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The CIA, Narcotics & Underworld: Doug Valentine IV

The CIA, Narcotics & Underworld: Doug Valentine Interview


81 Bedford Street & Richard Helms (from Suzan Mazur's Archives)

Richard Helms, chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's Clandestine Services, asked the Agency to start funding a biochemical warfare program in 1953 called MKULTRA, which included the drugging of unwitting suspects in New York's Greenwich Village with LSD and other hallucinogens. One of the safehouses was at 81 Bedford Street across from Chumley's speakeasy. While many of Greenwich Village's buildings today bear historic plaques, the CIA's mind control experiments at 81 Bedford Street go unacknowledged.

Several years ago, when I was trying to make the distinction between Lewis Lapham, the Editor of Harper's Magazine -- whose roots are in an old San Francisco banking family -- and Lewis Lapham, the Central Intelligence Agency's man, I was directed to author Doug Valentine by Lou Wolf, Editor of Covert Action Quarterly, who described Valentine as one of the most knowledgeable people on the CIA.

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Valentine told me the two Laphams were not the same man. I was relieved. But in the next breath he said that Tony Lapham, Harper's Editor Lewis Lapham's brother, had been both a covert CIA agent and General Counsel to the CIA, appointed in 1976 by then Director of Central Intelligence, George H.W. Bush. I was again concerned.

Lewis Lapham has since left Harper's to start his own publication.

I've kept in touch with Doug, and recently asked him if he'd help me to flesh-out the new CIA book, Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner, the New York Times National Security reporter.

Doug Valentine is a poet and also the author of several incredibly rich and revealing books on the workings of National Security. Best known of these is the Phoenix Program
about the Vietnam War and Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs.
His new book, Strength of the Pack, volume two about America's war on drugs, will be published next year by the University of Kansas Press.

Strength of the Wolf documents the history of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The FBN rubbed up against the CIA and FBI until it was finally rubbed out by "the Establishment" in 1968. Valentine attributes the demise of the FBN to the bureau's success in penetrating the Mafia and the French connection and case-making agents uncovering "the Establishment's ties to organized crime".

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Unlike the Weiner book's interviews with 10 CIA Directors, Valentine says the CIA did its best to prevent Strength of the Wolf from going forward. My interview with Doug Valentine follows.

Author Douglas Valentine

Suzan Mazur: The New York Times National Security reporter, Tim Weiner, is out with a 60-year history of the Central Intelligence Agency’s failures called Legacy of Ashes. Weiner was recently a guest on the Charlie Rose Show talking about the CIA book. I’d like to use that interview as a backdrop for our conversation.

Over the past 15 years the Charlie Rose Show's host and executive producer, the elegant Charlie Rose, has established himself as sort of the US minister of propaganda, using PBS as a platform, and funding from major foundations and major banks to broadcast his public affairs program from New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Bloomberg News studios in Manhattan.

Sometimes the propaganda is a result of Rose not knowing the material, making it a perfect showcase for the Kissingers, Holbrookes, etc. to maneuver around in.

For the record, I appeared on the broadcast in the 1990s when the show first went national, to discuss the crisis in Sudan. The Khartoum government had been overwhelmingly condemned for human rights violations by the UN. It was not letting in Western journalists. Osama bin Laden, Carlos the Jackal and Abu Nidal were all based in Khartoum at the time.

Is it a coincidence that bin Laden was there? Maybe not. Khartoum had been the CIA’s most important outpost in Africa and Sudan’s de facto leader, Hassan Turabi, had an interesting history with the CIA, most visibly through Operation Moses.
I managed to get in and do a videotaped interview in Khartoum with Hassan Turabi.

Hassan Turabi - Image Source

It's to Charlie Rose’s credit that he attempted a segment on Sudan when nobody else was really. Fortunately, John McLaughlin followed up, inviting me for an in-depth look at the issues.

However, even in those years, the Charlie Rose Show seemed controlled or perhaps bungled so that none of the footage from my conversation in Khartoum with Turabi or discussion of that conversation or even discussion of my visit to Khartoum made it into the broadcast.

Rose’s focus was on starvation, and a decade and a half later we still have starvation – now in Darfur – because the media backed by big money will not look squarely at the problem. It takes work and honesty. As you’ve said so well in the introduction to your book, Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs:

“Much of our history is hidden behind a wall of national security and that sad fact prevents America from realizing its destiny.”

My first question to you is this: In Tim Weiner’s hour-long talk with Charlie Rose about his book on the CIA, Weiner made the point that the late Director of Central Intelligence, Richard Helms, thought it was tragic that the US did not care enough anymore about espionage, which “seeks to know the world” through secrecy and deception. Charlie Rose replied, “I do too.” What is US national security all about really – whose national security is being served?

Doug Valentine: It's a class issue. The CIA has not been running around the world trying to improve the lives of poor people, to raise their standard of living, even though they say they’re out there trying to bring freedom and democracy to the world. They’re just as likely to back a Pinochet, a despot, as they are to fight a Communist.

Suzan Mazur: What do you suppose the New York Times is up to with the Weiner book? Why is a reporter from one of the most important commercial newspapers, sticking it to the CIA by exposing the CIA’s 60 years of horrific failure, with monarchs and dictators on the payroll (King Hussein of Jordan for 20 years, Mobutu, etc.), when as you note in your richly informative book on the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, “Establishment privateers run the secret government”?

Doug Valentine: Most of what Weiner writes about the CIA is already known. It’s a history book with a bias, not an expose, at least not for the Vietnam generation. He doesn’t even really get into the current Bush administration. He gives us a predictable treatment of William Casey and the Contras, when there was an incredible revival of the CIA under Casey.

William Casey - Image Source

Suzan Mazur: Weiner plays up the fact that long-time CIA counterintelligence chief, James Angleton, was constantly spilling the beans to Kim Philby during their frequent liquid lunches – Philby, a British agent who turned out to be a spy for the Soviet Union.

Doug Valentine: Angleton was key to understanding the CIA. Weiner hasn’t detailed Angleton’s relationship with the underworld through the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He hasn’t gotten past CIA 101.

James Jesus Angleton - Image Source

Angleton had his own mysterious agenda, counterintelligence, seeking out enemy agents inside the CIA. He had liaison to the Mafia through Charles Siragusa, a Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent – and Mario Brod, a labor lawyer from Connecticut and New York, who as an Army counterintelligence officer had worked with Angleton at OSS – Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA.

As I say in the book, James Angleton alone possessed the coveted Israeli account. His loyalty was to the Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles – then Richard Helms, who was chief of Clandestine Services and later DCI. Director William Colby was his enemy.

Allen Dulles (Image Source) And William Colby (Image Source)

Through Angleton’s relationships with Italian royalty, Tibor Rosenbaum [Mossad agent], Charlie Siragusa [FBN agent], Hank Manfredi [FBN], and Mario Brod, he was certainly aware of Meyer Lansky’s central role as the Mafia’s banker in the Caribbean - where Lansky’s mob associate from Las Vegas, Moe Dalitz, opened an account at Castle Bank - as well as in Mexico, where Angleton’s friend, Winston M. Scott, was station chief, and certainly kept tabs on Lansky’s associate, former Mexican president Miguel Aleman. As ever, Angleton and Lansky were the dark stars of the intelligence and financial aspects of international drug smuggling. Alan Block devotes some pages to this in his book, Masters of Paradise.

Meyer Lansky - Image Source

Angleton thought William Colby might be a mole. Angleton exposed the divisions within the CIA after 1966, the Colby vs. Helms factions. He also represented the literary sensibility the CIA once had, where finding secrets was like teasing the meaning out of a poem. Now we have sledgehammer spies.

Suzan Mazur: What kind of cut do the “privateers” take from the Agency for clearing the way for new markets abroad however they can do it?

Doug Valentine: History here: The feds made it illegal for the government to hire Pinkertons to break up labor unions and so the FBI was formed. These industrialists in America then had no foreign ambitions. They kept President Wilson out of the League of Nations. But other industrialists did have foreign ambitions. Big division.

It shows the class origins of the CIA. How the CIA represents a faction of the United States Establishment that has imperial ambitions as opposed to the nativist faction of the American Establishment which is more concerned about doing business here in the United States.

The original CIA is the Foreign Policy Association, which sent representatives to the League of Nations and survey teams around the world looking for market opportunities for the non-nativist industrialists. Depression brought Franklin D. Roosevelt and social reform. Before WW II, FDR (aristocrat) hired William Donovan (lace curtain Irish lawyer) to start the office of Coordinator of Information and then the OSS.

Who was hired to run these organizations? Representatives of the privateers. This is how to understand the money part of the CIA.

Suzan Mazur: So the current Foreign Policy Association is in essence a CIA?

Doug Valentine: From my point of view, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Foreign Policy Association are the original CIA. They work for industry that is interested in trade overseas, inviting themselves into the politics of foreign countries. They sent representatives to the League of Nations when the United States government wouldn’t officially do so.

Suzan Mazur: So nothing has changed in that sense.

Doug Valentine: No. It’s a shell game.

Suzan Mazur: Is there a chance Weiner and Rose are looking out for the common good, and pushing for more resources for the CIA in order to prevent a further Shackleyization of intelligence, a further privatization of intel, which disenfranchises most people (the late spymaster, Ted Shackley, operated a political risk group – Research Associates International – after he left the Agency in the late 1970s and ran oil shipments into apartheid South Africa, for example)? (See… Scoop: John Deuss - The Manhattan projects)

Ted Shackley - Image Source

Doug Valentine: Trick question. The CIA created its own privateers, as spying itself became an industry. Weiner and Rose have no say in the matter. Weiner is doing a history book. He’s not a player as far as I know. He’s not someone who’s actually making foreign policy. He hasn’t explained with any depth that would indicate he has any vested interest in either promoting the CIA or not promoting the CIA. It's a superficial account of something that’s really serious.

Something called "courting the compatible Left" was also a useful instrument of the Agency, created after WWII. That was pretty much devised by a guy named Cord Meyer, who was head of the CIA’s International Operations division.

Suzan Mazur: Speaking of affairs, Weiner’s mention of Cord Meyer on the show had to do with Meyer’s ex-wife (no name), who was one of JFK’s lovers, being mysteriously murdered and Angleton turning up at her house to see if there was a diary. But as you illuminate in Strength of the Wolf, Mary Pinchot Meyer took LSD given to her by Timothy Leary and also distributed it to the Washington Establishment, possibly to JFK as well.

LSD Guru Timothy Leary - Image Source

Doug Valentine: Cord Meyer worked with Angleton and used people like labor leader Irving Brown and Jay Lovestone to travel around Europe in the early 1950s. Despite all the strum and drang about battling the Soviet Union, what the CIA was really trying to do was court Socialists away from Communists to form Social Democracy governments to counter the influence of the Soviet Union. Eventually that strategy worked. That was really what was going on behind the scenes.

The CIA never had to convince right wing governments that they should fight the Soviet Union. It was a battle that was occurring secretly. Even here in the United States, the CIA was always trying to recruit Liberals.

Suzan Mazur: Do you think Weiner and Rose may be hinting that some kind of a global intelligence agency should rise up out of the “ashes” of the CIA, which they repeat has “lost its primacy”? Afterall, the US has merged Defense operations with the UK to a degree, etc. etc.

Doug Valentine: That assumes the CIA is in ashes, I don’t think it is. But technically, the CIA has liaison relations with the intel services of almost every country, so what you see is the "consolidated" CIA running everyone's intel servces.

Suzan Mazur: Why is a Times reporter the messenger for this? What does it say about the NYT’'s compromised relations with the National Security Establishment where Weiner has access to 10 directors and conducts 300 interviews with agency officers? We know from the Church hearings in the 1970s of the CIA’s links to major news organizations and foundations – like the Ford Foundation and Asia Foundation – and dictating content and direction, getting bureau chiefs to assist in the overthrow of governments.

Charlie Rose gets his funding from major foundations, and of course, major corporations – although he’s just announced he’s now also considering Internet funding like PayPal. No doubt because people are disgusted by the right wing noose he’s currently in on public television.

Doug Valentine: Some things never change. The Weiner CIA book is revisionism for a purpose.

Suzan Mazur: More recently, we've had Lewis Lapham running Harper’s magazine while his brother Tony Lapham was the CIA’s general counsel. How tight would you say the connections between the CIA and the media are at the moment, including the new media?

Doug Valentine: Tony Lapham was a George H.W. Bush appointee as CIA General Counsel when Bush was DCI. Lapham had also been a covert agent. He ordered the shut down of a CIA MKULTRA New York safe house at 105 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village where the agency did some of its mind control experiments.

George H.W. Bush - Image Source

To answer your question about the connections between the CIA and the media and new media – I’d say they’re tighter than ever. It has to do with the centralization of wealth and influence. News organizations used to be a lot of independent owners of news outlets. There’s now less and less of that.

It goes hand in hand with the consolidation of capital in the United States. The media’s in the hands of fewer and fewer people, and those people are closer and closer to the imperial interests of the United States abroad. Their interests are now more in tune with the interests of the CIA. And they’re more likely to skew, without even being agents of the CIA.

So you don’t have to rely on the old boy system anymore; accommodating the CIA is built into the system because of the consolidation of capital.

It’s been reported that the CIA writes for Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. So establishing and corroborating sources is more important now than ever. Also, since Watergate and Deep Throat, there’s a tendency on the part of CIA-connected journalists like Bob Woodward and Seymour Hersh to use anonymous sources. Just another sign of how incestuous it is between the media and the CIA.

Suzan Mazur: Rose and Weiner agree that Bill Clinton had a dysfunctional relationship with the CIA. Would you comment on the Clintons’ relationship with the CIA? First there was Operation Chaos, right? And then Mena? You’ve got a new book coming out this Fall, Strength of the Pack, that refers to the Mena Cartel. Can you name some names – who were the Mena Cartel?

Doug Valentine: Well, I’m actually being facetious in the book about the Mena Cartel. I haven’t been on the ground in Mena researching the drug operation there, so I’d prefer not to get into a detailed discussion about it.

But if anybody should be associated with the goings on at Mena – Barry Seal and his operations – it’s William Casey, George Bush I, and Ronald Reagan. Mena was a CIA operation that existed between 1981 and 1984 but became an issue while Clinton was president and was used to deflect attention from Iran-Contra and the CIA’s own involvement in international drug trafficking. (See… Scoop: Mazur: Deeper Into The Clintons' CIA Drug Nexus )

Suzan Mazur: Speaking of drugs, Weiner does a Holly-go-lightly over the CIA’s MKULTRA mind control episode. He says the Agency destroyed almost all the MKULTRA records.

But beyond Richard Helms' and Allen Dulles' MKULTRA program of random drugging of Greenwich Village Leftists at 81 Bedford Street in the 1950s and 60s after getting them drunk at Chumley’s speakeasy across the street, or around the corner on Cherry Lane at the Lefty Blue Mill tavern – in your book, Strength of the Wolf, you mention the Agency’s involvement on the Colombian Amazon where the celebrated American adventurer Mike Tsalickis, the region’s one-time US Vice Consul, was asked to find some useful tropical drugs for the CIA – probably along the lines of hallucinogenic yaje.

Curiously, in the late 1980s, Tsalickis was busted for smuggling into the US 4.4 tons of cocaine in a shipment of Brazilian lumber; it was the biggest cocaine bust in US history at the time. Tsalickis told me in a phone conversation following the bust that the feds were in the drug business on the Amazon. The DEA told me they’d been tracking Tsalickis’ exploits for 10 years. He was sent to Marion. Believe he’s out now.

I stayed at Tsalickis' hotel there in Leticia, the Parador Ticuna, months before the drug bust, researching a story. Leticia was indeed the wild frontier, made wilder because of the armed desperados high on drugs. Have fond memories of the night I spent upriver at Tsalickis’ Monkey Island communing with caiman by flashlight and their cooing -- nyock, nyock, nyock. . . .

Hand Drawn Map Of Leticia On The Colombian Amazon - Image Source

There were clearly no surveillance cameras in the bird nests along the banks of the Amazon – it was anything goes on the river. Peru on the opposite bank and Brazil a walk across the Colombian border.

Recall sitting around a table at Tsalickis’ Leticia hotel sipping Aguardiente with a British art scholar and a lumber dealer from Manaus, the latter anxious about speaking with Mike about a lumber sale. Kept pacing. .

Weiner does not go into the CIA’s commercial drug exploits. In fact, he quotes Helms in his book as follows:

“We could get money anyplace in the world . . . We ran a whole arbitrage operation. We didn’t need to launder money – ever.”

Would you comment?

Doug Valentine: Angleton ran the CIA's narcotics operation, in league with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, until 1971, when Helms put it under Tom Karamessines at operations; Karamessines was the former CIA Athens chief.

I know for a fact that Angleton in the counterintelligence division of the CIA was in charge of its relations with law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which is one of the reasons organizationally that he ended up having relations with people like Charlie Siragusa, a high ranking official in the FBN. This is how Angleton enters into relationships with Corsican drug traffickers and uses them for counterintelligence operations.

I know this because I interviewed one of the officers who was on Angleton’s staff and who actually was his liaison to the Bureau of Narcotics. And I’ll be talking more about that in my new book, Strength of the Pack. The guy’s name was Jim Ludlum. People say he’s related to Robert Ludlum.

In 1968 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was abolished and Lyndon Johnson’s administration created the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Angleton and the CIA continued to have an official relationship with the BNDD until 1971, at which point Nixon declared narcotics law enforcement a national emergency and made it an issue of national security.

And at that point relations switched from Angleton at counterintelligence to the operations branch of the CIA. That’s incredibly important in understanding the history of the CIA’s involvement with drug trafficking, because now it’s no longer a function of counterintelligence, something deep inside the Agency. Now you actually have CIA chiefs of station all around the world becoming actively involved in collecting intelligence on drug trafficking. It became in 1971 a very, very big business – drug trafficking within the CIA.

Suzan Mazur: When you say big business, what exactly do you mean?

Doug Valentine: There was a guy at the CIA who worked with the BNDD. Jim Ludlum then gave up his liaison relationship because he was counterintelligence and the new liaison was an operations officer. His name was Seymour Bolton, the father of Joshua Bolton – now a high ranking official in the Bush administration.

What the CIA drug business is, is controlling how the DEA targets foreign drug traffickers. The CIA’s drug business is the management of how the DEA conducts foreign investigations. The CIA reports directly to the president or the national security council and there are issues to consider in going after traffickers that transcend law enforcement and involve national security. Which is why Nixon made that change. Nixon did not want officials going off and investigating Chinese drug traffickers at the same time he was to trying to secretly form diplomatic relations with China. So he had to put the CIA in control of how the DEA mounted its foreign drug investigations.

Suzan Mazur: And what are your thoughts about that arrangement?

Doug Valentine: If you’re going to go about the business of empire, creating an empire around the world, you don’t want to put it in the hands of a law enforcement agency that’s going to bust Salvador Allende yesterday and General Pinochet tomorrow.

You want to make sure they only bust Allende. And that Pinochet gets away with drug trafficking for 20 years.

How the CIA evolved over the past 60 years in all these different ways in relation to narcotics trafficking, to the media, in relation to foreign policy, etc. – has enabled it to consolidate power. It’s far from being out of business or in descent or rising from the ashes. It’s more powerful than it ever was.

Suzan Mazur: Are you familiar with the Eurasia Group?

Started out as a mini-foreign policy association back in 1998, backed by the CIA – the so-called analyst side – and the Council on Foreign Relations. I attended some of their fascinating meetings. They invited a slew of officials and former officials of the FSU, as well as business leaders to speak – Boris Berezovsky, etc. There's been a controversial Russian industrialist on the advisory board from the start.

At some point they began charging $100 to attend meetings. And I got an angry phone call from EG because I’d contacted someone I met at one of the meetings regarding an interview.

Apparently EG was now selling those contacts the CIA & CFR helped them establish. Eurasia Group has had some affiliation with Lehman Brothers and is considered the world’s largest political risk group.
( )

Doug Valentine: One of the great untold stories of the CIA. Privatization of intelligence – as you call it, Shackleyization.

RJ Hillhouse, a blogger who investigates the clandestine world of private contractors and US intelligence, recently obtained documents from the Office of the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) showing that Washington spends some $42 billion annually on private intelligence contractors, up from $17.54 billion in 2000. Currently that spending represents 70 percent of the US intelligence budget going to private companies.

William Casey sort of paved the way for the downfall of the Soviet Union. The CIA officers involved in the Russia division at that time were responsible for recruiting over to our side KGB officers, intelligence officers, government officials who brought about the breakup of that republic. Those relationships still exist. And if anybody was REALLY interested in doing a history of the CIA, that particular aspect would be the most explosive story.

Suzan Mazur: In your book you also tie in Agency drug operations to the JFK assassination. You note that "the CIA protected its drug dealing assets in the Mexican intelligence services" and say further:

“[I]t’s possible that SDECE [French Intel] agents working for the KGB may have sent an assassin into Dallas [to kill JFK] through Angleton’s [Irving] Brown-[Maurice] Castellani drug network, or through Paul Mondoloni [a Corsican who smuggled drugs from Mexico and then from Cuba under Batista's protection].”

You say this assassin may have been the Agency’s own QJ/WIN with Oswald as the patsy:

"The best evidence suggests that this mysterious operative [QJ/WIN] was Jose Marie Andre Mankel, as Mason Cargill (a staff member of vice president Rockefeller's Commission to Investigate CIA Activities within the United Sates) reported in a 1 May 1975 memo. . . . According to documents contained in his 201-file, QJ/WIN was tall and thin, married (although homosexual), with many friends in well-to-do Parisian circles. He was a conman extraordinaire!"

It’s interesting, Tim Weiner says in his book that President Lyndon Johnson requested all the files on Oswald following his murder by Ruby -- who you say was a Federal Bureau of Narcotics informant beginning in the 1940s -- and that those files then vanished. You say further in your book:

“JFK wanted to expel Air America, the CIA’s drug smuggling proprietary airline from Laos. And, in 1962 in another attempt to curb the CIA’s drug smuggling activities in East Asia, Bobby [Kennedy] indicted Sea Supply manager Willis Bird. . . . Kennedy’s enemies ensured that the Bird prosecution was blocked, and that Air America kept its contract in Laos, and continued to fly drugs. Meanwhile, General Walker, the far-right American Security Council (including General Lansdale and Air America Chairman Admiral Felix Stump), and the Texas ultras started plotting their coup d’etat in Dallas.”

And you note that Senator Estes Kefauver's committee investigation was kept away from a discussion of Dallas, Ruby would only tell the committee what he knew about Chicago.

“Was it to deflect attention from the Pawley-Cooke mission in Taiwan, which was funded by ultra Texas oilmen like H.L. Hunt, and which in 1951, was facilitating the CIA-Kuomintang drug smuggling operation that entered the US by crossing the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas?”

You also say that Joseph Civello ran the heroin business in Dallas with John Ormento and the Magaddino family in Buffalo and that they were linked to Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, Jr. and Jimmy Hoffa – “the House Subcommitte on Assassination’s three prime suspects in the JFK murder.”

Then you note that Hunt and the other Texas oil men, including the emerging Bush dynasty, were also outraged at JFK for planning to “eliminate the oil depletion allowances” not to mention JFK's desegregating the South.

Jackie Kennedy in a kind of premonition of Dallas wrote in one of her letters to Clark Clifford that she was concerned about the 50 businessmen in Texas who said: "Why should we do anything to help the Kennedys?" -- something I highlighted in one of my FT stories. (See. Financial Times: he President's Man )

Anything you'd like to add? And are you still of the opinion that QJ/WIN may have been JFK’s assassin and that the best evidence suggests he was Mankel.

Doug Valentine: First of all, I don’t pretend to know who killed Kennedy. For all I know it could have been Lee Harvey Oswald. That chapter on JFK in my book is speculative, that is to say, if the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination, how would it have been involved. And it goes back to the relationship the CIA had with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and in particular with an agent named George White.

George White was the guy the CIA went to when they wanted to start up the MKULTRA program at Bedford Street. But prior to that, in 1947, he was head of the Chicago office and one of his informants was Jack Ruby.

Jack Ruby went to Dallas in 1948 working for White and actually infiltrated Bugsy Siegel’s Mafia drug connection with the Kuomintang in Mexico. As far as I know nobody was ever arrested. Bugsy Siegel was killed because he was getting a little out of control.

Bugsy Siegel - Image Source

The CIA needs to manage drug trafficking in a way of providing internal security for it. It needed to keep the Mafia happy. It needed to keep Mexican officials happy. It needed to keep the Kuomintang financed and so the CIA protected this drug route of Nationalist Chinese heroin going through Mexico through Nuevo Laredo through Laredo and into Dallas into Chicago.

Suzan Mazur: And they protected it for how long? Until when?

Doug Valentine: Well as far as I know .

Suzan Mazur: They’re still protecting it.

Doug Valentine: They never stopped protecting it.

Suzan Mazur: I did a story recently about the Mormon church – which the CIA and FBI have traditionally recruited heavily from – and possible LDS drug money link in Mexico, where the Mormon church doubled its membership beginning in the mid 1980s when the Latin American drug epidemic really hit. (See…Scoop: LDS Church -- Mexico Drug Money Connection? )

The treasury of the LDS church is nobody’s business but the LDS church’s. The story followed one about a Roman Catholic bishop who went on television in Mexico announcing that his church was, of course, taking substantial donations from drug traffickers.

One of the LDS temples is right there on the border at El Paso.

Doug Valentine: As far as I’m concerned, the CIA never stopped protecting those drug routes. It’s just an ongoing operation.

Suzan Mazur: Another item Weiner didn’t discuss was that CIA Director Bill Casey turned up in the VIP section of the Mormon church in Salt Lake City one day when author Alex Shoumatoff was visiting, which Shoumatoff writes about in his book, Legends of the American Desert. Shoumatoff said the CIA recruits heavily from the LDS flock because they’re good at surveillance technology and tend to be loyal.

I’ve reported about the FBI recruits from the LDS church, including the former FBI Chief Information Officer, Darwin A. John – a Robert Mueller hiree, coming right from a decade-long job as chief information officer of the LDS church. (See… Scoop: he AZ Polygamy Town Airport Built With Fed $$$Mns )

Doug Valentine: The CIA doesn’t get arrested. So you never really know. It’s an espionage organization.

The Rosenbergs in the United States were tried for espionage and given a death sentence. But this is what the CIA does for its business. It goes around the world and it gets foreign nationals to spy on their government and it has an army of Rosenbergs out there. It’s a group of mafia bosses who are getting people of foreign countries to spy on their own countries and subvert their own countries and they give them masses amounts of dollars to do it.

The CIA people who do these things are no different than the KGB people running the Rosenbergs.

And the issue I referred to earlIer, the "courting of the compatible Left". This takes us to Bill Clinton and the CIA. If anybody represented the compatible Left, it was Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton destroyed the Democratic party. There used to be a difference between Republicans and Democrats until Bill Clinton came along. If anybody was a CIA agent, it was Bill Clinton.

Suzan Mazur: Well, that’s what Roger Morris is saying in Partners in Power -- his book on the Clintons --going back to Bill’s days at Oxford University with Operation Chaos.

Doug Valentine: I don’t see why people say there was a problem between Clinton and the CIA.

Suzan Mazur: “Dysfunctional relationship”, say Weiner and Rose.

Doug Valentine: Clinton and the CIA were hand-in-glove. They may have had a problem getting a director on the payroll for a while, but I think that was more a problem of the Senate, which was under Republican control. Just wouldn’t confirm anybody that he threw up, because they didn’t want anybody who was too cozy with him. That was in domestic politics. But it has nothing to do with the fact that Clinton and the CIA were expanding the American empire.

Suzan Mazur: As in the mad rush for oil in Azerbaijan where we now have a military base? The wild amounts of oil there heavily promoted in the major newspapers and then as I discovered in my interviews in Baku -- the dry holes and subsequent resignation of Energy Secretary Pena? Another geostrategic move.

Doug Valentine: Yes, Clinton and the CIA were expanding the American empire gleefully, hand-in-hand.

Suzan Mazur: Plus in the 1990s, when Clinton was so chummy with Boris Yeltsin and money was being thrown at the Russians. And then the Russian economy collapsed. In the 1990s international organized crime made Russia the biggest money laundering operation in the world as it primed the new Russian economy.

Weiner also does not mention the CIA-linked banks like Nugan Hand or founding CIA father Clark Clifford’s role in BCCI.

Doug Valentine: Drugs again.

Suzan Mazur: But you cite in Strength then-general counsel for the Thai Consulate in Miami, Paul Helliwell, establishing and directing a “string of drug money-laundering banks for the CIA. And you mention Vanguard Services set up as a front in 1962 “for yet another batch of CIA-financed, drug-related anti-Castro operations.”
Can you say more about these outlaw banks?

Doug Valentine: A little. Drugs again, and Nugan Hand, and Golden Triangle stuff, among other things. The Mafia connection to Trafficante and JFK. Angleton.

Paul Helliwell had been in the OSS. When Nugan died in 1980 or 1981, he had William Colby’s business card on his body. William Colby was providing legal counsel for the Nugan Hand bank and it had on its board numerous generals, retired US generals who had been in Vietnam. AND ALL THESE GUYS ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY.

And if they can get the money selling drugs, they get the money selling drugs. If they can get the money breaking up the Soviet Union, and then cutting deals with the Mafia and robbing the Russian treasury, then they’ll do it that way.

THE CIA IS REALLY INTERESTED IN FINANCIAL CRIME. And one of their stronger suits is financial intelligence and following the money. Something they’re light years ahead of the FBI or DEA on.

The CIA was able to put together strong boxes full of $750 million dollars and bring them over to Iraq for paying off Iraqi officials in $20 bills. Where did this covert cash come from?

They’ve got a diversified portfolio after 60 years in the business: The institutions they started building up from Ford franchises in the Philippines, kickbacks from Westinghouse for helping them get contracts in Korea, deals with the Mafia, drug traffickers and arms dealers.

The CIA gets oodles of money from the arms business. Most of their income comes from criminal activity.

The Russian Mafia operates with a sort of impunity. And so does the Israeli Mafia. And one of the reasons they have this sort of impunity is that they’re sharing their profits with the CIA.

And I think a lot of CIA money is capital investments. They’re like movie producers. They want to overthrow the Iraqi government, they go to companies like Halliburton and others who are going to profit from the overthrow of Iraq. And like the executive producers of some movie, they get them to ante-up some cash. Telling them, don’t worry about it, the government contracts you get in return will cover your investment. Plus they have the old boy network – which now is so far flung.

Suzan Mazur: Plus some of the military contractors are organized crime and have had contracts since the 50s.

Doug Valentine: Exactly. Which bring us back to Barry Seal (Iran-Contra). Because in 1972, Barry Seal was to fly some arms and some explosives into Mexico. What the Brooklyn Drug Task Force found out is that this guy named Murray Kessler, who was involved with the Gambino family in Brooklyn, had an arms manufacturing company in New Jersey where the guns and the bombs came from.

Suzan Mazur: And some of these arms merchants also had security clearance during the McNamara and Clifford years of heading the Defense Department. They make weapons for the US government and some for whoever they feel like.

Doug Valentine: From my perspective, the spy industry and especially the arms industry, is the foundation on which the American empire is built. The United States has a military budget of I think $300 billion dollars and the CIA budget is like $50 billion – that’s a year. Together that’s bigger than the gross national product of any country in the world. And in the meantime we’re worried about 20 guys in Al-Qaeda.

Suzan Mazur: And the American people are largely innocent captives of this ever-turning screw.

Weiner considers Helms the greatest of the CIA directors. He notes: "When Richard Helms was in charge, the agency spoke the truth to Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara about the war in Vietnam and they listened." Even though in another breath Weiner says Helms (like George Tenet) "caved": Regarding the reporting of numbers of Vietcong irregulars, Helms said the numbers "didn't mean a damn". "Helms felt a crushing pressure to get on the team -- and to trim the CIA's reporting to fit the president's policy." Weiner says the agency officially accepted the falsified figure of 299,000 enemy forces or fewer.
What are your thoughts about Helms?

Doug Valentine: A patrician, old school, but destroyed by Kissinger and the neo-con Nixon wave.

Suzan Mazur: Former DCI Robert Gates, now serving as Secretary of Defense, who Weiner says was the Agency’s chief Kremlinologist but had never been to the Soviet Union?

Doug Valentine: Boy, you ask a lot of questions.

Suzan Mazur: How about Frank Carlucci? Weiner citing an oral history of Carlucci’s describes him as instrumental in ending the Cold War as a result of his “disarming” talk to some Soviet generals in Moscow in 1988 in which he was asked how the US knew so much about them. Carlucci said the US had to do it from satellites and it would be "a lot easier" if the Soviets would publish their military budget. The generals laughed; it dawned on them America did not want to kill them and that even if they were stronger militarily, the system of secrecy left them weaker. A closed society couldn't match an open one -- end of game.
Doug Valentine: The Russian people may have a different view.

Suzan Mazur: Which exploits of the agency do you consider the most diabolical – aside from the fact that one of its founding fathers molested two of his own children – and a reason why the CIA should have been dismantled years ago?

Doug Valentine: Your readers don't want to know that answer. The most dastardly thing that the CIA has done is to wage this campaign of psychological warfare against the American people. Where the American people don’t see the CIA for a bunch of basically American KGB agents who are conducting criminal activities around the world. There’s a movie called The Usual Suspects with a much feared criminal named Keyser Soze. And Keyser is talking to a cop and he says the greatest trick that the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.

And this is what people like Weiner are doing with books about the CIA that don’t explain it for what it really is. They’re part of a propaganda machine that’s making the American people see the CIA in mythological terms as good guys, crusaders, as Lawrence of Arabia – when, in fact, they’re criminals. They're part of THE GRAND LIE.


Suzan Mazur has traveled widely as a journalist. Her reports have appeared in the Financial Times, Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Archaeology, Connoisseur, CounterPunch and Progressive Review, among others, as well as on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox Television News programs. Email: sznmzr @

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