WBAI Pacifica Radio New York
Interview with Mark Swaney
By: Paul DeRienzo.
WBAI radio interview with Mark Swaney from "Faithful Arkansas"
a citizens group, speaking of Bill Clinton's and George Bush's
connection with the CIA covert drug smuggling operation in
Mena Arkansas in support of the Contras.
. . . . [they] set up a front company in Guadalahara Mexico.
The purpose of which, he was told, was to smuggle weapons to
the Contra's in Central America. And he was to be the front man
-- he was to provide the front cover for this company, but he
was given to know that behind the scenes they [the CIA] would
be using this company to smuggle weapons. So he was ok with
that and he went down to Guadalahara and was down there until
the summer of '87 --actually the plane was shot down in '86
so this operation in Mexico continued for a year after the
Iran-Contra story was breaking and that's something that a
lot of people don't know --they think that Iran-Contra/Contra
Resupply stopped when the revelations were made in '86, but
they actually continued.
Anyway in the summer of '87, even as the hearings were going
on in Congress, Terry Reed began to suspect they were using
his front company for something other than smuggling weapons.
And one day he was looking for a lathe in one of his warehouses
by the airport there in Guadalahara and he went in and opened
up an air freight shipping container (which are very large,
they're about 28 feet long, 7 feet high, 8 feet wide), and he
found it packed full of Cocaine when he opened it up. He immediately
realized he was in a very precarious situation because he was
the only one on paper who had anything to do with that company,
and if they had ever gotten caught -- there was nobody to stand
up and say well this guy didn't know anything -- he was going
to be a patsy if anything went wrong. So he decided he wasn't
going to play the part of the patsy. The man who was his contact
man for the CIA in Mexico was Felix Rodrigez. So he confronted
Felix Rodrigez and said well listen I didn't bargain on getting
into Narcotics smuggling and I'm outa this all together guys
-- I'm leaving now -- I refuse to have anything further to do
with this. And Felix Rodrigez said ok fine if you want to be
out your out. Now before he was able to return even to Little
Rock Arkansas where his home was at the time, Governor Clinton's
Chief of Security, a man named Raymond Buddy Young, and
another man Tommy Baker, Private Investigator and I'm told
former member of the Arkansas State Police, were framing
Terry Reid for mail fraud. What this involved was the so
called project donation that Oliver North had set up. Terry
Reid's plane had been stolen a number of years earlier
-- and used in drug missions and such without his knowledge
-- and he claimed the insurance money for his plane being stolen
-- and so to set him up what they did was took the airplane
and put it back in his hangar before he got back to Arkansas.
Governor Clinton's Chief of Security just supposedly happened
--and this is what he tells the press -- he say's "one day I
just happened to be walking by this hangar, and the wind just
happened to blow the door open and I just happened to look in
and see this airplane that was stolen four years earlier in
another state and I realized -that was the plane." And so this
is how the case got started.
How would he have known that was the plane?
Oh that's never been explained. Along with a number of aspects
in this famous story. We're in contact with Terry Reid's defense
attorney in Witchita and she's promised to send us all of the
documents --we have some of the documents already that indicate
--he was found not guilty --well he never went to trial.
Is that the same Buddy Young by the way who's head of Governor
Clinton's security detail.
Yes he is.
Buddy Young, let's keep his name in mind because I want to come
back to him. Let's jump now to the sight in Arkansas that was
used as the landing sight, the airport in Arkansas in the town
of Mena Arkansas --that was determinates of a lot of these
Iran-Contra resupply flights.
Yes, in fact Terry Reid has stated in that same article that
you have that it was the *hub* of the Contra resupply effort.
Many people are not aware that Arkansas was very heavily and
very deeply involved in the Iran-Contra affair all during the
time that Governor Clinton ???? Governor of the state.
And there were numerous stories written about it in the press.
Well the story about Mena is that Mena is a very small town
in the middle of the the Washitah (sp) mountains in Southwestern
Arkansas and not coincidentally it happens to be in Congressman
John Paul Hammerschmidt's district, the Third Congressional
district. John Paul Hammerschmidt just happens to be one
of George Bush's very closest friend's. He was George Bush's
Presidential Campaign Manager for Bush's campaign in '76 and
again in 1980. The two people are very close. Anyway Mena
has an airport and it looks from the outside like an ordinary,
normal airport. The thing that separates Mena's airport from
any other is the fact that there are row upon row of hangars
--buildings which house aircraft refitting facilities. Now
aircraft refitting is an industry that is in demand by two
principal paying customers. One of them is the CIA, and the
other one are drug smugglers. And the reason is, is because if
you're a CIA guy and you're going to do covert actions overseas
-- they're almost entirely relying on air transport of some kind.
Particularly if you're going to covertly resupply an army that's
over a thousand miles away.
Hassenfusse's plane was based there.
Hassenfusse's plane, the plane that was shot down, was based
in Mena Arkansas.
That plane was based there formally before Barry Seal was
murdered just a few months before it was shot down. That
was Barry Seal's own personal airplane. But anyway what
you need to do, if you're a CIA or a drug smuggler is you
need an airplane that can do things that normally airplanes
of the civilian variety are not allowed to do. Things like
have cargo doors that open to the inside of the airplane so
that you can make in-flight drops - so that you can drop
things out of the airplane while it's flying -- which is
illegal on a commercial or civilian type of aircraft. You
need to do things like install advanced navigational equipment
sometimes even ??? You need things like roller matts to put
down on the floor so that you can roll the crates forward
in the fuselage of the airplane to kick them out. You need
to be able to modify a civilian aircraft that is not legally
allowed to have such capability so that it does have those
And this was done in Mena -- a smalltown airport.
Right. Now Mena has the second or third largest --I don't
know which, but one of the largest aircraft refitting
facilities in the United States. And as such it was --long
before the Nicaruguan episode happened, it was a base of CIA
covert operation and remains to this very minute a base of
CIA covert operation.
Let's jump to another name that comes up in this -- a fella
by the name of Larry Nichols, former employee of the state
of Arkansas. He was a employee of the Arkansas Development
and Finance Authority now I have an Associated Press article
that came out just a couple of days ago that Larry Nichols
has dropped a lawsuit that he had instituted in 1990 against
Governor Clinton that came after his 1988 dismissal from that
state job for miss-use of agency telephones.
Can you tell us who Larry Nichols was.
Yeah this is probably the most interesting part of the story
-- you see Larry Nichols is the source of all these rumors
and the Jennifer Flowers thing and the Governor's sex life.
The story that the press has yet not picked up on is the
fact that Larry Nichols was a big time Contra supporter.
He has close connections to Mario Collero, Adolpho Collero
and Jack Singlove. In fact he served with General Singlove
in Vietnam. He spent the first half of the decade working
for the Contras in a connection with an organization that
General Singlove had. He spent time with the Contra's on the
ground in Honduras. His job was to collect military information.
Now I've met with Larry Nichols -- this information that I'm
about to give you he has told me directly. And we have checked
out a great deal of what he's told us and everything that he
has told us has checked out totally accurate.
So what we're seeing here is a connection between the mistress
sex scandal and the Iran-Contra and the Governor of Arkansas.
There's a connection.
Well what you find out here in a minute is that the sex
scandals really have nothing to do with it. I saw his lawsuit
several months ago when I was in Little Rock and it was of
no interest to me I didn't even bother to make a copy of it.
But Larry Nichols, the man, and his relationship to the
Governor is extremely interesting. You see what it is --is
that his job was to make military analysis of the situation
in Honduras with the Contras. And to take that information
back to the United States and package it and present it to
Congressmen who are in favor of Contra Aid with a view toward
convincing them that the Contra's were an effective military
fighting force --that they could win militarily against the
Sandanistas. At some point around '85 I believe this job for
Larry ran out, and he didn't have any money and he approached
Governor Clinton. Now according to Larry, he and Governor Clinton
are close friends, have known each other for a long time. In
fact before the Governor was the Governor. He asked Governor
Clinton --hey I'm broke I need a job. Well it's not too usual
that somebody could just call up the Governor and say I want
a job and the Governor says sure we'll make you Marketing
Director for ADFA. That's the Arkansas Development Finance
Authority --which figures centrally in Bill Clinton's
relationship to the Contra Resupply network that the state
of Arkansas was so heavily involved in. In any case he was
there working at ADFA and someone at ADFA a fellow employee
had found out about this guy that was working with them who
was this romantic jungle fighter type of character. And
eventually she began to talk to some friends about it and
word reached the ears of a reporter and a reporter began
to investigate Larry Nichols --wondering what this big Contra
supporter was doing working for ADFA. Everyone who holds a
top position at ADFA is directly appointed by Bill Clinton --in
fact ADFA is a total invention of Bill Clinton's --he created
the agency out of thin air and appoints all of the top
directors. In any case a reporter approached Bill Clinton
in Japan and started to question him about Larry Nichols
--wanted to know what this guy was doing on state payroll
--if he was lobbying for the Contra's or just what the story
was. Mr. Clinton, rather precipitously fired Larry Nichols
directly after that. And the story that was put out was that
he was fired for misusing state telephones that he'd supposedly
made hundreds of calls to the Contras and ran up thousands of
dollars worth of bills to the Contras -- uhmm that is an
unsubstantiated allegation --in fact on Larry Nichols suggestion
the organization I work with received his entire phone records
from ADFA through freedom of information act and went over
those phone records with him call by call and we did not find
any records of calls by him outside the United States on
those phone records so it was a phony charge and Larry Nichols
was in fact wrongfully fired and they made up this story that
he was calling the Contras in order to get rid of him.
Why do you think that was?
Well I don't know the exact reason but I can tell you this
that Larry Nichols and Buddy Young the man I mentioned earlier,
are very close friends.
Well that's a point that you just mentioned that Buddy Young was
the State Security man who discovered the airplane -- the allegedly
stolen airplane belonging to Terry Reid was in fact in a certain
Everything to do with that in fact the federal judge is on record
for calling Buddy Young a liar in Terry Reid's trial. But see Larry
Nichols and Buddy Young knew each other and are close friends
according to the newspaper accounts that were in the newspaper
down here in Arkansas yesterday -- they're old buddies.
Yes, well that's what the Associated Press report that I'm looking
at right now says that Nichols dropped his lawsuit after consulting
with Buddy Young.
Yes, Now I'm going to say something right now which is rather
shocking -- this is the first time this has been made public
to my knowledge. A member of my organization who is going to
be at a press conference that we're having tomorrow --spoke
with Larry Nichols --we've been in contact with him for several
months off and on on the telephone, and he's had a conversation
with him sometime around the first week of January -- during
which Larry Nichols tolde this member of my organization -- that
Buddy Young had called him and told him that he in fact was a
dead man -- that was under threat of death.
Buddy Young was?
No. Larry Nichols. And at that time Buddy Young was frightened
-- he was not threatening Larry Nichols personally he was saying
that we're all in trouble with this because there's a move in
the Governor's office to get rid of me. So Buddy Young was
afraid that Governor Clinton was about to axe him in the same
way that he axed Larry Nichols. And so serious did he take
this possibility that he informed Larry Nichols directly that
he was a dead man.
So Larry Nichols is now saying that Buddy Young the Chief of
Governor Clinton's gubernatorial campaign has told him that
he's a dead man.
Yes, that is the information that Larry Nichols gave to us
-- now as I say that has not been reported anywhere else and
I would not bet a lot right now on Mr. Nichols backing that
statement up, but I back it up.
And this is prior to him dropping this lawsuit against Governor
Yes, the timing of his dropping the lawsuit is interesting to
us too, because we just recently were in contact with the Nation
Magazine, and it was approximately two days after the Nation
Magazine actually decided to take the information that we had
collected on this case very seriously and in fact are now
pursuing their own investigative journalism on this, it was
about two days after that that Larry Nichols declared that he
was going to drop his lawsuit. Uh, so there's some very strange
things that are going on. There's a great deal of other
information --uh, connecting Governor Clinton to the operation
in Mena. We don't have what you'd call a smoking gun on this
-- I have in front of me a piece of paper that I've written
17 questions for the Governor on that the media has totally
overlooked in their haste to salivate over all these sexual
stories --they've totally missed what's available. For example,
the organization that I work for has been --I don't say I work for,
nobody pays us we're getting broke doing this, but in any case
we've collected just about everything that's publicly available
about Mena and all of its ramifications and its a tremendous
story, and I'd like to emphasize right now that Governor
Clinton's part in this is very minor -- the real big fish in this
story is George Bush. The damage that could come from this
information coming out is in fact far more damaging to George
Bush than anyone else, because he's directly responsible for this
-- this operation was run out of the then Vice President George
Bush's office. And I'd also like to add that the Arkansas chapter
of the Iran-Contra story was the one that was most heavily
covered up at the time -- it was part of the story they had
that they took the most care to see to it that nothing ever
came out about it. And that was for two reasons: 1) because
it involves massive cocaine smuggling -- we had one pilot that
came to the University and spoke directly to us and said
"I personally flew for the CIA, guns, Panamanian Defense
forces and approximately one ton of cocaine per flight.
I flew seven of these flights into Mena Arkansas." So they
wanted to cover it up because it was the one thing that would
have exposed the drug connection within the United States
most heavily. 2) And the other reason that they were very
anxious to coverup Mena's involvement was because the base
of operations that the CIA was using was in fact still active
at the time the hearings were going on. And that base of
operations supports covert operations all around the world
not just in Central America. For example, there's a current
covert operation that was going on there at least as late as
May of last year that killed a man from Arkansas and Angola --
so the entire time that Barry Seal was operating out of that
airport the CIA was supporting there covert war with Jonason(sp)
and Manunita(sp) in Angola. And we have sources within the
United States government that there is covert activity going on
in it this very day.
Thank you very much Mark Swaney --this is an amazing story and
the amazing thing about it is that this is the *real* story about
Governor Bill Clinton and that what we're getting served to us from
all the media from start to finish from morning to night headlines
in all the New York papers, is this thing about Governor Clinton
and this woman Jennifer Flowers and her association with the
Governor who is married for 14 years, and the real story which
you get on WBAI underneath it all from our contacts in Arkansas
is that in fact the Governor of Arkansas is covering up an illegal
operation that began in the Vice President's office who is now
President of the United States -- George Bush. Which makes me
wonder why should I even bother voting -- who's there to vote for.
I mean both sides the Democrats and the Republicans are involved.
That's another part of the story --you know the best way to buy
off an election is to pay off both candidates. There's significant
Republican interest in seeing Bill Clinton get the nomination
from the standpoint that they will be assured then that none
of the issues of the Iran-Contra affair are likely to be talked
about. Certainly Clinton doesn't want to talk about them.
We tried before we knew that Mr. Clinton was involved in this --
we only came across this information 5 or 6 months ago and
for two years now we've been doing demonstrations, writing
letters collecting petitions holding informational gatherings
to try to get this story to the people, and we have on several
occasions sent Bill Clinton signatures, petitions of Arkansan's
asking for a state investigation and he refused to do anything
about them he would do nothing more than have an aide send us a
two sentence letter saying we have received your petition and
then this last September just one week before he decided to
run for the Presidency we contacted his office and said listen
we'd be willing to talk to you or any one of your aides so that
we could talk to you about this major crime problem in our state
that we're concerned about that we'd like to get to the bottom
of -- and he refused that. During the 4 or 5 years now that
the press has covered this story about Mena and Barry Seal --
you know this is a story about people who have been murdered --
this is a very, very serious affair and during all of this time
talk of massive Cocaine smuggling, corruption of local officials
corruption of Federal and State judicial system on and on and on
there was total silence from the Governor, not a word. And it
was not until our organization had a large demonstration
-- it wasn't really a large demonstration but it was very well
covered in the Arkansas press --that reporters approached
Mr. Clinton about Mena. He talked about it for the first time
in 4 or 5 years and what he had to say at that time was that
he had in fact authorized some money for lonely little Polk County,
which is a poor county in Southwestern Arkansas to run an
investigation and so we asked him for back up from the
Governor's office we said -freedom of information act
-- we'd like to know if you have any documentation whatsoever
to back up your statement that you are willing to help the
Polk County investigators do their own state investigation
in this affair. And he could not produce a single thing.
"Why of course the people don't want war... It is the leaders...who
determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the
people along...all you have to do is tell them they are being attacked
and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the
country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Hermann Goering, 1936