Akansas Airport Called "Hub"
of CIA Drugs and Guns Pipeline
by Paul DeRienzo
An independent group of researchers in Arkansas
are charging that Governor Bill Clinton is covering up an airport used
by the CIA and major cocaine smugglers in a remote corner of the Ozark
mountains. According to Deborah Robinson of the Arkansas Committee,
the Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena, Arkansas continues to be
the hub of operations for people like assassinated cocaine kingpin Barry
Seal as well as government intelligence operations linked to arms and
In the 1980's the Mena airport became one of the
worlds largest aircraft refurbishing centers, providing services to
planes from many countries. Researchers claim that the largest consumers
of aircraft refurbishing services are drug smugglers and intelligence
agencies involved in covert activities. In fact residents of Mena, Arkansas
have told reporters that former marine Lt. Col. Oliver North was a frequent
visitor during the 1980's. Eugene Hasenfus, who was shot down in a Contra
supply plane over Nicaragua, was also see n in town renting cargo vehicles.
A federal Grand Jury looking into activities at
the Mena airport refused to hand down any indictments after drug running
charges were made public. Deborah Robinson says that Clinton had "ignored
the situation" until he began his presidential campaign. Clinton then
said he would provide money for a state run investigation of the Mena
airport. But according to Robinson the promise of an investigation was
never followed up by Clinton's staff. In fact a local Arkansas state
prosecutor blasted Clinton's promise of an investigation comparing it
to "spitting on a forest fire."
Clinton's involvement in the drug and arms running
goes even further than a mere cover-up of the deplorable activities that
went on, and are still going on, at the airport in Mena. A federal mail
fraud case against an Arkansas pilot-trainer who participated in illegal
arms exports to Central America relied on a key Clinton staffer as a chief
witness. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence when the CIA refused
to allow the discussion of top secret information about the arms transfers.
Terry Reed, a former employee of the CIA's Air
America operation in Laos during the Indochina war, claims to have
been recruited as a pilot trainer into the Iran operation by Oliver
North. In an article written by David Fallis and published last year
by Covert Action Information Bulletin, Reed said in 1983 he had
agreed to supply North's operatives with "certain items."
In pursuit of the Reagan administration's Contra
war against the Sandinistas, the CIA had planted mines in Nicaragua's
harbors. In 1984, Congress passed the Boland amendment which cut off
US aid to the Contras. According to Reed it was during this period that
North asked him to become involved in a covert operation called "Project
Donation". Reed was told he would be reimbursed for supplying the Contras
by insurance companies that were linked to North's operation.
Shortly afterwards, Reed reported the "theft" of
Piper turbo-prop aircraft and he filed a $33,000 claim on which he eventually
collected almost $7,000.
In late 1985, Reed received a phone call an Air
America buddy,William Cooper, a pilot working with Southern Air
Transport, another CIA front company. Cooper also was working with
soon to be murdered drug kingpin Barry Seal at the same time he was
flying re-supply missions for the Contras. In 1986, he was shot down
and killed over Nicaragua along with co-pilot Wallace Sawyer. The planes
cargo-kicker, Eugene Hasenfus, parachuted into the arms of waiting Sandinista
soldiers. Video ima ges of his capture spanned the world and forced
an airing of a tiny part of US covert operations.
Sandinistas who recovered the downed cargo plane
searched Coopers pockets and found phone numbers linking the re-supply
operation with Felix Rodriguez, an associate of George Bush, best known
for murdering Che Guevera, after his capture in Bolivia. To this day
Rodriguez, who works for the CIA, wears Che's watch as a trophy.
Reed says that Cooper told him that the stolen
Piper would soon be returned and that he should store it in a hangar
at Mena until the Hasenfus mess blew over. "There was a lot of Contra
stuff going on in Arkansas," said Reed, "it was the hub."
Meanwhile, Reed went into business in Mexico with
the blessing of Rodriguez, who was overseeing the Contra air re-supply
operation in El Salvador. Reed's company used Mexico to export arms
to the Contras in violation of the Boland amendment.
Reed went down to Mexico and his operation continued
for a year after the Iran-Contra story broke. In the summer of 1987
even as the hearings were going on in Congress, Terry Reed began to
suspect they were using his front company for something other then smuggling
weapons. One day he was looking for a lathe in one of his warehouses
near the airport in Guadalejara, when he opened up one of the very large
airfreight shipping containers (they're about 28' long, about 7' high
and about 8' wide), and he found it packed full of cocaine.
Reed realized that he was in a very precarious
situation because he was the only person on paper who had anything to
do with that company and there was nobody to stand up and say well this
guy didn't know anything about what was going on. Reed decided he wasn't
going to play the part of a patsy.
Reed's contact man for the CIA in Mexico was Felix
Rodriguez, who Reed confronted, saying that he hadn't bargained for
getting into narcotics smuggling and that he was dropping out of this
all together. Soon afterward his legal problems began.
In a series of mysterious events, Reed was charged
with mail fraud for claiming insurance for an aircraft that was used
by North's network under Operation Donation. Reed, who was eventually
acquitted of the charges, was picked up by the FBI after the missing
plane was discovered in the Mena hangar, where Reed had put the plane,
at Cooper's suggestion. The discovery was made by Clinton's security
chief, Buddy Young. Young testified that his discovery of the stolen
plane was coincidental, an assertion Federal Judge Frank Thiel said
was unsupported by the facts.
Reed was charged with mail fraud for collecting
insurance on the plane, but the CIA prevented prosecutors from releasing
information they called "top, top secret," about the Rodriguez, North,
Southern Air Transport connection. In November 1990, the prosecution
admitted they couldn't prosecute Reed without the secret documents,
and Judge Theis ordered Reed acquitted on al l the charges.
SEX, DRUGS and LOW INTENSITY
Allegations of Bill Clinton's extra-marital sexual
exploits originated with a 1990 lawsuit by Larry Nichols, a former Arkansas
state employee. Nichols was fired by Clinton in 1988 after reporters discovered
Nichols had been lobbying on behalf of the Contras from his office as
head of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.
The suit claimed that Clinton had lied when he
said Nichols was fired because he was phoning the Contras directly from
his state office. Nichols claimed he only called Washington to lobby
on behalf of the Contras. In the suit Nichols also revealed the affair
between Clinton and office secretary Gennifer Flowers.
The suit was dropped by Nichols on January 25th,
after Gennifer Flowers went public with her story of the affair. Nichols
told reporters that he decided to drop the suit after meeting with Clinton
security chief Buddy Young, the same man who found Terry Reed's missing
Piper aircraft at the Mena airport.
According to Arkansas Committee researcher
Mark Swaney, N ichols said that Young had told him he was a "dead man,"
prompting Nichols to drop the suit. In public Nichols says he dropped
the suit because "the media have made a circus out of this thing and
it's gone way too far."
CLINTON'S BCCI CONNECTION
In court documents recently released by Manhattan District
Attorney Robert Morgenthau, it's been revealed that Jackson Stephens,
a billionaire banker in Little Rock, Arkansas, and one of presidential
candidate Bill Clinton's main supporters, may have played a key role in
setting up the illegal purchase by the Bank of Credit and Commerce
International, of two American banks. Both First American National
Bank, the largest bank in Washington DC and Georgia National Bank,
were purchased by BCCI front man and Stephens business associate, Gaith
Pharon. Stephens' family bank, the Worthen National Bank, recently
extended a two million dollar loan to the Clinton campaign.
Stephens, who is an avid golfer and chairman of
the prestigious Masters Tournament Committee, is named in the
court records as having brought Pharon together with Stephen's close
friend Bert Lance. Lance was a former cabinet official under Jimmy Carter,
who was forced to resign due to a banking scandal.
Acco rding to newspaper reports BCCI founder Agha
Hasan Abedi was introduced to Lance by Stephens. Stephens, Lance, and
First American Bank director and longtime Democratic party power
broker Clark Clifford all maintain they did not know that the group
of Pakistani and Saudi investors that they were dealing with, headed
by Pharon, were actually fronting for BCCI. Clinton's staff has
refused to comment.
OZARK DUMPING GROUND
Bill Clinton's environmental record has been as dismal
as his record in the Iran-Contra scandal. He has supported the incineration
of extremely toxic chemicals at a site in the city of Jacksonville, 20
miles from Little Rock, that is reputed to be the most polluted spot in
the United States. Jacksonville was the site of Hercules Inc.,
a company that produced the two components of Agent Orange, 2,4,D, which
is still used in agriculture and 2,4,5,T, which was banned by the federal
government in 1983 as a carcinogen. Agent Orange was used to defoliate
Vietnamese forests during the Indochina war and its production yields
the by-product dioxin, the most toxic chemical known.
Hercules sold the operation in 1976 to Vertac Inc.,
which closed the plant in 1987, leaving behind 20,000 barrels of the
chemicals. Gov. Bill Clinton supported a plan to incinerate the waste
that is being vigorously opposed by the residents of Jacksonville.
Deborah Robinson says that Clinton has allowed
Arkansas to become a dumping ground. "Arkansas" she says, "is still
kind of a backwoods state, and there's a lot of room for someone to
set up whatever they want." Arkansas has been exploited by people who
have things they want to do, that they might not get away with somewhere
else. Robinson adds that "there are a lot of questions about what somebody
like Clinton would do for a country when he couldn't do anything for
his own state."
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