IN THE OCTOBER, 1999 ISSUE of FTW.
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 Seal...
An ensuing murderous cover-up featuring Seal's public
assassination less than a year later by a hit team...the
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
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...Greek 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 bribes...
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
"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
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 about Seaspray."]
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 Costa Rica.
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 Felix
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
"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 in Louisiana.
"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 1982.
"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 aviation
When asked whether Armairco's government work included
activities in Central America, an Armairco official said,
''That may well be.''
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
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
"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
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 to exist.
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,
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
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 era.
"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
image to enlarge>
The CIA Gets Busted --Yet Again
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 the CIA.
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
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
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 loss.
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, were non-existent.
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 afire...the reported
possibility that one of the participants was blackmailing
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
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
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 happily today.
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.
Daniel Hopsicker 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 of
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 every time!
FTW's mission for readers - This story,
like Watergate will be broken in increments. We need to find
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.
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 Out
- Albert Vincent Carone The Missing Link Between The
CIA and The Mob
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