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 By David Guyatt

 The narcotics industry has a turnover, estimated to be in excess of $1 trillion per annum.  Put more simply, it is the largest industry in the world.  Ongoing international measures to eradicate this industry have largely proved futile, despite the billions spent.  For example, the death in Columbia - at the hands of law enforcement officers - of drug baron, Pablo Escobar, and the US capture of Panamanian middle-man, Manuel Noriega, didn’t interrupt the flow of Columbian cocaine one iota.  On the contrary, shipments to the United States and elsewhere, increased sharply in the wake of these so called Drug Enforcement “victories.”

 Meanwhile, information has surfaced that paints a damning picture of intelligence agency involvement in the narcotics industry.  Sworn affidavit’s in this writer’s possession finger the Central Intelligence Agency for engaging in narcotics trafficking on an almost industrial scale.  Some observers - perhaps with an element of merit - have, meanwhile, opined that the CIA’s long-term involvement with the narcotics industry resulted from their support of nations that strongly adhered to the anti communist philosophy. 

Under this rubric, drug barons the world over were aided and assisted in the production, transportation and distribution of narcotics, and the proceeds were used to arm resistance movements.  So long as there was a “red menace” to fight, those dope peddlers – large and small – who co-operated with the CIA’s cold war strategy, remained immune to prosecution.  With the collapse of communism in the late nineteen eighties this rationale evaporated.  Curious then, that the narcotics industry has not declined along with communism?  One the contrary, all the indications point to continued growth and profits. 

 Drugs have become a self-perpetuating industry that continues to create billionaire’s overnight.  It is, by far, the most Laissez Faire enterprise of them all, enjoying spectacular financial returns for relatively modest investment.  Arguably, reason enough, to ensure that continuing calls to legalise some types of soft drugs remain doomed to failure at the political level.  Why kill the Golden Goose that effortlessly lays so many golden eggs? 

 History increasingly suggests that the hidden reality was that it was not so much a “war on drugs,” as a “war for drugs.”  A war, moreover, aimed at winning the hearts and minds of those who live in embattled regions of the globe, by silently impoverishing, stupefying and killing those at home.  The innocent,, as always, are the major casualties of any war:   


 What follows is drawn from an affidavit signed by Col. Edward P. Cutolo; a letter written by his close friend, Paul Neri - an employee of America’s huge National Security Agency; and an additional supporting affidavit signed by PFC William Tyree - a soldier under Cutolo’s command.[1]  Collectively, they amount to a powerful indictment of the Central Intelligence Agency and senior Pentagon officers who knowingly engaged in large scale narcotics trafficking.

 More alarming still, are Cutolo’s and Tyree’s allegations concerning a black operation suitably named “George Orwell” – that utilised US Special Forces to spy on well-known American politicians, members of the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and the Catholic church in New York and Boston.  The “product” of this covert surveillance was used for the purpose of blackmail.

 Colonel Edward P. Cutolo was commanding officer of the US 10th Special Forces (airborne), 1st Special Forces stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.  Possessing a distinguished record as a military officer, Cutolo doubtless had seen many peculiar things and undertaken numerous classified missions.  Despite this, he would rue the day, in December 1975, he was approached by the CIA’s Edwin Wilson and Frank Terpil. 

 The two CIA officers introduced Cutolo to two highly sensitive missions unlike anything he had undertaken previously.  According to his close friends and comrades, Cutolo’s later investigation into the legality of these missions would lead to his death under suspicious circumstances.  Other senior military officers who investigated Cutolo’s death also soon died under questionable circumstances.  As we shall see, all were believed to have been murdered by Mike Harari, an alleged Israeli assassin who would come to prominence a decade later for his role in the now infamous Contragate affair.

 Cutolo begins his sworn affidavit by saying: “In December, 1975, I spoke with Colonel “Bo” Baker concerning a classified mission he commanded during that month, inside Columbia.  The mission was known as “Watch Tower.”  Continuing, he states “Following a lengthy discussion with Col. Baker, I was introduced to Mr. Edwin Wilson and Mr. Frank Terpil.  Both Wilson and Terpil were in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Both Wilson and Terpil inquired if I was interested in working for short periods of time in Columbia, and I acknowledged that I was.”

 Cutolo thereafter commanded the second and third Watch Tower missions.  The second mission took place in February 1976 and lasted a total of 22 days.  The purpose of the mission was to “establish a series of three electronic beacon towers beginning outside of Bogata, Columbia, and running northeast to the border of Panama.”  With the beacons in place and activated, aircraft could fix on their signal and fly undetected from Bogata to Panama, landing at Albrook Air Station.  All told. 30 “high performance aircraft” flew the covert route to Allbrook. 

 The aircraft were met by Panama’s Colonel Manuel Noriega - who would later become head of state, prior to experiencing a US invasion tasked to arrest and imprison him for laundering drug money.  Accompanying Noriega were a number of officers of the Panama Defence Forces (PDF), CIA agent, Edwin Wilson, and Israeli agent Mike Harari.  Cutolo adds that Harari had the authority from the “U.S. Army Southern Command in Panama to be in the A.O (Area of Operations).”  Nor does Cutolo beat around the bush when explicitly stating “The cargo flown from Columbia into Panama was cocaine.”

 Cutolo continues his affidavit by outlining the third Watch Tower mission which he commanded.  This occurred during March 1976, and lasted 29 days, safely cycling 40 cocaine carrying aircraft through to Panama.  On this occasion members of one of his Special Action Teams (SATs), located at Turbo, Columbia were attacked by a large gang of local bandits and were extracted by helicopters that entered Columbian airspace without authority.  Cutolo adds that the third mission was “met in the previously related fashion by those named – Noriega, Edwin Wilson, Mike Harari et al.

 William Tyree’s affidavit dated 6 September 1990, powerfully corroborates Colonel Cutolo’s statements.  Tyree, however, was able to provide additional direct testimony on the First Watch Tower mission, which he participated in.  At that time he was assigned to the 1st/17th Air Cavalry Division located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  In Tyree’s own words, the mission was to “insert three SPECIAL ACTION TEAMS (SATs) inside Columbia.  Once the SATs were in place they would activate electronic beacons which aircraft could follow through a specific corridor out of Columbia and into Panama where the aircraft, which were loaded with cocaine, would land at Albrook Air Station.”  Tyree adds the “mission lasted 24 days and approximately 37 aircraft of various descriptions flew out of Columbia and into Panama, all following the SATs electronic beacons.” 

 Tyree goes on to state “I personally witnessed members of the Panamanian Defence Force (PDF) help unload the bales of cocaine from the aircraft onto the tarmac of Albrook Air Station.  Among the PDF officers were Colonel Manuel Noriega, Major Roberto Diaz-Herrera, Major Liz del CID, and Major Ramirez.[2]  These men were always in the company of an American civilian identified to me by other personnel involved in the operation as Edwin Wilson, of the CIA.  Another civilian in the company of Wilson, I have since learned, was Israeli Mossad agent Michael Harari.[3]

 Of additional interest are Tyree’s comments regarding Edwin Wilson providing (presumably classified?) military style mustard coloured files to Noriega and his fellow PDF officers.  Tyree states the files originally belonged to the CIA, Naval Intelligence Service (NIS) and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).  The information contained in the folders appeared to have come from all over the world and included: a) Coastal defences of other countries, some of which appeared to be allies of the U.S. b) written information, diagrams, naval charts and reconnaissance photo’s etc.  Tyree judged the information was of a type and quality required to “institute a major naval operation anywhere in the world.”  Other folders related to the “US Navy and various battle groups, including number of personnel, number of aircraft, type of armaments and whether a vessel had conventional or nuclear capability.” 

It is impossible to say with any authority why Wilson handed over this type of sensitive information to Noriega.  Panama is not famous for its Navy, which, in any event, certainly does not possess the capability to project itself around the world.  One can only speculate that such information was to be sold or bartered by Noriega to foreign powers, and may have constituted part payment for assistance with the cocaine trafficking?  On this aspect, we are unlikely to ever know. 


 In any event, after the Watch Tower missions, Col. Cutolo returned to normal duty, and Tyree was later reassigned to another location and command.  There the matter would have rested for evermore had not a curious sequence of events occurred two years later.

By 1978, Colonel Cutolo assumed command of the 10th Special Forces Group (airborne) at Fort Devens, where he recognised two soldiers - PFC William Tyree and Sgt. John Newby – both of whom had operated under his command during Watch Tower, and who now were assigned (in Tyree’s case re-assigned) to his command.  1978 also saw the return of Edwin Wilson with another deep black covert operation on offer.  This was known as Operation George Orwell.

 During a meeting with Cutolo, Edwin Wilson explained that “it was considered that Operation Watch Tower might be compromised and become known if politicians, judicial figures, police and religious entities were approached or received word that U. S. troops had aided in delivering narcotics from Columbia into Panama.”  Based on that possibility, Cutolo, formed twelve separate Special Action Teams (SATs).  Their mission was to implement Army regulation 340-18-5 (file number 503-05).  Cutolo’s authority for this action came directly from FORSCOM via Wilson.

 In effect, Operation Orwell was tasked with implementing intense “surveillance of politicians, judicial figures, law enforcement agencies at the state level and of religious groups.”  The underlying purpose was to provide the “United States government and the Army” with advance warning of the discovery of Watch Tower to enable them to “prepare a defence.”  Cutolo further states that he “was under orders not to inform Colonel Forrest Rittgers, commanding officer of Fort Devens,” of this mission.  The reason was to give Colonel Rittgers a “margin of plausible deniability” in the event that Fort Devens personnel were “caught in the act of implementing surveillance.”

 Cutolo goes on to reveal that he instituted surveillance against “Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Edward King, Michael Dukakis, Levin H. Campbell, Andrew A Caffrey, Fred Johnson, Kenneth A. Chandler, Thomas P. O’Neil, to name a few of the targets.”  Additionally surveillance was placed on “…the Governors residences of Massachusetts, Manine, New York and New Hampshire.  The Catholic cathedrals of New York and Boston were placed under electronic surveillance also.  In the area of Fort Devens, all local police and politicians were under some form of surveillance at various times.”  As part of the operation, Cutolo recruited “a number of local state employees who worked within the ranks of local police and court personnel.

 Private Tyree, in his sworn affidavit, confirms what Cutolo has revealed about Operation George Orwell, including that it was initiated under Army regulation number 340-18-5, file number 503-05.  He states that “I was involved in 10 separate surveillance missions in the New England area, all under this same operation.”  He adds “… surveillance was instituted to monitor civilian targets to determine: a) if Operation Watch Tower had been discovered.  B) the probability that an investigation or governmental inquiry would be requested as a result of such a discovery.”  Tyree goes on to reveal that he, personally, participated in surveillance against the Mayor of Lunenbourg, Massachusetts, a community close to Fort Devens.  A second local target was “John Droney, District Attorney, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.”  Tyree continues by providing detailed information about criminal wrongdoing by Droney, together with details of his sexual proclivities and indiscretions.

 Moreover, Tyree additionally states that his friend, Sergeant John Newby, had engaged in surveillance against “…Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.  Sgt. Newby also stated to me just prior to his death in October 1978, that he had been involved in some surveillance of ‘some judges’ in the New Englad area.”  These included “… Levin H. Campbell, Andrew A Caffrey and Fred Johnson.”  He then goes on to reveal that Major Arnett, who was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina (home of the Green Berets) had “commanded a team that allegedly maintained surveillance on Senator Jesse Helms.”  The connection betwee, Kennedy, Kerry and Helms, Tyree states, was that “all three were critical of the U. S. involvement in Latin America.”  Had they learned of Watch Tower “they would undoubtedly use that information to pull the U.S., out of Latin America, which in turn might effect the security of that area and eventually the U.S.”

 Meanwhile, Cutolo states that ” Sgt. Newby “had received threats just prior to his parachuting accident that claimed his life in October 1978.  It was at that time that (then) SP4 Tyree began to report threatening phone calls.  I saw a pattern and still believe a pattern exists.”  Clearly, by this time, Col. Cutolo was fearful for his own life, too.  “I gave Colonel Baker the original copy of this affidavit.  I gave true copies to Hugh B. Pearce, and to Paul Neri of the national Security Agency and instructed each person to deliver the affidavit to the authorities in the event that something occurs to me.”

 It did.  According to the Paul Neri’s accompanying letter, in 1980, Colonel Cutolo died “while on a military exercise in England.  Just prior to his death he notified me that he was to meet with Michael Harari, an Israeli Mossad agent.  It is my belief, though unsubstantiated, that Harari murdered Col. Cutolo because of the information Col. Cutolo possessed.”  Neri then reveals that in the event of Cutolo’s death, he was to discretely contact Col, Bo Baker.  In turn, Col. Baker enlisted the aid of Col. Nick Rowe – all three were Special Forces officers with exemplary records.  The three of them thereafter set out to “prove that Harari murdered Col. Cutolo…”  Colonel Nick Rowe was killed soon afterwards.  On 21 April 1989 he was shot to death by automatic fire from an M-16 assault rifle in Manilla, Phillippines.  Neri reveals that “Harari was in the Phillippines for three days just prior to and after Col. Rowe’s murder.” 

 Chief Warrant Officer (WCO) Hugh Pearce, who also received a copy of Cutolo’s affidavit, also died in June 1989, as a result of a helicopter accident.  Pearce had commenced to help the others with their enquiries.  Prior to his death he had directed Col. Rowe to an address at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and state politican, Larkin Smith.  Both Col. Rowe and CWO Hugh Pearce died prior to a scheduled meeting with Smith – both having previously agreed to “go public” and call for a “full investigation into the events described in Col. Cutolo’s affidavit” following the arranged meeting.  Smith, died in August 1989 - in an airplane accident.  Others to conveniently die included Colonel Bo Baker and Colonel Robert Bayard – who was murdered in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1977, just prior to his meeting with Israeli Mossad officer David Kimche.

 Clearly, protecting the big secret of Operation Watch Tower has assumed priority.  This is, in fact, hinted at in Cutolo’s affidavit, when he earlier speaks of El Salvadoran Archbishop Romero.  Cutolo states that Romero “… is in receipt of physical evidence supporting several allegations that the United States is currently with Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama covertly training and sponsoring freedom fighters attempting to overthrow the current regime in Nicaragua.”  Cutolo’s then states that “… these freedom fighters are also being supported from funds arising from Operation Watch Tower in part.”  Cutolo closes this paragraph by saying “This information made it necessary to protect Operation Watch Tower and Operation Orwell regardless of the cost.”  Needless to say, he was at that time, unaware that he and his closest colleagues would form part of that “cost.”

 But soon he would grow aware of the threat on his own life.  “I have detailed pertinent events in this affidavit should something happen to me.  The lug nuts have been loosened on my car tires twice in the past week.  I have had someone tamper with my car and I have received telephone calls at my home where no one answered at the other end.  I have seen other men involved in Operation watch Tower meet accidental deaths after they were also threatened.”

 Cutolo simply had too much direct knowledge of Operation Watch Tower to survive, especially since he began having doubts about its legality.  During an earlier meeting with the CIA’s Edwin Wilson, Cutolo states: 

            “Edwin Wilson explained that Operation watch Tower had to remain secret and gave these reasons: 1) If it becomes public knowledge it would undermine present governmental interests as well as those in the future.  2) There are similar operations being implemented elsewhere in the world: Wilson named the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Southeast Asia and Pakistan.  Wilson stated in both areas of the world the CIA and other intelligence agencies are behind the illegal narcotics flow to support forces fighting to overthrow communist governments, or governments that are not friendly towards the United States.  Wilson named several recognised officials of Pakistan, Afganistan, Burma, Korea, Thailand and Cambodia as being aware and consenting to these arrangements, similar to the ones in Panama.  3) Wilson cited the military coup in Argentina in 1976, the coup in Peru in 1978, the fall of the Somaza government in Nicaragua in 1979 and the growing civil war in El Salvador as examples of the need for Operations like Watch Tower.  As these operations funded the ongoing efforts to combat Terrorism and defeat actions directed against the United States or matters involving the United States.” 

In any event, Wilson hadn’t yet concluded his narcotics lecture to Cutolo, as he “… explained that the profits from the sale of narcotics was laundered through a series of banks.  Wilson stated that over 70% of the profits were laundered through the banks in Panama.  The remaining percentage was funnelled through Swiss banks, with a small remainder being handled by banks within the United States.”  Cutolo adds “Wilson indicated that a large portion of the profits are brought into the banks of Panama without being checked.  I understood that some of the profits in Panamanian banks arrived through Israeli couriers.  I became aware of that fact from normal conversations with some of the embassy personnel assigned to the embassy in Panama.” 

 Cutolo then reveals that an associate of Wilson’s also “aided in overseeing the laundering of funds, which was then used to purchase weapons to arm various factions that the CIA saw as friendly towards the United States.  The associates name is Tom Cline.”  Wilson then tells Cutolo that “most of Operation Watch Tower was implemented on the authority of Clines.”  Tom Clines worked under Theodore Shackley – both of whom were heavily implicated in gun running activities during Iran-Contra; itself a notorious drugs-for-money-for-guns operation under President Ronald reagan and Vice President George Bush.

 In fact, Cutolo later reveals in his affidavit that the illegal activities of Mike Harari were protected by a number of U. S. VIP’s.  Cutolo was told by  Pentagon “…contacts, of the record…” that these VIP’s included Director of CIA, Stansfield Turner and former CIA Director George Bush.  Both, in Cutolo’s words “shielded” Harari from “public scrutiny.”  The same contacts also told Cutolo that “Watch Tower” was a sanctioned mission and that “United States military authorities confirmed to me that Operation Watch Tower occurred and gave their approval.”  Cutolo, also learned that “… Harari was a known middleman for matters involving the United States in Latin America,” adding that the Israeli assassin “acted with the support of a network of Mossad personnel throughout Latin America and worked mainly in the import and export of arms and drugs trafficking.”

 Motivation in this regard is a contentious issue.  Paul Neri stated his belief that Wilson, Clines and Terpil were acting without authority and for their own personal enrichment.  Clearly, this is not the case.  Cutolo is certain that both operations were sanctioned at the highest level.  Of course, this does not hinder some of those involved with these missions from profiting on the side.  The indications are that so long as “skimming” was kept at reasonable levels, no questions would be asked by those higher up the chain of command.

 Indeed, Cutolo’s affidavit reveals an intriguing sidebar to Operation George Orwell that is only too believeable in regard to the big bucks world of black budgets.  The surveillance product garnered by Operation George Orwell had uses other than keeping loose mouths shut.  According to Cutolo, he “…was notified by Wilson that the information forwarded to Washington D.C., was disseminated to private corporations who were developing weapon systems for the Dept. of Defense.  Those private corporations were encouraged to use the sensitive information gathered from surveillance on U.S. Senators and Representatives as leverage to manipulate those Congressmen into approving whatever costs those weapon systems incurred.”

 Three weapon systems were mentioned to Cutolo in this respect: “1) Am Armored vehicle.  2) An aircraft that is invisible to radar.  3) A weapon system that utilises kinetic energy.”  He adds that he got the impression all three were for “…use by NASA or for CIA purposes.”  Wilson also informed Cutolo, that “Operation Orwell would be implemented nationwide by 4 July 1980.”[4]  He then adds that as of the date of this affidavit [11 March 1980], “2,400 police departments, 1,370 churches, and approximately 17,900 citizens have been monitored under Operation Orwell.  The major churches targeted have been Catholic and Latter Day Saints.”  Others targeted included “suspected members of the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group,” including former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and George Bush.  Cutolo notes that he did not have personal knowledge “that Ford, Carter or Bush were under surveillance.”

 Anyone who took an active interest in these operations were soon to experience extreme rigor mortis.  In his covering letter, Paul Neri mentions the death of Supergun builder and “Pentagon Scientist” Dr. Gerald Bull, who was shot dead outside his apartment in 1990 – as an example of the deadliness of Mossad officer Mike Harari.  Neri also casts dark glances at the role of President George Bush in this whole affair, noting that Bush “knew or should have known about Operation Watch Tower.”  He then adds that “With Mr Noreiga no longer in power, the Bush Administration has helped install one president and two Vice-Presidents in Panama who will continue to launder the drug money the CIA receives from drug operations world wide..."”

 Neri continues “How much longer, and how many more will be murdered, die accidentally or be discredited through incarceration so that poppies and cocca leaves can fund the secret war of the CIA?  Will Latin America be the next secret CIA war as was the case in Vietnam?  And how many of our service people will die there?”

 Neri’s allusion to Vietnam was not without meaning in terms of massive narcotics trafficking by the CIA.  Colonel Bo Gritz, [5]the most decorated Special Forces officer from the Vietnam era, received a copy of Cutolo’s affidavit.  Some years later he would travel to Burma and meet with warlord Khun Sa – the leading producer of Heroin in Southeast Asia.  What Gritz discovered was fully documented and recorded on video camera.  Gritz’ story will form part two of this article, along with the associated story of U.S. Prisoners of War.  In this case, the term “Missing in Action” has far more sinister connotations in the view of many, who believe that the POWs/MIAs are used a “drug mules” by an unscrupulous CIA, engaged in its global dope and guns business.  Many of the names you have come across above will be reappear in part two.





The history of how the US became involved in narcotics trafficking dates back more than a 150 years.  Prominent families of great wealth – often members of secret societies such as Yale’s “secretive Order of the Skull and Bones - pounced on the Opium trade to generate wealth and influence.  One of the founder families of the Skull and Bones were the Russells.  To this day, the Russell Trust is the legal entity of the Order of the Skull and Bones. 

 In 1823, Samuel Russell established “Russell and Company.  He acquired his Opium supplies in Turkey and smuggled it to China aboard fast Clippers.  By 1830, Russell bought-out the Perkins Opium syndicate of Boston and established the main Opium smuggling enterprise to Connecticut.  His man in Canton, was Warren Delano Jr., grandfather of Franklin Roosevelt who was US President during the WW11 years.  Other Russell partners included the Coolidge, Perkins, Sturgis, Forbes and Low families.

 By 1832, Samuel Russell’s cousin, William Huntington, formed the first US chapter of the Order of the Skull and Bones.  He attracted membership to the Order from the most powerful and influential American families.  These membership roster read like a Who’s Who of America: Lord, Whitney, Taft, Jay, Bundy, Harriman, Weyerhauser, Pinchot, Rockerfeller, Goodyear, Sloane, Simpson, Phelps, Pillsbury, Perkins, Kellogg, Vanderbilt, Bush, and Lovett – to name some of the more prominent.  Significantly, Skull and Bonesmen have always had a very close and enduring association with the US intelligence community.  Former US President and Bonesman, George Bush, was a one time Director of Central Intelligence.  Interestingly, the by-product of Opium, Heroin, was a trade name of the Bayer Company – still a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry – that launched its highly addictive product in 1898.

 The intelligence connection unsurprisingly dates back to Yale College, where four Yale graduates formed part of the “Culper Ring” – one of the first US intelligence operations established in great secrecy by George Washington to gather vital intelligence on the British throughout the War of Independence.  By 1903, Yale’s Divinty School had established a number of schools and hospitals throughout China.  Mao Zedong was a member of the staff.  By the 1930’s such was the clout of Yale’s Chinese connection that US intelligence called on “Yale in China” to assist them in intelligence operations.[6]  Historically, Heroin and Cocaine were legally available to purchase but were outlawed by the League of Nations – the forerunner to the United Nations – and the USA in the 1920’s.  Following prohibition consumption of these drugs began to spiral.  Even so, the wars years 1939-46 saw addiction virtually eradicated in Europe and North America – a happy state of affairs that would not last long.


Indochina, historically under French control was captured by the Japanese during WW11.  At the conclusion of the war, France regained control over Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.  But independence movements had begun fighting to evict the French.  This ultimately resulted in the Vietnmin orchestrated battle of Dien Bien Phu which resulted in French defeat and eventual withdrawal from Indochina.  They were to be immediately replaced the United States.

 In the interim, the French had developed a wide-ranging intelligence apparatus throughout the region.  This was financed by Opium.  Maurice Belleux, former head of SDECE, the French equivalent of the CIA, confirmed this during a remarkably frank interview with historian, Prof Alfred McCoy.  Belleux told McCoy that “French military intelligence had all their covert operations from the control of the Indochina drug trade.”  This covered the French Colonial war from 1946 through to 1954.

 Bellereux revealed how this worked.  French paratroopers fighting with hill tribes scattered throughout the region, collected raw Opium and transported it aboard French military aircraft to Saigon.  Here, it was handed over to the Sino-vietnamese Mafia for distribution.  Also heavily engaged in the Opium traffic were Corsican crime syndicates that shipped the Opium to Marseilles for refining into Heroin.  From here it was distributed to Europe and the United States – becoming known as “The French Connection.”  It was a case of the underworld working hand in glove with French government – both of whom benefited financially from the joint arrangement.  The shared profits were channelled through Central bank accounts under French Military intelligence control.  The SDECE master-spy closed his interview by stating that he believed the CIA “had taken over all French assets and were pursuing something of the same policy.”[7] 

 The words ‘Vietnam war’ are something of a misnomer.  More correctly, the US involvement in the entire region should be called the Southeast Asia war.  While the fighting in Vietnam reached the media on a daily basis, the secret war in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand remained secret and continued right through the nineteen eighties.  This was the CIA’s own hot little war, fought with the assistance of local tribesmen and “off the books,” American soldiers and airmen, who once captured were abandoned by a chillingly ungrateful and cynical secret government.[8]

 The American military strategy in Vietnam was unique.  Although American military superiority gave them the ability to win the war in approximately one year, they were expressly forbidden from doing so by US foreign policy makers.  This doctrine was spelled out in National Security Council Memorandum 68 – which was the template for the “cold war.”  This was the same policy that forbade Allied victory in Korea, as explained by Colonel Phillip Corso, former Head of Special Projects Branch/Intelligence Division/Far East Command, in testimony to Congress in 1996.  Upon returning from Korea, Corso was assigned to the Operations Coordinating Board of the White House National Security Council, and discovered the “No Win” policy.  He was appalled by it.[9] 

 But if winning militarily was not a US objective, securing control of the regions Opium production most certainly was.  Little time passed before the CIA had a stranglehold on the Opium trade.  This resulted in a massive increase in Opium production followed by a surge in Heroin addiction in North America and Western Europe.  Paralleling this was a enormous growth in Heroin addicts amongst US combat troops in Vietnam.  Fully one third of all combat forces were hooked on “China White” – courtesy of the men from Spooksville, Virginia.[10]

 Drug dealing was rampant amongst South Vietnamese military commanders.  One of the principal figures was General Dang Van Quang – the Military and Security Assistant to President Nguyen Van Thieu.  Quang developed a network of dope trafficking via Vietnamese Special Forces operating in Laos.

 Laos - a CIA fiefdom - was a principal Opium producer under the nominal control of General Vang Pao – leader of the Meo tribesman fighting the CIA’s secret war.  Vang Pao would collect raw Opium grown throughout Northern Laos and transport it aboard the CIA’s “Air America” helicopters to Long Thien.  A massive, sprawling US built complex, Long Thien was known as “Spook Heaven” by some, or “Alternate 20” by others.  It was here that General Pao’s raw Opium was processed into top grade No 4 China White heroin.  At this point, direct CIA involvement in the “product” ceased.  Meanwhile, the CIA provided Vang Pao with his own airline known to insiders as “Air Opium,” that would transport it to Saigon, landing at the giant US military Ton Sohn Nut Air Base.  Thereafter part of the bulk was divvied up among Quang’s network for sale to US servicemen hooked on the drug.  The rest was shipped to the Corsican syndicate in Marseilles for delivery to Cuba – a transhipment point controlled by Mafia boss Santos Trafficante - and thence to the United States.  A regular variation of the delivery route occurred when sealed bags of Heroin were stitched inside the dead bodies of GI’s returning home for military burial.

 Back at home, US policy makers didn’t give a flying damn about the growing drug problem among US servicemen.  The view of disregard was best stated by Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.  “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy,” Kissinger told Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein.[11]  We may also pose a related chain of thought in this respect.  If military men are “dumb, stupid animals” to be used and abused as “pawns” for foreign policy, are ordinary tax-paying citizens viewed any differently when it comes to the wholesale supply of Heroin to America’s inner cities?  An addict population, arguably, more than adequately caters to one of requirements of NSC 68 – that of establishing “domestic tranquillity.”[12]  In any event, the proceeds from dope sales were laundered through the Nugan Hand bank in Australia and used to finance the CIA’s secret war throughout the region.

 Following the US backed invasion of Cambodia in May 1970, another Heroin pipeline was established.  Previously inaccessible regions of Cambodia ideal for Opium cultivation were immediately brought on-line.  The smuggling pipeline was operated by the Vietnamese Navy who had established bases at Phonom Penh and throughout the Mekong river.  Within a week of the Cambodian incursion, an armada of Vietnamese and US Navy craft – totalling 140 vessels – under the command of Captain Nyugen Thaanh Chau crossed into Cambodia.  This was “hailed as a  ‘tactical coup’ and a great ‘military humanitarian fleet,’” the armada immediately went to work smuggling “vast quantities of Opium and Heroin into South Vietnam.”[13]  Said to be the biggest pusher in South Vietnam, General Quang - following the US withdrawal from Vietnam – quietly relocated to Montreal, Canada, via the US Army’s military base, Fort Chaffee in Arkansas.  Quang’s entry to Canada is said to have resulted from quiet but intense pressure from the United States government.

 The apparent face-value dichotomy between the CIA’s international, decades long dope trade and the Drug Enforcement Agencies (DEA) “war on drugs,” is illusory.  During a radio interview in 1991, historian Alfred McCoy outlined what he called “… the institutional relationship between the DEA and the CIA.”  Back in the 1930’s the forerunner of the DEA – the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was established to curtail the use and sale of narcotics.  The FBN was the only US agency that had agents working in covert roles prior to WW11.  With the arrival of WW11, key agents from the FBN were transferred to the newly established Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – fore-runner of the CIA – to teach OSS personnel the “clandestine arts.”  This relationship continues to present times, McCoy states.  The result is that where the CIA are running drug operations in various parts of the world, the DEA officially goes to sleep[14]. 

 This has led to the realisation that the DEA is principally tasked with prohibiting the flow of drugs from other than CIA “approved” sources - and that successive US "war on drugs" programmes are, de facto, engaged in killing off the competition.   Whether this is purposeful policy or not, the result is clearly the same.  Taken to its logical conclusion, CIA approved and protected traffickers will increasingly gain greater and greater control over the global dope business, making the US government the biggest dope peddler in the world.  Meanwhile, some believe this has already occurred and was always part of the long-term plans drawn up by covert policy planners, as they cast jealous eyes toward the planets raw materials – of which narcotics is one of the most profitable. 


 In 1973, President Richard Nixon declared his “war on drugs.”  Heroin entering the United States was produced by two principal Opium monopolies: those controlled by the CIA in Southeast Asia, and from Turkey – a close US ally.  Nixon’s “war on drugs” closed the Turkish connection that flowed through Marseilles under the control of the Corsican crime syndicates.  This created an ever greater demand for Heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia – especially Burma. 

 Earlier, in 1949, the region became an armed redoubt for fleeing Chinese nationalist forces – under the command of Chiang Kai-Shek - following their rout by Mao’s Red Army.  The CIA established a massive support operation that used these former Chinese forces to collect intelligence inside China, engage in pitched battles with communist forces and act as a “trip-wire” to a feared communist invasion of Southeast Asia.  To finance this secret little war, the CIA required the type of black funds that come from the large scale sale of narcotics.  It was here that the old OSS “China hands” did their duty, by turning the region into largest single Opium producer of the world, accounting for close to 1000 tons by 1961.

Today, the Burmese “growing fields” remain under the watchful control of the CIA backed warlord, Khun Sa.  It is here that out story comes full circle.  In Part One we revealed the contents of an affidavit signed by Colonel Cutolo regarding his direct knowledge and involvement of US military sanctioned Cocaine trafficking from Bogata, Columbia to Panama.  The senior US Special Forces commanding officer of the entire region at that time was Colonel Bo Gritz.  Gritz was one of those who quietly involved himself in the investigation of Cutolo’s death and those of other officers.

 In 1978, Gritz, a long time campaigner for US Missing in Action/Prisoners of War (MIA/POWs) from the Vietnam era, was informed by Ross Perot that three American POWs were now held by Khun Sa and that the warlord had agreed to hand them over.  Perot made arrangements to gain access to Khun Sa's headquarters in the remote hills of Shanland, via high level contacts in the Chinese government.  Gritz knowing he could get in and out a lot faster by utilising his network of contacts in the region, set off with a few hand-picked ex Special Forces men. 

 It took Gritz and his team three days to negotiate their way through the wild and remote territory of Shanland.  Eventually meeting with a bewildered Khun Sa, Gritz was told that there had never been any US POW's.  However, during their conversation, Gritz asked why Khun Sa was so heavily involved in Opium, pointing out how many problems this caused for America.  The reply was astonishing.  Khun Sa stated that his entire Opium supply - 900 tons  for 1989 - was bought by the US government.  The warlord then stated he wanted to change production as he hated Opium, and if Gritz could get the US to provide just one tenth of what it spent in the war on drugs in the region, he would shift production to other crops.

 Gritz took this suggestion back to the US government and was amazed to learn that the offer was spurned.  The former Green Beret Colonel also discovered that he would become a target of US dirty tricks if he didn't back away from the Opium subject.  Ignoring these threats, Gritz travelled back to Burma for a second meeting with Khun Sa, five months later.  This time he took a video recorder and asked Khun Sa to name the names of those responsible on camera. 

 Khun Sa instructed his secretary to read the names from his diary, but stipulated that the names he was going to reveal were old ones and not those he was presently doing business with.  The US government officer responsible for buying the Opium crop was Richard Armitage - a high level and well known administration official.  Armitage was working, the secretary read, with an individual named Santos Trafficante, who operated as Armitage's "traffic manager."  Gritz was well aware of who Trafficante was - the legendary Florida "Boss" of the Mafia.

 During a 1991 lecture, Gritz pointed out the economics of Khun Sa's Heroin pipeline on the US government.  The warlord was paid $300,000 per ton from the US government, but the product sold on the street for $1 million per pound.  "No one wants him out of business," Gritz observed wryly. 

 Once more returning to America, Gritz attempted to get someone in the administration - including Vice President George Bush - to take note of his information.  His approaches were forcefully spurned.  As a gesture of goodwill to the US government, Khun Sa wrote a letter to President Bush offering him free and gratis one ton of No 4 pure Asian heroin.  This was the warlords way of offering an incentive with the US to reach an agreement aimed at converting production from Opium to another crop.  Bush didn't respond to the letter.

 Disgusted, Gritz began actively campaigning to alert Americans just what their government were doing in their name.  This eventually resulted in Gritz being arraigned on criminal charges for using a false passport during his visit to Burma.  Pleading guilty to the charge, but pointing out that this was standard procedure in the world of "black operations," the jury found him innocent.  Since that time Gritz has become an outspoken critic of successive governments - and their duplicitous, secret policies - and as a consequence has suffered at the hands of a wretchedly biased media. 

 Despite this, Gritz central story was not abandoned.  Others had taken up the call from behind the scenes.  Quiet investigations into the hidden activities of Richard Armitage, began in earnest.  An immensely powerful "insider," Armitage had arranged for Colonel Dave Brown to been placed next to the president, as a military liaison, on a daily basis.  The purpose of this move was in the words of one individual familiar with these events to "subtly influence his thinking daily."  Moreover, "other actions of this type had been instituted in key departments and agencies."[15] 


 With the president effectively muzzled, Armitage and his small coterie of Washington movers and shakers believed they were untouchable.  To a large extent they were.  Already the Assistant Secretary of Defence, Armitage was nominated, in February 1989, by a grateful President Bush to become Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs.  This move was blocked and Armitage was, instead, nominated for the post of Secretary of the Army.

 Behind the scenes, a virtual war was in progress as the department of Justice and the FBI fought to indict Armitage for his narcotics and other criminal activities.  These measures were powerfully resisted by Attorney General Thornburg, a political appointee of President Bush.  Significantly, however, Armitage was also under scrutiny by Federal Investigators working for the President's Commission on Organised Crime, with a focus on foreign organised criminal activity in gambling and drug trafficking.

 This resulted from Armitage's close association with a Vietnamese female, Ngdyet Tui (Nanette) O'Rourke.  The latter was at the centre of an extremely large scale gambling ring operated by US based Vietnamese.  O'Rourke was awarded US citizenship, according to one source, under "highly suspect circumstances."  She was also suspected of being a prostitute.  As investigators developed their case, they came to believe that Armitage's association with O'Rourke dated back to his service in Vietnam, when he is thought to have operated a shady bar with her in Saigon.  There were also suspicions that O'Rourke operated as Armitage's "courier." 

 Another source who was involved in these investigations noted that " nearly every Vietnamese woman involved in major gambling operations on the East Coast [of America] is married to an American who is either CIA or has connections to the agency," - including O'Rourke's husband.  Meanwhile, yet another investigator who believed Armitage was "dirty" was frustrated in his investigations by Frank Carlucci, the Secretary of Defence, and other powerful patrons.  In 1975 during Armitage's CIA tour in Vietnam, Carlucci was the no2 man in the CIA.

 Because of the numerous high level obstructions, investigations into Armitage's criminal activities were curtailed, but not before some damaging information had been gathered.  Not least of this was Armitage's special relationship with O'Rourke.  Investigators discovered a photo, believed to have been taken professionally, showing a naked O'Rourke posing in her bedroom with a partly undressed Armitage.  This, and other factors, led investigators and, in fact, some very influential political insiders, to conclude that O'Rourke was really working for North Vietnamese intelligence, and that the photo had been used to blackmail Armitage into becoming a spy.[16]

 Such was the strength of the information developed on Armitage that he was forced to abandon his nomination for Secretary of the Army, and, in fact, all other official US government posts.  Subsequently, Defence officials stated privately that Armitage will never again be permitted to darken the doors of the Department of Defence.  Known as "Mr Phu" (literally meaning "Mr. Rich") amongst the Vietnamese community, Armitage, despite his disgrace was still able to count on the enormous power of his political patrons and avoided criminal prosecution.  Knowing far too much about US government "dirt" during the previous three decades provided him with an instant "do not go to jail" card.

 By 1992, the Opium crop from Khun Sa's region of the Golden Triangle had reached a staggering 300,000 tons.  Whereas this had always been difficult to convey due to mountainous terrain, a high speed tarmac road had been built allowing trucks to move the drug at high speed to government run airports in Thailand.  From here, refined Heroin is flown direct to the US and other western destinations. 

If Frank Carlucci - formerly No 2 in the CIA hierarchy - was one of Armitage's principal "protectors" during his "difficult" years, we can also legitimately ask who else might have been protecting the disgraced one time CIA officer.  Unsurprisingly, perhaps, George Bush reigned as the CIA's No 1 honcho, following his appointment by President Gerald Ford as Director of Central Intelligence.  This might make for a small world, but clearly a very dirty one, too.

 In the final analysis, the CIA's ongoing activities on behalf of a small clique of powerful individuals clearly does amount to a secret government that uses democratic structures as a little more than a useful facade to hide behind.  Drugs, a phenomenally profitably product have financed much of the secret governments secret activities.  Weapons, too, are another useful and highly profitable tool extracted from the public purse.  The over-riding yet covert policy, apparently, is to continually create nasty wars overseas and at the same time, keep the folks back home drugged up to their eyeballs.  Or rather, those sections of society that are viewed as a bothersome adjunct to the self elected elite masters who rule from the shadows.

 The kicker to the whole story, is not just that it's done in your name and the name of freedom and democracy - captivating slogans that mean less than nothing to those who utter them - but it's your money, your tax dollars, that continues to finance the entire scam.  Maybe one reason why the slang term for drugs is dope?


 When Gary Webb, an enterprising and courageous investigative reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, published his story in 1996, powerful shock-waves rumbled east across America for the best part of a year.  Webb had earlier spent a year peeling away the nasty secret of crack cocaine, and how it came to prominence in Los Angeles.

 The three part article was titled “The Dark Alliance,” and named names – especially those who were formerly senior figures in the CIA backed Contra movement.  Webb expected and received the whole-hearted support of his editor and fellow Mercury News reporters.  The newspaper even dedicated a web-site to the series of article and published electronic copies of important corroborating documents.  Meanwhile, the shock waves reached Washington.  Unstoppable, they flowed onwards to Langley, Virginia. 

 In time, an even more disturbing counter shock wave rolled back westwards, from Washington DC picking up impetus from Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA.  Gary Webb had uttered the unutterable.  He had spoken a simple truth.  A truth, moreover, that was already well known to a great many journalists, politicians, academics, military officers, intelligence personnel and other insiders for decades past.  The truth spoken was that the Central Intelligence Agency had engaged in the wholesale distribution of illegal narcotics.

 Within a year, Webb’s colleagues in the Mercury News reversed their earlier support and began to denounce him.  Such was the power of the signal returning-back from the East Coast, that many of the Mercury News other journalists began to fear that their career advancement – especially to the more prestigious news corporations of America – may be ruined.  It was a classic case of guilt by association.  Worse still, Webb’s previously stalwart editor also denounced him and published an editorial in the Mercury News, saying the quality of Webb’s corroboration of the Dark Alliance series was poor.  The clear message was that the truth that was spoken had, in fact, not been spoken.  Orwell called this double-speak. 

For daring to speak the truth, Webb was punished by being re-assigned to a small town, backwater office of Mercury News – far away from the limelight of head office.  Webb kept his job, or, at least, a kind of living death voodoo concoction of a job.  No one can blame Webb for accepting the posting.  He has a family to feed and under the circumstances, his chances of securing another job elsewhere in the media were surely limited.  The editor clearly also kept his job, but we can and must blame him for rendering journalistic integrity to Ceaser.  Some of Webb’s erstwhile colleagues have meanwhile, no doubt moved on to higher and better positions in those all too desirable national news corporations.  Here they may write copy all day, on any subject they choose, so long as it is not one of the unmentionable subjects.  Without an independent and courageous Fourth Estate, there is no protection against the subtle and consistent campaign to destroy democracy in all but name.

 When Webb first set out on his life-changing investigation, he was blissfully unaware of the enormous threat he would soon pose to the national security and political establishments of the United States.  His story threatened to reveal a sinister policy that dated back to WW11: the covert US control of the global narcotics industry spanning four decades.  This was just one of a great many unpalatable secrets that must not be told.  There are many others. [17]


[1] Cutolo’s affidavit runs to 15 pages and 86 paragraphs.  Dated 11 March 1980, it is witnessed by a notary.  PFC William Tyree’s affidavit runs to 13 pages and 41 paragraphs.  Dated 6 September 1990, it is witnessed by a notary.  Paul Neri’s accompanying 5 page letter is undated and unsigned and was prepared prior to his death on 29 April 1990, from a long illness.  Cutolo’s affidavit and Neri’s death-bed letter were forwarded by a friend who wished to remain anonymous.  The friend sent an accompanying type-written letter consisting of one paragraph, neither signed nor dated.  All documents are in this writer’s possession.  Copies of Cutolo’s affidavit were given to Colonels A. J. “Bo” Baker, Hugh B. Pearce and James “Bo” Gritz. 

[2] Cutolo names the same individuals in his affidavit.

[3] Extracted from the Third Edition of “Defrauding America” by Rodney Stich (1998, Diablo Western Press, Inc) page 359.

[4] My italics

[5] The major film, “First Blood” starring Slyvester Stallone was modelled on Col. Bo Gritz.

[6] The Yale material has been liberally extracted from Kris Millegan’s excellent essay “Everything you wanted to know about Skull and Bones but were afraid to ask.”  Other first class material is available in Paul Goldstein’s and jeffrey Steinberg’s “George Bush, Skull and Bones and the New World Order.”  Both are available on the internet only, so far as I am aware.

[7] Paul DiRenzo interview with McCoy, November 1991.

[8] For a detailed analysis of the connection between drugs and MIA/POWs see "Kiss the Boys Goodbye" by Jensen-Stevenson and Stevenson (Bloomsbury 1990).

[9] See Corso’s 17 September 1996 testimony to the US House Subcommittee on Military Personnel.  “The ‘No Win’ policy was contained in NSC 68, NSC 68/2, and NSC 135/3,” Corso told Congressmen, adding that “the basis for this policy was in directives ORE 750, NIE 2 2/1, 2/2, 10 and 11.  We called it the ‘Fig leaf Policy.’”

[10] Figures quoted by McCoy during his interview with Paul DiRenzio, 9 November 1991.

[11] See “Kiss the Boys Goodbye – by Stevenson & Stevenson p97 (Futura 1990).

[12] National Security Council memorandum 68.  This document outlined the US requirement resulting in the cold war.

[13] Confidential papers in this writers possession.

[14] McCoy’s interview by radio host Paul DiRienzo, 9 November 1991.

[15] Excerpted from a letter addressed to Senator Paul Laxalt dated 27 April 1987

[16] I am reliably informed that Ross Perot was one of those who believed Armitage was a North Vietnamese spy.

[17] The moral to Webb’s story is don’t expect the major media to inform you of what is really going on in the world.  They won’t.  To paraphrase Walter Mattheu’s one-liner uttered to perfection in the movie JFK: “These dogs don’t hunt.”  Least-ways not anymore.  The old media “blood-hound” is, today, curled up on a rug in front of the salary fire.  His muscles have wasted, his belly is full and his nose has forgotten how to twitch – and his arm twitching dreams are of earlier days.


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