SECRET TEAM OF WEAPONS DEALERS
by Vince Bielski
A "secret team" of former CIA and military officials and
arms dealers are responsible for the covert weapons shipments to
Iran and the contras under the direction of fired White House
aide Lt. Col. Oliver North.
Members of the "secret team" came together in the secret war
against Cuba in 1961, and have since been involved in "political
assassination" programs in Laos, Vietnam, Chile and now
The "secret team," through an association with known Mafia
leaders, has resorted to opium and cocaine trafficking to
finance their operations.
Edwin Wilson, the ex-CIA operative convicted for selling
explosives to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, was an active member.
These allegations are part of a lengthy affidavit filed this
week in a Miami federal court in support of a law suit brought
by Dan Sheehan, an attorney with the Christic Institute in
Washington. The suit names 29 alledged operatives in the contras
arms network as defendants.
The suit alleges that the defendants supplied the C-4
explosives which were used in the May 1984 assassination attempt
against contra leader Eden Pastora in Nicaragua in which eight
people were killed and Pastora injured. The plaintiffs, Martha
Honey and Tony Avirgan, are American journalists who are sueing
for personal injuries they suffered from the bombing.
The Christic Institute, a church funded public interest law
firm, has taken on controversial cases in the past, such as the
suit against Kerr McGree Nuclear Corporation on behalf of Karen
Silkwood. And it was while Sheehan was defending a sanctuary
worker that he received information which led him
into the investigation of the contra arms supply opertation.
In March 1984, he learned from a member of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency that FEMA had a highly secret plan to
"deputize" government and State National Guard personnel for the
purpose of interning 400,000 undocumented Central
Americans in detention centers in the event that President Reagan
launched "Operation Night-train"--a military invasion into
The plan also called for the distribution from U.S. military
bases of hundreds of tons of weapons to be used by newly created
State Defense Forces, composed of civilians, who would help
enforce the "State of Domestic National Emergency" during the
invasion. Sheehan learned from a Louisiana State National Guard
Colonel that a State Defense Force in Louisiana planned to give
half of the weapons it received to the contras.
In Miami, former U.S. military personnel and active National
Guard units had organized a para-military organization, called
Civilian Military Assistance, to arm, train and fight with the
contras. The group, headed by Tom Posey, obtained "surplus"
military equipment from the 20th Special Forces Unit of the U.S.
Army in Alabama, Sheehan learned from a member of the group.
In June 1984, Sheehan was informed a man who
working with the para-military organization in helping arm the
contras also claimed to be a "personal representative to the
Contras of...Lt. Col. Oliver North." His name is Robert Owen.
One year later, Sheehan began putting this information into
a law suit when he learned that Posey, Owen and others
were allegedly involved in the bombing of the Pastora press
conference which caused physical and personal injury to the two
Sheehans investigation also led him to the discovery of a
"secret team" of former high ranking U.S. officials and officers
who oversaw the procurement and shipment of weapons to the
contras to to Iran. Through Posey, Owen and other they allegedly
supplied the explosives for the press conference bombing. The
"secret team" includes former high-ranking CIA officials Theodore
Shackley and Thomas Clines, ret. Air Force Gen. Richard Secord,
ex-CIA operative Edwin Wilson, and two arms dealers, Albert Hakim
(of Los Gatos) and Rafael Quintero, both of whom are U.S.
In the affidavit, which cites 79 seperate sources, Sheehan
said he learned of the "secret team" from a former U.S.
intelligence officer who worked in Iran, a retired CIA officer,
and a former Air Force officer.
The intelligence officer discussed "the existence of a
'secret team' of former high-ranking American CIA officials,
former high-ranking U.S. military officials and Middle Eastern
arms merchants--who also specialized in the performance of covert
political assassinations of communists...(and) which carried on
its own, independent, American foreign policy--regardless of the
will of Congress,...the President,...or the (CIA)," the affidavit
The source said the "secret team" was set up in
1977 under the supervision of Shackley and Cline, who were then
with the CIA. Wilson worked with Gadhafi "to secretly train
Libyan anti-Shah of Iran terrorists in the use of deadly C-4
explosives," the affidavit reads. Wilson's real purpose was to
gather intelligence on the anti-Shah terrorist missions, and then
pass the information to Quintero, "who was responsible for the
assassination of these Libyan terrorists,"
Wilson was convicted for his dealings with Gadhafi, and
Shackley and Clines resigned under pressure from then-CIA
director Stansfield Turner. Shackley and Clines then join with
Secord and Hakim and "went private" continuing to run their
"secret team," the affidavit reads.
This group--initially through the Egyptian-American
Transport and Service Company--was "responsible for the entire
supply of weapons...to the Contras," when the CIA wasn't directly
providing them. They began arming the contras in August 1979,
after entering "into a formal contractual agreement with
Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza" despite President Carter's
order banning the sending of weapons to Somoza, the affidavit
The CIA took over in 1981, but when the 1984 ban on U.S.
support went into effect, North reactivated the private
merchants. Quintero, operating through a Florida based
corporation named Orca Supply Company--a company earlier set up
by Edwin Wilson--saw to it that the supplies were delivered to
the contras through John Hull, a U.S. citizen, who reportedly
operates a contra base in northern Costa Rica on land he owns.
Among the delivered weapons were the explosives used in the
Pastor bombing, the CIA source said.
To fund the contras, the "secret team" resorted to the
foreign military sales scheme used in Iran in which military
equipment is bought from the U.S. government at the
manufacturer's cost and sold to Iran at replacement cost. The
profits are then laundered through front companies.
The Examiner reported in July that Secord, partners with
Hakim in Standford Technology Trading Group International, was
involved in the 1981 sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia, in which
money from that sale financed the contra operation.
In another report, the Examiner said the weapons were also
financed by an elaborate cocaine ring involing Columbia's largest
cocaine dealers in which the drug moves from Columbia,
through Hull's land, into the U.S at a level of one ton each
When the Reagan Administration decided to undertake the
secret sales of arms to Iran in 1985, it was Shackley, Clines,
Hakim and Secord whom they used to carry out the mission, the
In 1961, Shackley, a CIA station chief in Miami, and his
deputy Clines, directed the covert war against Cuba. A special
unit formed to assassinate Castro, supervised by the "Mafia
Lieutenant Santo Trafficante," included Quintero--and Felix
Rodreguez and Luis Pasada Carillo--two ex-CIA agent who
reportedly operate the contras arms network at an El Salvador air
base. Pasada was involved in the 1976 mid-air bombing
of a Cuban passenger airliner.
After the covert war activists were caught smuggling narcotics
into the U.S. from Cuba, the operation was shut down, and Shackley
and Clines were transfered to Laos, where Shackley was made CIA
Deputy Chief of Station and Clines continued as his deputy.
According to the affidavit, Shackley and Clines directed a
secret program which trained and used Meo tribesmen "to
secretly assassinated over 100,000 non-combatant village mayors,
book-keepers, clerks and other civilian bureaucrats in Laos,
Cambodia and Thailand." The operation was funded by profits from
an illegal opium trade.
A commander the political assassination program was ret.
Army General John Singlaub, who has said publicly that he is
helping arm the contras. North, a Marine Corps Major at the time,
was one of Singlaub's deputies. Also involved with Shackley in
Laos was Secord, then an Air Force General, the affidavit
In 1971, Shackley and Clines, from their post the CIA's
Western Hemisphere operations, directed the "Track II" operation
in Chile which played a role in the assassination of Chilean
President Salvador Allende, the affidavit reads.
In 1974, the two directed the Phoenix project in Vietnam,
which carried out the political assassination of some 60,000 non-
Viet Cong civilians in an attempt to cripple Vietnam's political
"With their secret CIA anti-communist extermination program
coming to a end,...(they) started their own private assassination
) started their own private assassination