"Operation 40": The First Contra War, Organized Crime and Right-wing Terror-Politics Late 1959: Castro overthrows Batista. Vice President Nixon establishes and chairs a Special Committee of the U.S. National Security Council to mount a covert war against the socialist govemmmt of Cuba by utilizing right-wing Cuban expatriots loyal to former Dictator Batista. Code-named "Operation 40," the objective of this secret, nonCongressionally authorized operation, is to undermine, weaken, and eventually overthrow the govemment of Cuba. Late 1959: Nixon and CIA Director Allen Dulles supervise recruitment of right-wing Cubans exiled in Miami. They also order two secret military training bases for this first "contra" or "counter-revolutionary" army established in Florida and Guatemala. CIA Agent Cari Jcnkins supervises their training in guerilla tactics in both Florida and Guatemala. The operation's objective is to train and secretly infíltrate these expatriot Cubans back into Cuba, to set up centers of military resistance to Castro and mount terrorist military attacks against the economie infrastructure of the country, making it diffïcult for the revolutionary govemment to organize and opérate the economy. Later 1959: Nixon and Dulles set up a Florida meeting between their representative, Robert Maheu, and representatives of Santo Trafficante, John Roselli and Sam Giancana. Trafficante is a former Havana Mafia lieutenant whose profitable casino, hotel and prostitution organization was driven out of Cuba along with bis business associate Batista. At the meeting, in early 1960, it is agreed that "Operation 40" will be secretly supplemented with a "private" sub-operation to be supervised directly by Trafficante. This secret govemment-Mafïa venture, dubbed the "Shooter Team," is to be a "private" political assassination unit aimed at Castro and other revolutionary Cuban leaders. "Shooter Team" members selected by Trafficante are: Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero; Félix Rodríguez (AKA "Max Gómez"); Luis Posada Carriles (AKA "Ramón Medina"); Rafael Villaverde; Raúl Villaverde; Ricardo Chavez; Frank Fiorini (AKA Frank Sturgis); Rolando Martínez and two other CubanAmericans. One of the group supervisors is E. Howard Hunt, of Watergate famc, code-named "Eduardo." The "Shooter Team" begins training in early 1960. Jan., 1961: Kennedy assumes office. He is briefed about "Operation 40" and its objectives, but it appears neither he nor his brother Robert are ever informed of the existence of the "Shooter Team." Jan., 1961 to April, 1961: "Operation 40" strategy of low-profile guerilla infiltration of Cuba commences. April 17, 1961: CIA attempts a full-scale military invasión of Cuba at Bay of Pigs. The invasión, which involves "Operation 40" personnel, is a fiasco. June, 1961 to Nov.,1963: "Operation Mongoose," a resumption of low-profile infiltration and guerilla raids into Cuba, is secretly begun by the Kennedy Administration. A private Trafficante-led sub-contracted "Shooter Team" carnes out assassination attempts on Cuban leaders. The 'Team's" operation and University of Miami base are code-named "JMWave." Theodore Shackley is appointed to supervise the operation, and Thomas Clines is named his deputy. 1963: Several participants in "Operation 40" are caught smuggling narcotics into the U.S. from Cuba, but "Operation 40" and "JMWave" continue. Nov. 22, 1963: Kennedy is assassinated. Lyndon Johnson assumes the presidency. 1965: "Operation Mongoose" and "JMWave" are shut down. The Move to Southeast Asia: Politica! Assassination Financed by Opium 1964: A multi-service, military "Special Operations Group," known as the Military Assistance Command or Joint Task Force for Unconventional Warfare is estabüshed in Saigon, Vietnam. 1965: Shackley becomes CIA Deputy Chief of Station in Laos. Thomas Clines is again made his Deputy. They secretly supply air support to Van Pao, a Laotian drug lord, in order to gain control of the Laotian opium trade. 1965 to 1966: Shackley and Clines supervise secret training of Hmong tribesmen in political assassination and "unconventional warfare" techniques (as part of the "Special Operations Group"). Van Pao opium profits are used to finance the operation. 1966: Van Pao becomes one of the major opium producers and traffickers in Laos. 1966: Shackley becomes CIA Chief of Station in Laos. Clines continúes as his Deputy. 1966 to 1968: Gen. John K. Singlaub heads "Special Operations Group" in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, supervising the political assassinations program. Deputy Air Wing Commander for the "Special Operations Group" is Lt. Col, Richard Secord. 1966 to 1975: The "Special Operations Group," through its secret Hmong unit (under the direction of Shackley and Clines and funded by Van Pao's opium income), assassinates 100,000 non-combatant village mayors, bookkeepers, clerks and other civilian bureaucrats in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Early 1968: Shackley is made CIA Chief of Station in Saigon. 1968: Van Pao and Trafficante form a partnership to import and distribute China White heroin in the U.S. Late 1968: Heroin profits enable Van Pao to increase financing of the Hmong political assassination program. End of 1968: 2nd Lt. Oliver North briefly serves under Singlaub in "Special Operations Group." By 1969: Van Pao and Trafficante are the #1 importerdistributers of China White heroin in the U.S. Jan.,1969: Richard Nixon assumes the presidency. Chile: The Assassination & Overthrow of Allende Early 1972: Shackley and Clines are transferred from Saigon to the United States, where Shackley becomes the Chief of the CIA's Western Hemisphere operations, directing CIA operations in Central and Latín America. Clines is again his Deputy. 1973: Shackley and Clines direct "Operation Track II" in Chile, of which the objective is the politica! assassinations of Chilean socialist President Salvador Allende and his Chief of Staff. Shortly before the successful overthrow of the socialist Chilean govemment in September, Shackley and Clines are transferred to Langley, Virginia (CIA Headquarters) to head the CIA's East Asia División. Vietnam: Drugs, Arms Scams, Terror & the Birth of the Secret Team 1973 to 1975: From this post at Langley, Shackley and Clines direct the "Phoenix Project," under which some 60,000 Vietnamese village mayors, school teachers and other non-Viet Cong administrators are assassinated in order to cripple the ability of the North Vietnamese to run the country afteï the U.S. withdrawl. From 1974 to 1975, Shackley and Clines finance a highly intensified phase of the Phoenix Project by causing an intense flow of Van Pao opium money to be secrectly brought into Vietnam for this purpose. U.S. Navy Officer Richard Armitage, working with Shackley and Clines, acts as "bursar" or treasurer of Van Pao opium funds to the Vietnam Phoenix Project. 1973 to 1975: In 1973, with the knowledge that the Phoenix Project will shortly be shut down, Shackley, Clines and Richard Armitage form the "Secret Team," an unauthorized assassination and unconventional warfare program, to opérate after the end of the Vietnam campaign. From 1973-75, Shackley and Clines cause thousands of tons of U.S. weapons, ammunition, and explosives to be secretly taken from Vietnam and stored in a secret cache in Thailand. Van Pao opium money is smuggled to a secret Australian bank account in large suitcases by Secord and Clines. The account is privately accessible to Shackley, Clines and Secord. The money and weapons are to be used for "Secret Team" operations. During this period, Shackley and Clines' "liason officer" in the Nixon White House during this period is Eric Von Marbod, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastem Affairs, who shares information on the 'Phoenix Project" with his supervisor, Henry Kissinger. Aug., 1974: Richard Nixon resigns. April, 1975: Saigon falls and the Vietnam War ends. Middle East: Early Arms Deal Profit-Skimming 1975: Upon evacuation of U.S. persormel from Vietnam, Shackley and Clines dispatch Richard Armitage from Vietnam to Tehran, Iran. May to Aug., 1975: Armitage sets up a secret "financial conduit" to Iran. Secret Van Pao drug funds are deposited to fund a Shackley "Secret Team" operation to identify and assassinate socialist and communist sympathizers viewed as "potential terrorists" against the Shah's govemment. 1975: Secord transferred from Vietnam to Tehran., Iran Late 1975: CIA Asst. Deputy Director of Operations Shackley and his Deputy Clines hire Edwin Wilson as "private Field Director" to head their covert anti-terrorist assassination program in Tehran. This program is not authorized by the CIA, but carried out by Shackley and Clines in their capacity as private citizens. Wilson carnes out these operations until 1977. End of 1975: Armitage takes a post as "Special Consultant" to the U.S. Department of Defense, charged with investigating the status of military persormel missing in action in S.E. Asia (MIAs). Armitage is stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand and works with Jerry O. Daniels. 1975 to 1977: Armitage continúes to function as bursar for the "Secret Team," getting millions of Van Pao opium dollars to Tehran in order to fund Wilson's assassination program on behalf of the Shah. Daniels is the "bag man" for Armitage, transporting the money out of Thailand. The money is used by the "Secret Team" for general operations and to facilítate the escape and re-location throughout the world of Hmong veterans of the "Phoenix Operation." Armitage also supervises the removal of arms, ammunition and explosives from a secret Shackley-Clines cache hidden in Thailand between 1973 and 1975 for "Secret Team" use. Daniel Arnold, CIA Chief of Station in Thailand (again acting "in a purely private capacity") assists Armitage. 1976: Secord functions as chief operations officer for the Department of Defense in the Middle East, and is also in charge of foreign military sales of U.S. aircraft, weapons and military equipment to Middle East nations allied to the U.S. His immediate superior is Eric Von Marbod. 1976 to 1979: Using a middle-man, Albert Hakim, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Secord purchases U.S. military aircraft and weapons from the U.S. govemment at "manufacturers cost," reselling them to cliënt Middle Eastem nations at a much higher "replacement cosl" Then, out of the actual sale price obtained, Secord repays the U.S. govemment only the lower (manufacturer's) price. Secord and Hakim secretly transfer the millions of dollars in overcharges into Shackley's "Secret Team" operations inside Iran and into Shackley's secret Nugen-Hand bank account in Australia. Thus, by 1976, Hakim becomes a partneT with Clines, Secord and Armitage in Shackley's "Secret Team." 1976 to 1979: Shackley, Clines, Secord, Hakim, Wilson and Armitage set up several corporations and subsidiaries in Switzerland, Central America and the U.S., through which they conceal the operations of the "Secret Team." Through these corporations they launder hundreds of millions of Van Pao opium dollars and pilfered foreign military sales proceeds. Jan.,1977: Carter assumes presidency. 1977: Armitage resigns Department of Defense "Special Consultant" post as a result of a State Department heroin smuggling investigaron by U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Morton Abramowitz, and Embassy personnel complaints about his failure to perform his duties on behalf of MIAs. 1977: Armitage opens "The Far East Trading Company," with offices in Bangkok, (continued on next page) OH, OV)R FR1EHD MEEDS rto PASSPoRT, F0RG6D oiCyrHERWlSe. CHRONOLOGY Thailand and Washington, D.C. The company is a "front" for Armitage's secret removal of Van Pao opium dollars from Southeast Asia to Tehran and Australia to fund the assassination and unconvenüonal warfare operations of Shackley and Clines "Secret Team." 1977 to 1979: In nis private capacity, Edwin Wilson establishes contact with Mohammar Qaddafy and agrees to train Libyan anti-Shah terrorists in the use of deadly C-4 explosives at five secret training camps inside Libya. This is actually an intelligencegathering mission designed to obtain names, missions and targets of Libyan anti-Shah terrorists. Wilson gives this information to Quintero (member of the original "Shooter Team"), who is responsible for interdiction and assassination of the terrorists. Part of Wilsons mission is to assassinate Qaddafy. An attempt is made and fails. Late 1978: Wilson associate Kevin Mulcahey inadvertantly tells the friend of a Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent about Wilson's Libyan connection. Wilson and associate Frank Terpil are indicted for dealings with Qaddafy, but Shackley and Clines are allowed to resign their CIA posts by Director Stansfield Turner and Deputy Director Frank Carlucci. 1979: Shackley and Clines join Secord and Hakim and "go private." Jan., 1979: Shackley, Clines, Secord and Hakim make Wilson a full partner in the "Secret Team" corporate board of their newly-established Egyptian-American Transport and Services Corporation, which serves as a front for a gunrunning operation. I The Contra Connection: The "Secret Team" Bargains with Somoza Feb., 1978: Carter invokes the Harkin Amendment, cutting off all military support to Ncaraguan Dictator Anastasio Somoza. Spring, 1979: Shackley, Clines, Secord and Hakim send Wilson to offer the assassination services of the "Secret Team" to Somoza for $650,0O0year. The offer includes the services of five "counter-subversion specialists" at $80,000year each and an annual expense account of $250,000. One of the five specialists is "Chi Chi" Quintero. The other 4 are members of the 1960 Nixon-Trafficante "Shooter Team." Somoza thinks the price is too high and continúes to negoüate for a lower price. Spring to July, 1979: The "Secret Team" supplies military equipment to Somoza in his capacity as Dictator of Nicaragua despite Harkin Amendment. Quintero meets regularly with Somoza's representatives to arrange weapons shipments. July 17, 1979: Somoza flees from Nicaragua to North Cay, Bahamas. Quintero, Shackley and "Secret Team" associates agree to continue to supply aircraft, weapons, ammunition and explosives to Somoza. Somoza sets up several of his dreaded former National Guard Generáis in Honduras and supervises counter-military operations against the U.S.govemment-recognized Sandinista govemment of Nicaragua. Aug., 1979: Egyptian-American Transport & Services Corporation, a front operation, first establishes contact with and begins secretly supplying weapons to contras in Honduras. 1979 to 1980: Somoza directs contra operations himself. 1979 to 1981: Quintero sets up and conducts weapon supply activities to the contras through the Miami-based Orea Supply Co., a front operation set up by Wilson in 1976. Sept., 1980: Somoza is assassinated in Paraguay. His former generáis take over and run contra operations until 1981. The CIA Takes the Ball Jan., 1981: Reagan takes office. Jan., 1981: A series of meetings take place, attended by White House Chief of Staf f Edwin Meese, White House National Security Advisor Richard Allen, CIA Director William Casey, Vice President and Chairman of the National Security Council Task Force on Terrorism George Bush, and Reagan. In these meetings it is agreed that the CIA, under Director William Casey, will take over the secret funding and supply of the Honduran-based contra forces. June, 1981: Reagan signs a classified National Security Decisión Directive expressly authorizing CIA Director William Casey to undertake the financing, training and military supply of the Honduran-based contra forces, but directing Casey to inform the contra leadership that the funding and supply of military equipment is to bc conditioned upon the contra military commanders organizing themselves into a unified coalition. June, 1981: The CIA, under Director Casey, offïcially (though covertly) takes over contra weapons supply operation. Agent Vincent M. Cannistraro takes Quintero's place as supply officer. This operation proceeds apace throughout 1981 and into 1982. Dec., 1981: CIA attacks Nicaragua's only oil refinery and cement plant. 1981 through 1982: President Reagan repeatedly derdes CIA or White House involvement in supplying, training or funding of the contra forces. Press investigations and U.S. Congressional inquines reveal that the White House is in fact doing so. Reagan admits the CIA has given "minor" assistance to the contras but asserts it is limited solely to aiding the contras in inter-dicting the supply of weapons and military equipment from the Sandinistas to anti-government forces in El Salvador. U,S. press and Congress members press the Executive Dept. for proof of such gun shipments, and the CIA assigns agent David McMichaels to prepare a report establishing the traffic. McMichaels reports there is no evidence to support the conclusión that such trafficking exists and is fired. June, 1983: "International Brigade" members Felipe Vidal and Rene Corbo set up a cocaine smuggling operation on John Hull's ranch. (The International Brigade is a special unit of Cuban American forces in Costa Rica headed by John Huil). The cocaine is supplied by Columbians Jorge Ochoa and Pablo Escobar. It is off-loaded on John Hull's ranch and transshipped to Miami, New Orleans and Memphis. North Tums to the Secret Team When Congress Bans Contra Aid July, 1983: Congress passes Boland Amendment, prohibiting direct or indirect aid by the CIA or White House to the contras. Late 1983: North contacts Shackley, Clines, Hakim and Secord and has the "Secret Team" reactívate its military supply operation to the contras. The reactivation expands to include John Hull's contra operation in Costa Rica on the "Southern Front" against Nicaragua. Quintero again becomes "supply officer" for both Honduran and Costa Rican operations. CHRONOLOGY 1983 to 1984: Through the Orca Supply Co., Quintero meets in Costa Rica with Honduran-based contra field commanders and the contra associates of John Huil to take orders for weapons and explosives. Jan., 1984: Thomas Posey and associates form an American-based group, Civilian Military Assistance (CMA). CMA's mission is to recruit, train, finanee, supply and launch from U.S. soil a foreign military expeditionary force of U.S. citizens, former members of U.S. Armed Services, present members of various state National Guard units, anticommunist Cubans, and other Central Americans with the express intention of terrorizing the unarmed civilian population, destabilizing and eventually overthrowing the government of Nicaragua. Feb., 1984: The CIA directs the mining of Nicaraguan harbors. Apr., 1984: The CIA is caught and publicly exposed for having placed explosive mines in the harbors of Managua and foT passing out "manuals" to the contras advocating the physical assassination of civilian government authorities to bring about the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government. Both acts are violations of international law. President Reagan finally acknowledges publically that it is his objective to violently overthrow the officially-recognized government of Nicaragua, "to prevent the establishment in Latin America of a Soviet military base. ' March, 1984 to May, 1984: "Secret Team" supplies military equipment and C-4 explosives to the contras through John Hull's Costa Rica ranch. Shackley, CUnes, Secord, Hakim, Quintero, Huil, Posey, et al. supply C-4 explosives to right-wing Libyan terrorist Amac Gaül. May 30, 1984: La Penca press conference is bombed by Galil with C-4 explosives in an assassination attempt on contra-leader Eden Pastora for his refusal to accept CIA control of his Costa Rican forces or to join in a unified coalition with contra forces in Honduras. At the conference, Pastora had planned to denounce Adolfo Calero, Calero's Honduran-based contra organization and the CIA for trying to destroy his independent nationalist Nicaraguan anti-Sandinista force. The bombing killed eight people and injured 28, 17 seriously. Tony Avirgan, a U.S. journalist, covering the conference for ABC News is one of the injured. June, 1984: Robert Owen, personal representative of Ll Col. Oliver North, (Deputy Director of the U.S. National Security Council for Political-Military Liason), acts as "gobetween" for North with contra Field Commanders. North cannot meet directly with contra leaders in light of the U.S. Congressional ban against direct or indirect support by the Executive Branch. Owen meets with the military and political leadership of the contras to offer political advice and supply them with the military equipment they need to carry out their operations. 1984 tol986: Posey and the CMA obtain allegedly "surplus" U.S. military equipment from the 20th Special Forces Unit of the U.S. Army in Alabama. They also obtain access to an allegedly "surplus" U.S. Armed Forces airplane in New Jersey to use in transporting this material from U.S. territory via Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador to Honduras, Nicaragua, and John Hull's ranch in Costa Rica. July, 1985: "International Brigade" members plot bombing raid on U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica and assassination of U.S. Ambassador, Lewis Tambs. The plan is to implicate the Nicaraguan government in the attack, thus providing grounds for official U.S. military retaliation. 1985 to 1986: Reagan, Méese, Casey, McFarlane, Poindexter and North decide to undertake secret sale of arms to Iran. They hire Shackley, Cünes, Hakim and Secord's "Secret Team" to carry out this mission. 1985 to 1986: Secord purchases short take off and landing (STOL) aircraft for the contras in Honduras with "Secret Team" funds. Planes are used to ferry weapons and explosives to Hull's ranch from Ilopango Air Force base in El Salvador (CIA headquarters in Central America). 1986: With approval of the $100 million aid package, Congress essentially lifts restrictions on aiding the contras with a narrow twelve vote margin. Official, overt U.S. Government aid to contras begins May, 1986: Defendent John Hull's libel charges against Avirgan and Honey are thrown out of court in Costa Rica. May 29, 1986: The Christic Institute initiates a civil suit on behalf of U.S. journalists Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey filed in U.S. District Court, Miami. The suit charges that defendents have been operating a criminal conspiracy, partially fínanced by drug smuggling, to wage a private war against Nicaragua. Oct, 1986: Christic Institute Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan teslifies before a House subcommittee regarding White House violations of the Boland Ammendment and Department of Justice obstruction of investigations into these violations. Citing this testimony, defendents move to have the Christic Institute removed from the suit because its attorneys made extrajudicial statements. The judge rejects their request. Dec, 1986: Daniel Sheehan files for the court a swom affïdavit detailing information on sources and evidence uncovered in the 3-year investigation. The affidavit alleges that White House officials have been involved in planning the circumvention of the Boland Amendment and directly supervising the illegal contra supply network. Jan., 1987: Judge derdes defendants' motions for dismissal, ruling that Christic attorneys had shown sufficient allegations of racketeering activity to have federal jurisdiction under RICO. The ruling signáis the begirming of the suit's discovery phase.
Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held By