by Paul DeRienzo
An independent group of researchers in Arkansas
are charging that Governor Bill Clinton is covering up an airport
used by the CIA and major cocaine smugglers in a remote corner of the Ozark
According to Deborah Robinson of In
These Times, the Inter mountain Regional Airport in Mena, Arkansas
continues to be the hub of operations for people like assassinated cocaine
kingpin Barry Seal as well as government intelligence operations
linked to arms and drug smuggling.
In the 1980's, the Mena airport became one of the world's largest aircraft
refurbishing centers, providing services to planes from many countries.
Researchers claim that the largest consumers of aircraft refurbishing
services are drug smugglers and intelligence agencies involved in covert
activities. In fact, residents of Mena, Arkansas, have told reporters that
former marine Lt. Colonel Oliver North was a frequent visitor during
Eugene Hasenfus, a pilot who was shot
down in a Contra supply plane over Nicaragua in 1986, was also seen in town
renting cargo vehicles.
A federal Grand Jury looking into activities at the Mena airport refused to
hand down any indictments after drug running charges were made public.
Deborah Robinson says that Clinton had "ignored the situation" until he
began his presidential campaign." Clinton then said he would provide money
for a state run investigation of the Mena airport.
But according to Robinson, the promise of an
investigation was never followed up by Clinton's staff. In fact, a local
Arkansas state prosecutor blasted Clinton's promise of an investigation,
comparing it to "spitting on a forest fire."
Clinton's involvement in the drug and arms running goes even further than a
mere cover-up of the deplorable activities that went on, and are still going
on, at the airport in Mena. A federal mail fraud case against an Arkansas
pilot-trainer who participated in illegal arms exports to Central America
relied on a key Clinton staffer as a chief witness. The case was dismissed
for lack of evidence when the CIA refused to allow the discussion of top
secret information about the arms transfers.
Terry Reed, a former employee of the CIA's Air America operation in
Laos during the Indochina war, claims to have been recruited as a pilot
trainer into the Iran operation by Oliver North. In an article written by
David Gallis and published last year by Covert Action Information
Bulletin, Reed said that in 1983 he had agreed to supply North's
operatives with "certain items."
In pursuit of the Reagan administration's Contra war against the
Sandinistas, the CIA had planted mines in Nicaragua's harbors. In 1984,
Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which cut off US aid to the Contras.
According to Reed, it was during this period that North aided him to become
involved in a covert operation called "Project Donation". Reed was told he
would be reimbursed for supplying the Contras by insurance companies that
were linked to North's operation.,
Shortly afterwards, Reed reported the "theft" of Piper turbo-prop aircraft
and he filed a $33,000 claim on which he eventually collected almost $7,000.
In late 1985, Reed received a phone call from an Air America buddy,
William Cooper, a pilot working with Southern Air Transport, another
CIA front company. Cooper also was working with soon to be murdered drug
kingpin Barry Seal at the same time he was flying re-supply missions for the
In 1986, he was shot down and killed over Nicaragua along with
co-pilot Wallace Sawyer. The plane's cargo-kicker, Eugene Hasenfus,
parachuted into the arms of waiting Sandinista soldiers.
Video images of his capture spanned the world
and forced an airing of a tiny part of US covert operations.
Sandinistas who recovered the downed cargo plane searched Cooper's pockets
and found phone numbers linking the re-supply operation with Felix
Rodriguez, an associate of George Bush, best known for murdering
Che Guevara after his capture in Bolivia. To this day, Rodriguez, who works
for the CIA, wears Che's watch as a trophy.
Reed says that Cooper told him that the stolen Piper would soon be returned
and that he should store it in a hanger at Mena until the Hasenfus mess blew
"There was a lot of Contra stuff going on in
Arkansas." said Reed, "it was the hub."
Meanwhile, Reed went into business in Mexico
with the blessing of Rodriguez, who was overseeing the Contra air re-supply
operation in El Salvador. Reed's company used Mexico to export arms to the
Contras, in violation of the Boland Amendment. Reed went down to Mexico and
his operation continued for a year after the Iran-Contra story broke.
According to Arkansas Committee researcher Mark Swaney, in the summer
of 1987, even as the Contra-Gate hearings were going on in Congress,
Terry Reed began to suspect they were using his front company for
something other than smuggling weapons. One day, he was looking for a lathe
in one of his warehouses near the airport in Guadalajara and he opened up
one of the very large air freight shipping containers (they are about 28'
long, about 7' high and about 8' wide), and he found it packed full of
Swaney reports that Reed realized he was in a very precarious situation
because he was the only person on paper who had anything to do with the
company set up to run guns to the Contras in Nicaragua out of Mexico and
there was nobody to say that he did not know anything about what was going
on. Reed decided he wasn't going to play the part of a patsy.
Swaney says that Reed's contact man for the CIA in Mexico was Felix
Rodriguez, whom Reed confronted. Reed said that he hadn't bargained for
getting into narcotics smuggling and that he was dropping out all together.
Soon afterward, his legal problems began.
In a series of mysterious events, Reed was charged with mail fraud for
claiming insurance for an aircraft that was used by North's network under
Operation Donation. Reed, who was eventually acquitted of the charges, was
picked up by the FBI after the missing plane was discovered in the Mena
hanger where Reed had put the plane at Cooper's suggestion. The discovery
was made by Clinton's security chief Buddy Young.
Young testified that his discovery of the stolen
plane was coincidental, an assertion federal Judge Frank Thiel said
was unsupported by the facts.
Reed was charged with mail fraud for collecting insurance on the plane, but
the CIA prevented prosecutors from releasing information they called "top,
top secret," about the Rodriguez-North, Southern Air Transport connection.
In November 1990, the prosecution admitted they couldn't prosecute Reed
without the secret documents and Judge Thiel ordered Reed acquitted on all
of the charges.
Allegations of Governor Bill Clinton's extra-marital sexual exploits
originated with a 1990 lawsuit by Larry Nichols, a former Arkansas
state employee. Nichols was fired by Clinton in 1988 after reporters
discovered Nichols had been lobbying on behalf of the Contras from his
office as head of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.
The suit claimed that Clinton had lied when he said Nichols was fired
because he was phoning the Contras directly from his state office. Nichols
claimed he only called Washington to lobby on behalf of the Contras. In the
suit, Nichols also revealed the affair between Clinton and office secretary
The suit was dropped by Nichols on January 25, 1992, after Gennifer Flowers
went public with her story of the affair. Nichols told reporters that he
decided to drop the suit after meeting with Clinton security chief Buddy
Young - the same man who found Terry Reed's missing Piper aircraft at the
According to Arkansas Committee researcher Mark Swaney, Nichols said
that Young had told him he was a "dead man," prompting Nichols to drop the
suit. In public, Nichols says he dropped the suit because "the media have
made a circus out of this thing and it's gone way too far."
In court documents recently released by Manhattan District Attorney Robert
Morgenthau, it has been revealed that Jackson Stephens, a billionaire
banker in Little Rock, Arkansas, and one of presidential candidate Bill
Clinton's main supporters, may have played a key role in setting up the
illegal purchase by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)
of two American banks.
Both First American National Bank, the largest bank in Washington DC,
and Georgia National Bank, were purchased by BCCI front man and
Stephens business associate Gaith Pharon. Stephens' family bank, the
Worthern National Bank, recently extended a two million dollar loan
to the Clinton campaign.
Stephens, who is an avid golfer and chairman of the prestigious Masters
Tournament Committee, is named in the court records as having brought
Pharon together with Stephens' close friend Bert Lance. Lance was a
former cabinet official under President Jimmy Carter who was forced
to resign due to a banking scandal.
According to newspaper reports, BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi was
introduced to Lance by Stephens. Stephens, Lance, and First American Bank
director and longtime Democratic party power broker Clark Clifford all
maintain that they did not know the group of Pakistani and Saudi investors
headed by Pharon, which they were dealing with, were actually fronting for
BCCI. Clinton's staff has refused to comment.
Bill Clinton's environmental record has been as dismal as his record in the
He has supported the incineration of extremely
toxic chemicals at a site in the city of Jacksonville, 20 miles from Little
Rock, that is reputed to be the most polluted spot in the United States.
Jacksonville was the site of Hercules Inc., a company that produced the two
components of Agent Orange, 2,4 D, which is still used in agriculture and
2,4,5,T, which was banned by the federal government in 1983 as a carcinogen.
Agent Orange was used to defoliate Vietnamese
forests during the Indochina war and its production yields the by-product
dioxin, the most toxic chemical known on earth.
Hercules sold the operation in 1976 to Vertac Inc., which closed the plant
in 1987, leaving behind 20,000 barrels of the chemicals. Gov. Bill Clinton
supports a plan to incinerate the waste, a plan that is being vigorously
opposed by the residents of Jacksonville.
In These Times reporter Deborah Robinson says that Clinton has
allowed Arkansas to become a dumping ground.
"Arkansas" she says, "is still kind of a
backwoods state and there's a lot of room for someone to set up whatever
they want to set up and Arkansas has been exploited by people who have
things they want to do that they might no get away with somewhere else."
"there are a lot of questions about what
Somebody like Clinton would do for a country when he couldn't do
anything for his own state."
Connection - Compromised: Clinton, Bush and The CIA, Drug Smuggling