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The Secret Team

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By Janette Rainwater There is a Secret Team that has been operating in this country for 25 years. Their objective: to fight their defïnition of conununism. Their method: trafficking in drugs, assassinating people, stealing from the govemment, and subverting the will of Congress and the American public. With billions of dollars of drug money, they are making foreign policy and acting as a shadow govemment, according to a 95-page affidavit released by the Christic Institute, December 12, 1986. Daniel Sheehan, chief counsel for the Christic Institute, alleges that this group got its beginnings when Vice President Nixon was made chairpersorr of Operation Forty, a secret group within the National Security Council charged with prosecuting a covert war against Castro's Cuba. Within Operation Forty there was a secret "shooter team" trained in special assassination techniques. Some of its members are now defendants in a $22 million damage suit that the Christic Institute (the successful prosecutor of the Karen Silkwood case) filed in federal district court in Miami in May 1986 on behalf of Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan. Plaintiff Avirgan was seriously wounded in the 1984 attempted assassination of Eden Pastora (the contra leader who would not accept CIA control) in a press conference at La Penca, Nicaragua on the Costa Rican border. Eight people were killed and two dozen were severely injured. In their investigation to establish the identity of the terrorist(s), Honey and Avirgan fïrst found a huge disinformation web spread by United States and Costa Rican authorities. They allege that the bombing was carried out by Amac Galil, an anti-Khadaffi Libyan who had been brought in by the Secret Team via the Costa Rican ranch of American citizen, John Huil. Honey and Avirgan further allege that this ranch was used to land planeloads of arms for the contras and Colombian cocaine destined for transshipment to the United States. The La Penca Bombing is merely one incident in the pattern of criminal enterprise by these defendants going back many years. The suit has been filed under the RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute. Judge Lawrence King found that the allegations made by the Christic Institute established racketeering activity, a pattern of racketeering activity and a criminal enterprise operating through racketeering activities. Judge King denied the defendants' motions to, dismiss and agreed the court had jurisdiction over the case under RJ.CO. The 29 defendants include: John K. Singlaub, Richard Secord, Albert Hakim, John Huil, Adolfo Calero, Ronald Joseph Martin Sr., Robert W. Owen, Thomas Posey, Pablo Escobar, and Jorge Ochoa. Escobar and Ochoa are responsible for 85% of the cocaine imponed into the United States, according to Sheehan. Two very important defendants whose names have not yet made headlines are Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines. From 1961 to 1965, according to Sheehan's history of the Secret Team, Shackley and his deputy Clines were CIA operativos who supervised the training of men for Kennedy's Operation Mongoose in the covert war against Cuba. In 1965 Shackley and Clines were transferred to Laos, where Sheehan alleges, they cooperated with a druglord named Van Pao to get control of the opium trade. Some of the profits went to a secret fund to train Meo tribesmen to assassinate suspected communists in Southeast Asia. Their official duty at that time was to oversee the "joint task force on unconventional warfare" headed by Gen. John K. Singlaub and Maj. Richard Secord. In 1973 Shackley and Clines were sent to South Vietnam where they actively parücipated in the Phoenix Project where it is estimated that 60,000 civilians suspected of being Viet Cong sympathizers were executed. According to Sheehan, Shackley and Clines made the decisión before the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam that they would no longer accept the supervisión of the president, the CIA directors, the U.S. Congress, or the American people. They feit the best way to fight communism was to hunt communists down and assassinate them, using drug funds to fïnance the operation. Accordingly, they transferred large quantities of Van Pao drug money to a secret account in Australia and pilfered hundreds of tons of military equipment from U.S. arsenals, moving them to a secret cache in Thailand. In 1976 Shackley was put in charge of all covert operations for the CIA. He set up a team to help the Shah of Iran's SAVAK hunt down and assassinate possible "terrorists." According to Sheehan, this was also the period in which Secret Team members Richard Secord, as assistant undersecretary for defense for foreign military sales, and nis assistant Albert Hakim, developed the technique of buying U.S. aircraft and weapons from the govemment at the low manufacturéis cost and selling them to the Middle Eastern markets at their much higher replacement cost, then depositing the profit generaled into the secret Australian account. Edwin Wilson, a CIA operative was prosecuted for selling explosivos to Libya. At that üme, according to Sheehan, the identities of Shackley and Clines were shuffled into a sealed portion of the indictment. They were never prosecuted, but were forced to resign from the CIA by Director Stansfield Turner. Although Turner and President Carter were unaware of the activities of the Secret Team, they feared revelations of the CIA-authorized dealings in southeast Asia. After leaving the C.I.A. Shackley and Clines became business partners with Secord and Hakim in the EgyptianAmerican Transport and Service Company, according to Sheehan. In March 1979, the Haikin Amendment forced the U.S. to stop military aid to Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. (The Harkin Amendment prohibits aid to a regime which systematically violates human rights.) The Secret Team immediately offered to supply Somoza with arms and did so from March to July, 1979, according to Sheehan. After Somoza's defeat, the Secret Team supplied and subsidized Somoza's national guard who were regrouping in Honduras. This continued until Ronald Reagan took office in January, 1981. Then, according to Sheehan, it was decided at a series of meetings chaired by Edwin Meese that the CIA would take over the operation of the covert war against the Sandinista govemment of Nicaragua. These meetings were attended by George Rush, Ronald Reagan, William Casey and National Security Advisor Richard Allen. In 1984 the passage of the Boland Amendment prohibited the use of U. S. funds to overlhrow the Nicaraguan govemment. The Secret Team was called back into action. Sheehan alleges that this decisión was made in meetings attended by Meese, Bush, Reagan, Casey and Robert McFarlane, and that McFarlane's deputy, Ll Col. Oliver North was delegated to contact the Secret Team and have them reactívate their contra-supply operations. The operations of the Secret Team have been carried out by some of their many companies: CSF Investments, Ltd.; Companie de Services Fiduciare; Consultants International; Maule, Inc.; Orea Supply Company; Stanford Technology Trading Group, Inc.; and Udall Research Corporation among others. Daniel Sheehan alleges that the Senate and House select committees exist for damage control - to do enough daniage to the Republicans to insure that the Democrats get to elect the next president Because both Democratie and Republican administraüons have had dealings with the Secret Team there is reason to believe that the full story will not be exposed by Congress. The Christic Instituto is cooperating with the special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh. The Institute has been asked to prepare proffers from witnesses who need immunity to set forth what they would say if that immunity should be granted. Right now the Christic Institute is trying to raise money to pay special investigators to get certain pieces of documentary evidence to back up the incriminating testimony ia: their witnesses can provide. They have been conducting all the work on this case since 1984 with $100,000. The Christic Institute has distributed copies of their affidavit to members of all the various investigating committees and to all the major media. (The court tried to have the affidavit sealed.) To get your copy, write to: The Christic Institute, 1324 Capítol Street, Washington, DC 20002, (202)797-8106. [ed.] The Christic Institute is an Interfaith Public Interest Law Firm and Public Policy Center. Janet Yancey, an outreach worker for the Institute in D.C., told AGENDA that the case on behalf of Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan will probably not reach the courts untii this time next year. Meanwhile, the Institute is building its case by collecting 200 to 250 legal depositions. Yancey confirmed that the non-profit Institute is operating under budgetary constraints and all donations are welcome. Dr. Janet Rainwater is a member of the Nicaragua Task-force, P.O. Box 1 138, Venice CA 90291 (213) 396-1 134. These Defendants, some of whom have been tagged by the press as "contrapreneurs," represent the very epitome of organized crime, but on an international stage. They deal Wholesale in narcotic drugs, Ilegal weapons and vlolence. Rather than take over local businesses or undermine local government, they seek to take over whole nations. They do not hesitate to murder and destroy anyone or anything that gets in their way. By any definition, these Defendants, alleged merchants of heroin and terrorism, are organized crimináis on a scale larger-than-life" - Daniel P. Sheehan Chief Counsel for the Christic Instituto


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