PUBLISHED IN THE OCTOBER, 1999 ISSUE
If you want to know
MORE about this subject,
may we recommend the following:
Extracts and Commentary, Vol. II CIA's IG Report
- The CIA drug Economy and The Way
- Albert Vincent Carone The Missing
Link Between The CIA and The Mob
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The Bush Drug Sting, The Sins of
the Father, The Sins of the Son and -- The Smoking Airplane
Why Does George W. Bush Fly in Drug
Smuggler Barry Seal's Airplane?
Daniel Hopsicker and Michael C. Ruppert
It has all the makings of a major box office thriller: Texas Governor
and Republican Presidential contender George W. Bush and his
brother Jeb, allegedly caught on videotape in 1985 picking
up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport in a DEA sting set
up by Barry SealÉ
An ensuing murderous cover-up featuring Seal's public assassination less than
a year later by a hit teamÉthe members of which, when caught,
reveal to their attorneys during trial that their actions
were being directed by then, National Security Council (NSC)
staffer - Lt. Colonel Oliver NorthÉ
And a private turboprop King Air 200
supposedly caught on tape in the sting with FAA ownership
records leading directly to the CIA and some of the perpetrators
of the most notorious (and never punished) major financial
frauds of the '80s. ÉGreek shippers paying bribes to obtain
loans from American companies that would never be repaid.ÉAn
American executive snatching the charred remains of a $10,000
payoff check from an ashtray in an Athens restaurantÉSwiss
police finding bank accounts used for kickbacks and bribesÉ
Add to this mix the now irrefutable
proof, some of it from the CIA itself, that then Vice President
George H.W. Bush was a decision maker in illegal Contra support
operations connected to the "unusual" acquisition
of aircraft and that his staff participated in key financial,
operational and political decisionsÉ
All these events lead inexorably to
one unanswered question: How did this one plane go from being
controlled by Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American
history, to becoming, according to state officials,
a favored airplane of Texas Governor George W. Bush?
months into an exhaustive investigation of persistent reports
dating to 1995 that there exists an incriminating videotape
of current Republican Presidential front-runner Bush caught
in a hastily-aborted DEA cocaine sting, the central allegation
But some startling details have been confirmed, amid
a raft of new suspicions emerging from conflicting FAA records.
Those records, along with other irrefutable documents, point
to the existence of far more than mere happenstance or dark
"conspiracy theorist speculations" in the matter
of how George W. Bush came to be flying the friendly Texas
skies in an airplane that was a crown jewel in the drug smuggling
fleet of the notorious Barry Seal. Those documents reveal
- beyond any doubt - that in the 1980s Barry Seal, with whom
the CIA has consistently denied any relationship, piloted
and controlled airplanes owned by the same Phoenix Arizona
company, Greycas, which in a 1998 bankruptcy filing, was revealed
to have been a subsidiary of the same company that owned the
now defunct CIA proprietary airline Southern Air Transport.
The investigation started with a lead into
the history of the aircraft (a 1982 Beechcraft King Air 200
with FAA registration number N6308F - Serial Number BB-1014).
The handwritten tail number was found in records kept by Seal's
widow and later linked to other "hard paper" records
left by Seal after his 1986 assassination by "drug traffickers"
who were subsequently connected to Oliver North. Those records,
including leasing agreements, insurance policies and maintenance
records, exhibit a deliberately-confusing "paper trail"
of convoluted ownership recalling the 'glory' days of the
Iran Contra hearings, where the machinations of American covert
intelligence operators were unmasked before a disbelieving
Combined with revelations in a 1998 CIA
Inspector General's report of Contra-era cocaine trafficking
in which the CIA admits to "briefing" then Vice
President Bush on how it lied to Congress about cocaine trafficking
by its agents, it becomes clear that father and son have common
secrets to conceal from the American public. That report,
Volume II of the CIA Inspector General's report into allegations
of Contra cocaine trafficking can be viewed at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/cocaine2/index.html.
A detailed discussion of that report, along with relevant
excerpts is available at www.copvcia.com.
Unraveling the plane's tangled and colorful
history requires, first, a brief look backwards at the momentous
year of 1982, when President Reagan first introduced the public
version of "Project Democracy," in which he called
for a "crusade for freedom."
What it became instead was a license to
murder, loot and steal. This climate was the nursery into
which N6308F was born.
"The War of '82"
The detonations had rumbled like Armageddon along the rocky
course of the Rio Negro in Nicaragua throughout the night
of March 14, 1982... Concrete bridges groaned suddenly under
their own weight, crashing in avalanches of black dust in
a dark landscape seen through night-vision gogglesÉ In Washington
D.C., it was time to break out the champagne. War was breaking
out in Central America. Just two days later Barry Seal took
possession of the first of many planes supplied to him through
CIA Director Bill Casey's "off-the-books" Enterprise.
There were more than 100 U.S. advisers
in Honduras by March of 1982. In April, the chief of
the Honduran Army, General Gustavo Alvarez, said that his
country would agree to U.S. intervention in Central America
if it were the only way to "preserve peace."
"Up to March 1982 you could still
change your policy," recalled a member of the NSC Core
Group In Charge as he spoke to reporters later. "The
issue was still the question of support for El Salvador's
rebels. If that ended, so could pressure on Managua. But once
the first forces of Nicaraguan exiles were trained and set
in motion, any real negotiating became much harder. The blowing
of the bridges was an announcement."
Throughout 1982, Democrats, fearing that
President Reagan was pushing the United States into another
Vietnam-style quagmire, tried to cut off aid to the Contras.
It was precisely at this time, the height of CIA Director
Bill Casey's frenetic efforts to ward off these Congressional
efforts, that Barry Seal acquired use of not one but
several brand new Beech Craft King Air 200s. Ownership
of the planes had been deliberately obscured through a number
of convoluted transactions involving Phoenix-based corporations
suspected of being "fronts" for General John Singlaub's
"Enterprise" activities. Based in Phoenix, Arizona,
Retired Major General Singlaub organized in early 1982 an
American chapter of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL),
called the United States Council for World Freedom (USCWF),
with a loan from Taiwan. Funding for Seal's planes would come
from sources close to those efforts.
"Jack" Singlaub had a long history
of involvement in covert operations, beginning with service
in the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He
had served as CIA Desk Officer for China in 1949 and Deputy
Chief of Station in South Korea during the Korean War, and
during the Vietnam War he commanded the Special Operations
Group Military Assistance Command, Vietnam--Studies and Observation
Group (MACVSOG), which participated in the CIA's Operation
Phoenix assassination program.
Singlaub's efforts, and Seal's as well,
had been necessitated by the shocking scandals of the 1970s
combined with drastic reductions in "official" CIA
capabilities in the Carter years. Until then, the CIA. had
controlled a huge network of planes, pilots and companies
for use in paramilitary situations. But with the end of the
Vietnam War and the public revulsion at disclosures of out
of control CIA covert operations, many of those assets (such
as the infamous Air America) were dissolved or sold off.
Consequently, when the Reagan Administration
sought to expand covert paramilitary operations in Central
America and elsewhere, the Agency was forced to rebuild much
of its capabilities illegally, relying frequently on outside
assets, usually retained under contract, like Barry Seal.
The Contra war put everything into high gear.
The CIA and the Army jointly agreed to
set up a special aviation operation called "Seaspray,"
New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh revealed in 1987. [This
was old news to local and state police in affected areas.
Cops had already seen the cynical (and perhaps intentional)
manipulation of this operation flooding America with a river
of drugs. When law enforcement authorities debriefed convicted
"drug smuggler" Seal in late 1985, one of the cops
present brusquely began by stating, "We already know
Everybody Will Be There.
The "boys" were getting ready to go to war in the
Spring of 1982:
-- CIA agent Dewey Clarridge
put a proposition to Contra leader Eden Pastora. "He
would become the star of the second revolution as he had been
the star of the first," -- John Hull, whom
Congressional sources said worked for the CIA since at least
the early 1970s, rented a Contra safe house in San Jose,
Coast Rica at CIA request. -- Retired Air Force Major General
Richard Secord began managing an operation in
which Israel shipped weapons captured in Lebanon to a CIA
arms depot in San Antonio, Texas, for re-shipment to the Contras.
-- Felix Rodriguez drew on his Vietnam experience
and wrote a five-page proposal for the creation of an elite
mobile strike force, called the Tactical Task Force (TTF),
that would "be ideal for the pacification efforts
in El Salvador and Guatemala."-- And at this exact same
time, in the Spring of 1982, Barry Seal began
flying private planes into a then-obscure airport in the secluded
mountains of western Arkansas known as Mena. He moved his
base of operations from Louisiana to hook up with the CIA,
which was anxious to use Seal's fleet of planes to ferry both
legal and illegal supplies to Contra camps in Honduras and
Rodriguez dubbed the search and destroy
units "Pink Teams" and advocated using napalm and
cluster bombs to give them "more destructive power."
Rodriguez's proposal included a map of Central America which
indicated that Nicaragua would be a target of Pink Team operations
(based in El Salvador and Honduras).
Favorably impressed, Vice President George
(Poppy) Bush's National Security Advisor Donald Gregg sent
Rodriguez's Pink Team plan to then Deputy National Security
Adviser Bud McFarlane on March 17, along with a secret one-page
memo on "anti-guerrilla operations in Central America."
This was also, according to later Iran-Contra
testimony of Medellin Cartel money man Ramon Milian Rodriguez,
when he began to launder, at Felix Rodriguez' request, $10
million from the cartel for the Contras. In secret, sworn
testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on
Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Milian
Rodriguez claimed that he had been solicited by his old friend
Also early in 1982 a new covert unit of
the Armed Forces was set up by General Richard Stilwell.
Known as the Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), it became
a separate entity in the Army's secret world of special operations,
with its own commander, a Col. Jerry King. The army's involvement
in secret operations would first became known to the House
and Senate intelligence committees in early 1982, when they
discovered a project known as Yellow Fruit,
which ferried undercover Army operatives to Honduras, where
they trained Honduran troops for bloody hit-and-run operations
Through private front companies, like
the ones that supplied Barry Seal with his fleet of smuggling
aircraft, Operation Yellow Fruit ferried weapons
like rapid-fire cannons to CIA operatives. It was these same
operatives who later mined Nicaragua's harbors and raided
oil depots, all in violation of Congressional legislation
barring the Defense Department and the Agency from taking
any action aimed at overthrowing the Sandinistas.
The Army went to outside businessmen and
arms dealers to make off-the-books airplane purchases, with
funds that had been "laundered" through secret Army
finance offices at Fort Meade, Md. More than $325 million
was appropriated for the Special Operations Division of the
Army between 1981 and the autumn of 1983. Had any of
these operations become public then it would have caused enormous
political damage to the Reagan Administration's campaign in
Central America, according to a 1987 New York Times report
by Seymour Hersh.
"Enter CIA Agent Adler Berriman
Seal" The flight plans for
Seal's drug enterprise provided the perfect cover for the
illicit resupply missions. Seal's planes would fly from Mena
to Medellin Cartel airstrips in the mountains of Colombia
and Venezuela, make refueling stops in Panama and Honduras, and then return to Mena, where, en route, the planes would drop parachute-equipped
duffel bags loaded with cocaine over Seal-controlled farms
"His well-connected and officially
protected smuggling operation based at Mena accounted for
billions in drugs and arms from 1982 until his murder four
years later," said Dr. Roger Morris and Sally Denton
in their book Partners in Power. They also reported
that coded records of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) showed Barry Seal on the payroll beginning in
"My investigation established a conspiratorial
period, chronologically, with a first overt act and a last
overt act. The first overt act was April 12, 1982," stated
Arkansas state criminal investigator Russell Welch, who was
charged, he thought, with digging into Seal's Mena activities.
Between March and December 1982, according to law enforcement
records, Seal fitted nine of his aircraft with the latest
electronic equipment, paying the $750,000 bill - as was his
custom - in cash.
The effects of Barry Seal's efforts
to take weapons one way and bring drugs the other were soon
visible, in ruined lives in the U.S. and in the maimed bodies
appearing all over Central America.
"Riding the Elephant Herd"
Barry Seal was not alone. When small private
planes began to bomb the Nicaraguan capital, resulting in
the crash of a Cessna 404 at the Managua airport, an account
of how three Cessnas were secretly transported from the New
York Air National Guard to Central America for the raid on
Managua reached the press. It was later learned that custody
of a number of additional planes were moved from the U.S.
Air Force in a top-secret Joint Chiefs operation code-named
"Elephant Herd," on to the CIA, via
a Delaware aviation company where they were armed, and then
transferred to their ultimate destination, the Contras.
A senior administration official admitted
that small noncombatant military aircraft had been transferred
from the Air Force to the Contras through the CIA. One company
involved, Summit Aviation, was doing regular business with
Barry Seal according to records in his widow's possession.
In addition, according to Congressional sources, Summit,
known to do Contract work for the CIA, had former CIA personnel
on the payroll, and was linked through ownership records to
the Cessna that crashed while bombing Managua.
That aircraft, according to FAA records,
was purchased by Summit Aviation in October 1982 from Trager
Aviation Center in Lima, Ohio. On the same day that Summit
purchased the plane, the company sold it to Investair Leasing
Corp. of McLean, Va.. Investair, which has an unlisted telephone
number, does Contract work for the CIA, according to Congressional
sources. Bruce W. Trager, who sold the Cessna to Summit for
$308,872, says the deal was "put together" by Patrick
J. Foley, Summit's "military director."
In addition to its work for Investair,
Summit maintained and modified planes for Armairco, another
company involved in covert government projects. Armairco,
organized in 1982, also bought several multimillion-dollar
Beechcraft King Airs, like Barry Seal's. Those aircraft were
purchased directly from Beech in a procedure normally used
only for military projects, according to Beech officials and
When asked whether Armairco's government
work included activities in Central America, an Armairco official
said, ''That may well be.''
<click image to enlarge>
Beechcraft King Air 200 has been in production since the
mid 1970's. A little less than seven hundred of them have
been manufactured to date. The twin engine turboprop has
a pressurized cabin capable, with different configurations
of seating up to nine passengers. It has a cruising speed
of approximately 330 mph and a cruising range of more than
1,800 miles. New plane prices in1982 started at around $1,700,000
based on equipment.
The convoluted, pretzel-like paper history of the
airplane that once belonged to Barry Seal and is today used
by Texas Governor George W. Bush begins when the title
to the brand new aircraft was first recorded by Portland,
Oregon dealer Flightcraft, Inc.
Flightcraft's President, David R. Hinson,
a former military and commercial airline pilot active in
the Republican Party in Oregon, was, according to The
Oregonian, at the time under consideration to head the
FAA. The paper stated that Hinson had met with Transportation
Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole to express interest in
the job after travelling to Washington to promote himself
for the post. Helping Bill Casey subvert the will of Congress,
presumably, did nothing to hurt his chances.
N6308F was spoken for, several times
over, even before it arrived at Flighcraft's facilities
in the Spring of 1982.
"I don't think we're going to help
you - I mean "be able" to help you said
a nervous Phil Carrell of Flightcraft, Inc. when contacted
for information by FTW. Carrell, a sales executive who was
working at Flightcraft when "Zero-Eight-Foxtrot"
was originally sold, told FTW that as far as he knew any
records of the aircraft were no longer in existence. He
referred us to the FAA title records for answers. We wish
that answers were what we had found.
According to records located by Dan Hopsicker
in his investigation, a now defunct Lake Arrowhead, California
firm, Ken Miller Aircraft Sales, entered into leasing agreements
with developer Eugene Glick in February 1982, two months
before the manufacturer's title was transferred to Flightcraft.
Ken Miller Aircraft appears nowhere in the FAA title history
of the plane. Ken Miller Aviation is also no longer
in existence. Nonetheless, in February 1982, Ken Miller
Aviation entered into a leasing agreement with real estate
magnate Eugene Glick for the brand new aircraft. In that
agreement, Glick and his wife agreed to make eighty-four
monthly payments of more than $37,000 ($2,835,672) for the
airplane which had a new purchase price of $2,010,556. No
record linking Ken Miller Aviation to Flightcraft is known
On paper at least, according to Contracts
dating from February of 1982, the plane was owned by a Greyhound
Bus Lines subsidiary, Greycas, which in turn leased it to
a mysterious Phoenix firm in close proximity to John Singlaub's
Enterprise operations named Systems
Marketing, Inc." Systems Marketing then leased
it to Continental Desert Properties which was the firm owned
by Glick. In the final step, Glick leased the plane over
to Barry Seal.
In a Contract dated March 21, 1983 N6308F
was leased by Continental Desert Properties to Seal's firm
Baton Rouge Aviation . Insurance policies found in Seal's
private papers confirm that Barry Seal subsequently purchased
an insurance policy on the aircraft.
What, exactly, was the purpose
of this convoluted ownership record? What was it designed
to conceal? The answer lies in the very definition of "tradecraft,"
a term for what it is that spies and covert operators do
to operate in the dark. The "front" companies
were in place to act as "cut-outs," layers of
insulation, between the spy agency -- in this case Bill
Casey's CIA--and the covert operative--, in this case, Barry
FAA ownership records show that Gene
Glick, who lived on Hope Ranch near Ronald Reagan's Rancho
del Cielo in Santa Barbara, California, leased "Zero-Eight-Foxtrot"
as well as several of Barry Seal's other planes during the
same years that Seal was most active in drug and weapons
smuggling 1982-5. Other documents located by Hopsicker confirm
that Glick was also actively helping Seal purchase ocean-going
vessels for use in drug smuggling activities and as stationary
platforms for the CIA to use off the coast of Nicaragua
in covert operations.
An FBI agent had dismissed Glick's importance
to Dan Hopsicker, which fueled his suspicions early on.
"He's just a money launderer," said Delbert Hahn,
who was the Special Agent in Charge of an Inter-Agency Organized
Crime Drug Task Force looking into Barry Seal's organization
back in the middle 1980s. At least in this case, Glick's
behavior was consistent with Iran-Contra "bust out"
operations because the lease defaulted in two years. The
plane was repossessed.
According to FTW contributing editor
Catherine Austin Fitts who, as a former Wall Street investment
banker and Assistant Secretary of Housing, served on the
Resolution Trust Corporation in the wake of the S&L
scandal, "This could have been a substantial cash pay-off
to the concerned parties." Fitts, who also served on
the "clean-up" committee for BCCI (a bank with
abundant connections to CIA covert operations, financial
fraud and drug trafficking) observed that the pattern here
is typical of those seen by enforcement officials in that
"It is worth researching to see if there
were substantial cash pay-offs to the concerned parties,"
said Fitts. "If the lease were insured at or near its full
value and defaulted early
as it did here in around two years; if the total value of
lease > payments were $2.8 million and if the lessor
had paid only $2.1 million for the aircraft then any
insurance pay-off or "write down" after only a year
or two could have netted a profit of a half million
dollars or more for the covert operators. This type
of insurance fraud was used routinely during Iran-Contra
to finance covert operations"
<click image to enlarge>
The CIA Gets Busted --Yet
The circle was completed with the discovery that "Zero-Eight-Foxtrot,"
as well as several other planes used by Barry Seal, was
in reality owned by the same company revealed in 1998 bankruptcy
proceedings to have owned the notorious CIA airline Southern
Air Transport (SAT). Congressional and public records from
the era establish Southern Air as a legendary CIA proprietary
- second only to Air America - and as being connected to
Secord, Singluab, Rodriguez, Casey and George H.W. Bush.
Among its long list of dubious "achievements,"
Southern Air had owned the C123 used by Seal in the Nicaragua
sting operation which made Barry Seal famous. That same
aircraft was later shot down over Nicaragua in 1986 and
the lone survivor Eugene Hasenfus was captured alive by
Sandinista soldiers.. That is what started the Iran-Contra
scandal to begin with. No one knew--or admitted knowing--just
who owned Southern Air Transport back in 1986, although
government officials all swore up and down that it wasn't
Southern Air's ownership by Greyhound
Leasing, which became the entity called Finova, was only
disclosed after no one was looking, when SAT went into bankruptcy
in 1998. This is the first time the holding company, Finova,
has been revealed for what it clearly is, an Agency front,
set up in Arizona and headquartered in Canada to escape
American financial disclosure requirements.
Suddenly, on June 14, 1984, after passage
of the second Boland Amendment and the consolidation of
Contra operations under Oliver North the plane was sold
twice in one day. According to journalist, producer and
author Dan Hopsicker, "This was at a period in time
when Barry knew he was on the way out." The plane went
first to a mysterious Morgan B. Mitchell of Vale, Oregon,
and then to Chevrolet Dealer Merrill Bean of Ogden Utah.
Bean, curiously, gave the Dover, Delaware address of the
"Prentis Hall [sic] Corporation" on his FAA registration.
Students of the CIA have long been aware of the Agency's affinity
for hiding its assets in Delaware shell corporations. But,
to be fair, many other companies do so for reasons of convenience.
In an interview Bean stated that he had incorporated in
Delaware as a legal necessity because of the needs of his
investors. "Delaware is a very convenient place for
many kinds of corporations to incorporate and many large
corporations and multi-nationals do so," Bean told
FTW. "Because other companies I was in partnership
with were incorporated there I chose to do so also. It was
much easier that way and it was a requirement of the partners
who were investing."
However, Delaware officials in the Secretary
of State's office said that Bean's company, Prentis Hall
[not Prentice Hall], does not exist. And in the FAA
records connected to Bean's ownership of "Zero-Eight-Foxtrot"
we find yet another unexplained gap in FAA records. Whenever
major mechanical repairs are made on an aircraft, the involved
mechanic is required to complete an FAA Form 337. In December
1989, FAA certified mechanic Irvin Strayer installed some
routine de-icing equipment on the plane. The mechanic, reviewing
what should have been original ownership documents, listed
the owner as United Insurance of Ogden Utah. Nowhere
in FAA title paperwork does United Insurance appear as an
owner. And a spokesman for the Utah State Department of
Insurance told FTW that there had never been a United Insurance
licensed to do business in the state.
"It was an insurance company that a group of car dealers had
formed to handle title and financing and other insurance
for car sales," said Bean. "I bought the other
guys out of the airplane and had some repairs done before
I sold to Corporate Wings."
Someone should have told the FAA. Or perhaps someone changed the
FAA's records. Stranger things have happened. Bean does
not recall if he changed the records to reflect this or
A Likely Suspect
In what will become a long litany of
links between Barry Seal's activities and the financial
fraud of the 1980's, Merrill Bean was also involved in what
The Salt Lake City Tribune called "the worst
financial disaster in Utah since the Great Depression."
That disaster was the en masse 1980s failure of Utah thrifts
-- hybrid financial institutions that offered high interest
rates and consumer loans -- and the collapse of the insurance
fund that was supposed to protect their deposits.
Because Utah's thrifts were heavily underinsured, the actions of
Bean's thrift, Western Heritage Thrift and Loan, left a
trail of broken hearts, and broken people.
"We had just moved to Utah from
California two years ago," 58-year old Irene Culver
told The Salt Lake City Tribune in 1986. "My
husband Kent was an aircraft mechanic but he has Parkinson's
Disease. We put half our savings in there [Western Heritage]
and bought a little fixer-upper with the other half. When
the State closed everything, I thought, 'I suppose we're
lucky.' My Social Security should start in four years. We
were going to put a new roof on and install a gas furnace
because the electricity's expensive. Now we can't do it,
so we've got half the house closed off."
Bean told FTW, "I was Director of that failed thrift. I came
aboard when it was almost going under. And I poured some
money into it to try to save it and it didn't happen. I
was hoping that my $75,000 that I put into it would help
revive it." While admitting that he was on the Board
of Directors of Western Heritage, Bean stated emphatically
that he was not "a Honcho."
FTW wonders how an obviously savvy businessman
who owns several aircraft and car dealerships believed that
$75,000 would turn around a failing savings and loan.
In "The Mafia, The CIA and George Bush,"
Texas journalist Pete Brewton documented how much of the
S&L scandal was connected to Iran-Contra operations
and illegal covert operations of the CIA. In many of those
schemes a $75,000 or similar "buy-in" might have
secured the mighty a seat at a highly-lucrative but
completely criminal feeding frenzy.
Following the "paper trail"
of Barry Seal's King Air 200 revealed connections to some
other unsavory perpetrators of the major financial frauds
that -- like the S&L scandal -- marred the 1980s. Greyhound
Leasing, or "Greycas" for short, was at the center
of a huge and seemingly inexplicable financial fraud that,
like the half-trillion dollar S&L scandal, no one seemed
too concerned about unraveling. The corporation was openly
and eventually very publicly looted. Afterwards, company
management pretended to be "baffled" as to how
it could have happened.
It went down like this:
Greycas Inc. and another Greyhound unit, Greyhound Leasing
& Financial Corp., were bilked of over $
75 million by one Sheldon Player, a former Vernal,
Utah, resident assumed to be in the machine and oilfield
equipment sales business, who gained the money through fraudulently
obtained loans from Greyhound. Greycas then devised an elaborate
cover-up scheme to prevent disclosure of details about the
This episode began at the beginning of the 1980's with one
$ 600,000 loan. Player and his companies would sell
Greycas heavy machine tools, lease them back and then pretend
to sublease the expensive devices to end-users. In
most cases the machines, which were collateral for the loans,
By 1984, Player had borrowed nearly $ 8 million from Greyhound
in the same scheme. That year he asked for $ 40 million
in new loans to continue his transactions. A total of $23.5
million had been disbursed by the time the company first
got suspicious and confronted Player. He was told the company
wanted to inspect the machinery that it was supposed to
have owned. Remember, this was a company owned by
the CIA front Finova. Player resisted, leading some company
executives to wonder about the "integrity of the transactions
Then, incredibly, despite the company's doubts about Player's
credibility and integrity, and in spite of Greycas' inability
to make inspections of the equipment, the company lent Player
another $ 24 million. In the ensuing months
lucky Sheldon Player drew $66 million on the credit line
authorized by the company.
This was an Iran-Contra bust-out.
Nice Work if You Can Get It
Anyone who has ever borrowed money for
a car or home must admire the chutzpah of Sheldon Player,
whom the business press took to calling an "admitted
con artist." Yet Player
had no history of financial fraud that we could discover
before this, which took place at the same time
that officers of a Swiss-based subsidiary were defrauding
Greycas of another $120 million, in a purportedly
unrelated scandal that sent shock waves from Athens to Phoenix.
"Many borrowers failed to make even the initial monthly
payment,'' court documents state. The company's accountants
wrote that "fraudulent and dishonest acts . . . resulted
directly in a loss of $119,684,598." Not so, said
the company's hapless General Counsel, who responded, weakly,
that the loss has been reduced to a mere $72 million.
The fraud included checks written as bribes on napkins in
Swiss restaurants and then set afireÉ the reported possibility
that one of the participants was blackmailing other participants
and some mighty upset shareholders who filed lawsuits in
Phoenix urging the Greyhound board to take legal action
against top officials. The troubling question that puzzled
business reporters never were able to answer was this: Why
were they giving money away down at Greyhound during the
Being Connected Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry The
disposition of the resulting criminal trial of Sheldon Player
is an illustration of the maxim that in George Bush's America,
"Being connected means never having to say you're sorry."
When Sheldon Player was sentenced, he received a five-year
sentence. Yup. Five years -- one year for
each $13 million he stole. This is clearly a deal that,
if offered to regular Americans--as opposed to the CIA-related
kind who killed Barry Seal --would have people lining up
around the Phoenix Federal Courthouse to sign up. After
receiving this draconian sentence Mr. Player was given additional
time to settle personal affairs before entering prison.
No one can say American justice is not compassionate. And
prison, for Mr. Player, consisted of the Lompoc Camp,
a minimum-security facility known as one of 10 to 12 "country
club" institutions in operation around the nation,
according to Dick Murray, community programs manager for
the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Phoenix.
Former Greycas official Robert Bertrand, who apparently
covered up for Player's fraud, lucky fellow, never went
to prison. Instead he resigned his position at Greyhound
in 1986, and was soon appointed the new President and Chief
Executive Officer of Finalco Inc. [Sounds like Finova doesn't
it?], an equipment finance and brokerage company which just
happens to be based in McLean, Virginia, the home
of the CIA.
(Back?) Into the Hands of the Guvnah
Merrill Bean, the Utah Chevy dealer who
acquired "Zero-Eight-Foxtrot" in 1984 sold the
plane in May of 1990 to Corporate Wings of Salt Lake City.
Two days later Corporate Wings sold it to Gantt Aviation
of Georgetown, Texas, which a month later sold it to the
State of Texas Aircraft Pool where it resides today.
Johnny Gantt, President of Gantt Aviation told FTW that
he probably knew that the State of Texas had a bid out when
he acquired "Zero-Eight-Foxtrot". At the
time the Governor of Texas was Bill Clements and George
"W", a good friend, was owner of the Texas Rangers.
A genial Gantt explained that he had probably been aware
that the State was "putting out a bid" for a King
Air and scooped up the plane. Press clipping show that Gantt
Aviation is a large dealership with a long history of providing
planes to the State of Texas. It was a done deal within
weeks and Zero-Eight-Foxtrot found the home where it lives
At the beginning of this article we outlined briefly how
a tail number in Barry Seal's papers started this investigation.
It actually began when author Terry Reed announced at a
Los Angeles public gathering in July, 1999 that a video
tape might surface during the 2000 Presidential campaign
"showing George W and Jeb arriving at Tamiami Airport
in 1985 to pick up two kilos of cocaine for a party. Said
Reed, "They flew in on a King Air 200." Subsequent
statements made by Barry Seal and recorded in Reed's 1995
book Compromised recount how Seal bragged
about how he had video of "the Bush boys" doing
coke. Other witnesses located by both writers of this story,
who were in relevant official positions in 1985, have confirmed
that the described Tamiami sting took place. All, in fear
for their lives, have refused to go on the record.
Does George "W" use Zero-Eight-Foxtrot?
According to Jerry Daniels, Executive Director of the Texas
State Aircraft Pooling Board, "He used to fly on that
airplane all the time. He stopped when he became a Presidential
candidate because the State won't let you fly its aircraft
for political purposes." But FTW learned that if and
when Dubyah is back in the state and on state business,
he probably will because Dubyah is a licensed pilot and
Zero-Eight-Foxtrot is one of his favorites though he doesn't
get to pilot much any more.
Said one savvy Pol of George W, "The last
thing we need in this country is another President with
lingering drug scandals in his past--and maybe present."
© Copyright 1999, From The Wilderness. No
portion of this article may be reproduced, resold
or reprinted without express written permission.
is the producer of a business news television show airing
internationally on NBC called Global Business 2000. That is,
he was the Producer until Dan produced a 2-hour special on
the CIA and drugs, Mena, Arkansas and Barry Seal called "The
Secret Heartbeat of America." Dan was told by his
biggest friend in Hollywood, "Your show will not air
while Clinton is President." When a subsequent attack
in broad daylight on Wilshire Boulevard outside the Federal
Building in Los Angeles confirmed his friend's judgment and
prediction, Mr. Hopsicker began work on a book called "Barry
and 'the boys," due to be finished by the end
Professional videotape copies
of Dan's two TV specials-- a second one is on the Federal
Reserve and the Bilderbergers-- may be ordered for $19.50
plus $4.50 s&h by calling - 941.416.3734.
Special Thanks - to From The Wilderness
readers Mr. P. a lawyah from the South, John Carman,
and "The Goddess", who contributed critical pieces
to this story. You are living proof that no one is as smart
as all of us and that with the Net we can beat the major media
FTW''s mission for readers - This story, like
Watergate will be broken in increments. We need to find out
how many times and on what dates Zero-Eight-Foxtrot landed
at Tamiami Airport in 1985 and who was piloting. Freedom
of Information Act requests need to be very specific.
Think of creative ways to find out.
If you want to know
MORE about this subject,
may we recommend the following:
Extracts and Commentary, Vol. II CIA's IG Report
- The CIA drug Economy and The Way
- Albert Vincent Carone The Missing
Link Between The CIA and The Mob
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