[* Please distribute as widely as possible to all people. *]
[* The following is a transcript of a speech delivered by
Daniel P. Sheehan, general counsel and public-policy director
for the Christic Institute, and was given on Fed. 1, 1987 in
Mr. Sheehan graduated with honors from Harvard College
in 1967 and from the Harvard School of Law in 1970. Mr.
Sheehan also attended the Harvard Divinity School. For the
next 10 years, he participated in a very long list of legal
cases, most of which dealt with constitutional and/or civil-
From 1976 to 1987, Mr. Sheehan was chief counsel in the
Karen G. Silkwood case and achieved a landmark victory.
During that case, a spirited and very talented team was
assembled. The Christic Institute was organized after the
Silkwood case was settled in order to keep this team together
and involved with public policy and attendant legal issues.
The team was successful in the prosecution of the Ku
Klux Klan and Nazis in Greensboro, N.N. Mr. Sheehan has
represented the people of Three Mile Island and successfully
defended Mayor Eddie Carthan, the first elected Black mayor
in the Mississippi Delta since the Civil War.
The Christic Institute is an interfaith public-interest
law firm and public-policy center. It is a public-operating
foundation and as such qualifies for tax-exempt status under
the IRS code 501.C(3). Please consider a donation.
The speech below was transcribed from video tape. A
copy of the video tape or the sworn affidavit of Mr. Sheehan
may be obtained from the Christic Institute. For more
information about this speech, the Christic Institue and/or
its work, write to:
1324 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20002 *]
DANIEL SHEEHAN: Well, good afternoon. It's a real pleasure.
After the years of fighting in the trenches against the
contra supporters here in the United States, it's finally
time for the American people to find out who those supporters
are, what they've been doing, and what it is that's going to
result in their going to federal prison. Now, everyone here
has heard about the scandal, the downing of Eugene Hasenfus
and the C-123 cargo plane he was piloting on Oct. 5 ,
and later in November [Nov. 25] the startling revelations by
Attorney General Edwin Meese about the secret sales of arms,
spare parts for the F-14's, and the TOW missiles to Iran, and
the diversion of some of the profits from those sales to the
contras in Central America.
We also know that, as a result of these scandals, the
legislative branch of our government has established two
select committees, one in the U.S. Senate and one in the
House of Representatives, to investigate the need for
additional legislation and supervisory structures over the
executive branch of our government. We also know that within
the executive department there has been appointed a special
prosecutor, Mr. Walsh, to investigate potential criminal
wrongdoing of those involved in this affair.
What is less known is that there is an investigation and
prosecution going on in the judicial branch of our government
since May of 1986. There has been on file a federal
racketeering charge in the federal court of Miami. This is
the case that you may have read about Friday morning [Jan.
30, 1987], where the U.S. District Court of Miami has thrown
out all of the motions of the defendants to dismiss that
case. As a consequence, we are authorized to proceed with
federal subpoena power to investigate the criminal
racketeering activity of these people.
Now, the questions that are floating around in our
nation today have been highlighted in a Senate Intelligence
Committee Preliminary Report, which was released on Thursday.
This report left unanswered over one dozen major questions.
Some of these are: Did President Reagan know of the diversion
of funds to the contras arising from the sale of arms to
Iran? Did President Reagan approve of the activities of Lt.
Col. Oliver North: dealing with the Iranians, and dealing
with the diversion of funds from the Iranian gun sale to the
Who, indeed, are these shadowy arms merchants that we
are beginning to hear about: Ghorbanifar, Hakim, Khashoggi?
Who are these people? What role did the government play in
the transfer of these arms to the Iranians? Who is this
Theodore Shackley, who Khashoggi says, is the man who first
suggested the idea of trading arms for hostage in the Middle
East? What role is it that this Mr. Buckley plays inthe
exchange of arms, this man who was the CIA station chief in
Beirut and who was one of the hostages? And more generally,
when, and where in the world will this end? Now, these are a
few of the questions that we know the special prosecutor is
looking into and the select committees of our Congress are
What we want to do today is to share with you the
charges that have been placed against these people in the
judicial branch of our government, so that you can have a
road map. You can't tell the players without first looking
at the program. This, indeed, is the program of the upcoming
criminal indictments which we'll be hearing about over the
course of the next year, which in our judgement will precede
the impeachment of the President of the United States.
What we want to do first is review briefly the history
of our common experience that sets the context for these
extraordinary hearings and investigations.
We all recall the days which seem to be in the dark
distant past, in January of 1979, when there was still a
Democratic Senate and a Democratic House of Representatives,
and President Carter was in the White House. We remember
that Tom Harkin from Iowa and a number of his colleagues
succeeded in passing the Harkin Amendment, which prohibited
the distribution of military hardware and military assistance
to any government that was systematically engaging in the
violation of the human rights of their own citizens.
Under that resolution of Congress, signed into law by
President Carter in early 1979, there was a resolution
cutting off all military aid to the dictatorial government of
Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua. This was taken up in
accordance with the condemnation, which had spread across our
world, of that regime -- even resulting in the U.S. Catholic
Conference of Bishops formally condemning that government.
The bishops declared that the Somoza regime had no
legitimacy. Indeed, they came as close as we've ever seen to
expressly authorizing the rising up of the people against
this government on the grounds of justification.
After the passage of these resolutions cutting off all
military aid to the Somoza government, a peculiar thing
happened. Somehow, the flow of arms did not stop completely.
It was discovered that there was some secret source of
funding and supplying of arms to that dictatorship that was
not stopped after the Congress condemned it, after the
president of the United States prohibited it, and, indeed,
even after Stansfield Turner, the director of the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), had forbidden it.
The flow of arms did not sustain that criminal
government, however. In July of 1979, Anastasio Somoza was
forced to flee his country and fled to the Bahamas. And very
soon thereafter, we began to hear rumors of some group of
former Somoza generals setting themselves up in Honduras and
mounting a war against the new Sandinista government of
Nicaragua, the government that was recognized across the
world, indeed, even by the U.S. government, which had for so
long supported the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.
However, there were other things that were capturing the
attention of the American public. There were the hostages
who were being held in Iran. Indeed, these hostages became
the Achilles' heel of the Carter administration. The
weakness, the vacillation demonstrated by that administration
in the face of this type of humiliation of our country, led
to the rise and the challenge of Ronald Reagan.
Many of us said to each other, "Who would have ever
believed that Ronald Reagan could have been considered a
serious candidate for the presidency of this country?" But
because of vacillation, the lack of effectiveness
demonstrated by the Carter administration in the face of that
humiliation, Ronald Reagan rose to the occasion and became
the Republican nominee for president and was elected.
Now, we all recall that peculiar scene I think, back
during the inauguration, watching Ronald Reagan being sworn
in and Carter going out. And at the same time, we saw the
bulletins flashing as the hostages in Iran were being
released, being shipped out, being put on planes and sent
back. This was a strange relationship between the outgoing
administration and the incoming of another in that terrible
But when the hostages had been returned and President
Reagan had been sent to the White House, we immediately began
to hear from the administration about this horrible
Sandinista regime down in Central America, how they were a
threat to our national security. The President came on and
told us how this rising communist government in Central
America was only a couple days' drive from Harlingen, Texas.
And each time he came on to talk about this, the distance
decreased. Soon it became a day's drive. Then it was just a
couple hours away.
Indeed, when questions began to arise about this
government down there, we began to hear about this so-called
contra force, this force of former Somoza generals, the very
men who had led the torturing and the mass slaughter of their
own citizens, and who are now being talked about by the
president of the United States as persons who were the moral
equivalent of our founding fathers.
We recall together, I believe, the early protestations
of President Reagan, that he had nothing to do with these
contras. He was in no way participating in supporting them.
But he wished them well. And, when the media and the
American people failed to believe that, and began to turn up
evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency had, since June
of 1981, been providing military equipment, arms, explosives,
and training to these contras, our President, who had been on
television swearing that it wasn't true, then said, "Oh, you
mean THOSE contras. Yes, by the way, we have been giving
them support. But let me give you my word once again that
the only reason that we're supplying them is to interdict the
flow of guns and arms from the terrible communist government
of Nicaragua to the rebels in El Salvador."
When the American people failed to believe that, and the
American journalist community failed to believe that,
President Reagan assigned the Central Intelligence Agency to
do an evaluation [of alleged Nicaraguan arms being sent to El
Salvador]. Indeed, a man by the name of David McMichaels
from the CIA was assigned to do the investigation. And when
McMichaels concluded that there was no evidence of any sort
of shipments of arms going from Nicaragua to El Salvador, he
was terminated. And then the President gave us his word once
again. He said, "Oh yes indeed they had been doing more than
just trying to interdict the arms." In fact, he said that
what he was trying to do was to apply pressure to the new
Sandinista government, to force them by military pressure
form the contras to live up to their promises made during the
revolution against Somoza -- all of those promises, which, we
were supposed to recall, President Reagan supported so much
during his election.
The hypocrisy of it is astonishing. So astonishing,
indeed, that the American people did seem to remember that
President Reagan had totally opposed the Sandinistas. And
now his protestation as trying to make them live up to their
promises rang hollow once again to the American public.
Nothing demonstrated the falsehood of his accusations so
much as the revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency
in the end of 1983 had been caught mining the harbor of
Corinto in Nicaragua, and, indeed, passing out manuals
recommending that the contras undertake political
assassinations of the mayors, town clerks, and other
functionaries within the civilian government of the
That was too much for the American public, and they
began to demand that all support for the contras cease. That
was the point at which President Reagan began to insist that
it was essential to supply the contras and to adopt them as
our allies in order to "stop the establishment of a Soviet
military base in Central America."
Now, we then saw the growing of a full-scale war going
on in Central America. You recall the extraordinary comments
of our President saying -- in the midst of the thousands of
people being slaughtered, the mass of civil wars going on in
Central America -- that unless our Congress gave $100 million
to these contras, there was going to be a major disruption in
Central America. The extraordinariness of it all seems to
leave the American people numb.
Then, in March of 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the
Boland Amendment, explicitly forbidding the White House and
any of the executive deparment agencies involved in
intelligence activities from giving any aid whatsoever to the
contras -- either direct or indirect. This is where we were
in March of 1984, with some 73 percent of the American people
totally refusing to give any aid to the contras.
Then we began to hear of the private group that was
coming to the fore, the one led by Major General John K.
Singlaub, then president of the World Anti-Communist League,
to undertake a major private operation in support of the
contras. The we saw the President of the United States on
television stating, "I am a contra." This was the situation
that we face in March of 1984.
I, and the rest of us at the Christic Institute, with
the rest of our fellow Americans, simply watched in amazement
as the events surrounded us. But then, in March of 1984, we
had a phone call that began the long road that has led us
here today. We were contacted at the Christic Institute by
the Catholic Bishop of Brownsville, Texas. This is the
Harlingen District of Texas, which, in fact, had been the
base for the first stop on the underground railroad in the
sanctuary movement. The Bishop of Southern Texas in
Brownsville, John Fitzpatrick, contacted us and told us that
some of the people at Casa Ramiro (the sanctuary home that he
had established within his diocese) had been arrested by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The unfortunate fact was that they had been bringing two
Central American refugees out of the Harlingen District in
the Bishop's car. This immediately attracted the interest of
the Bishop, and, indeed, of the U.S. attorney in Brownsville,
who brough criminal indictments against Catholic Sister Diane
Sister Mullencamp had been driving the care with the two
refugees from El Salvador, a translator -- a woman by the
name of Stacey Merkt -- and a young reporter from the Dallas
Times Herald, Jack Bishop.
All of these people had been arrested and charged with
unlawful transportation of undocumented aliens. The Christic
Institute ws asked by the church to come to Texas to
undertake the first of the criminal defenses for the people
from the sanctuary movement.
When we arrived (myself and my chief investigator on
that case, a Catholic priest named Father Wally Kosabowski,
who had served in Nicaragua when the Sandinistas were still
struggling there), we began to prepare for the preliminary
hearing in that case. Then we were contacted by a Methodist
minister who came to us in a very high state of anxiety. He
said to us that he had been preparing to discuss in his
church the establishment of a sanctuary when he was
approached by a field agent for the Federal Bureau of
This FBI agent had told this minister that he and he
parishioners should have noting to do with the Catholic
Church or the sanctuary movement, stating that he was in
possession of information that the Catholic Church was, under
the guise of the sanctuary movement, smuggling known
communist terrorists into the United States. He went on to
say that in the event that our President was forced to
undertake direct military action in Central America (either
in El Salvador or Nicaragua) that these known communist
terrorists were going to be organizing themselves into
military cadres and launch military strikes against U.S.
military bases, communication centers, and water resource
Now, this caused some distress to the Methodist
minister, and after some consultation with the Bishop's staff
in the Harlingen District, he came to me. And he said,
"Look, I understand that you served as general counsel for
the U.S. Jesuit Headquarters Social Ministry Office in
Washington. I know that I can trust you and you'll tell me
if there's anything going on." I had to become a bit
serious, and I said to the minister, "Listen Reverend, if
that were going on, at least the Jesuits would know about it.
And as their lawyer in the Social Ministry Office, I would
have been informed, and I had not been."
And I was positive that it was not true. I gave him our
assurances that he could return to the discussions at his
church without the anxieties with which he had come to us.
Well, that was kind of humorous until, approximately a week
later, Father Kosabowski and I were contacted by yet a second
minister, who in another church had been approached by yet a
different FBI agent, and had been told exactly the same
thing. Well, now that was much more serious.
Now, we had a reason to investigate, to find out just
where these stories were coming from. Because if the Justice
Department, against whom we were defending in this case,
really believed those stories, we were obviously going to be
confronted with a much higher degree of militancy than we had
any justifiable right to expect. And so after the
preliminary hearing, we returned to Washington, D.C.
I established contact with some investigative reporters
and some former federal agents, who are now private
investigators, whom I had encountered in a number of my
former incarnations as an attorney for the New York Times,
NBC, and as an attorney in the offices of F. Lee Bailey. I
had come to know a number of these people and knew they had
very good sources. I asked them to investigate for us, as a
favor to us, if they would. They did.
I learned in the second week of April 1984, that
President Reagan, on April 6, 1984, had signed a highly
classified National Security Decision Directive, initiating a
highly secret readiness exercise in the United States. But
this was a readiness exercise which was to be undertaken
domestically to determine what types of steps had to be taken
by various federal agencies here, stateside, in the event
that the President was required to undertake direct military
action in Central America.
The readiness exercise was going to be code-named "Rex
84." The operation in Central America -- the direct military
operation in conjunction with which this readiness exercise
was to be undertaken -- was to be code-named "Operation Night
Train." As we began to investigate this, we discovered that
the whole readiness exercise ws going to be undertaken and
supervised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
That came as somewhat of a surprise to us since the Federal
Emergency Management Agency was supposed to be involved in
hurricane relief, flood relief, and civil defense. These are
the geniuses who brought you the post-nuclear war scenario:
how they would re-establish the phone system after an all-out
nuclear attack on the United States; how they would move the
entire population of Los Angeles out to, I think, one of the
small towns out here in the mountains in a couple days, which
is what they figured it would take them.
A VOICE: The Tahachapee.
DANIEL SHEEHAN: The Tahachapee. That's right. If this was
the group that was supervising this readiness exercise, then
that did not instill a great deal of confidence in us that
that readiness exercise was a serious operation. However,
our further investigations revealed to us that the Reagan
administration had brought to Washington to run the Federal
Emergency Management Agency a man by the name of Louis
Louis Gifrada has been the "comandante" [commander] of the
California-organized Crime Training Institute, which had
specialized in anti-terrorist training for police
departments. And the comandante, as he liked to be called,
had been made the general of the National Guard of California
under Edwin Meese, the special assistant attorney general at
that time. And they had undertaken here in your state a
special secret program, which was code named "Operation Cable
This secret program was one whereby the then-Governor
Ronald Reagan, his assistant attorney general, and the
comandante, the general of the National Guard in California,
would undertake to establish a state of martial law in your
state in the event that Black nationalists joined forces with
the anti-Vietnam War community and tried to replace the
established authority of the State of California.
Now, I pursued the investigation, seeing that his was a
strange person who was heading up this operation. We learned
through a source that we developed inside FEMA that there was
a plan whereby FEMA would deputize members of the Department
of Defense, and then the state National Guard group. They
would then organize civilian groups called "State Defense
Forces." Their job, under the readiness exercise (Rex 84),
was going to be -- in event of direct military action in
Central America by the President -- to round up 400,000
undocumented Central American aliens and place them in 10
military detention camps throughout the United States, all
within a two-week period.
Now, any similarity that this program might have to the
Japanese-American roundup after Pearl Harbor is not
coincidental. The fact is, everyone in our generation has
continued to be appalled by that mass internment of the
Japanese-Americans, and yet the administration still dares to
go forward with this. This contradiction is explained only
by the legal brilliance of Ed Meese. For, you see, Ed Meese
has made a distinction here, saying, "Well, these 400,000
people aren't even Americans. Therefore, since they're not
even supposed to be here anyhow, it'll be perfectly legal for
us to incarcerate them since they will be a threat to the
national security during a direct military operation."
Well, given the fact that we were working with the
sanctuary movement at the time, you can imagine the degree of
distress that this caused. I communicated this information
to the leadership of the sanctuary movement.
Then, continuing the investigation, we discovered that
there was a second part to Rex 84. This is designated,
originally enough, Rex 84 Bravo. This particular part of the
operation had to do with moving large amounts of military
equipment from the Department of Defense to the state
National Guard unit, down to these State Defense Forces. And
we learned that these State Defense Forces had recently been
created by means of the passage of these very little-known
statutes in three states: Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In
these states, the only people who had heard about the setting
up of these State Defense Forces were the men who
participated in the weekend war games at "survivalist"
training camps and in the "Soldier of Fortune" groups.
These were the men who were signing up to participate as
members of these State Defense Forces. We discovered that
there was a source that we had developed who was talking with
a colonel in the National Guard, who said, "Yes, there was
going to be this great readiness exercise coming up."
Quantities of military equipment were coming down to the
National Guard to go to these State Defense Forces, but very
interestingly, when these millions of dollars of equipment
were distributed during the readiness exercise, half of it
would later disappear, and a neat bookkeeping trick would
cover the tracks.
For example, say $25 million is the original cost to the
United States of this military equipment. After the
equipment is transferred to these State Defense Forces for
the readiness exercise, about one-half of it is logged back
into stores at the end of the exercise, but valued at its
replacement cost. The replacement cost is typically twice
the original cost because of the increased paperwork,
handling, and manufacturing costs associated with small
orders. So the books balance [with repect to dollars and
cents], and yet half of the originally issued military
equipment has "disappeared."
And then we discovered that it was to be smuggled to the
contras in Central America.
So, by pure happenstance, we, who have been working with
the churches, the synagogue groups in the Sanctuary Movement,
had stumbled across a program whereby the administration was
trying to smuggle embezzled military equipment to the
contras, here in April and May of 1984. When we learned
this, I re-established contact with a number of our
investigators and journalists to ascertain if they had
learned anything similar to this.
And at that point, I was contacted by a journalist, an
old friend of mine, who brought the next piece of startling
information to me. He told me that he had gone down to
Florida over the holiday season [the Christmas holidays and
the holiday season of 1983] and had discovered a contra
military training base inside the United States, down in
lower Florida (down below Miami). And he had gone there to
interview these people in late 1983 and had come to know that
there was an American group organizing itself here in the
United States to provide military assistance and financial
assistance to the contras.
They, indeed, were going to be holding a meeting down in
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in January of 1984. And so, this
young reporter, being the enterprising soul that he was, went
back to his newspaper and asked if he would be allowed to go
and report that meeting. He was told no, that he could not
go. Well then, he recommended that some other reporter, more
experienced than he, go. And they said no.
So he took a leave of absence from the paper, and on his
own nickle went down to Honduras and went to the hotel and
went to the lobby of the hotel, bought a newspaper, put the
newspaper up in front of him and sat around the lobby and
watched all these guys coming and going in their Gucci
camouflaged suits and trading their patches, comparing the
length of their guns. They were engaged in this rather
He simply sat there and watched all of these people.
Finally, he started talking to a man sitting next to him, and
said, "Look, I'm a writer. I'm really interested in what's
going on down here." And this man said, "Hey, well look, I
know all these guys, why don't I show you around? Why don't
I introduce you to all these people?" And he did.
He took this young fellow under his arm and brought him
around and introduced him to everyone. This man was Tom
Posey, the founder of the Civilian Military Assistance Group
for the United States (CMA). And, lo and behold, this young
journalist was ushered into the inner sanctum of the Civilian
Military Assistance Group.
Indeed he sat in on Executive Committee meetings of CMA
and he didn't know what in the world he was supposed to do
with what he was learning, because he was learning about the
National Guard in Alabama, the 20th Special Forces declaring
all kinds of arms surplus and giving them to the Civilian
Military Assistance Group, who were then bringing them to
Florida and flying them out to Ilopango Air Force Base in El
When I began to discuss this with him, we discovered
that the particular military equipment in Louisiana was
supposed to be brought to a particular warehouse and flown
out to Ilopango, where it, along with this stuff from
Alabama, was all going to the farm of a millionaire rancher
down in Costa Rica. This rancher is a man by the name of
John Hull, who had become the major ally for the contras
there. Well, we were quite distressed by this and felt that
we should hurry up and find ourselves a client, since we are
an organization that is tax-exempt, a public-interest
organization like the American Civil Liberties Union or the
NAACP. We're allowed to engage in fomenting litigation.
We began that quest there in the beginning of June of
1984. At that point, I had to go down to Texas to do the
sanctuary trial. We did the trial. We won the thing on
appeal -- had all the charges dismissed against the sanctuary
workers -- and provided what we hoped was an important base
of law. At the conclusion of that trial, I returned to
Washington and was contacted immediately by this young
journalist, and he said, "Dan, you've got to come meet me.
Something very important has happened."
I went along with my investigator, Father William J.
Davis, to meet him. We had a meeting out in a public park
where he wanted to meet. He said, "Look, while you were
gone, Tom Posey came to Washington. He met me and brought me
to a public park and introduced me to a man by the name of
Rob Owens. This man, Rob Owens, began to explain to me that
he was going to be the private liaison with the National
Security Council, working for a man by the name of Lieut.
Oliver North, and that he, Rob Owens, was going to be the man
who met with the contra leaders and took their orders for
weapons, made sure they got their weapons, and maintained
liaison with the White House in direct defiance of the
Congressional ban against White House support for contras."
This young journalist wanted to know, asking my advice
as a lawyer, whether that was as illegal as it appeared. I,
indeed, explained to him at some length (this is now at the
end of June 1984, sitting in his living room) that what we
had here was a full-scale criminal conspiracy inside the
White House to violate the United States' Neutrality Act, to
violate the United States' Arms Export Control Act, to
violate various banking laws for the transfer of these monies
-- and that, in fact, what we were looking at is the
impeachment of any U.S. government official who was
participating in that program.
At that point, the young journalist brought his
information to his board of editors, who looked at the
information and told him that he would not be allowed to
write any stories on that unless he could talk to someone who
was directly involved and who made their statements under
oath. Now, that's not something that a journalist usually
encounters. You don't usually go to a guy and say, "Hello.
I've brought with me here a stenographic reporter and a
notary public to sign you up under oath. Let me interview
So, he was quite distressed and thought that something
had to be done. Given the resources that we had at the
Christic Institute, the experience that we had in doing the
Karen Silkwood case, prosecuting the Klan and doing the Three
Mile Island case, and others, we decided to devote our
resources, time, and energy to making this happen. We
decided to work and find a client.
In the beginning of July 1984, I had to fly down to get
the depositions of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party people
down in Greensboro, N.C., in that police department, and in
the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Division. We went forward,
prosecuted those people, won a half-million bucks, and kicked
them around and won. We finished that case.
So, I was out of town some months at that point. And
when I came back to town, we then began to have more
meetings. We learned, that while we'd been engaged in these
cases, an extraordinary event had taken place in Nicaragua.
What had happened was that Eden Pastora, who was the famous
Comandante Zero, the Sandinista hero who had led major
military operations against the dictator Somoza, had become
disenchanted with the Sandinista government.
The Sandinista government, in response to the attacks
and harassments by the contras, had begun to take less and
less popular positions on things, had shut down some of the
media, had taken steps that made it very difficult for them
to provide supplies to the stores for the people. It was
becoming more and more difficult for them.
And this Comandante Zero, Eden Pastora, had become
disenchanted and had decided that he was going to leave
Nicaragua. Indeed, he was going to go south into Costa Rica.
He was going to set up a new contra group (ARDE), an
independent contra group. This was not a contra group
working with the generals up in Honduras, who were working
with the CIA under Bill Casey. They were going to set up an
independent contra force. But while we were doing the St.
Croix trial and the Greensboro trial, there had been pressure
applied to this group, ARDE, (down in Costa Rica) and to Eden
Pastora, to force them to come under the command of the
Honduran military generals. These were the selfsame old
In May of 1984, Eden Pastora called a public press
conference and there he was going to denounce the FDN (the
major contra movement, the one in Honduras) and the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency for attempting to co-opt and
subvert his nationalistic contra group. At that press
conference held in a jungle camp of Eden Pastora on May 30,
Memorial Day of 1984, you can see the videotape to this day
as they came up the river into the jungle camp and the
numerous journalists climbed out. You can see among them a
Danish journalist with a large, aluminum camera case with a
baseball cap on, walking with them, chatting merrily as he
went into the building where the press conference was to be
held. You see this man, Per Anker Hansen, move to the front
of the room on the videotape and place his camera case next
to the table where Eden Pastora would hold his press
When Eden Pastora comes into the room and all of the
journalists begin to surge to the front of the base camp
room, and then, as the press conference starts, you see a
young woman, Maria, bring a cup of coffee to Comandante Zero
and accidentally kick over the camera case. It falls on its
side, and no one pays much attention. She gives him the
coffee and the press conference commences. What you then see
is this alleged Danish journalist begin to skulk out of the
room, moving across the side of the room on the video tape
and out the door.
Immediately thereafter, a deathly roar engulfs the
building, destroying everyone in sight, killing eight people
immediately, killing three international journalists,
including an American journalist (Linda Frazier), blowing off
the arms and legs, blinding, tearing off the limbs of the
journalists assembled. Twenty-four people were massively
injuried and, indeed, everyone would have been slaughtered by
the bomb had it not been for the fortuitous event of it
having been turned over on its side.
Because, it turns out, the bomb had been made of deadly
C-4 explosives. This type of explosive is second only to
nuclear devices in its explosive capacity, a type which is
very difficult to obtain unless you have contact with the
Central Intelligence Agency or other intelligence groups.
Because it had been turned on its side, it blew the entire
roof off the building and blew the entire floor out instead,
laying waste to everyone as it exploded laterally.
Now, when the bulletins went out across Costa Rica that
this had happened, one of the people listening at home on the
radio was a young reporter by the name of Martha Honey. She
was an American reporter, but she reported for the Canadian
Broadcast Corporation and for the London Sunday Times. Her
husband, Tony Avirgan, had been at this press conference.
Tony Avirgan was the ABC television cameraman who had been
assigned to film the press conference. He had been
devastated by the bomb. It tore out a portion of his side,
had burnt one whole arm and his hand, and blown shrapnel into
his face and chest. He was in critical condition and was
flown out by helicopter to the hospital and later to the
United States, where he underwent months of plastic surgery.
Martha Honey, being the person that she is, insisted
upon going to the United States Newspaper Guild asking for a
grant to look for who it was that had perpetrated this
horrendous bombing, and asking to work with her fellow
journalists to bring these people to justice. She began her
investigation and then had an extraordinary event occur.
In early 1985, during her investigation, a young man by
the name of Carlos Rojas Chinchilla, a young carpenter down
in Costa Rica, was sitting at a restaurant and bar a couple
of blocks from the U.S. Embassy when in came three men. One
of them was left at the door, the other two left. And the
man [David] who was left at the door looked around, and came
over to Carlos, and sat down and told him that he wanted
Carlos to help him, that he had to escape, that he was a
participant in the terrorist bombing at La Penca, which had
murdered the people at the press conference. He said he was
part of a terrorist band of contras who were going to blow up
the U.S. Embassy and who were going to assassinate the U.S.
ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs.
He went on to say that these terrorists were based on
the ranch of a millionaire American rancher by the name of
John Hull; that these had been the people, indeed, who had
carried out the assassination of the journalists and had
planned to kill the U.S. ambassador. Such a major event, he
continued, would provoke the United States, cause it to blame
the bombing of their embassy on the Sandinista government and
to result in a military strike against that government.
This man shared the information with Carlos, and Carlos
in his utter amazement later learned that some people had
been arrested (a few people from Hull's ranch) who fit the
description of these people. And when he realized that what
he had heard was true, he went to the only North American
family he knew to have them go warn the Embassy. The
daughter of that family happened to know Martha Honey, and
went to Martha, and shared the information. They then went
to talk to this man, David.
They began a series of interviews with David through
Carlos -- in the public parks, on tape recorders, in
churches, in hotel basements, all across the city --
gathering the information about this terrorist group. One
day, Carlos and David were caught by John Hull's terrorists
in a park and thrown in the back of a car, held at gunpoint,
and brought to the ranch where they were held in a wooden
David told them that they were going to be killed if
they didn't get out of there. And so, the two of them,
taking their lives in their hands, leaped on this guard and
knocked him down and broke through a window and ran into the
jungle in a fusilade of bullets, and escaped through the
jungle. Eventually they made their way back to civilization,
where they hitched a ride. They shared their story with the
Costa Rican authorities and with the intelligence people
However, the [Luis Alberto] Monge government that was in
power at the time, was sympathetic to the contras, and so,
the journalists themselves had to continue the investigation
alone. A week later they learned that David, who had run off
to another place, had been recaptured by John Hull's men, had
been brought to Hull's ranch, tortured to death, and buried
At that point, they had to take Carlos out of the
country. Then, death threats began to come daily to the home
telephone of Martha and Tony Avirgan, telling them that they
had to stop this investigation, that they would be killed,
that their children would be killed if they did not leave.
They then contacted their journalist acquaintances and
asked for help from all across the nation. And they
contacted us at the Christic Institute and asked us to help.
That is what we do at the Christic Institute. That's why we
come to people such as you to ask your help to get this
information out across the country. And when we began to
investigate, we began to confirm this story of this terrorist
group and, of course, we had the additional information about
the movement of guns and explosives and hardware from the
United States down to this ranch.
At that point, Martha and Tony prepared a report which
they published in Costa Rica, and John Hull sued them for
libel. In Costa Rica, libel is a felony criminal charge of
which you are presumed guilty unless you can prove that you
are innocent. The Christic Institute went in and undertook
the defense of Martha and Tony, helped them organize
witnesses and bring them to the bar of justice, and brought
them on to testify, and defeated John Hull.
And very, very prophetically, John Hull, in a major
tantrum at the end of the trial, stormed out of the court
room, turned and said, "This isn't over yet!" And little did
we know how right he was. We had resolved at that point to
undertake a thorough investigation and prosecution of these
people. What we had learned from our investigation was that
this terrorist band on John Hull's ranch had been doing yet
In addition to bringing in all the military equipment,
and training and dispensing the terrorists in Nicaragua, they
had been funding their operation by the smuggling of hundreds
of tons of cocaine from Columbia. This was possible because
they have virtual carte blanche to bring this military
equipment from the United States down to the ranch, and to
Ilopango. In fact, the U.S. government officials and the
Reagan administration were turning a blind eye and a deaf ear
to those shipments. They would move the planes down with the
military equipment down to Ilopango in El Salvador, then to
the Costa Rican ranch, load up with 600 pounds of cocaine,
and fly back into the United States, coming back up the same
channel that they had cleared through the radar when bringing
these guns to those who are the moral equivalent of our
As we began to research the statutes that were
available, we discovered, to our amazement, that there was
this federal racketeering statute. There was, in fact, a
federal criminal statute -- the same one they used to
prosecute the eight mob leaders in New York. At the very
bottom of this statute, it said: By the way, if you run a
business and your business has been injured by the activities
of such a criminal enterprise, you can sue that criminal
enterprise and recover three times your actual damages.
We began to interview people and discovered that Tony
Avirgan was a private businessman. In fact, he was a
freelance cameraman hired by ABC to go to the La Penca press
conference. The bombing had destroyed all his television
equipment. His business had been injured. And, being the
defenders of free enterprise that we are, we determined that
we are going to vindicate the business community of America
and close down this criminal enterprise.
Now, all of this was preliminary to finding out the
really important information in this case. Once we had
studied the appropriate federal statute, we learned that when
you undertake to prosecute a particular overt act of a
criminal enterprise under the Racketeering Influence and
Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), you also sue all of the
members who are participants in the more general criminal
enterprise of which that is just one overt act. And so, we
turned our attention to the criminal enterprise itself which,
of course, was the federal criminal conspiracy to violate the
U.S. Neutrality Act, to mount a criminal war against the
government of Nicaragua.
When we began to investigate who was participating in
that enterprise, we had another fortuitous visit. This one
was from a former military intelligence agent who came to us
and said, "Don't you realize who the people are that you're
dealing with?" We didn't know whether to pretend to be very
knowledgeable and, therefore, stupid or to say like we always
do: "No, we don't know much more than the American people
know about what the facts are." And he said, "I will tell
you who they are and when you undertake your investigation,
you will discover what they are."
"The people you want," he said, "are Theodore Shackley,
Thomas Clines, Richard Secord, Albert Hakim, Rafael Chi Chi
Quintero, and a man by the name of Eric Von Marbod."
"Okay," we said. And we went off to find out who these
An extraordinary series of events began to unfold which
resulted in the ruling that you heard about this past Friday.
In this ruling the federal court in Miami said that what you
have here is an ongoing criminal enterprise dating from 1960.
Because what we had discovered is that the man who was
directing the operations, supplying the guns and the military
hardware to the contras in Central America was, indeed, a man
by the name of Theodore Shackley.
Theodore Shackley had been the worldwide director of
covert operations for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in
1976 under George Bush, when he was the director of the CIA.
Theodore Shackley had been the man in 1961 who had run the
major contra operation against the Cuban socialist
revolutionary government starting in 1961. But the U.S. CIA
had run a secret covert war against Cuba about which the
American public knew virtually nothing, both before and after
the Bay of Pigs. And I will now tell you what it is we all
need to know.
We discovered that back in late 1959, when Fidel Castro
drove the dictator Batista from Cuba, he also drove out the
organized crime syndicate from Cuba, the major criminal
operation that was operating under the name of Resorts
International. It was Meyer Lanskey's major criminal
syndicate that ran the casinos and hotels and prostitution
rings in Havana. They indeed were business partners with
Batista, and they were all driven from Havana in 1959. They
came to Southern Florida, and there they were contacted by
Richard Nixon, then vice president in the Eisenhower
Indeed, Richard Nixon was the point man responsible for
establishing inside the National Security Council a secret
committee that was to be responsible for mounting a contra-
like war against Cuba. They had determined that they did not
like the politics or the economics of the Cuban government,
and therefore, they were going to secretly recruit the ultra
right-wing supporters of the dictator Batista, train them at
a military base in Southern Florida -- in the Cays -- and set
up another military training base in Guatemala.
There they would train these people to constitute a
"contra" guerrilla force, and they would undertake attacks
into Cuba, riding on Swiss boats. They would blow up
bridges, burn crops, poison materials to be exported from
Cuba -- all to destroy their economic infrastructure. This
operation began in late 1959 and it was code-named "Operation
40." But not satisfied with that, the then-vice president,
Richard Nixon, received communications from a man by the name
of Santos Trafficante.
Santos Trafficante had been the lieutenant for Meyer
Lanskey, running the Havana operations for the New York mob.
He had come to Florida and learned about this secret
"Operation 40," since a large portion of the people who had
been recruited by the CIA to work in it had been the criminal
elements working for Batista and Santos Trafficante in
Havana. After learning about it, he wanted to help. Being
the red-blooded patriot that he was, and, of course, as the
beneficiary of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise
that he had lost when he was driven out of Havana, he wished
to re-establish it. And he reached out to two men.
One was a man by the name of John Roselli. The other
man was a man by the name of Sam Giancana, the don of the
mafia in Chicago. THese two men were designated by Santos
Trafficanted to meet with representatives of Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon selected a man with whom he had maintained an
extraordinary secret contact. This man was the head of the
empire of Howard Hughes, a man by the name of Robert Maheu.
Because the secrecy of their ongoing relationship was
long established, he was selected to undertake this super-
secret communication. This meeting took place at the
Fountainbleau Hotel in early 1960. And there, Richard Nixon,
through his representatives, agreed to set up a sub-
organization inside Operation 40 which was a professional
assassination unit. This unit was given the responsibility
for carrying out the political assassination of Fidel Castro,
his brother Raul Castro, Che Guevara, and five other men in
the leadership of the Cuban government. This group was
recruited out of the Operation 40 people, known only to
Richard Nixon and a limited number of people. They were
trained in a secret base down in Mexico. This particular
group had in it a number of very interesting people who you
are coming to hear about every day that we live.
One of the men on this secret team -- this assassination
unit -- was a man by the name of Felix Gomez. You know him
as Felix Rodriguez and you know him as Max Gomez, the man who
was named by [Eugene] Hasenfus as the man who directed the
Ilopango airlifts into Nicaragua. Another man on this secret
assassination team in early 1960 was a man using the name of
Ramon Medina, whose real name is Jose Posada Carriles, who
was the second man running the Ilopango airlift into
Nicaragua. Another man in this group was a man by the name
of Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero. He was the man who supervised
the construction of the secret air strip in Costa Rica that
you've heard so much about of late.
Indeed, those who delivered the $2 million that was
being given as a bribe to get Mr. Buckley away from the
terrorists in Beirut, were Chi Chi Quintero and Tom Clines.
The money was given by Mr. Ross Perot. The other people in
this assassination team who you've probably heard about are a
man by the name of Frank Stirgus, later caught in the
Watergate Hotel in 1971, when Richard Nixon was President.
With him in the Watergate Hotel was a man by the name of
Eugenio Martinez, another man on the assassination team in
1960 run by Richard Nixon. Another man by the name of
[Virgilio] Gonzalez was on that assassination team. He was
also found in the Watergate Hotel. Two more men, Rafael
Villaverde and Raul Villaverde, were on that "shooter team."
Ricardo Chavez was also on that team.
One of the directors of that team was a man by the name
of E. Howard Hunt. This particular group had the
extraordinary authority given to them by this secret grouping
inside the National Security Council, and headed by the vice
president of the United States to carry out the slaughter,
the murder of political leadership of the Cuban government.
Now, that operation ran all the way to 1961. When President
Kennedy came to office, all the indications are that he was
never told about the assassination team. He was told about
Operation 40, the contra operation, the contra operation
against Cuba. His young industrious brother, Bob, decided
that he would transmute Operation 40 into a full-scale
invasion. This they tried, in April of 1961, with the
disastrous Bay of Pigs resulting.
The invaders from Operation 40 were all killed or
captured. By June of 1961, Bobby Kennedy had dropped back
and re-established the Operation 40 program. Only they
renamed it "Operation Mongoose." That particular program was
put under the commanding control of a young 34-year-old CIA
official by the name of Theodore Shackley. His director of
training was a man by the name of Tom Clines. They ran the
contra war, along with Ed Lansdale, against the Cuban
government from 1961 to 1965.
And then a very strange series of events began to
unfold. In 1965, the entire unit and team was transferred to
Laos in Southern Asia. Theodore Shackley became chief of
station under Gorden Jergenson. Shackley brought with him
Tom Clines. They brought with them Rafael Chi Chi Quintero.
They also brought with them Felix Rodriguez and Jose Posada
Carriles -- assassins, professional assassins.
By 1966, Theodore Shackley and Tom Clines were,
peculiarly enough, supplying air power to a man by the name
of Vang Pao, a major opium trafficker in Laos. He was
engaged in a three-way war with two other men for control of
the opium trade in Laos. They actually figured out a way of
dropping bombs on these drug dealers for Vang Pao. The man
who ran the air operation for Vang Pao, under Tom Clines, was
a young major in the Air Force by the name of Richard Secord.
By the end of 1966, both of the opponents of Vang Pao in
this war for the opium market had been assassinated, and Van
Pao was the undisputed controller of the opium trade in Laos.
Very interestingly he then, out of the largess of his heart,
decided that he would contribute an ongoing portion of the
heroin income to finance the secret training of the Lao
tribesmen, the Hmung down in Southern Laos. They were being
trained by the same man who had been commander of the
Guatemalan base for the Cuban contras. They were sent out to
carry out the covert assassination of suspected Communist
sympathizers throughout Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.
By 1966, this program had been formalized into a group
called the Special Operations Group, also known as the Joint
Task Force on Unconventional Warfare, based in Vientiane. It
was placed under the control fo the military even though it
was in fact run by Theodore Shackley and Tom Clines of the
CIA. The man who was chosen as the military commander for
that unit (that supervised the Lao tribesmen in the
assassination program) was Major General John K. Singlaub.
The Deputy Air Wing Commander for the Special Operations
Group became Richard Secord.
In the end of December of 1966, a young Marine, a recent
graduate of the Naval Academy, joined the Special Operation
Group in Vientiane, a man by the name of Oliver North. One
of the commanders of the Army's Special Forces Unit in the
Special Operations Group was a man by the name of Dewey
Owens, the older brother Rob Owens. This group functioned to
supervise the political assassinations of some 100,000 non-
combatant civilians in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand -- young
mayors, bookkeepers, clerks, school teachers -- attempting to
eliminate the infrastructure of that society for fear it
would fall into the hands of the Communists.
In 1968, Theodore Shackley became the chief of station
in Laos, and a man by the name of Santos Trafficantes, from
Southern Florida, flew to Southeast Asia and met in a hotel
in Saigon with Vang Pao. By the end of 1968, Santos
Trafficantes had become the number one importer and
trafficker in China-white heroin in the United States. The
China-white heroin began to flow and the commensurate profits
began to flow to Vang Pao. And the size of the Hmung
tribesmen training group that was committing the
assassinations began burgeoning accordingly.
In 1969, Theodore Shackley was transferred to become the
CIA chief of station in Vietnam, and they established the now
infamous Phoenix Program that carried out the political
assassination of some 60,000 non-combatant civilians in the
country. He remained in that position until 1972, when
Theodore Shackley and Tom Clines were brought back to the
United States and put in charge of Western Hemisphere
operations of the CIA.
Now, since they don't do an awful lot in Canada, and
less and less in the United States, that leaves you Central
and South America. Tom Clines and Theodore Shackley ran
their "Track Two" operation against Salvador Allende in Chile
and supervised the political capture and assassination of
Allende's Chief of Staff General Schneider, and, eventually,
the assassination of Allende himself. When that had been
accomplished in September of 1973, Theodore Shackley was
transferred to become the head of Far East Operations for the
Now at this point, we reach an extraordinary important
juncture in our story, because Theodore Shackley, Tom Clines,
and cohorts had come to the conclusion that the waffling
American democracy was not going to continue their efforts in
Vietnam. They were not going to continue their effort
against the Communists. And so, they began an extraordinary
program by means of which they took more and more money from
Vang Pao's heroin funds, had them transferred into Vietnam,
with the cover of having to carry out a more and more massive
Phoenix Program. But, in fact, they brought more money in
there than was necessary and began to embezzle this money
from Van Pao's heroin sales and transfer the money secretly
to a bank in Australia -- the Nugen-Hand Bank.
Millions of dollars were transferred between '73 and '75
in an extraordinarily sophisticated program. What they did
was have Tom Clines and Richard Secord load millions of
dollars into suitcases, get on an airplane, and fly to
Australia and unload the money and put it in the bank
account. That went on from '73 to '75. They also began to
pilfer thousands of tons of U.S. military equipment from
Vietnam and transfer it to a secret camp in Thailand. When
the war ended in 1975, all of these people simply
Where did they transfer to? Iran. Richard Secord was
made the director of Foreign Military Sales for the U.S.
Pentagon in the Middle East. And where did Theodore Shackley
go? Theodore Shackley was promoted from director of Far East
Operations for the CIA, to the assistant deputy director for
the CIA. Now he was in charge of worldwide covert operations
under George Bush. It was anticipated that Theodore Shackley
would be director of the CIA if, in fact, Ford had won the
presidency and the Republicans remained in office.
But when Carter won, and Stansfield Turner became head
of the Central Intelligence Agency, these people continued
their operation of pilfering funds and sending them to the
secret fund. They established an unauthorized secret,
illegal assassination program in Iran, working with the Shah
and with the SAVAK [the Shah of Iran's much-hated equivalent
of the CIA]. The man who was the director of their
operations in Iran was a man by the name of Edwin P. Wilson.
His assistant was Frank Turpel.
These people carried out the assassination of many
opponents of the Shah of Iran from 1976 to 1978. Now, that
operation generated a peculiar resistance on the part of the
Central Intelligence Agency, which had not authorized it and
was not supervising it. They began to dismiss people from
the CIA who were in covert operations. You recall that
history, with President Carter moving the people out of
"covert ops" and the CIA. They began to put pressure on
Theodore Shackley to get him to stop some of his operations.
But the fact is they did not stop him.
Shackley formed a private company, in which he joined as
partners with Edwin Wilson, Richard Secord, and Eric Von
Marbod. They formed a company originally known as the
International Research and Trade Corporation, which later
became EATSCO (the Egyptian American Transport and Service
Company). This company, through the good offices of Eric Von
Marbod, who had been the Assistant Secretary of Defense,
received all of the contracts to ship all of the weapons to
Egypt consequent to the Camp David accord. And they began to
make hundreds of millions of dollars in that company. When
it was discovered that Edwin P. Wilson was selling C-4
explosives to Qaddafi, Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry
Barcella, insisted upon indicting him. Larry Barcella also
began to investigate Shackley, Clines, Secord, and Von
Marbod. But he was told to stop, and his indictments were
restricted to simply Edwin Wilson and Frank Turpel.
That was a terrible mistake, as it turns out. What
happens is that while they were thinking of indicting him, a
decision was made to tell Shackley to resign -- he and Tom
Clines -- from the CIA. Who was it that made that decision?
The Deputy Director for Operations for the CIA at the time,
By the beginning of 1979, the U.S. people, the U.S.
Congress, the U.S. President, and the head of the Central
Intelligence Agency had resolved to cut off all military
supplies to Somoza. Ted Shackley and Tom Clines, at the end
of February and early March in 1979, sent Edwin Wilson to
visit Somoza. And they established a contract wherein they
would be selling military hardware to the dictator in total
opposition to the U.S. policy. But after all, these men were
now our private citizens. They had not been indicted. They
were running this company making billions of dollars. And
they had access to all of the end-user certificates to get
the military equipment. They had access to all of the
contractors, and they continued to sell the equipment. Even
when Somoza fled in July of 1979 and went to a place called
North Cay in the Bahamas, Shackley and Clines sent their
people to visit him again and to re-establish the contract --
but now to sell them the military hardware in their new
incarnation as the contras.
This, indeed is the secret team that continued the flow
of weapons. They continued the program of political
assassinations. The contras would target the people who had
to be assassinated. Then they would send the information to
a man who was at the time based in Army intelligence -- a man
by the name of Rafael Chi Chi Quintero -- who at the same
time was the man visiting the contras, taking their orders
for military equipment, and making sure that they were
filled. Then, Quintero would pass the information as to who
should be assassinated on to Tom Clines and Theodore
Shackley, who would then pass the information to a man by the
name of Buckley, who was head of the Central Intelligence
Agency's Anti-Terrorist Program.
This operation continued all the way up until Reagan
became President. When Reagan became President in January of
1981, a series of interesting conversations began to take
place in the White House, chaired by Ed Meese, then chief of
staff, along with Vice President Bush, President Reagan, CIA
Director Bill Casey, and the first National Security Adviser
Richard Allen. By June of 1981, they had resolved they would
take over the secret team, and the supplying of the military
hardware, the weapons and the training.
In a June 1981 National Security Decision Directive,
they decided that they would assign a man by the name of
Victor M. Canastrero from the CIA to head up that operation
that had been run by Chi Chi Quintero. That operation ran,
as we recalled at the beginning of our discussion, throughout
that strange series of falsehoods from the White House about
how they didn't know contras. This went on all the way to
the end of 1983 when, in fact, they were caught mining the
harbors and passing out the assassination manual. Then it
became clear that Congress was going to pass the Boland
Amendment to prohibit their activity.
So what did they do? They sent a young man who was by
now a lieutenant colonel in the National Security Council,
Oliver North, to a contact the secret team to say, "Why don't
you do it some more? You did it from March of '79 until '81.
Why don't you sell the weapons to the contras and give them
what they need?"
They did. However, they needed a cover story. After
all, everyone knew the Agency had been supplying the contras
for years now. If they continued to receive the same amount
of aid, people might suspect the Agency. So what they
decided to do was to have a cover story. They sent Oliver
North to Gray and Company, a public relations firm of spooks
in Washington. A vice president of this company at that
time, we understand, was a man by the name of John Tower.
Further, they sought out a man by the name of Rob Owen from
that company. And he, Rob Owen, set up a thing called "Idea,
Using this "private" company, he began to provide the
inspiration around our country to help these poor contras.
Rob Owen was sent to get a man to head up that operation, a
man by the name of General John K. Singlaub. That operation
raised probably $5 million total, most of which they spent on
their little Lear jets flying around the world. Singlaub had
to give a cover to the massive influx of weapons to the
contras, all being run by this secret team.
When the administration decided that it had to undertake
this famous deal with the Iranians, they figured: who better
than the secret team? After all, "in for a penny, in for a
pound." So these were the people who were sent -- Secord and
the other men -- to Iran to deliver the cake and the Bible
and the missiles. But earlier the administration was not so
distressed by the holding of all the hostages. Why was it
they became terribly distressed only in 1984 when Mr. Buckley
was kidnapped? When Mr. Buckley was kidnapped and tortured,
then they became intensely interested in getting him out.
You recall we were told he was an independent businessman in
Beirut. Then we were told he was the station chief of the
CIA in Beirut. What we were not told is that he had been the
director of the Anti-Terrorist Program for the CIA.
What was it hat he knew that made this man so terribly
dangerous in Iranian hands? And why was it that we sent the
Iranians 40 tractor-trailer loads of TOW missiles after we
knew he was already dead? What do you think it was that he
told them that was worth all that? And why was it that the
Iranians sent a man by the name of Ghorbanifar to establish
contact to see if they could exchange something to get the
weapons? And who did Mr. Ghorbanifar go to? Oliver North?
Poindexter? Bud McFarland? No. He went to Theodore
Ghorbanifar, in November of 1984, met with Theodore
Shackley in Hamburg, and it was decided that this was so
serious, something had to be paid to these people. And who
are the people? Were they the moderates in the Iranian
What will be discovered is that they were the very
people who had tortured Mr. Buckley. These were the people
to whom Mr. Buckley had been delivered from Beirut. He, in
fact, had been taken from Beirut to Teheran, and was tortured
to death in Teheran, all recorded on video tape. What was it
that he told them that made it worth paying all that hush
money? The fact of the matter is, that it was what Buckley
had said about this secret team that had been functioning in
the bowels of our government for 25 years.
The United States has not been humiliated. We have been
blackmailed. And who is it that doesn't know what we have
been doing? Is it the Russians? Do you think it's the
Cubans? Is it the Nicaraguans? It is you. And it is me.
It is the American people who these people fear. They
are afraid because of the program of assassinations, the
horrible, dark secrets that they know. They are afraid
because they know the source of their funding, from the
largest shipments of heroin into our country for the past 20
years to the influx of over one ton of cocaine per week
coming in through a shrimp company in Miami, owned by
Francisco Paco Chavez, that has been financing these black,
covert operations. They're afraid we'll find them out. So
the questions that are floating are not, indeed, the right
Should we be asking ourselves the question: Do we think
that Donald Regan should resign? Do you think maybe Mr.
Meese should quit? Do you think all of these lower guys will
be cleaned up by Frank Carlucci? Do you think these were a
group of subordinates acting without authority within the
White House? Or is this, in fact, more like Watergate where
the Congressional committees will go so far as to impeach Mr.
Reagan, impeach Mr. Bush, impeach Mr. Meese, prosecute
Messrs. North and Secord and Hakim?
Because let me say to you: if in fact that is all that
happens, we will be dealing with a small cancerous nodule on
the nose of the President. Rather as a fact, what we are
dealing with is a cancer deep in the chest of our body
And the intelligence community will tell us, along with
the Republican Party, "Please, we can't operate. The body
politic is not healthy enough and strong enough. Please,
maybe we don't have cancer. Hope we don't have cancer.
Maybe it will go away. You cannot do this." The Democrats
are suggesting that the people's confidence in our
governmental structures will be too shaken if this
information is made available to our public.
The fact of the matter is this: These are the people who
have never had confidence in the structures of our
constitutional government, have never obeyed the American
people, have never had confidence in the U.S. Congress.
These are the people who have been dealing in the back alleys
and underworld for 25 years.
Will we listen to those people when they say, "Please
our body politic isn't strong enough to survive the
operation"? No, we won't. The fact is that this operation
will be undertaken, our body politic is healthy enough, and
our body politic will rid itself of this cancer.
And the people who will make that so are you and me.
And there are millions of people across our country who will
not stand for this type of hypocrisy, who will not allow our
country to take these positions, by means of which, we can be
so clearly blackmailed. This will be put to a stop. It will
be put to a stop now. We will not be allowed to face these
We will do this work. The Christic Institute has the
federal case that has now been endorsed by the federal court
system. We now have federal subpoena power. We know that
this group is not, in fact, the moral equivalent of our
founding fathers. They are indeed the moral equivalent of
the mafia. And they will be treated as such.
[* The speaker is drowned out by tumultuous applause. The
following is a question and answer period. *]
QUESTION: There are two questions that occur to me right
away. Some of this information must have come out in the
Watergate investigation. Why wasn't it pursued at that time?
Obviously, there must have been that information. The other
one: You talk about a shadowy world. When did this shadowy
world begin? When did the separation between the military
and civilian clearly collapse, causing so many of our
ANSWER: The first question: A number of these issues must
have surface at least during the the Watergate investigation.
And why were they not pursued? Well, let me give you one
very special example of an issue that arose during the
Watergate investigation. You will all remember that
extraordinary conversation of March 21 , where
President Nixon was discussing the Watergate investigation
with John Dean. And Nixon said to John Dean, "John, I want
you to go to the CIA and have them tell the FBI to get out of
this investigation." And John Dean said to him: "Well, Mr.
President, what am I going to tell them?" And he said, "Tell
them all the Mexican stuff will come out."
John Dean didn't know what that meant and he later asked
what that meant. They asked this question of a number of
people during the Watergate hearings. One of the men they
asked was Mr. Halderman. And they said, "Mr. Halderman, what
was it that President Nixon was talking about when he said
'All the Mexican stuff would come out'?" And Mr. Halderman
said, "Oh, they were talking about the assassination of
President John Kennedy." At which point, everyone looked at
each other in the room and said, "What the hell was that?"
And they went on to a new subject. It's a very strange issue
one that has haunted us ever since 1963.
What we face in this case is the possibility of striking
up that music, of getting back to some of those issues, of
delving into those people. I'll just say this in closing on
that topic. Richard Spraig was appointed to be the general
counsel for the Select Committee on Assassination
Investigation for the House of Representatives, and he was
investigating the assassination of President John Kennedy.
He was doing some investigation that led him to issue a
subpoena to John Roselli.
John Roselli, you will remember, is one of the two men
who met with Robert Maheu back in January or so of 1961 or
1960 to set up this assassination team. In the very week
that he was subpoened, John Roselli was found wrapped in
chain and sunk in a barrel in Biscayne Bay. Because of the
fear that they had, Mr. Spraig sent three FBI agants to
protect Sam Giancana, who had been the other man in the
meeting, before he issued a subpoena to him.
Mr. Spraig did issues a subpoena to him. With three FBI
agents in the house on Thursday morning before the Monday
that Sam Giancana was to testify before the Select Committee
on Assassination, one of the FBI agents left to go get a pack
of Camels, one went to the bathroom, one was out getting some
fruit for the cereal, and someone entered the house and
killed Sam Giancana in his breakfast and left without a
trace. And Richard Spraig was immediately fired as general
counsel for the Select Committee on Assassinations. G.
Robert Blakey was appointed. He said, "That's enough, no
more investigations," and filed a final report which you can
read, which says: "There appears to be some circumstantial
evidence that President Kennedy may have been assassinated by
a conspiracy group. And the main suspects are certain
elements of organized crime and Cubans."
What he didn't say, which is the truth, is that the
suspected elements of organized crime were Santos
Trafficante, and that the Cubans were the Cubans who were
inside the shooter team for Operation 40!
The second question was: When did all this shadowy world
begin -- this peculiar blending between the civilians and the
military? I would say that it actually began in 1947 with
the passage of the National Security Act, the establishment
of the Central Intelligence Agency, the establishment of this
entire covert world. In the first meeting of the National
Secutiry Agency, they passed a resolution, I think, called
the 54/12 Resolution. It authorized the Central Intelligence
Agency to gather intelligence data, to correlate intelligence
data, and to preform other functions from time to time as
were designated by the National Security Agency. That is the
resolution pursuant to which the CIA has taken unto itself
the belief that it has the authority to carry out covert
operations, such as these assassinations.
The major fear now, amidst the Central Intelligence
Agency officials, is that all covert action capacity will be
taken away from the Central Intelligence Agency and assigned
to a Special Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special
Operations. That is the way of a shakedown in Washington.
All that that will do is get rid of this strange blending of
the civilian and military and put it under the control of the
But in the final analysis, we at the Christic Institute
do not personally believe that Oliver North was a bad
soldier. Oliver North was a good soldier. Oliver North took
his orders. He followed his orders. The question is: Who
did he take the orders from? Why would he be taking the
orders from a man by the name of Theodore Shackley or Tom
Clines, who are no longer in the government? Because they
used to run covert operations for the entire Central
Intelligence Agency. This is a strange identity that they
have: when they leave, they don't really leave and they
continue covert operations. We have to undertake absolutely
major surgery on the public policies relating to covert
operations before this scandal is over.
QUESTION: Dan, as one lawyer to another, I want to compliment
you for the skill and the finesse with which you carried on
that campaign against the racketeers down there. I think we
have a rather immediate problem before Dan can get all of his
facts in deposition form and in documentary form, preparatory
to courtroom use. That is: What can we do in this Congress
about monies for the contras?
We need, it seems to me, to look at this in a number of
ways, and I'd like to get Dan's reaction to this. One of
them is this: What's going on down there is conducted by the
U.S. President through his agents, the contras. It consists
of acts of war against another nation. By international law,
the use of force against another nation is an act of war. By
the Constitution of the United States, nobody can wage war in
the name of the United States without the declaration of war
by the Congress. So, isn't it an important element in the
months to come that we emphasize this unconstitutional
conduct by our President as the basis for denying aid to the
ANSWER: Absolutely. The fact of the matter is that here, in
February , there's going to be a vote taken in the U.S.
Congress. The vote has a lot of peculiar technicalities to
it. It is a caveat on the resolution that was passed by the
99th Congress to authorize the expenditure of $100 million
for the contras for military equipment. Only $60 million was
given to them originally. There is a certification vote that
has to be taken here in mid-February to determine whether or
not Congress will affirmatively certify to allow the last $40
million given to the contras to be used for heavy military
Now, they did not want to allow the Congress to vote on
whether they get the $40 million at all. So, some people,
usually in the Democratic Party, are saying: "Let's really
show them. Let's vote to let them get the $40 million only
without using it for heavy equipment." There are others who
argue, "Let's alter the resolution, after all, we are the
government of the United States. We aren't helpless in the
face of the executive branch. All we have to do is say that
on the basis of newly discovered evidence, we're going to
alter the vote here in February to eliminate the last $40
million and make them give back the original $60 million."
Now, at base, what we have here is a lack of resolution
on the part of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party
doesn't know whether it's going to have Governor Cuomo as its
nominee, or Joe Biden as its nominee, or a number of other
people as its nominee...Gary Hart. But the American people
have to speak out, they have to be determined. In fact, the
Republican Party has stood behind the funding of the contras,
insisted upon the funding of the contras in a vote that went
down on the last day of the 99th Congress to give money to
the contras with a straight party vote. And the Democratic
Party, now, wants to take advantage, to take the credit for
all of this. Let them take it. But make them earn it.
Insist that they cut off the remaining $40 million, have them
stand up to this program and pass a resolution condemning the
contras, cutting off all military equipment and stopping the
war, stopping the invasion.
Now, the fact of the matter is that the Congress of the
United States is capable of doing anything it wants to do.
But it doesn't want to do this. And you have to insist that
they do this, you and your friends, and your family, and your
neighbors, all of the people you went to school with. We
can't do it out of just an office at the Christic Institute
with 15 people in Washington, D.C. It has to be magnified
all across the country. We now have 35 national
organizations that have joined with us -- church and
synagogue groups, and labor groups and women's groups -- all
across the country, to get this word out to their
constituents to make Congress stand up and face this issue,
cut off this money and once again, return our country to
operating under democratic legal processes.
QUESTION: It was said that during the Karen Silkwood case, a
few years ago, that your staff uncovered a private training
academy in Florida that was involved in the killing of Karen
Silkwood. Does this have any connection to this case?
ANSWER: That particular place was called the National
Intelligence Academy, down in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It is
where, in fact, the people were trained and equipped who were
behind Karen Silkwood that night on the road. We can tell
you now, there was a man by the name of Harold Barron, a man
by the name of Larry O'Brian, and a man by the name of David
McBride. These were the people who were trained in a group
called the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit, a private
fraternity of law-enforcement officers who are secretly
trained and equipped at the place called the National
Intelligence Academy down in Fort Lauderdale.
This is the same place they trained the DINA (the secret
political police from Chile), the same place where they
trained the Bureau of Special Services from South Africa, the
same place where they trained and equipped the SAVAK, the
secret political police of the Shah of Iran. But this place
has been engaged in this type of training for many years.
I will tell you this: The fact is that the equipment
that was used to kill Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier on
the streets of Washington, D.C., came from the National
Intelligence Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from Audio
Intelligence Devices, which shares their building with them.
They made the "hound dog" bumper beeper that was used to
detonate the explosives in the car. When Jose Posada
Carriles, back in 1973, blew up the Venezuelan airliner that
killed 73 Cuban nationals, the equipment came from the
National Intelligence Academy's Audio Intelligence Devices in
This place is a veritable ethical cesspool in or nation,
and it has been funded with grants from the Law Enforcement
Assistance Administration, which have been used to purchase
equipment there. It's funded by profits from GEICO, the
Government Employee Insurance Company.
A VOICE: My God! I'm insured by them!
ANSWER: That's right. And the man by the name of Leo
Goodwin, Jr., is the man who runs it. He is the heir to the
GEICO estate, which finances that place. There are so many
things that are known that have never had anything done about
them. One of the extraordinary things about this case is
that it has them all up in front of us now. They're now in
front of us, these people, and they can be brought to
QUESTION: Now, this other question is: What is the connection
between this secret group and the assassination of Martin
ANSWER: I know of none. I simply know of no connection at
all at this point in time.
QUESTION: What is the real reason the press has been
protecting Ronald Reagan?
ANSWER: It's an extremely interesting question, actually,
that has been discussed a lot of late. How could it be
possible for him to have been so much like he is and for them
not to be talking about it and writing about it all the time.
Now, I knew it during the very first Super Bowl, when
President Reagan was President and he came on at half time, I
remember, and he was interviewed by the fellow from NBC. And
he said, "Mr. President, you used to be an announcer, didn't
you?" And he said, "Well, yes. Yes, I was."
"In fact," he continued, "When I had my audition, I had
to sit there and recall a game and see how well I did. So,
what I did," he said, "I went back to a game in which I had
actually played. And I was given all the names of how we
made these blocks and we ran for a touchdown and made it."
He said, "Of course, in real life, we didn't run for a
touchdown." The NBC man and everybody went: Ha, Ha, Ha.
Isn't that strange that he would have told a story like that?
And Reagan followed it up with another story, saying he
recalled one time that how he learned to do this audition was
that he used to broadcast baseball games. He used to get the
ticker tape, and he used to broadcast as though he was right
there. And all they really had was that the ball went from
Number One to Number Three to Number Four (or whatever it
was, however they number the players). That's all he knew
about the play. And he used to go, "Well, it's a hot
grounder -- there it goes to the shortstop -- it goes to the
second base -- it'll be a double play -- it goes to first
base. You've go a double play!"
And he said, "One time, I was doing this and the ticker
tape stopped. And so, I just went right along and kept on
making up things and never missed a beat." At which point,
the NBC man laughed and said, "Oh, good for you, Mr.
And now we're living with it, you see.
One of the major problems is that so much of the media
is involved in what we call "infotainment" that it's not
really the news anymore. It's all the news that's fit to
print. And I discovered it the other day. I was riding
along with a New York Times reporter and a man from the
Washington Post and I was giving them a ride through the snow
in Washington, and they were sort of comparing their sources.
And one of them says: "My sources are better than your
sources." As it turns out, the Washington Post has the very
best inside-the-White-House sources. The New York Times has
the very best inside-the-intelligence-community sources.
And the intelligence community tells the New York Times
what they're doing. And the New York Times, therefore, can't
burn their source and tell what they know or else they'll
lose their access to the story. And the Washington Post
can't burn their sources in the White House. So they can't
tell the story. If that tells you anything, it's something
that I couldn't understand because I kept thinking: I thought
you were supposed to be telling the American people. And
that isn't what really happens most of the time. But there
is this interesting in-crowd community at the highest levels
of the media. But now they're beginning to suspect the
American people insist upon knowing and want to know.
Therefore, they're caught in the situation of having to tell
them. And the sources! you can smell them burning all over
Washington. They're going to continue to burn until this
story gets out.
QUESTION: I have a question: Dan, could you explain Israel's
participation in the Iran affair?
ANSWER: As far as we can tell, at this stage, the Iraeli
government was merely doing what they were asked by an ally.
The highest levels of the U.S. government, once they decided
that they were going to undertake this exchange of arms with
Iran, contacted Israel, discussed this with them and
initially utilized a covert method of moving arms to Iran.
What they would do is have the Israeli government move a
bunch of the American arms that had been given to Israel up
to Iran with the assurance that the United States would
resupply Israel with an equal number of those arms. The U.S.
government did that to conceal the direct participation of
the United States in the activity.
You'll recall that embarrassing November press
conference in which President Reagan had specifically stated
that there were no other countries involved in this. This
story held up for, I think, 20 minutes. At which point he
had to send a little memo out to all the media people saying:
"Excuse me, there was one country. It was Israel."
And then they tried as a trial ballon that, well, Israel
did it -- and we didn't -- which lasted, I think, even less
time because the Foreign Minister for Israel then decided to
resign so that he could talk about it.
He got up before international cameras, told them what
had been done, and said that the U.S. government had
specifically asked them as an ally to do this. And they had
done it. So far as we can tell, that's all that really was
involved, they were doing something that an ally had asked
them to do. And as far as they knew, there was nothing
illegal about it for them to participate.
QUESTION: There are a couple of the questions that ask for
sources. Could you please cite your sources to substantiate
the Buckley angle as the key explanation of the Reagan-Iran
ANSWER: The fact of the matter is that we are in the process
right now of obtaining certain tapes and direct documentary
proof of these details. We have talked to people who have
listened to the tapes, have taken notes on the tapes, and
have assured us that we can have them. I have discussed
those with them. We, in fact, have shared this information
with the special prosecutor's office and are awaiting those
very specific pieces of information. Obviously, it would not
be appropriate to tell you who the source was for fear I'd
never see that person again. But, the minute we get those
things, and have given them to the special prosecutor, you
can rest assured we'll make them available to the public.
QUESTION: How about contributions to the Christic Institute?
ANSWER: The Christic Institute is in Washington, D.C. We are
a public-interest law firm that can only survive with
contributions. That's the only way our investigation can go
forward. They are all tax-deductible. You can send them to
the Christic Institute. The address is 1324 North Capitol
Street in Washington, D.C. And the zip there is 20002. Now,
if you don't get a chance to write that down, just ask
information in Washington, D.C. for the Christic Institute,
and give us a call. And we'll give you our address and
everything then, and you can send any contribution you want.
"Christic" is a phrase that comes from Tahard Shardan,
who was the Jesuit paleontologist who had discovered Peking
Man. He was a theologian in the church, and this phrase has
to do with the bonding force that bonds everything together
in harmony in the universe. We took that name as a public-
policy center. A number of our Jewish directors were
concerned about it. We all had a long discussion about it
and said, well, that it seemed to be a really good term. I
mean, at least, that's what he meant it to be. And since he
had been condemned by the Catholic Church and forbidden to
publish at all, we thought that was a great name for our
QUESTION: There was a number of questions that rather tie in
together, Dan, can we expect a military invasion before the
dry season is out in Nicaragua?
ANSWER: There is a great deal of concern about this issue.
The moderate forces in Washington, D.C., seem to be sanguine
about this. They don't really believe the administration
could have the audacity to undertake such an invasion. They
end their observations by saying, well, that would be an act
of desperate men. At which point, I asked them if they've
got an hour or two when I can explain to them exactly how
desperate these people must be right now, in light of what we
So, we believe that based on direct information that
we've got, there are plenty of special forces, men being
trained right now for a jump into Nicaragua. They've been
given Nicaraguan maps. They've been trained on Nicaraguan
terrain. They're planning, specifically, to invade
The real question is whether or not they dare to go
through with it. The degree of courage that they have to do
this is dependent soley upon how emphatically the people in
the United States demand that they refrain from it. Because
there is no doubt that they do not feel bound by the majority
demands of the people. So, I would say that there is very
detailed information indicating that they intend to undertake
the invasion sometime by the end of March . We're
talking about a very serious plan here. And you have to
communicate with your Congresspeople and your senators and
demand that they confront the administration, call them
before Congress, and insist that they renounce any plans to
undertake such an invasion.
The fact is that such an invasion would be preceeded by
some major provocative action. So that is where we are
focusing our intelligence data, to ascertain what type of
provocation they would be trying to manufacture to get
everybody cranked up to authorize an attack of that sort. So
do write your Congresspeople, confront them, and insist this
QUESTION: There's a question here. Have you a body guard? I
ANSWER: Well, the closest thing I have to a bodyguard is
Sarah Nelson, who is here, who has a limited vested interest
in this since we get to see each other so infrequently now.
But seriously, people have asked this question before and the
fact of the matter is that professional bodyguards are very
expensive. They charge $500 per day and have all kinds of
strange equipment. I have been contacted by a number of
friends who are in the security business who have made it
very clear that we should have a bodyguard since the court
has now entered the order giving us the authority of the
federal subpoena to go after these people.
I think we have to bring on a security force. But
they're going to be very unhappy if I tell them they can't
bring their guns. Nevertheless, we will have some sort of
security force but I think we're going to have to develop a
kind of higher consciousness security forces that don't use
guns. But we will have some sort of security force.
QUESTION: Can talking about all this jeopardize the lawsuit?
ANSWER: That is an interesting question. The fact is that
the attorney for Adolfo Calero, who is one of our defendants,
he head of the FDN (contras), has hired the former general
counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency, a man by the
name of Tony Lapham. The biggest gunrunner in the Western
Hemisphere, who is also a defendant in our case, a man named
Ronald Joseph Martin, has hired the former U.S. attorney from
Miami for his lawyer.
The fact of the matter is that they filed a motion
demanding that the judge put a gag order on us to prohibit us
from communicating to the public any of the information that
we obtained about their defendants, even from our private
investigations. At which point, the court threatened to hold
us in contempt if he, the judge, heard that we had discussed
anything else -- i.e., discussed the case after the court's
warning with a large public group. So I hope he's listening
The fact is that we have pointed out to the judge that
his local court rule has been declared unconstitutional in
the Eleventh Circuit, where he sits. So I know he's not
happy. But he has a choice. He can either try to invoke the
rule against us, only to lose the battle completely, when
it's declared totally unconstitutional. Or he can leave us
alone. And he has chosen the latter. So we're here today to
speak with you and will continue to speak.
QUESTION: Dan, on ABC Nightline, Tony Avirgan brought up the
drug connection with the Iran-Contra affair. Ted Koppel said
that he didn't now anything about it. Has there been any
serious interest in the drug connection by the three major
ANSWER: Yes, as a matter of fact. In March, CBS -- what is
their show? -- CBS's West 57th Street will be broadcasting
some extraordinary footage closing the issue once and for all
about the contra drug connection. We've been trying to get
them to reveal it earlier, but they don't come back on the
air until March. In fact, we've given ample information to
the courts, to the Justice Department, to the Congress, about
the drug connection.
Senator John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee has interviewed under oath numerous witnesses.
Indeed, we have put before them aircraft pilots who have
directly testified under oath about traveling down to John
Hull's ranch and back, bringing down guns and bringing back
cocaine. There is no way that they are going to be able to
conceal this information. Now, I've had some conversations
with people at ABC about this. I guess, all I would suggest
is that the newspeople at ABC talk to the people at ABC
Nightling and get the information from Ted Koppel.
[* End of text. *]