OPENING REMARKS OF
MICHAEL C. RUPPERT
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
(WRITTEN STATEMENT WITH EXHIBITS)
WEB NOTE: This document appears exactly as I submitted it to the Select Intelligence Committees of both Houses. To date, it remains only a document submitted in advance of testimony and it has not been placed in the Congressional Record. Although I and Cele Castillo remain on potential witness lists, we have not ben allowed to testify. The sheer volume of my exhibits and the disk space required to scan them makes it impossible to include these important documents here. To obtain my full statement, with all 32 pages of exhibits and photographs - CLICK HERE.
On November 15, 1996, I stood at a town hall meeting at Locke High School in Los Angeles and said to Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch, "I am a former Los Angeles Police narcotics detective. I worked South Central Los Angeles and I can tell you, Director Deutch, emphatically and without equivocation, that the Agency has dealt drugs in this country for a long time." I then referred Director Deutch to three specific Agency operations known as Amadeus, Pegasus and Watchtower.
Most Americans have been lead to believe that the purpose of these hearings is to ascertain whether or not there is any evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency dealt drugs during the Iran-Contra era. If these hearings were about evidence, then the most patriotic duty I could perform would be to quote Jack Blum who served as chief investigator for the Kerry Subcommittee on narcotics and terrorism ten years ago. He testified before this committee last year and said, "We don't have to investigate. We already know." We could save a lot of taxpayer money by just rereading the records of the Kerry hearings. There is more evidence in there than any court in the world would ever need to hand down indictments.
At best, I could just quote you one entry from Oliver North's diary dated July 5, 1985, which said that $14 million to buy weapons for the Contras, "came from drugs." I wouldn't need to mention the two hundred and fifty other such entries in his diary, which refer to narcotics. Or I could quote Dennis Dayle a senior DEA supervisory agent who said, "In my thirty year history in DEA, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the C.I.A."
But these hearings are not about evidence. They are about corruption and cover-up. The CIA did not just deal drugs during the Iran-Contra era; it has done so for the full fifty years of its history. Today I will give you evidence which will show that the CIA, and many figures who became known during Iran-Contra such as Richard Secord, Ted Shackley, Tom Clines, Felix Rodriguez and George Herbert Walker Bush, who was DCI when I first became exposed to Agency drug dealing, have been selling drugs to Americans since the Vietnam era. I have been very careful to make sure that what I tell you today is admissible evidence in criminal proceedings.
In a court of law the testimony of an eyewitness is one of the most prized possessions of a prosecutor. It is direct evidence of a crime. I am an eyewitness. Another form of frequently used evidence is an exception to the hearsay rule in which admissions against the interest of a criminal participant or a material witness are admitted into evidence if given under oath by the person to whom the statements were made. I am under oath and I will provide you today with utterly damning admissions against interest made by people with direct knowledge of these events. There is also documentary and circumstantial evidence and I will present you with that as well.
My evidence will show conclusively that, as a matter of national policy, set at the National Security Council - the White House - elements of the C.I.A., in concert with elements of the military, and other federal agencies, have dealt drugs to Americans for at least three decades. Major defense contractors like E-Systems have also engaged in such traffic. I will not cover the outstanding work of scholars such as Alfred McCoy of the University of Wisconsin and Peter Dale Scott of the University of California at Berkeley who document this activity back to the forties. Nor will I attempt to deliver the material which should be given to you directly by a great many other heroic witnesses including Celerino Castillo, Mike Levine, Dee Ferdinand, David Sabow, Brad Ayers, Tosh Plumley, Bo Abbott, Danny Sheehan, Gene Wheaton, John Mattes, Jack Terrell, Winfred Richardson (formerly of E-Systems), Michelle Cooper (formerly of E-Systems), Bill Tyree and Dois G. "Chip" Tatum. Also this committee should interview two former CIA employees on the subject. Their names are David MacMichael and Ralph McGehee.
The evidence will also show that the CIA has infiltrated and established illegal relationships with a number of police departments around the country. One of the purposes of this has been to protect CIA drug operations from law enforcement. I have personal knowledge of this activity in Los Angeles and New Orleans and have documented such a case in New York City.
All of the exhibits I will present today are among the two hundred and fifty plus pages of documents I provided to your investigators when they visited me in Los Angeles last year.
This is my testimony:
My name is Michael Craig Ruppert. I was born in Washington, D.C. My father was an Air Force officer and later an aerospace executive who worked on projects which included the Titan IIIC which was then the primary booster for the CIA's Keyhole spy satellites. My father's cousin, Barbara Burges and her husband Sam, are both retired from the Central Intelligence Agency. My mother was a cryptographer for Army Intelligence at Fort Meyer during the Second World War.
I was raised Republican into a culture steeped in the best traditions of honor and national defense. From 1969 to 1973 I was one of two "living" Republicans on the UCLA campus. The other was Craig L. Fuller who was chosen to intern for Governor Ronald Reagan at the same time that I was chosen, as an honors student in Political Science, to intern for Chief Edward M. Davis of the Los Angeles Police Department.
I interned for LAPD for three years and during that time was exposed to many LAPD officers of varying ranks who had connections to the intelligence community. I was told that I held a "Q" Clearance at age twenty. Just before my graduation from UCLA, on a plane ticket paid for by family, I flew to Washington and, in a meeting arranged by the Burgesses, was interviewed by a CIA officer regarding employment with the Agency. At that interview the recruitment officer told me he wanted me to join the Agency and then return to Los Angeles where I would attend the Los Angeles Police Academy and use my position as a police officer as a cover.
The CIA officer provided me with a stack of documents which he said were necessary for me to complete for a background check. The interview ended.
Because I knew that CIA domestic operations were illegal and because I felt extremely uncomfortable with that proposition, I never completed the forms or had any further official contact with the Agency until seven years later.
After my graduation from UCLA in June 1973 I joined the LAPD and was the Valedictorian for the last three classes of 1973. I was assigned to Wilshire Division patrol. I excelled at patrol work and was subsequently loaned into Detective assignments including burglary and homicide. I had two extended loans into Wilshire Division Narcotics and was recommended by the narcotics Officer-In-Charge to attend a two-week DEA training school held in Las Vegas. Narcotics was my chosen specialty. I have given expert court testimony on the subject twenty-seven times.
Most of the details of what I am about to tell you are contained in an FBI report and investigation made pursuant to a complaint I filed with Special Agent Stan Curry of the L.A. Field Office on December 4, 1978. This was after I was forced out of LAPD on November 30, 1978. I trust your staff has located and reviewed the report.
In December 1975 I met and quickly fell in love with a CIA agent named Nordica Theodora D'Orsay - Teddy. Teddy and I moved in together in March of 1976. As a childhood friend of a niece of the Shah of Iran, Teddy had many unusual acquaintances which, as she revealed them to me, turned out to include senior members of LAPD's Organized Crime Intelligence Division like Lee Goforth and Norm Bonneau, narcotics investigators like Carl Thompson from Wilshire Division and organized crime figures like Carlos Marcello, Hank Friedman and Dan Horowitz. She also had relationships with members of the Carlo Gambino crime family.
Around this time she indicated to me that she knew Sergeant Carl Thompson of Wilshire Division narcotics. Thompson had just been my supervisor on an extended loan into the unit. Thompson was a designated supervisor with access to the Narcotics Intelligence Network, a secure system allowing detectives to track narcotics investigations conducted by other units or Agencies including DEA. Months later Teddy told me that N.I.N. was very important to "her people". They could tell when investigations got too close to their operations.
Then she started revealing information to me from my confidential LAPD personnel package. She also had accurate inside knowledge of operations inside the Los Angeles Police Department. In May, 1976 she revealed to me that she worked for the federal government in a capacity that had to do with terrorism and narcotics. It was extremely classified, she said. She convinced me of these connections by accurately predicting changes of command in LAPD's intelligence divisions. She refused to name the Agency she worked for but categorically denied that it was the FBI or any Bureau of Justice or the Treasury.
As time passed, she indicated that "her people" were interested in having me work for them. I was promoting rapidly and had an extremely bright future with LAPD. I could be of great use. This excited me until Teddy started revealing that, on various trips, including Hawaii, the Bahamas, New Orleans, Texas and Baja California - where she said she had once seen narcotics offloaded from a submarine - she had seen large quantities of firearms and narcotics - specifically cocaine and heroin. Always, the guns were leaving the country and the narcotics were coming in.
When I asked her what happened to the narcotics her response was, "My people are not interested in narcotics. We just let it go."
After returning from a trip to Hawaii in early 1976 she told me of having been in a room with close to a thousand M16s and fifty kilos of cocaine.
Repeatedly, I said to her that I would not overlook narcotics. I said, "If I'm ever in a room with fifty kilos of cocaine somebody's going to jail and it's not going to be me." On this position I have never compromised.
The strains my position produced on our relationship were unbearable. Teddy left suddenly in January, 1977 and almost immediately a group of organized crime figures entered a real estate office in Orange County where my mother worked as an agent selling single family homes. My mother was suddenly immersed in a $45 million deal involving thousands of acres of prime land and circumstances which caused her great fear. She asked me for help and, as a loyal police officer and son, I gathered all the available information and presented it to the Organized Crime Intelligence Division of LAPD. I quickly found myself "unofficially" working with Detectives Lee Goforth and Norm Bonneau. Goforth was the same Lee Goforth Teddy had earlier mentioned knowing. Lee was also a Brigadier General in the California National Guard. I will tell you that I believe that Lee Goforth and Norm Bonneau were both long term CIA assets, possibly deep cover officers within LAPD.
At the time I was on staff at the Los Angeles Police Academy. Goforth and Bonneau visited my Captain, Jesse Brewer, who later rose to become Assistant Chief and Police Commissioner in Los Angeles. I was to be freed from basic duties and allowed to come and go as I pleased. A car was to be made available for me whenever I needed one. The instructions I received were to visit my mother as often as needed and to gather all available information on the real estate deal. I had frequent meetings with Goforth and Bonneau at the OCID offices. Always, they seemed just a little more interested in my relationship with Teddy than with my mother's dilemma.
Present at many of these meetings was another detective named John Xavier Vach whom I had known from my internship years as having heavy intelligence connections. Vach later served for several years as driver/bodyguard to Chief Daryl Gates and was convicted in 1985 of moonlighting for the CIA on city time and with providing Agency sources with illegally obtained documents and records. His conviction and the connections to CIA are a matter of public record in Los Angeles.
While working this "unofficial" loan to Organized Crime Intelligence I experienced five months of surveillance, harassing phone calls and ultimately "black bag" burglaries of my home and car in which photographs of Teddy and my off duty weapon were taken.
In July of 1977, having heard from Teddy, I forced my way to New Orleans where she was then living with her younger sister. What I saw and heard there over the course of eight days changed my life forever.
Teddy was living in an apartment in Gretna, a New Orleans suburb. One of the first things I saw in her apartment was an unusual telephone. It was of the new "touch-tone" variety and it was very heavy. An AC power adaptor hung from a cord in the phone. When Teddy took sensitive calls she would plug the adaptor into a wall socket and push a series of buttons. This phone was a scrambler, years later, revealed to me as bearing the U.S. Air Force designation KY3 which required a clearance to possess.
I also saw a plastic shopping bag which contained a black monocular night vision device. Then I saw Teddy receive sealed communiques from Naval and Air Force NCOs stationed at Belle Chase Naval Air station. I heard her speak on the phone and in person to a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran named Freddy about meetings with a Carlos Marcello associate named Adrian. I was introduced to a number of employees of the Brown & Root corporation, long identified in public source material as a CIA contractor, who were shipping out for Iran. Teddy told me that she was especially concerned with making sure that certain important shipments - weapons - were safely loaded onto Brown and Root ships destined for Iran.
On one occasion we went to a bar and sat with several employees from "the company", Brown & Root and members of the New Orleans Police Department.
Outside a bar in Terrytown, shots were fired as Teddy and I walked to my car. The shots struck the pavement a few feet from us. This was the first time I was shot at.
In other conversations, sometimes behind partially closed doors and upon which I admittedly eavesdropped, I heard Teddy use the scrambler phone to make arrangements for service boats operated by firms connected to Carlos Marcello to pick up "packages" from oil rigs in the Gulf. She later admitted that these packages contained heroin.
On several evenings she left with Freddy to make sure that deliveries were proceeding as scheduled. Finally, on my last two days there, Teddy and an Air Force NCO named Johnny admitted CIA involvement. Teddy even showed me a cover letter of transmittal stamped with various routing and clearance boxes which was addressed to Agent 2T6.
I should point out here that the Director of Central Intelligence when I met Teddy and when the New Orleans operations began was George Herbert Walker Bush. The Deputy Director of Plans, or covert operations, was Ted Shackley. Both men are central to the drug trafficking by CIA and NSC which became epidemic in the Iran-Contra era. The New Orleans operation continued unabated under the Directorship of Admiral Stansfield Turner and the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.
What I saw broke my heart and terrified me. I severed all relations with Teddy. I returned home to Los Angeles and reported everything I had seen to detectives Goforth and Bonneau. Both had denied any knowledge of her both before and after my trip. The one physical piece of material I have remaining directly from Teddy is a code key in Teddy's own handwriting which she used to decipher messages received via U.S. Mail. I gave a copy of it to the F.B.I. I refer you to EXHIBIT 1.
I took a leave for stress and returned to full duty. For one year I earned the highest rating evaluations possible in the LAPD. I was locked-in for promotion to detective. Then came the revolution in Iran and I wondered if perhaps the weapons I had seen Teddy arranging to leave New Orleans were somehow connected. I began studying CIA and Iran. I reported my activities to my superiors.
The second round of burglaries, harassments and surveillance culminated in a death threat which I tape recorded and still possess to this day. I played it for investigators from the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee last winter. I have it here with me if you wish to hear it.
When I sent a message to LAPD's new Chief Daryl F. Gates that my life was in danger and that his driver, John Vach, was a CIA man I received word back, "The Chief is busy. He can give you five or ten minutes in a week to ten days. Would you care to make an appointment?"
Having prepared for this contingency I resigned in the dead of night and fled Los Angeles. I returned with an attorney, Tim Callahan, and went directly to the Los Angeles Field Office of the F.B.I. and reported everything I have just told you. I also sent packages to Senators Hayakawa and Cranston as well as representatives Dornan and Bielenson. I refer you here to EXHIBIT 2, dated December 6, 1978.
Nothing happened. I was labeled crazy by both LAPD and the FBI. After pressure from my attorney and Senator Hayakawa an extensive investigation was conducted by LAPD's Internal Affairs Division. Although I was made aware by friends and intelligence officers within LAPD that I had struck a raw and exposed nerve, the official position of LAPD as reported to me by Sgt. Martin Pomeroy, who is now a Deputy Chief, was that no action was to be taken.
The general consensus was that Teddy had been fabricating a wild story to lead me on while she conducted affairs behind my back. She even said so herself in a newspaper interview with the L.A. Herald Examiner in 1981. But bear in mind that I had detailed guns for drugs operations involving Carlos Marcello and the Gambino crime family at locations which included Mexico, New Orleans, the Bahamas and Texas. I had even related her description of the use of submarines for such activity.
I refer you now to EXHIBIT 3. On November 15, 1979, almost exactly a year after my complaint to the FBI, The Los Angeles Times ran a story reprinted from Newsday. Written by veteran reporter Tom Renner, the story described a burgeoning guns-for-drugs trade which centered around the crime families of Dons Carlo Gambino and Carlos Marcello. The story specifically described DEA investigations into exchanges of firearms for drugs with known Latin American and Middle Eastern terrorist groups in such locations as the Bahamas, New Orleans and Mexico. The story even described the use of submarines to transport the drugs off the Mexican coast. The story also described efforts to "sanitize" DEA reports on the subject and interfere with law enforcement efforts. Both Renner and a Senate investigator, Bill Christensen of the Subcommittee on Improvements in Judicial Machinery later confirmed that these efforts originated with the C.I.A.
If Teddy made it all up then she ranks right up there with Nostradamus as a prophet since most of her statements were made to me three years before the Renner story broke. Those events were the backbone of my complaint to my government and then, after I was told they were nonsensical, they turned up almost verbatim in U.S. Senate records a year later from official U.S. Government sources.
I called Tom Renner and I said, "I think the CIA is dealing drugs to fund covert operations." Renner replied, "I think you're absolutely right." He referred me to Bill Christensen. Not only did Christensen confirm my conclusions, he expanded on them by adding that his offices were being burglarized, his phones were tapped and he was being routinely surveilled. I refer you now to EXHIBIT 4, which was my first letter to him.
Christensen later assured me that I would be called to testify. It never happened. Instead, as I was looking for employment I found that unmarked LAPD vehicles would routinely turn up at places where I was having job interviews. Even though I had no disciplinary actions at LAPD and an exemplary record job offers and interviews were terminated without explanation. Desperate for money I took a job as a 7-11 store clerk. Two hours into my second shift I was arrested for selling liquor to a minor in what I am sure, to this day, was a set-up.
Under enormous stress I got drunk one night and collapsed on my front lawn. A shot barked in the distance and stuck the grass inches from my head. This was the second time I was shot at.
On April 18, 1980 two FBI agents confirmed to me that CIA had been dealing drugs to fund covert operations during an interview at the FBI field office in Westwood, California.
My car was repossessed shortly thereafter. I filed bankruptcy in December, 1980.
In 1981, with the new Reagan administration I discovered that my old friend Craig Fuller was now Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs. I was grateful when L.A. Herald Examiner columnist Randall Sullivan wrote two front-page stories on me in October which also referred to our friendship. I refer you to EXHIBIT 5. Having just made contact with Fuller, and having been warmly received, I flew to Washington where I waited for a follow-up on his invitation to visit him. I refer you now to EXHIBIT 6, which is the first of approximately six letters I was to receive from him over the next six years.
On October 26, 1981 I sat in Craig Fuller's office in the West Wing of the White House. We talked of personal matters and then our conversation turned to the stories by Randall Sullivan. I looked at Craig and I said, "The CIA is complicit in bringing drugs into this country and it is wrong." Craig made no response whatsoever. He became motionless and expressionless. He did not come back to life again until I changed the subject. But I knew he heard me. Craig served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Bush in the second Reagan term.
I should point out here that original letters to me from Craig Fuller - including the one I just exhibited, were stolen from my residence while I slept just three days after I confronted DCI Deutch. The burglary occurred the same day that an investigator from this committee called me and asked if I possessed such letters and if I could fax them immediately. LAPD Foothill Division has obtained fingerprints other than my own from the place where the documents were stored. I should mention that another original exists, on White House stationery, which I can produce should the Committee wish to see it.
After my visit to Craig Fuller I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress. Several days later I picked up the phone and called the Managing Editor of The Washington Star. I got right through. I said, "The CIA is dealing drugs in this country to finance covert operations." His response was, "Mike, that's the worst kept secret in Washington."... The worst kept secret in Washington!
Now to a specific case of admissions against interest which constitute admissible evidence.
Back in los Angeles and still not clear on the causes of what I had seen I sought out a middle east expert at UCLA. I was placed in touch with Professor Paul Jabber of the Political Science Department. Paul was impressed by my conclusions that the weapons leaving New Orleans had been destined for one of several indigenous rebel groups in the region. He then disclosed to me that he had been a CIA and State Department consultant at the NSC level during the Carter Administration. Having signed secrecy oaths he could not disclose to me the information I needed. He could, however, direct me to open source material which might fill in the blanks.
I followed his direction, which was to read certain stories by William Safire and C. L. Sulzberger, and returned with an explanation for what I had seen. Paul Jabber unilaterally confirmed my conclusions. Sulzberger himself, the scion of The New York Times, knew that CIA had been dealing drugs for a long time. I refer you to EXHIBIT 7.
What my directed research revealed was that on March 3, 1975 the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein had signed the Treaty of Algiers. In that treaty the Shah received control of the Shaat-al-Arab waterway so that he could increase his oil exports. In exchange, he immediately cut off all U.S. covert military assistance to Kurdish rebels operating in the Turkish/Iraqi/Iranian trans-border region. The U.S. had been arming the Kurds to wage guerilla warfare against the Iraqi army to divide it sufficiently so that it could not attack Israel. Within days of the treaty's signing thousands of Kurds were massacred by Saddam in a foreshadowing of what was to come in Desert Storm.
Alarmed at the potential loss of a long term asset the CIA decided to aid the Kurds in the only way possible - by smuggling weapons into Kurdestan along opium smuggling routes and to sell the opium grown there to Americans to pay for the weapons. I should point out that Kurdestan is in the second largest opium growing region in the world.
Not only did Paul Jabber confirm my analysis, he added that in March, 1975, just weeks before the fall of Saigon, "Congress was not about to appropriate a nickel for a covert operation anywhere." The decision, he said, "was made at the National Security Council."
I refer you now to EXHIBIT 8 which is a letter of recommendation written for me by Paul Jabber in which he praises my analytical thinking after discussing matters related to the international drug trade. At the time he wrote it Paul had left UCLA to become Vice president of Banker's Trust. I believe he is still there.
It is critical to note that as this operation went into effect Richard Secord was transferred to Iran as Senior Air Advisor, Richard Helms became Ambassador and other key Iran-Contra figures such as Richard Armitage, Ted Shackley, Tom Clines and, I believe, Felix Rodriguez assumed duties in the region. These are the same men who funded an entire secret war in Laos for the Agency on the profits of heroin produced in the Golden Triangle of Burma, Laos and Thailand. These men all resurfaced in the heroin explosion from Pakistan in 1980 and then in Iran-Contra. They are still extremely active today. In fact, sources tell me that Felix Rodriguez has just been placed in charge of a program to deliver helicopters to Mexico to "assist" the Mexican government with eradication efforts and suppression. I am extremely suspicious.
Then, in January, 1987, a story broke in The Boston Globe about how Ross Perot had confronted Richard Armitage and George Bush over CIA involvement in drug trafficking and the related abandonment of POWs after Vietnam. It said everything I had been saying for ten years. I reasoned that if a man like Ross Perot knew, and if he had made it known inside the White House, with his influence, then surely something would happen. Nothing happened.
Then came the Kerry hearings. Twice I was assured by Kerry staff members that I would be called to testify. It never happened. I conclude that this was because what I had seen in New Orleans occurred during the Carter Administration not the Reagan Administration. It proved to me that a shadow government had seized control of our country. That shadow government stood, and stands today, isolated and immune from the operating principles of democracy. It is autonomous and it operates through self-funding via narcotics and weapons trafficking. To quote William Casey it is "a completely self-funding, off-the-shelf operation." It, in fact, dictates a substantial portion of this country's foreign, economic and military policy from a place not accessible to the will of a free people properly armed with facts.
For three years I forgot about all of this. In 1990 as the Kurds were once again being massacred and Brown & Root subsidiaries increased their operations in Turkish Kurdestan I wrote to Ross Perot who had opposed Desert Storm and he called me. I shall never forget what he said.
"Mike, I must know forty or fifty former military officers and law enforcement personnel who have discovered what you have. They have all had their lives ruined, been called crazy and forced into poverty. You'd think they'd do something different once in a while but they don't because it works."
Then he said something which has haunted me ever since. He said, "Even with all of my resources I don't know why I pursue it. I can't seem to get anything done. And they do the same thing with me and it works."
I had two phone conversations with Ross Perot. When he ran for President in 1992 I was the press spokesman for the Perot Presidential Movement in Los Angeles County. That led to a brief story in PEOPLE Magazine about my efforts to expose CIA drug dealing. That Presidential campaign and the PEOPLE story opened the doors for me into the inner world of the shadow government. Since then I have met more than a dozen former U.S. Army Special Forces troops, Navy Seals, a half dozen former CIA officers and many DEA agents and former federal law enforcement officers who have confirmed that CIA deals drugs.
When I made my statement to Director Deutch I spoke of three specific Agency operations called Amadeus, Pegasus and Watchtower. I would like to speak of them briefly.
The Watchtower missions surfaced around 1990 when an affidavit allegedly written by Col. Ed Cutolo of the 10th Special Forces Group, Airborne surfaced through retired Lt. Col Bo Gritz whom I have met twice. Although not actually written by Cutolo the affidavit has since been corroborated by a number of supporting affidavits, military records, Freedom of Information Act inquiries and dedicated research - some of which has been contributed by me.
Cutolo was killed in an accident in England in 1980 after expressing his concerns about illegal operations. His death has been linked to the murder of four other Special Forces Colonels including the legendary Bo Baker and Nick Rowe. Among the murders and mysterious deaths listed in the affidavit are those of Archbishop Romero and Congressman Larkin Smith.
That affidavit details how Special Forces personnel were ordered by CIA personnel including Ed Wilson to penetrate Colombia in 1975 and 76 to plant radar beacons so that cocaine flights could successfully fly below radar and land undetected at Albrook field in Panama. It also details how a former Special Forces troop named William Tyree, who was on these missions, was framed, in spite of overwhelming evidence of his innocence, for the murder of his own wife. This was in 1979 after he had expressed misgivings about being ordered to participate in massive domestic surveillance, harassment and blackmail operations. It was also exactly the same time that I was forced out of LAPD. Bill has been serving a life sentence in Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts for eighteen years.
I have spoken to and corresponded with Bill Tyree many times and I consider him to be as innocent as Geronimo Pratt, the Black Panther who was recently released from a California prison. Indeed, there is evidence that Tyree was not at the murder scene and that there were witnesses who saw the actual killer emerge from Tyree's bedroom window the day his wife was murdered. He was framed to ensure his silence and the threat of harm still hangs over his family as I speak to you this day if he ever reveals all of what he knows.
The Agency even admitted the existence of the Watchtower missions in correspondence to Bill Tyree several years ago. I refer you to EXHIBIT 9.
The Pegasus operations are listed in a variety of sources and published books including works by the Christic Institute and Rodney Stich. They have been most dramatically confirmed recently by Dois G. "Chip" Tatum, a former high-ranking CIA officer, who has placed his documentation on his web page at www.wild_life.com. The missions are Iran-Contra era operations and directly link to admitted Agency operations at Mena, Arkansas where tons of cocaine were smuggled by Agency personnel into this country. That smuggling took place under direct orders from the highest levels of this government.
The investigative material, contrary to denials, is overwhelming, irrefutable and shows a direct link between then Governor Bill Clinton and CIA operations. It is further corroborated by investigative material, court records and the testimony provided by Terry Reed in his book Compromised. I have unclassified reports from CIA in which the Agency admits to running covert operations at Mena during the period.
Finally the Amadeus missions are the single most important piece of investigative work, other than my own experience, which I have to add to this investigation. My investigations into Amadeus have detailed the life of Albert V. Carone, a retired New York Police detective who, at his death from "chemical toxicity of unknown etiology", held the rank of full Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. I refer you to EXHIBIT 10. I have held this man's personal phone book in my hands. In it I found the home addresses and phone numbers of DCI William Casey, Paul Helliwell, a long establish CIA covert operative connected to drugs, General Richard Stillwell and many other CIA figures.
I also found the home addresses and phone numbers of a number of Mafia figures including Pauly Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family and many other known Mafia figures. This is hard documentary evidence which is available to this Committee.
In the years before his death Carone made open statements - admissions against interest - to family members not only about the hands-on drug dealing roles of such figures as Oliver North, Richard Secord, Elliot Abrams, George Bush, John Poindexter, Felix Rodriguez and Chi Chi Quintero but about murder and torture. Carone frequently referred to Amadeus as the CIA umbrella governing his laundering of drug money through a host of banks worldwide. Some bank records and account numbers connected to the Bahamas and the Jersey islands still remain. He also described the operations of such Iran-Contra era drug kingpins Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo. When he died in 1990 he left behind records, a passport and a great many leads which totally substantiate these allegations.
Carone and an associate, James Robert Strauss, went on many covert missions to Mexico and Central America. After one such mission to Mexico in the Spring of 1985 Carone returned home, disheartened, and told of how CIA operations had directly resulted in the murder of a DEA agent and his pilot. He was referring, of course, to Agent Kiki Camarena.
We have since obtained tape recorded statements from James Robert Strauss that Amadeus was none other than George Herbert Walker Bush. That tape is safely stored, awaiting an opportunity to be presented to the American people directly for their judgement by Carone's daughter, Dee Ferdinand.
Travel records of Strauss' insurance firm show that Strauss, a small time insurance broker and manager, routinely made frequent trips, sometimes just days apart to such cities as Paris, London, Johannesburg, Dharan, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jedda, Lisbon, Madrid, New York and the Bahamas. In his own words he did it under orders. I have provided copies of those travel records to your committee. A former FBI agent who once served as my lawyer reviewed the records and stated that such travel expenditure could only occur on a GTR government account. I refer you to EXHIBIT 11.
Insurance executives, in statements made to me, have confirmed that Strauss was terminated in 1987 as an agency manager for his involvement with drugs. I have those statements with me now if you want them.
When Al Carone died in 1990 a funny thing happened. His NYPD pension disappeared. His military records disappeared. His life insurance policies disappeared. His joint bank accounts, held with his daughter, disappeared. Even his New Mexico driver's license and car registration disappeared. His family and his daughter were left on the brink of bankruptcy - wiped out. Carone was buried in a New Mexico cemetery with the rank of Staff Sergeant, the highest rank he attained during the Second World War. The Army said he had never served a day since. Everybody said they had never heard of him. Nonetheless, his official military record in St. Louis is now the copyrighted report I wrote on his life in 1994 and which I have provided to this Committee.
Now for some circumstantial evidence which serves as utter damnation. Bill Tyree and the daughter of Colonel Ed Cutolo, when shown a photograph of Albert Carone, both identified him and provided Carone's daughter, Dee Ferdinand of Corrales New Mexico, with information about him which had previously been unpublished and unknown to any outside his family. Tyree confirms a direct link between Carone and the Watchtower missions in Panama as well as illegal domestic operations run from Fort Devens.
I visited Dee in 1993. At the time I told her that there was only one man who could help her. That man was a retired, but still very active, Deputy Director of CIA, Ted Shackley. Within approximately ten days of Dee's first contact with Shackley Carone's headstone was changed from Staff Sergeant to full Colonel. She possess a copy of the order so directing. She has had a number of conversations with Shackley in which Shackley has admitted to having known and worked with her father. She is only too eager to testify about them.
I have been burglarized twice since I confronted John Deutch yet I have not been interviewed by the CIA when the only stipulation I asked for was that a lawyer or witness be present and that I be allowed to tape record. This was after the Agency advised me that nothing in its investigation would be redacted or withheld from the American people. The Agency's response was that we would be discussing classified material and they would not allow me to tape. Does not their admission that my story reaches classified material constitute an admission of its accuracy?
The material I would have given the Agency is the exact same material I give you today. It is the exact same material I have used for lectures at UCLA, San Jose State, Cal Poly Pomona, Ventura College and at approximately fifteen private venues. It is the exact same material which the History department of UCLA accepted into its archives when Professor James Wilkie took a three hour oral history of my life on April 9, 1997. If this material is classified then what does the government have to hide? And doesn't, "The cat's out of the bag" even remotely apply here? This cat's been out of the bag for a long, long time. And it has left quite a few signs of its passing.
Since my confrontation with DCI Deutch mail sent to me, intended to be passed along to the Honorable Maxine Waters, has been intercepted at the post office, opened, documents replaced with classified ads and the envelope returned to the sender.
When I weaken and grow tired of the sacrifice this struggle has demanded from me I think of Bill Tyree in prison or the family of Marine Colonel Jim Sabow who was murdered for trying to expose this treachery when he was Chief of Air Operations at El Toro Marine Air Station. I think of the families who attended a conference I sponsored in Indiana in the winter of 1993 where we gathered to investigate the inexplicable suicides of what was to become more than one hundred active duty personnel in the U.S. military. Many of these men had complained of drugs or covert operations in the weeks prior to their deaths. I think of the families of the POW/MIAs left behind in Southeast Asia and I think of the black men tortured with syphilis at Tuskegee or the thousands of crack babies born in inner city ghettos. I think of the white middle class Americans in Kansas City, Portland and Boston who lost lives and families to drug addiction at the same time that I think of the Americans who lost their savings and pensions during the saving & loan crisis - which is directly related to these events. I think of the lies and death of principle at Ruby Ridge and the disproportionate sentencing which makes black men serve one hundred times longer for using the same drug which whites use in a different form. I think of scandals like Wedtech, Kennametal, the Gander Crash and the horrible crimes behind INSLAW including the death of Danny Casolero. I think of Agent Orange and the Gulf War syndrome and I stand firm with the growing constituency of Americans who no longer have faith of any kind in their government.
Someday we will be the majority.
And I thank God that Maxine Waters and angry African-Americans have flexed their political muscle along with a few concerned whites to compel these hearings. For they and they alone hold the soul of this nation in their hands until such time as we are joined in unity by all justice loving Americans. Never have the words of Ben Franklin rung so true, "We must all hang together or else we shall all surely hang separately."
This is not about race. This is not about left and right. This is about right and wrong.
Some three hundred and fifty years ago Galileo Galilei was persecuted for teaching that the earth was a round planet which revolved around an obscure star at the edge of an unremarkable galaxy. The Catholic church and much of the citizenry of the time shunned and persecuted him for telling the truth. They were afraid he might upset the social order. But they could not kill him because the Church knew that his science was the key to successful navigation and exploration of the planet. Those who followed Galileo's discoveries could be counted on to gain wealth and power and the resulting economic growth would benefit all mankind. I live, Senator, for the day and the hour in which the people of this country and this world will recognize that honor, integrity and trust are as indispensable to the growth and perhaps the survival of this race as Galileo's discoveries were.
Senator, if you truly represent the best interests of the people, I want you and your colleagues to pass a law which grants absolute immunity from prosecution or punishment to anyone covered under the National Security Act, the CIA Act, the Espionage Act or any applicable military regulations so that they can come forward and speak first-hand of the crimes which are destroying the fabric of this nation. If you truly represent the people you will see to it that Nuremburg style trials are held in full view of the world and the guilty are brought to justice. And you will see that intelligence agencies of this government are either abolished or so drastically restructured that crimes of this nature can never happen again.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "If slavery is not evil, then nothing is evil." I say that if CIA dealing drugs to Americans is not wrong - then nothing is wrong.
Thank you for finally allowing me to speak my peace. My duty is now discharged. I welcome your questions.
[As of March 1997 these remarks are in the possession of the Intelligence Committees of both houses and five additional members of Congress. I have received no reply.]
[© COPYRIGHT 1997, MICHAEL C. RUPPERT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THESE REMARKS ARE ACCEPTED INTO THE RECORD IN AN OPEN HEARING AND I HAVE GIVEN OPEN TESTIMONY BEFORE THE UNITED STATES SENATE OR THE HOUSE OR REPRESENTATIVES.]
If you want to know MORE about this subject,
may we recommend the following:
- VIDEO: The UCLA Oral History
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