"Catch and Release" CIA Drug Smuggling Pilots?
July 15 2010
by Daniel Hopsicker
The identity of the pilot of the American-registered DC-9 (N900SA) from St. Petersburg FL caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine in Mexico's Yucatan several years ago, long a mystery, finally saw the light of day recently in Mexico.
Carmelo Vasquez Guerra, a Venezuelan, was the DC9’s pilot who was said to have “escaped” from the airport while his airplane was being seized, and four other members of his crew were arrested.
He was later taken into custody by Mexican authorities, and charged with flying an airplane packed with 128 identical suitcases filled with cocaine.
Getting caught with 5.5 tons of cocaine would seem to call for some serious jail time. Reporters in Mexico assumed he’d been sent to prison for, like... forever.
So imagine reporter Francisco Gomez of Mexico City's El Universal surprise when he made a startling discovery: Carmelo Vasquez Guerra—amazingly and inexplicably—had been released from prison less than two years after being arrested.
The shocking news was delivered via an international headline stating that a pilot with the same name--Carmelo Vasquez Guerra-- had been arrested in the West African nation of Guinea Bissau on a twin-engine Gulfstream II carrying... what else?
550 kilos—a half-ton—of cocaine.
But Mexico isn't the only country to arrest Vasquez Guerra for the presumably major offense of flying box-car sized loads of cocaine, only to be forced--or persuaded--to let him go. It's happened in three. Caught and released under mysterious and unexplained circumstances. in Mexico, in Guinea Bissau, and in Mali, home of Timbuktu.
Drug pilot Carmelo Vasquez Guerra—or , more likely, the global drug trafficking network to which he belongs, which has, it must be said, a strong and enduring presence in St Petersburg FL, the shuffleboard capital of the world--- has an apparent inexhaustible supply of “get out of jail free” cards. FULL STORY
April 16 2010
by Daniel Hopsicker
The airport where three of the four terrorist pilots in the 9/11 attack learned to fly was a hub of operations in the 1970’s and early ‘80’s for “The Company,” an international drug smuggling organization headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky and Mena, Arkansas.
Led by a mysterious Cuban exile, who used the alias “Frank Guzman,” The Company’s contingent at the Venice Airport numbered as many as a dozen pilots and associates.
“The Company,” whose name is a commonly-used euphemism for the CIA, was profiled in Sally Denton’s best-selling book “The Blue-Grass Conspiracy,” which raised pointed questions about the involvement of the CIA with the group.
“Venice was a kind of quiet Mena (Arkansas)," stated a former drug pilot for The Company. "Jackson Stephens built this huge headquarters next to the airport. And he was in charge. But I do remember seeing Porter Goss around the airport a lot.”
The 60-year secret history of covert CIA and military operations at the Venice Municipal Airport now coming to light goes well beyond anything previously known to have taken place there. FULL STORY
Caught red-handed at the Venice Airport
April 11 2010
“Caught red-handed at the Venice Airport: two tanks, four Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters, two amphibious landing vehicles, automatic weapons, plans to launch a coup, and a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army."
The arrival en masse of Mohamed Atta’s terrorist cadre at the Venice Municipal Airport was happenstance, goes the official story, and the terrorist’s presence there an accident of history, unrelated to any pre-existing climate of crime or corruption.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
This was illustrated again recently when decades of old newspaper clippings became available online, revealing the full range of the extraordinary history of criminal mischief and international intrigue at the Venice Airport.
“A dope-smuggling plane was captured by Federal Agents near Venice,” reads one headline…from 1934.
Two years after the end of WWII there was a textbook example of how inconvenient events at the Venice Airport—in this case, a coup— get "hushed-up."
"Two P-38 planes reportedly consigned for Cuba to aid in a revolution are safely impounded at Venice," reported the March 16,1947 Sarasota Herald Tribune, paraphrasing an earlier article in the Miami Herald. “Another two P-38's were impounded in New Orleans, along with cache of rifles, revolvers, machine guns.
In the decades since, the Venice Municipal Airport— decade-in and decade-out—has played host to drug smuggling, gun running, the launching of coups in the Caribbean, mercenary training, even murder...
It is a remarkable history of international intrigue, with a distinctly ‘spooky’ flavor.
New American DrugLords Preview VII
Art Nadel guilty; New hedge fund owner takes over Huffman Aviation
March 1 2010
In a surprise court appearance last Wednesday hedge fund owner Art Nadel pled guilty in a New York Federal court.
It was a bitter disappointment to swindled investors, as well as to interested onlookers anxious for a glimpse of not only how he did it, but who he did it with.
Nadel’s guilty plea may have removed the best—maybe the only—chance to make accountants and bookkeepers and managers at feeder hedge funds, all of whom had front row seats to the scandal, face public scrutiny while testifying about what went on at Scoop Management.
Most people find it impossible to believe he acted alone
But if things look bad for Nadel's hapless investors, the outlook for the citizens of Venice, Florida, where Nadel owned the same business that earlier trained Mohamed Atta to fly, is even more bleak.
For them, Nadel’s descent from hedge fund owner to handcuffs may be going from the frying pan to the fire.
That's because the new owner of the former Huffman Aviation owns a hedge fund, too.
Even worse, the new owner's top henchman, who often fronts for his various financial entities as their President, was at the heart of a Wall Street scandal that looted more money from investors than Art Nadel ever dreamed of stealing, and which was—until the financial meltdown last year—the biggest fraud Wall Street had ever seen.
Will secret deal bring old management back to Venice Airport FBO?
January 5, 2010
The hand-picked new ownership at the former Huffman Aviation FBO (Fixed Base of Operations) at the Venice Municipal Airport has links to private military contractors in Georgia involved in CIA extraordinary renditions around the world, as well as other covert activity on behalf of the U.S. Government.
This same company turned over between 12-15 mid-sized regional jets to another owner of Huffman Aviation, Wallace J. Hilliard, ten years ago, for Hilliard's doomed from the start “start-up airline,” an operation so inept that on at least one publicized route, they never sold a single ticket.
The company or network of companies which has had so much involvement with recent owners of Huffman Aviation is known variously as “Phoenix Air,” “Phoenix Air Services,” and “Phoenix Continental."
Oddly, long after his start-up airline quit flying scheduled trips, Hilliard still had jets on the tarmacs and aprons of various airports. And he continued to pay pilots to be ready...
Perhaps just in case.
December 22, 2009
During 2003 and 2004, elements of the U.S. Government took a surprisingly keen interest in controversial Guyanese drug pilot Michael Brassington. Brassington was involved in-or the subject of-a secretive Miami-based U.S. Government operation, according to interviews with former Customs Agents.
A U.S. Customs Agent on duty when controversial drug pilot and “soldier of fortune” Michael Brassington attempted to re-enter the US through Fort Lauderdale International Airport in April of 2004 was instructed by a Supervisor at Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to treat Brassington as a “grave threat to national security.”
Brassington was a long-time employee and business associate of Wallace J. Hilliard, owner of the Venice FL flight school that trained Mohamed Atta to fly.
The news comes as the former Guyanese military pilot prepares to go on trial in a Federal Courthouse in Newark next month for recklessly endangering the lives of passengers, whose number includes ex-Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton as well as numerous celebrities.
The disclosure, contained in a soon-to-be-released documentary, “The New American Drug Lords,” is a reminder, more than eight years later, of the unfinished nature of the investigation into the 9/11 attack.
October 19, 2009
At the same time Wallace J Hilliard's Huffman Aviation was teaching a still-unidentified number of suspected terrorists, including many, like Souheil Seddik, who remain unknown to the general public, he was also assembling a fleet of twin-engine turboprop Jetstream airliners, airplanes normally used in regional airline markets, to be used in the launch of his new start-up, Florida Air.
| New American Drug Lords Preview IV |
Behind the forces fighting for control of the venice airport lie a treasure trove of secrets about America’s secret history, and a startling new discovery that finally made sense of the metamorphosis of the owner of Huffman Aviation—while Mohamed Atta
The Man Who Paid the Men Who Stare at Goats
October 15, 2009
Wally Hilliard’s links to American intelligence go back (at least) to November of 1981, when his insurance company, Wisconsin Employer’s Group, was bought out by Myron Du Bain, then the Chairman of Fireman’s Fund of San Francisco.
Du Bain, who died in 2002, was a World War II OSS/CIA operative and the Chairman of Fireman's Fund of San Francisco when it bought out the insurance company founded by Hilliard. Hilliard later went on to own Huffman Aviation, the Venice FL flight school used by Mohamed Atta his U.S. base.
We had discovered the connection in a trip to Green Bay several years ago.
But only recently did we learn that Myron Du Bain’s life-long ties to the CIA included two stints at the helm of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), famous for its classified research into psychic viewing. the results of which are currently on display in “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”
The Deep History of the Venice Municipal Airport
Sept 24, 2009
Stephen Ruth got his start in business (as revealed by the first two stories in this series) working for a corporate entity which those involved claim was the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA.
Active at the Venice Municipal Airport over several decades, as well as in nearby Sarasota and Charlotte County, Venice Florida native Stephen L. Ruth is a convicted drug trafficker and friend of Pablo Escobar flying, by the late 70’s, back and forth from Southwest Florida to Colombia and back several times a week.
When not flying goodwill missions to our Southern neighbors in his DC4 Globemaster or Lockheed Lodestar, Stephen Ruth developed the habit of putting out a number of serious-as-cancer murder contracts.
Apparently, Stephen Ruth’s unique curriculum vitae: experience in successful CIA “wet work,” bolstered by proven ability to fly low over the Gulf from Colombia to Florida… later qualified him for employment with the Florida State’s Attorney’s office.
The Deep History of the Venice Municipal Airport
Sept 21 2009--
“Deep History,” according to the man who coined the term, U.C. Berkeley Professor Peter Dale Scott, “is the constant everyday interaction between the constitutionally-elected government and the forces of violence and crime which appear (on the surface) to be the enemies of that government.”
Just as he said he would, after returning from Cuba, where, according to a police report he participated in the assassination of one of the “four or five” men said to have been involved in the Kennedy Assassination, Stephen Ruth got rich.
Big rich: $3 million dollars, a lot back in the 1970’s.
While how he made it may not surprise you, what he did then almost certainly will.
| Preview II: "New American Drug Lords" |
Sept 08 2009--A fierce war being waged for control of the Venice Municipal Airport has led to the discovery of covert CIA and military operations, dating back to at least 1959, which go well beyond what was previously known to have taken place there.
Operations at the Venice Airport have involved individuals whose names figure prominently in the Kennedy Assassination, for example a defense contractor controlled by Texas oilman General D. H. (Harry) Byrd, which in the late 50's and early 60's built and launched Regulus II cruise missiles from the beach directly in front of the Venice Airport as part of a program run out of at Eglin AFB in Florida’s panhandle.
Byrd’s Chance-Vought Aircraft, later re-named LTV, would become—almost immediately after the JFK assassination—a principal beneficiary of the massive military spending accompanying the growth of American military involvement in the Vietnam War.
General Byrd, of course, was also the owner of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, where the Warren Commission alleged Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots which killed President John F. Kennedy.
Byrd also ran the Texas and Louisiana Civil Air Patrol, at the same time cadets Barry Seal and Lee Harvey Oswald were meeting Kennedy assassination conspirator Capt. David Ferrie at a two-week summer camp of the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol at Barksdale Air Force Base in July of 1955.
Amazingly—especially for a tiny airport located in an out-of-the-way retirement community—according to a recently-uncovered police report there is a second man active at the Venice Airport with relevance to the Kennedy assassination as well.
ugust 20, 2009
The reputation of Huffman Aviation principal Rudi Dekkers, whose dozens of television appearances in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack shaped the public perception of Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi, took another big hit recently when a Dutch television show came to light.
"Spooloos," or "Vanished," a popular reality TV show in the Netherlands that travels around the world locating missing relatives for worried family and friends, portrays Dekkers' as a callous and negligent "deadbeat dad" who abandoned a young wife in the Netherlands while she was three months pregnant.
His son Patrick's attempts to establish contact with Dekker's, the father he has never known, are repeatedly rebuffed.
A translated except from the program is part of the just-released second preview of the upcoming "The New American DrugLords" documentary at www.danielhopsicker.tv
Dekker's description of events leading up to the 9/11 attack were uncritically received on network and cable news shows in America and around the world after the 9/11 attack.
A bitter fight to redact portions of the explosive final report of an official British Inquiry into systemic corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands backfired last week when news of the redactions caused a firestorm of protest and the full report was leaked to freedom of information website WikiLeaks.
Some of the most sensitive redactions in the British Commission of Inquiry's Final Report concern much-traveled pilot Michael Francis Brassington, who first rose to the level of public scrutiny as co-pilot on a Lear jet (N351WB) belonging to the owner of a flight school that at the time had been teaching Mohamed Atta to fly was seized by DEA Agents who found 43 lbs. of heroin onboard.
The controversy over the redacted report has ironically shed light on a previously-unknown connection between Brassington and a second pilot, Wolfgang Bohringer, whose name also surfaces regularly in the background to the intrigue in Florida swirling around Mohamed Atta during the run-up to the 9/11 attack.
Brassington and Bohringer were not previously known to have been connected.
The controversy over the unredacted report changed that, when the resulting publicity illuminated dark corners in the background of the man whose deep pockets were keeping secret the full extent of Michael Misick and Michael Francis Brassington’s crimes.
Michael Brassington—still a close associate of Wally Hilliard’s, according to a former U.S. Customs Agent who has seen his file—and Wolfgang Bohringer, an "associate" of Mohamed Atta's close enough for Atta to have frequently referred to him as “my brother,” have both been pilots for the Russian Mob.
Huffman Aviation Was 'Continuing Criminal Enterprise'
NEW!! watch a preview of the New American Drug Lords
& discuss this story at http://www.danielhopsicker.tv our new blog!
Art Nadel, the recent owner of Huffman Aviation accused of running a Ponzi scheme which allegedly stole almost $400 million from investors, is the only person so far charged with a crime.
However if authorities persist in claiming that claim Nadel was a "lone-nut financial gunslinger" they will be ignoring the richly-documented history of criminal fraud involving the owners of Huffman Aviation that goes back for more than a decade.
At least four financial scams, each looting more than $100 million, have criminal roots in the fertile soil— the “Octo-Mom” fertile soil—of the Venice Municipal Airport.
Almost immediately after its purchase in the summer of 1999 by Wallace J. Hilliard and Rudi Dekkers, the aviation facility became the center of a series of financial scams that included Ponzi schemes, pension fraud, international stock swindles, and fraudulent bankruptcies which have altogether looted more than $1 billion from the American economy.
Huffman Aviation, the flight training facility which housed both of the terrorist pilots who crashed passenger jets into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, has been operating as a continuing criminal enterprise, as defined by the Federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act.
Texas "investment bank" behind DC9 5-ton coke bust
An investor claiming a nearly six million dollar loss in hedge funds of the accused Sarasota Florida Ponzi artist who is also the current owner of flight school Huffman Aviation figured in the story of the St. Petersburg DC9 busted in Mexico's Yucatan with 5.5 tons of cocaine aboard.
Louis D. Paolino, once known as the “Garbage King of New Jersey,” was one of only a handful of entities ever funded by Texas "investment bank" Argyll Equity LLC, the major investor in the company whose DC9 was busted on April 11, 2006 in Mexico’s Yucatan, carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine.
Terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta probably never met anyone named “Fat Pete” or “Joey Cakes” while learning to fly at Huffman Aviation at the Venice Airport.
But ever-mounting evidence points to the conclusion that the men who owned the flight school—both then and now—have more than a passing acquaintance with organized crime.
mar 20, 2009-Another owner of the flight school in Venice Florida that trained Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi to fly is in trouble with the law; current owner Arthur G. Nadel, 75, was arrested recently for running a Ponzi scheme which methodically looted investors in his Sarasota-based hedge funds of more than $300 million.
New York tabloids, already in overdrive on the story of Bernard Madoff, instantly dubbed Nadel Mini-M, for Mini-Madoff.
Nadel's arrest marks the second time in recent years that the owner of Huffman Aviation, the FBO (fixed base of operations) at the Venice Airport has been involved in crimes traditionally associated with the Mob.
Ponzi schemes, of course, are a trademark Mafia specialty. So, too, is the crime of heroin trafficking in which previous owner Wally Hilliard was implicated.
How did city officials in Venice allow the airport's mission-critical FBO to fall into the hands--not once but twice--of people otherwise engaged in organized crime?
Why is it that shadowy underworld figures seem to enjoy the permanent run of the airport in Venice, Florida?
mar 5--09 The owner of the flight school in Venice FL where the two hijackers who crashed airliners into the World Trade Center took flight lessons, was arrested last May after assaulting his 17-yr old step-daughter outside a sports bar in Naples, Florida.
78-year old Wallace J. Hilliard of Naples FL was charged with misdemeanor battery on May 28 2008, according to Collier County, FL arrest records.
In the seven years since 9/11 Wally Hilliard has remained embroiled in controversy. He is currently the subject of a multi-jurisdictional fraud investigation into a scheme which may have cost investors as much as $100 million.
Though no charges have yet been filed, the FBI and investigators from the state of have interviewed numerous witnesses, including over 50 people from Wisconsin who lost millions. They allege Hilliard never alerted investors that he was under investigation, had a federal tax liability going back to 2001, and had been denied an airline license by the FAA.
Frequent Hilliard “business associate” Tommy Barranza is reportedly under investigation for money laundering for allegedly structuring cash transactions to avoid currency reporting.
Hilliard is suspected of funneling large amounts of cash to the Bahamas.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Moulis, described in an article yesterday as “The Man Behind Loophole Air,” is threatening to sue Daniel Hopsicker on behalf of Michael Brassington, the pilot arrested two weeks ago in a 23-count federal indictment for the crash of a corporate jet in New Jersey.
Brassington is also linked to a massive corruption scandal roiling South Florida, over the sale during the past few years of as many as one hundred American-registered planes to Mexico’s dominant Sinaloa Cartel.
According to a high-ranking DEA official in Miami, a corrupt U.S. Customs operation is to blame. The fact that more people are not aware of these facts owes something to the many forms of intimidation practiced against independent journalists. Such intimidation takes many forms.
Some would say lawsuits, and threats of lawsuits, are one of its milder manifestations. Such people probably haven't been sued for libel recently.
But attorney Michael Moulis didn’t stop with just offering to sue for libel...
He threatened criminal prosecution in Federal Court.
Less than a year before the Teterboro crash of a Challenger corporate jet that ran off a runway and hurtled into traffic on a busy 6-lane highway on Feb 2 2005, the company responsible for that crash, Platinum Jet Management of Fort Lauderdale, ran a private jet off a runway at Peachtree-DeKalb Airport in Atlanta.
The Teterboro crash was so spectacular that it led all three evening newscasts. The crash sparked a federal criminal investigation that led to the recent 23-count indictment against Brassington, and four other executives of Platinum Jet Management.
The investigation turned up damning evidence of a pattern of illegal activity on the part of the charter company so egregious that the responsible Federal agency, the FAA, came under rare criticism from another Federal agency, the NTSB.
Former inspector general Mary Schiavo of the U.S. Department of Transportation calls Brassington’s charter company "Loophole Airlines." Schiavo, an outspoken critic of the nation's aviation regulators, told the NJ Star-Ledger that the company that flew the jet was an unqualified charter operator, flying U.S. skies only by circumventing federal regulations.
"This is rampant. It isn't just one operator. This goes on everywhere in every part of the country," she charged. "They are loophole airlines."
If Schiavo is right, then the man behind "Loophole Air" is Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Moulis, a former FAA prosecutor who has represented Guyanese pilot Brassington since the Teterboro Challenger crash four years ago,
The pilot arrested two weeks ago on felony charges in the crash in the February 2005 crash of a Challenger business jet at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey has since been flying illegal charters for the Premier of the Turks & Caicos in luxury Gulfstream III jets owned by a Washington lobbyist and former aide to President Bill Clinton.
Testimony at the British Commission of Inquiry Turks & Caicos Islands corruption probe last week revealed that Guyanese pilot Michael Brassington, currently facing a 23-count indictment in Federal Court in Newark for endangering passengers lives at charter company Platinum Jet Management, is in business with former Clinton White House aide Jeffrey Watson, now a Washington lobbyist.
The Commission heard that Brassington and Turks & Caicos Premier Michael Misick conspired to induce the island's government to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a month to Watson to lease two high-end Gulfstream III luxury business jets.
The men engineered an air charter deal that paid Watson more than $160,000-a-month from the coffers of the Turks & Caicos' nearly-bankrupt government, which was at the same time eliminating all student scholarships.
Watson is a former housing official in Miami who became a Clinton White House Aide, responsible for doling out $75 million in Federal government largesse after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew.
The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel called him “Florida's insider at the White House.”
3Four years after the spectacular crash of a business jet at Teterboro Airport across the Hudson River from New York City injured 20 people and left one man with permanent brain damage, the owner and chief pilot who was arrested on felony charges in the crash last week was also named as a key figure in a corruption probe in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Even as FBI agents were arresting him in the New Jersey crash and charging him in a 23-count indictment in which he stands accused of compromising passenger safety, former Guyanese military pilot Michael Francis Brassington was making headlines in a Watergate-like British Commission of Inquiry investigating allegations of corruption in office against Michael Misick, Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
On the Challenger flight that crashed, more than 20 people were injured. Authorities expressed amazement that nobody was killed. According to the NTSB, neither the pilot nor the co-pilot were rated to fly the flight they were flying. The flight attendant was a dancer at the Voodoo Lounge in Miami.
A month later the FAA shut Brassington's Platinum Jet charter company down. It didn't faze Brassington. He just changed the name of his company and kept on hauling.
And, for the next four years, that was that.
35-year old Guyanese pilot Michael Francis Brassington was indicted in New Jersey federal court this week, the result of an investigation into the spectacular crash of a airplane outside New York City in February of 2005, which injured 20 people and provoked widespread outrage in New York.
Brassington, the principal owner of defunct air charter company Platinum Jet Management, was indicted Wednesday along with four other company executives, charged with recklessly endangering the lives of passengers. He has survived previous scrapes with American law enforcement, each time emerging curiously unscathed.
However, his earlier controversies were not celebrity-enhanced.
He first achieved notoriety and became a footnote to the history of the 9.11 attack as the co-pilot of a Lear jet(N351WB) which was busted carrying 43 lbs of heroin in Orlando on July 22, 2000. The Lear jet’s owner was Wallace J. Hilliard, the secretive 75-year old Naples FL financier whose Huffman Aviation flight school in Venice just three weeks earlier had enrolled soon-to-be-famous terrorist pilot trainees Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi.
Less well-known about Brassington's history of brushes with U.S. law enforcement is that several years ago he was the subject of a Multi-Agency Federal Task Force, Operation Blue Lightning; Brassington was suspected of trafficking drugs, passports, people, currency, and diamonds into the U.S. through two airports in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Tasked with tracking Brassington's movements during Operation Blue Lightning, a Customs Supervisor in Miami had even warned Customs Agents at Fort Lauderdale International Airport to treat Brassington as a "grave threat to national security.”
Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire whose $250 million cash infusion bailed the New York Times out of a tight cash crunch last week, has long-standing business ties with wealthy Mexican businessmen suspected of involvement in Mexico's so-called “Cartel of the Southeast,” the drug trafficking organization (DTO) based in Cancun which came to light two years ago with the crash on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula of an American-registered (N987SA) Gulfstream jet carrying nearly four tons of cocaine.
A long-time lieutenant of Carlos Slim's, Fernando Chico Pardo, left Slim's employ to take over ASUR, a publicly-traded corporation which observers accuse of moving large quantities of cocaine through Cancun International Airport, which the company runs and manages. Slim's big investment represents an encroachment into the ownership of an icon of American democracy of a man, and a massive fortune, whose provenance have gone largely unexamined.
But on the topic of Slim's shady dealings, all eyes seem to be curiously averted. However it seems highly doubtful the Times' ownership is unaware of them. The barely-concealed facts regarding Carlos Slim’s shady connections are well-known to journalists in Mexico.
They deserve to become more well-known here in the U.S.; the links between Mexico's exploding narco-economy and current-world's-richest-man Carlos Slim don’t end with Fernando Pardo's ASUR.
"A portable rectangular problem"
Two of the four prominent Chavezistas charged with illegally acting on Hugo Chavez’s behalf in the recently-concluded Suitcase-Gate Trial in Miami were inside players in a previous Venezuelan scandal that took place well before Chavez ever took office, the MadCowMorningNews has learned.
The Suitcase-Gate Trial was supposed to spotlight a criminal Venezuelan elite of Castro-loving Chavezistas, who taunt America, threaten war with Colombia, and give sanctuary to Hezbollah.
Instead, testimony showed that Chavez's Venezuelan cronies are anything but wild-eyed radicals. The vanguard of the working class drives Ferraris and lives in McMansions in Miami, and is too busy making money, in oil, real estate, and weapons and narcotics to wear masks over their faces, or raspberry-red berets
Neither man has built a better mousetrap, or done anything more clever than align themselves with a Venezuelan elite which resembles the vanguard of the working class much less than it does a kleptocracy very much like the one which has just looted trillions of dollars from the American economy.
At least two of the four defendants convicted of working as illegal foreign agents in Florida for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in the Suitcase-Gate Scandal had ties to an international criminal organization which was operating successfully in Venezuela, and with seeming official impunity, long before Chavez himself came to power, The MadCowMorningNews has learned.
Both the recently-convicted Franklin Duran, and Carlos Kauffmann, who pled guilty before the trial, took part in a $7 billion bank scandal during the mid-1990's that involved insiders looting Venezuelan banks, and led more than 200 Venezuelan bankers to flee Caracas for exile in Miami.
When a U.S. jury in Miami recently convicted Venezuelan businessman Franklin Duran in the Suitcase-Gate Trial, the verdict raised more questions than it answered.
From the start, observers saw the purpose of the prosecution as being to embarrass and point a finger at corruption in the government of Venezuela's current President (and Bush Administration bete noire) Hugo Chavez.
But while Chavez's "Bolivarian revolution" was singled out by Bush Administration prosecutors, the men acting on Chavez's behalf have connections which have so far been ignored to scandals which occurred under past Venezuelan Presidents as well.
'Player overlap' visible in trial
The luxury business jet carrying a suitcase filled with $800,000 in bribes whose discovery last August kicked off the Suitcase-Gate Scandal playing out in a trial in Miami had the same registration, or" N" number, as that of a plane flying for a CIA contractor in Iraq, the MadCowMorningNews has learned.
Newspaper photos taken of the Citation X top-of-the-line business jet after the ill-fated suitcase flight show 'N' number N5113S on the tail. But a Florida-based CIA air contractor called Air-Scan Inc. is assigned that tail number, according to FAA records, for a Cessna 182 flying in Iraq.
Air-Scan Inc. is an American military contractor which has—even for an American military contractor—a checkered past.
Still, there has been no mention so far during the trial of the murky provenance of the Citation jet, whose flight began what has become a growing international incident.
The CIA Drug Plane Scandal grew exponentially last week when European Union officials broke an official 40-year-long silence on the previously-taboo subject of the CIA's worldwide involvement in drug trafficking.
Last week Mexico City newspaper El Universal reported that The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation has begun an investigation one of the planes, the cocaine-laden Gulfstream II business jet (N987SA), for suspected use in CIA "rendition" flights in which prisoners are covertly transferred to a third country or US-run detention centers.
Neither of the federal agencies with apparent jurisdiction—the DEA and FAA—has so far offered answers about how two American-registered jets with extremely politically well-connected owners, could have wound up carrying so much Colombian coke. But then, no mainstream American journalists have bothered to ask.
Mexican journalists have not been that timid…
Last week, two wire services, Agence France Presse and the Associated Press, reported news that readers of the investigative reporting at this website have known about for almost a year.
While happy to see the mainstream media waking up, a little "credit where credit is due" would be nice, too. We broke this news on this website eleven months ago (Oct 8, 2007). When not unsuccessfully attempting to debunk it, America's corporate media has assiduously ignored my reporting on a whole host of scoops we've broken.
Ultimately, the effort is designed to make me go away, for the same reason that stories about 9/11 "conspiracies" never mention real investigative reporting on 9/11, which, alas, appears in very few places. And, in combination with a series of nuisance libel lawsuits, it has almost succeeded.
You can make the difference in keeping the news real by putting your money where your mouth is. Please send advice, and donations, and pre-order both the book and DVD.
A sincere and heartfelt thank you to all the Mad Cow readers who have been supportive over these past years...
Straight from the front lines of the Drug War…
"The NEW American Drug Lords" is a no-holes-barred look at into the Biggest Taboo story of our time: the illegal drug trade.
The documentary pulls back the curtain on the biggest drug story of our time: the scandal which erupted when two drug planes flying tons of cocaine were busted in Mexico's Yucatan enroute from Colombia to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
Both were American-owned. Recent owners of the first plane busted—a DC9 with 5.5 tons of cocaine—have interlocking business partnerships with recent owners of the second plane, a Gulfstream II business jet.
The Gulfstream had been previously used to fly for the CIA. The DC9 was painted like an official aircraft from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
The New American Drug Lords. Meet them. Know them.
Beat them at their own game.
As the political conventions dominate our consciousness, remember that a major international trafficking operation, like this one, kicks off vast amounts of fungible cash, day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year...
If there is an arena where the a battle is being waged for the "soul of America," as Joe Biden suggested last week... it is here.
The exclusive "Cocaine One" series of investigative reports by this reporter appearing on this website for the past two years made the news, finally... not in the U.S., but in Mexico City, where it was cited by a principal in the drug trafficking scandal in newspaper interviews to support his allegation of selective prosecution against the DEA.
Carlos Gutiérrez de Velasco is the paterfamilias of the influential Veracruz-based family which owned the Casa de Cambio Puebla currency exchange, accused of laundering enough drug money through U.S. banks to buy as many as 100 American planes for use in drug-running.
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