituted in 1990 against Governor Clinton that came after his 1988 dismissal from that state job for miss-use of agency telephones.

Can you tell us who Larry Nichols was?

MARK SWANEY:

Yeah this is probably the most interesting part of the story –you see Larry Nichols is the source of all these rumors and the Jennifer Flowers thing and the Governor’s sex life. The story that the press has yet not picked up on is the fact that Larry Nichols was a big time Contra supporter. He has close connections to Mario Colero, Adolpho Colero and Jack Singlaub. In fact he served with General Singlove in Vietnam. He spent the first half of the decade working for the Contras in a connection with an organization that General Singlove had. He spent time with the Contra’s on the ground in Honduras. His job was to collect military information. Now I’ve met with Larry Nichols–this information that I’m about to give you he has told me directly. And we have checked out a great deal of what he’s told us and everything that he has told us has checked out totally accurate.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

So what we’re seeing here is a connection between the mistress sex scandal and the Iran-Contra and the Governor of Arkansas. There’s a connection.

MARK SWANEY:

Well what you find out here in a minute is that the sex scandals really have nothing to do with it. I saw his lawsuit several months ago when I was in Little Rock and it was of no interest to me I didn’t even bother to make a copy of it. But Larry Nichols, the man, and his relationship to the Governor is extremely interesting. You see what it is–is that his job was to make military analysis of the situation in Honduras with the Contras. And to take that information back to the United States and package it and present it to Congressmen who are in favor of Contra Aid with a view toward convincing them that the Contra’s were an effective military fighting force–that they could win militarily against the Sandanistas.

At some point around ’85 I believe this job for Larry ran out, and he didn’t have any money and he approached Governor Clinton. Now according to Larry, he and Governor Clinton are close friends, have known each other for a long time. In fact before the Governor was the Governor. He asked Governor Clinton–hey I’m broke I need a job. Well it’s not too usual that somebody could just call up the Governor and say I want a job and the Governor says sure we’ll make you Marketing Director for ADFA. That’s the Arkansas Development Finance Authority–which figures centrally in Bill Clinton’s relationship to the Contra Re-supply network that the state of Arkansas was so heavily involved in.

In any case he was there working at ADFA and someone at ADFA a fellow employee had found out about this guy that was working with them who was this romantic jungle fighter type of character. And eventually she began to talk to some friends about it and word reached the ears of a reporter and a reporter began to investigate Larry Nichols–wondering what this big Contra supporter was doing working for ADFA. Everyone who holds a top position at ADFA is directly appointed by Bill Clinton–in fact ADFA is a total invention of Bill Clinton’s–he created the agency out of thin air and appoints all of the top directors. In any case a reporter approached Bill Clinton in Japan and started to question him about Larry Nichols –wanted to know what this guy was doing on state payroll –if he was lobbying for the Contra’s or just what the story was.

Mr. Clinton, rather precipitously fired Larry Nichols directly after that. And the story that was put out was that he was fired for misusing state telephones that he’d supposedly made hundreds of calls to the Contras and ran up thousands of dollars worth of bills to the Contras–umm that is an unsubstantiated allegation–in fact on Larry Nichols suggestion the organization I work with received his entire phone records from ADFA through freedom of information act and went over those phone records with him call by call and we did not find any records of calls by him outside the United States on those phone records so it was a phony charge and Larry Nichols was in fact wrongfully fired and they made up this story that he was calling the Contras in order to get rid of him.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Why do you think that was?

MARK SWANEY:

Well I don’t know the exact reason but I can tell you this that Larry Nichols and Buddy Young the man I mentioned earlier, are very close friends.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Well that’s a point that you just mentioned that Buddy Young was the State Security man who discovered the airplane–the allegedly stolen airplane belonging to Terry Reid was in fact in a certain airport hangar.

MARK SWANEY:

Everything to do with that in fact the federal judge is on record for calling Buddy Young a liar in Terry Reid’s trial. But see Larry Nichols and Buddy Young knew each other and are close friends according to the newspaper accounts that were in the newspaper down here in Arkansas yesterday–they’re old buddies.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Yes, well that’s what the Associated Press report that I’m looking at right now says that Nichols dropped his lawsuit after consulting with Buddy Young.

MARK SWANEY:

Yes, Now I’m going to say something right now which is rather shocking–this is the first time this has been made public to my knowledge. A member of my organization who is going to be at a press conference that we’re having tomorrow–spoke with Larry Nichols–we’ve been in contact with him for several months off and on the telephone, and he’s had a conversation with him sometime around the first week of January–during which Larry Nichols told this member of my organization–that Buddy Young had called him and told him that he in fact was a dead man–that was under threat of death.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Buddy Young was?

MARK SWANEY:

No. Larry Nichols, And at that time Buddy Young was frightened –he was not threatening Larry Nichols personally he was saying that we’re all in trouble with this because there’s a move in the Governor’s office to get rid of me. So Buddy Young was afraid that Governor Clinton was about to axe him in the same way that he axed Larry Nichols. And so serious did he take this possibility that he informed Larry Nichols directly that he was a dead man.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

So Larry Nichols is now saying that Buddy Young the Chief of Governor Clinton’s gubernatorial campaign has told him that he’s a dead man.

MARK SWANEY:

Yes, that is the information that Larry Nichols gave to us –now as I say that has not been reported anywhere else and I would not bet a lot right now on Mr. Nichols backing that statement up, but I back it up.

PAUL DeRIENZO:

And this is prior to him dropping this lawsuit against Governor Clinton.

MARK SWANEY:

Yes, the timing of his dropping the lawsuit is interesting to us too, because we just recently were in contact with the Nation Magazine, and it was approximately two days after the Nation Magazine actually decided to take the information that we had collected on this case very seriously and in fact are now pursuing their own investigative journalism on this, it was about two days after that that Larry Nichols declared that he was going to drop his lawsuit. Uh, so there are some very strange things that are going on. There’s a great deal of other information–uh, connecting Governor Clinton to the operation in Mena.

We don’t have what you’d call a smoking gun on this –I have in front of me a piece of paper that I’ve written 17 questions for the Governor that the media has totally overlooked in their haste to salivate over all these sexual stories–they’ve totally missed what’s available. For example, the organization that I work for has been–I don’t say I work for, nobody pays us we’re getting broke doing this, but in any case we’ve collected just about everything that’s publicly available about Mena and all of its ramifications and its a tremendous story, and I’d like to emphasize right now that Governor Clinton’s part in this is very minor–the real big fish in this story is George Bush. The damage that could come from this information coming out is in fact far more damaging to George Bush than anyone else, because he’s directly responsible for this –this operation was run out of the then Vice President George Bush’s office.

And I’d also like to add that the Arkansas chapter of the Iran-Contra story was the one that was most heavily covered up at the time. It was part of the story they had that they took the most care to see to it that nothing ever came out about it. And that was for two reasons: 1) because it involves massive cocaine smuggling–we had one pilot that came to the University and spoke directly to us and said "I personally flew for the CIA, guns, Panamanian Defense forces and approximately one ton of cocaine per flight. I flew seven of these flights into Mena Arkansas." So they wanted to cover it up because it was the one thing that would have exposed the drug connection within the United States most heavily. 2) And the other reason that they were very anxious to cover-up Mena’s involvement was because the base of operations that the CIA was using was in fact still active at the time the hearings were going on. And that base of operations supports covert operations all around the world not just in Central America. For example, there’s a current covert operation that was going on there at least as late as May of last year that killed a man from Arkansas in Angola. So the entire time that Barry Seal was operating out of that airport the CIA was supporting there covert war with Jonas Savimbi in Angola. And we have sources within the United States government that there is covert activity going on this very day. 

PAUL DeRIENZO:

Thank you very much Mark Swaney. The real story about Governor Bill Clinton, that we’re getting served to us from all the media from start to finish from morning to night headlines in all the New York papers, is this thing about Jennifer Flowers and her association with the Governor. The real story which you get on WBAI underneath it all from our contacts in Arkansas is that in fact the Governor of Arkansas is covering up an illegal operation that began in the Vice President’s office who is now President of the United States–George Bush. Which makes me wonder why should I even bother voting–who’s there to vote for. I mean both sides the Democrats and the Republicans are involved.

MARK SWANEY:

That’s another part of the story–you know the best way to buy off an election is to pay off both candidates. There’s significant Republican interest in seeing Bill Clinton get the nomination from the standpoint that they will be assured then that none of the issues of the Iran-Contra affair are likely to be talked about. Certainly Clinton doesn’t want to talk about them.

We tried before we knew that Mr. Clinton was involved in this, we only came across this information 5 or 6 months ago and for two years now we’ve been doing demonstrations, writing letters collecting petitions holding informational gatherings to try to get this story to the people. We have on several occasions sent Bill Clinton signatures, petitions of Arkansan’s asking for a state investigation and he refused to do anything about them he would do nothing more than have an aide send us a two sentence letter saying we have received your petition. Then this last September, just one week before he decided to run for the Presidency, we contacted his office and said listen we’d be willing to talk, so that we could talk to you about this major crime problem in our state. That we’re concerned about that we’d like to get to the bottom of–and he refused that.

During the 4 or 5 years now that the press has covered this story about Mena and Barry Seal, this is a story about people who have been murdered; this is a very, very serious affair. During all of this time talk of massive Cocaine smuggling, corruption of local officials corruption of Federal and State judicial system on and on and on there was total silence from the Governor, not a word. And it was not until our organization had a large demonstration –it wasn’t really a large demonstration but it was very well covered in the Arkansas press–that reporters approached Mr. Clinton about Mena. He talked about it for the first time in 4 or 5 years and what he had to say at that time was that he had in fact authorized some money for lonely little Polk County, which is a poor county in Southwestern Arkansas to run an investigation and so we asked him for back up from the Governor’s office we said-freedom of information act –we’d like to know if you have any documentation whatsoever to back up your statement that you are willing to help the Polk County investigators do their own state investigation in this affair. And he could not produce a single thing.

 

 


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