. 31
( 42 .)


The ties between the two Nicaraguans and the CIA were visible not far beneath the
surface, as the following indicate:

When Blandon was finally arrested in October 1986 (after Congress had resumed funding
for the Contras and his services were much less needed), and he admitted to crimes that
have sent others away for life, the Justice Department turned him loose on unsupervised
probation after only 28 months behind bars and subsequently paid him more than
$166,000 as an informer.

According to a legal motion filed in a 1990 police corruption trial in Los Angeles: in a
1986 raid on Blandon's money-launderer, the police carted away numerous documents
purportedly linking the US government to cocaine trafficking and money laundering on
behalf of the Contras. CIA personnel appeared at the sheriff's department within 48 hours
of the raid and removed the seized files from the evidence room. At the request of the
Justice Department, a federal judge issued a gag order barring any discussion of the

When Blandon testified in 1996 as a prosecution witness in a drug trial, the federal
prosecutors obtained a court order preventing defense lawyers from delving into his ties
to the CIA.

Though Meneses was listed in the DEA's computers as a major international drug
smuggler and was implicated in 45 separate federal investigations since 1974, he lived
openly and conspicuously in California until 1989 and never spent a day in a US prison.
The DEA, US Customs, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the California
Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement all complained that a number of the probes of Meneses
were stymied by the CIA or unnamed "national security" interests.

Lastly, the CIA-Contra-drugs nexus brings us the case of the US Attorney in San
Francisco who gave back $36,800 to an arrested Nicaraguan drug dealer, which had been
found in his possession. The money was returned after two Contra leaders sent letters to
the court swearing that the drug dealer had been given the cash to buy supplies "for the
reinstatement of democracy in Nicaragua." The letters were hurriedly sealed after
prosecutors invoked the Classified Information Procedures Act, a law designed to keep
national security secrets from leaking out during trials. When a US Senate subcommittee
later inquired of the Justice Department the reason for this unusual turn of events, they
ran into a wall of secrecy. "The Justice Department flipped out to prevent us from getting
access to people, records”find-ing anything out about it," recalled Jack Blum, former
chief counsel to the Kerry Senate subcommittee referred to above, which investigated
allegations of Contra cocaine trafficking. "It was one of the most frustrating exercises
that I can ever recall."23

The more I think about it, it's the difference between manslaughter and murder. It's the
intent. The intent was not to poison black America but to raise money for the Contros,
and they [the CIA] didn't really care what it came from. If it involved selling drugs in
black communities, well, this was the price of admission.
Gary Webb24

CHAPTER 25 : Being the World's Only Superpower Means Never
Having to Say You're Sorry

I will never apologize for the United States of America. I dont care what the facts are.

George Bush 1


Cuba, said US District Judge James Lawrence King on December 17, 1997, "in
outrageous contempt for international law and basic human rights, murdered four human
beings in international airspace." He then proceeded to award $187.6 million to the
families of the Florida-based Cuban pilots who had been shot down in February 1996 by
Cuban jets while on an air mission, destination Cuba.2 (In actuality, the Cuban
government had done no more than any government in the world would have done under
the same circumstances. Havana regarded the planes as within Cuban airspace, of serious
hostile intent, and gave the pilots explicit warning: "You are taking a risk." Planes from
the same organization had gone even further into Cuban territory on earlier occasions and
had been warned by Cuba not to return.)

In November 1996, the federal government gave each of the families a down payment of
$300,000 on the award, the money coming out of frozen Cuban assets.3

Such was justice, anti-communist style.

Totally ignored by the American government, however, was Cuba's lawsuit of May 31,
1999, filed in a Havana court demanding $181.1 billion in US compensation for death
and injury suffered by Cuban citizens in four decades of "war" by Washington against
Cuba. The document outlined American "aggression", ranging from backing for armed
rebel groups within Cuba and the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, to subversion attempts
from the US naval base of Guantanamo and the planting of epidemics on the island.

Cuba said it was demanding $30 million in direct compensation for each of the 3,478
people it said were killed by US actions and $15 million each for the 2,099 injured. It was
also asking $10 million each for the people killed, and $5 million each for the injured, to
repay Cuban society for the costs it has had to assume on their behalf. That was
"substantially less" than the amount per person fixed by US Judge King in the pilots'
case, the document pointed out.
Cuban officials delivered the papers for the suit to the US Interests Section in Havana.
The Americans refused to accept them. The Cuban government subsequently announced
plans to take the lawsuit to an international forum.4


On January 27, 1973, in Paris, the United States signed the "Agreement on Ending the
War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam". Among the principles to which the United States
agreed was the one stated in Article 21: "In pursuance of its traditional policy [sic], the
United States will contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction
of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam [North Vietnam] and throughout Indochina."

Five days later, President Nixon sent a message to the Prime Minister of North Vietnam
in which he stipulated the following:

"(1) The Government of the United States of America will contribute to postwar
reconstruction in North Vietnam without any political conditions. (2) Preliminary United
States studies indicate that the appropriate programs for the United States contribution to
postwar reconstruction will fall in the range of $3.25 billion of grant aid over 5 years."5

Nothing of the promised reconstruction aid was ever paid. Or ever will be.

However”deep breath here”Vietnam has been compensating the United States. In 1997
it began to pay off about $145 million in debts left by the defeated South Vietnamese
government for American food and infrastructure aid. Thus, Hanoi is reimbursing the
United States for part of the cost of the war waged against it.6

How can this be? The proper legal term is "extortion". The enforcers employed by
Washington included the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Export-
Import Bank, the Paris Club and the rest of the international financial mafia. The
Vietnamese were made an offer they couldn't refuse: Pay up or subject yourself to
exquisite forms of economic torture, even worse than the considerable maiming youVe
already experienced at the hands of our godfathers.7

At the Vietnamese embassy in Washington (a small office in an office building), the First
Secretary for Press Affairs, Mr. Le Dzung, told the author in 1997 that this matter, as well
as Nixon's unpaid billions, are rather emotional issues in Vietnam, but the government is
powerless to change the way the world works.


Under siege by the United States and its Contra proxy army for several years, Nicaragua
filed suit in 1984 in the World Court (International Court of Justice), the principal
judicial organ of the United Nations, located in The Hague, Netherlands, for relief from
the constant onslaught, which included mining its harbors. The Court ruled in 1986 that
the US was in violation of international law for a host of reasons, stated that Washington
"is under a duty immediately to cease and to refrain from all such acts [of hostility]" and
"is under an obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury".

Anticipating the suit, the Reagan administration had done the decent and right thing: it
announced, on April 6, 1984, three days before Nicaragua's filing, that the US would not
recognize the World Court's jurisdiction in matters concerning Central America for a
two-year period.

Apart from the awesome arbitrariness of this proclamation, the courts ruling of June 27,
1986 actually came after the two-year period had expired, but the United States ignored it
anyway. Washington did not slow down its hostile acts against Nicaragua, nor did it ever
pay a penny in reparation.8


The April 1986 American bombing of Libya took the lives of scores of people and
wounded another hundred or so. The dead included Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi's
young daughter; all of Qaddafi's other seven children as well as his wife were
hospitalized, suffering from shock and various injuries. A year later, 65 claims were filed
with the White House and the Department of Defense under the Federal Tort Claims Act
and the Foreign Claims Act, on behalf of those killed or injured. The claimants, who were
asking for up to $5 million for each wrongful death, included Libyans, Greeks,
Egyptians, Yugoslavs and Lebanese.9 Before long, the number of claimants reached to
about 340, but none of their claims got anywhere in the American judicial system, with
the Supreme Court declining to hear the case.10


For several years following the American invasion of 1989, with its highly destructive
bombing and ground combat, many individual Panamanians tried in various ways to
receive compensation for the death or injury of themselves or family members, or the
wreckage of their homes or businesses. But their legal claims and suits were met by an
implacable US government. One American law firm filed claims on behalf of some 200
Panamanians (all non-combatants), first in Panama with US military officials”under
provisions of the Panama Canal treaty”who rejected the claims, then in two suits filed in
US courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court, with each of the courts declining to hear
the cases.11

During the years 1990 to 1993, some 300 Panamanians petitioned the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) for a
finding that the United States had violated many of their rights and was liable for "just
In 1993, the Commission ruled the petition "admissible". But as of fall 1999, it was still
pending as to its "merits", which were being "studied".12 It should be borne in mind that
over the years, the United States has wielded inordinate influence in the OAS, far more
than any other member. Witness Washington's success in getting Cuba suspended from
the organization in 1962 and kept out to the present time despite repeated, growing and
publicly-expressed support for Cuba's reinstatement by other OAS members.

There was a report some years ago that a few small payments” seemingly somewhat
arbitrary”had been made "on the ground" by US officials to Panamanians in Panama.
But in December 1999, the State Department Press Office dealing with Panama stated
that "the United States has not paid any compensation for combat-related deaths or
injuries or property damage due to Operation Just Cause" (this being the not-tongue-in-
cheek name given to the American invasion and bombing).13 Some of the American aid
given to Panama since 1989, the State Department added, has been used by Panama for
such purposes. The State Department puts the matter thus, it would appear, to make it
clear to the world that they do not feel any guilt or responsibility for what they did to the
people of Panama and will not succumb to any kind of coercion to pay any compensation.

On December 20, 1999, the tenth anniversary of the American invasion, hundreds of
Panamanians took to the streets to demand once again that the US pay damages to
civilian victims of the bombing.


The El-Shifa pharmaceutical plant had raised Sudanese medicinal self-sufficiency from
less than five percent to more than 50 percent, while producing about 90 percent of the
drugs used to treat the most deadly illnesses in this desperately poor country. But on
August 20, 1998, the United States saw fit to send more than a dozen Tomahawk cruise
missiles screaming into the plant, in an instant depriving the people of Sudan of their
achievement. Based on a covertly acquired soil sample, Washington claimed that the
plant was producing chemical weapons. At the same time the US gave the world the clear
impression that the factory's owner, Saleh Idris, was a close associate of terrorists and
was involved in money laundering. Washington proceeded to freeze $24 million in Idris's
London bank accounts. But the US was never able to prove any of its assertions, while
every piece of evidence and every expert testimony that surfaced categorically
contradicted the claim about chemical weapons.14 The case fell apart completely, and in
the meantime, Idris sued to recover his money as well as compensation for his pulverized

Finally, in May 1999, the United States unfroze Idris's accounts rather than contest his
suit because they knew they had no case. But as of the end of that year, the US had yet to
apologize to Sudan or to Idris for the plant's destruction, or for the serious harm done to
his reputation, and had yet to compensate him for the loss of the plant and the loss of
business, nor the plant's employees for the loss of their jobs and income, or the ten people
who were injured. The degree of Washington's arrogance in the whole matter was
stunning, from the initial act on. "Never before," observed former CIA official Milt
Bearden, "has a single soil sample prompted an act of war against a sovereign state."15


The American government and media had a lot of fun with an obvious piece of Iraqi
propaganda”the claim that a biological warfare facility, bombed during the Gulf War in
1991, had actually been a baby food factory. But it turned out that the government of
New Zealand, whose technicians had visited the site repeatedly, and various other
business people from New Zealand who had had intimate contact with the factory,
categorically confirmed that it had indeed been a baby food factory. The French
contractor who had built the place said the same. But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, Colin Powell, insisted: "It was a biological weapons facility, of that we are sure."16
As to American compensation...this stood as much chance as a ground war with Russia in
the wintertime.


An exception? After the United States bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May
1999, Washington apologized profusely to Beijing, blaming outdated maps and such. But
this, it appears, was just a cover for the fact that the bombing wasn't actually an accident.
Two reports in The Observer of London in October and November, based on NATO and
US military and intelligence sources, revealed that the embassy had been targeted after
NATO discovered that it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications.
The Chinese were doing this after NATO jets had successfully silenced the Yugoslav
government's own transmitters.17

Over and above the military need, there may have been a political purpose served. China
is clearly the principal barrier to US hegemony in Asia. The bombing of the embassy was
perhaps Washington's charming way of telling Beijing that this is only a small sample of
what can happen to you if you have any ideas of resisting the American juggernaut.
Being able to have a much better than usual "plausible denial" for carrying out such a
bombing may have been irresistible to American leaders. The chance would never come

All of US/NATO's other bombing "mistakes" in Yugoslavia were typically followed by
their spokesman telling the world: "We regret the loss of life." These same words were
used by the IRA in Northern Ireland on a number of occasions over the years following
one of their bombings which appeared to have struck the wrong target. But their actions
were invariably called "terrorist".


. 31
( 42 .)