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1983 on Bush™s office had been a “control point” for about the issue that so dominated the Iran-Contra during the Iran-Contra investigations. “I set this in
Contra-supply operations by Israeli agents out of hearings. The “diversion” of Iran arms profits to the motion with my Israeli counterpart, David Kimche, over
Panama, Honduras and El Salvador. He fingered Bush™s Contras, he warned us, was never more than a decoy to a year ago.” Kimche was a top Israeli intelligence

expert, and what he had set in motion, according to Sandinista hero, at La Penca, Nicaragua to denounce the Rica, engineered by [this author] Russell Bowen,
Brenneke, was a joint Israeli-U.S. paramilitary operation CIA™s role in the Contra war. Is it possible that the La directed by control officer Haines
against the Sandinistas. Penca bombing, which specifically targeted journalists, was l The initiative through ex-President Figueras to allow

The Israelis had long been involved in Central also planned to eliminate Linda Frazier? the exchange of arms for drugs at airstrips
The following is an Associated Press article:
American affairs. In the late 1970s when the U.S. cut l The setting up of a safe house for terrorists

aid to the region™s various pariah regimes, including sympathetic to the U.S.
Anastasio Somoza™s Nicaraguan dictatorship, weapons IRAN-CONTRA” l The setting up of a bank with Bob White of the IRS-

Alexandria, VA-The former CIA Station Chief in
merchants from Tel Aviv and Haifa picked up the slack. DUCK Operation in order to launder drug money with
Costa Rica, Joseph Fernandez, pleaded innocent Monday
As the Somocistas gradually transformed into the Panama
to four criminal charges based on his role in the Zrun-
Contras in the early 198Os, Israeli entrepreneurs simply l The plan to eliminate Commandante Zero (Eden

Contra a&r. U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton set a trial
followed the market. By late 1982, the CIA, working Pastora)
for July IO, then released Fernandez on his personal
with the Mossad, had set up a covert pipeline to the l The plan to blow up the walls of the U.S. embassy to

recognizance. He set May 12for motions on how to handle
newborn Contras, running from arms marts in Eastern help start a southern front
classified informution that may come up during the trial.
Europe, through warehouses in Texas and North l The plan to create and operate a CIA free-operating

An indictmentj?led by Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh
Carolina, to bases in Costa Rica and Honduras. state in Costa Rica, a neutral country
alleges that Femandez, who operated under the pseudonym
In the author™s version and experience there is a lot Early in the Iran-Contra investigations, the Senate
Tomas Castillo, lied about plans to build an airstrip in
more to this. Intelligence Committee produced a secret report that
On Friday, May 27,1983, the Tic; Times of San Costa Rica to supply the Nicaraguan Contras at the time focused on the Israeli connection. But, as the hearings
of a congressional ban on military aid to the guerrillas.
Jose, Costa Rica, under the headline “U.S. Beating progressed and political sensitivities came into play, the
Victim Back in Texas”, reported that Mark Clark, ˜“The He also is charged with lying to investigators when he search for culprits veered away from our most important
denied that then-White House aide Oliver North was
U.S. tourist who was mugged on a Gulfito Street, then Middle Eastern ally to less-valued scapegoats.
involved in the Contra supply operation.
apparently falsely accused of murdering a Civil Guard, It was only when Brenneke stepped forward in early
The following are excerpts from an Associated
viciously beaten by a group of police in the middle of the 1988 that suspicion swung to Jerusalem. In light of the
Press storyI
street, and held in jail for a week, is home in Houston, story he told, the Pink Team Plan looked like part of a
Washington-A federal judge threw out the Iran-
Texas, sore and bitter.” much larger scheme linking Bush™s office to the deepest
Contra case against a former CIA Station Chief Friday, two
Many serious questions still linger about this event secret of Reagan™s clandestine war.
days after Attorney General Dick Thornburgh barred
eight years later but, to my knowledge, there has never If you believe Brenneke, Gregg became Bush™s
courtroom use ofclas$ed information on CIA facilities
been any further investigation into the mugging, beating National Security Adviser specifically to coordinate Israel™s
and programs in Central America.
and escape of Clark from Costa Rica. The following is Contra account. In fact, Brenneke claims he phoned
The information, protected by an affidavit that Mr.
only a partial list of the unanswered questions which Gregg™s office repeatedly beginning in 1983 to seek
Thornburgh filed Wednesday, concerns the locations of
spring immediately to mind: instructions for Israeli supply masters.
three CIA facilities, including stations in El Salvador and
Why was Clark (if that was even his real name) Gregg told Frank Snepp and King that he is “morally

Honduras. The government also refuses to allow &tails to
in Gulfito at that time, and how did he come to be certain” that he never talked to Brenneke, whom he
sulfate in court about three CIA programs in Costa Rica
mugged? considers a liar, and Brenneke has not been able to
where Mr. Femandez was CIA.
If he had actually been victimized, why would he document the missions he claims to have flown for the

On July 24, the day Mr. Fernandez™s trial was to
have been charged with murdering a Civil U.S.-Israeli network. Still, evidence of massive Israeli
begin, Judge Hilton rejected a last-minute proposal by the
Guardsman? complicity in Contragate, the core of bis allegations, is now
Justice Department and Independent Counsel to substitute
If he was not responsible for the death of the persuasive.

numbers for the CIA facilities and to drop part of one
guardsman, what has been the disposition of the In 1989, at North™s trial, the Bush Administration
charge dealing with an airstrip to avoid delving into the
murder investigation by the Costa Rican authorities? cracked the window. According to its plan, in 1983, Casey
Why would Clark have been beaten by other Costa proposed and retired-General Secord negotiated a joint

Mr. Fenandez was indicted on four charges, including supply venture with the Israelis. known as Operation
Rican guards, if he had himself been mugged?
making false statements and obstructing inquiries into the Tipped Kettle.
Is it possible that he was actually involved in the

Iran-Contra aflair by the CIA Inspector General and the
killing? Under this arrangement, the Pentagon was to receive a
presidentially-appointed Tower Commission.
How did he receive messages to learn that a hold substantial consignment of captured PLO weapons and then

The retired CIA officer called Judge Hilton™s decision
had been listed against his name by Costa Rican pass them to the CIA for distribution. In return, the
“wonderful” but said he was troubled that CIA operatives
immigration officials, as the article reported? Administration promised “flexibility” in meeting Israel™s
performing what he called legitimate duties- could be
How could he possibly have escaped from the. own financial needs, the kind of trade-off that would

subjected to political motivation.
Gulfito jail with accomplices, or was he actually under characterize the Reagan-Bush approach to all “third-
house arrest, and, if so, why would that have been Fernandez™ CIA programs had the following country” support of the Contras.
How much Bush™s staff knew of Operation Tipped
permitted in the case of a capital crime? results:
Kettle cannot be determined. But, shortly after the Israeli
l Who else helped Clark escape? l Transcripts and witnesses were made available to the

Why does the escapee from Costa Rica ˜escape the government of Costa Rica proving that ex-President Jose aid spigot began to flow, the National Security Council

scrutiny of Iran-Contra Investigators? Figueras was an admitted CIA agent while president. expanded the Vice President™s role in all covert operations.
Since Clark™s escape, private individuals attempting l Robert Vesco was allowed to remain in Costa Rica by By the following November, according to two NSC memos
to reconstruct the details of the event have been told by this same ex-President, while the U.S. government available to (but never utilized by) Iran-Contra
employees of the Tico Times that the newspaper office allegedly had warrants for his arrest. investigators, the Vice President was asked routinely to
burned down and the original issues were lost in the fire. “concur” in major supply shipments to the Contras.
l “Vesco” got an offer from this same CIA-agent

The replacement issues with which they were provided President that he could not refuse: to go to Cuba as CIA Even more, he was beginning to show up where the
carried a completely different story in the section Station Chief and to infiltrate Castro through the Contras needed special friends. In December 1983, for
previously containing the Clark escape story by Linda “bowels” of drugs imported into the U.S.A.-guaranteed instance, with Gregg and North in tow, Bush headed to
Frazier. She was one of the eight journalists and Contras market from Robert Haynes to Costa Rica to Cuba to Panama to confer with the dark angel himself, General
killed in the bombing of a press conference held almost U.S.A. Noriega. Israeli intelligence sources, including a Mossad
exactly one year later by Eden Pastora, the dissident former l The escape of Mark Clark, May 20, 1983, from Costa operative named William Northrop, have stated that
Page 16 DECEMBER 27, 1999

˜%rn?™ intelligence in 1985 linking him to drug trafficking
Panama was by now the switching station for Israeli supply either. By early spring, Felix Rodriguez, longtime friend of
or anything that might have disqualified him as an ally.
lines reaching™into Costa Rica and Honduras, and former his National Security Adviser, had become Bush™s eyes and
Again North™s notebooks raise serious questions. A
Noriega aide Jose Blandon claims that his ex-boss had ears inside the Salvadoran military.
recently released entry reveals that at the moment of the
become a virtual protege of me Israelis™ man on the scene, From the moment Contragate hit the front pages,
Managua operation, Bush was complaining to other U.S.
former Mossad superagent Michael Harari. Rodriguez was Bush™s Oliver North, an inconvenient gun-
officials about narco-trafficking in Panama. “VP distressed
To judge from official accounts, Bush and Noriega bearer whose excesses threatened to backfire on the patron
about drug business,” wrote North in March 1985.
engaged in little more than diplomatic small talk, but himself. No one could deny the two knew each other.
By the following summer, the taint of drugs was
Blandon says the get-together persuaded him to get behind The public record showed that Rodriguez had met three
seeping through the entire Contra supply system as contract
the Contras. Blandon™s credibility has been challenged by times with the Vice President, fit in January 1985, and
pilots often doubled as mules for the cartel. On top of this,
Bush supporters, but one thing is certain: Over the next again in May 1986, and had made over a dozen phone calls
the press and Congress were beginning to suspect a scandal.
year-and-a-half, Noriega became one of the Contras™ to Bush™s staff. But a “chronology” released by Bush™s
On August 8, the New York Times said the Contras were
staunchest supporters. office on the eve of the Iran-Contra investigations
getting military advice from White House officials, and
The Contras now needed all the support they could get, effectively “sanitized” these contacts, implying that
within days the House Intelligence Committee launched an
for U.S. aid transfusions were drying up. By spring of Rodriguez only discussed with Bush his work as a “counter-
inquiry that could hardly have gone unnoticed in the Vice
1984, the CIA™s audacious mining of Nicaraguan harbors insurgency expert” in El Salvador.
President™s office.
had so infuriated Congress that an aid shutdown was Like most good cover stories, this one contained a seed
As publicity and corruption began to crimp the
planned, and pressure was mounting on the Administration of truth. zFrom March to September 1985, Rodriguez flew
machinery, North and his collaborators shifted to a new
to find alternate supply sources. about 100 combat missions against Salvadoran rebels from
tact, urging Secord to set up a supply shuttle. By
In March, according to the North trial, Casey proposed Ilopango airfield in El Salvador. But where Bush and his
September, this allegedly private enterprise was taking
another aid pitch to the Israelis (the result was Operation apologists played false was in casting the Salvadoran
shape so rapidly that its principals were already scouting for
Tipped Kettle Zr>and, shortly thereafter, newly appointed venture as unconnected with the Contra War. The North
air bases. It was at this point™that the Vice President™s staff
National Security Adviser McFarlane persuaded the Saudis stipulation makes clear that from June 1984 onward, the
stepped into the center of the Contra supply muddle.
to contribute $1 million a month to the Contras™ war chest. Administration saw El Salvador as a crucial launchpad for
The tip-off comes in a North diary entry dated
With that, the stage was set for what now appears to have Contra supply deliveries. It™s also apparent from this
September 10, 1985. On that day, says North, he met with
been Bush™s initiation into Contragate. document that by the time Rodriguez planted himself at
Gregg and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military adviser in
The baptism came at a White House meeting on June Ilopango, the Salvadoran regime had agreed to let the air
El Salvador, to discuss Contra-related logistic problems.
25, 1984 on how to keep the Contras alive. Initially, Iran- base be used by gunrunners servicing the Resistance.
During the Iran-Contra hearings, investigators released only
Contra investigators dismissed the session as a moderately During the Iran-Contra investigation, the Vice
a fragment of this note, a fragment so artfully censored by
important policy review. But, in light of evidence at President™s staff maintained that Rodriguez hadn™t become
the White House and North™s own lawyers that little could
North™s trial, it appears to have been a pirate™s ball, As involved until September 1985. But some sources allege
be made of it.
Bush and the President looked on approvingly, Casey took that he was recruited into the Israeli network as early as
Its very brevity gave Gregg an excuse to deny that the
1983. In his recent autobiography, Shadow Warrior, he
the floor to argue for a radical new approach to Contra
meeting had taken place. That smokescreen has since
acknowledges: “Like many of my friends in Miami, I™d
resupply, including bribing countries like Honduras and
In 1988 testimony to congressional
Costa Rica to lend support, been actively helping the Contras since the early eighties.”
investigators, Steele confirmed the meeting had occurred.
According to recently declassified notes, Bush cheered Even though Bush claims he knew nothing of this, it
Though he denied having discussed the Contras at that
Casey enthusiastically, asking at one point how anyone can now be shown that he helped set up one of Rodriguez™s
meeting, portions of North™s notebooks contradict him.
could object “to the U.S. encouraging third parties to early supply runs. As the government admitted at North™s
They also contain such a detailed account of the get-
provide help to the antisandinistas”. He worried that the trial, Bush came up with a clever pump-pruner before his
together that they cinch the case for Gregg™s own
Administration might be seen to be trading favors for such trip to Honduras in March 1985. Hoping, apparently, to
assistance. But evidently, over the next several months, this convince the locals that the Resistance had friends
What emerges is a picture of three knowledgeable
concern faded. From a mere advocate of Casey™s plan, everywhere, he proposed that a private group “supportive of
officials huddled around a conference table, weighing the
Bush allowed himself.to be converted into an active player. the Resistance” fly medical supplies to Tegucigalpa to
merits of Ilopango over Aguacate in Honduras as a
Tbe following February, with U.S. military aid now cut coincide with his own arrival there. The North stipulation
principal Contra supply base. One participant (North does
off, a group of senior Administration officials, including does not identify the private group, but in his
not say who) complained of “radar coverage” at Aguacate
North and Deputy National Security Adviser Poindexter, autobiography, Rodriguez reveals that he made a supply
and noted that Contra leader Emique Bermudez “was
plotted out a battle plan for Honduras. drop as Bush was arriving.
prepared to devote a special ops unit [to sit] astride” rebel
According to the North stipulation, they drafted a letter Nor were supply deliveries Bush™s only immediate
supply lines threatening an unidentified site in El Salvador.
to Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova, promising concern. During the Iran-Contra hearings, investigators
There was also discussion of a trip by Bermudez to
him “enticements”, including increased aid, if he could hop came across an entry recording a meeting on January 23
Ilopango “to estab[lish] log[istics] support/maint[enance]“.
between North and the Vice President that dealt with
on the Contras™ bandwagon.
The September 10 meeting, with Gregg front and
“CentAM CIA” (Central American covert action). No one
Already U.S. economic assistance to his regime had
center, apparently hastened the Contra resupply overhaul,
been frozen to soften him up, and in early March it paid could guess what this signified. But a passage from
for soon afterward the pieces fell into place. On Steele™s
off. Suazo said yes. On the 16*, George Bush hurried to North™s notebook shows that one “CentAm CIA” high on
advice, North decided to enlist Rodriguez™s services, and on
the Lieutenant Colonel™s priority list in early 1985 was a
Tegucigalpa to hand him a basket of benefits to compensate
September 30, as Rodriguez admitted at the Iran-Contra
for what we had held back. Thus did the Vice President planned sabotage mission inside Nicaragua involving
hearings, he called North to tell him “it was a go”. In his
become the bagman in what amounted to an officially General Noriega of Panama.
testimony, Rodriguez neglected to say that he also placed a
sanctioned extortion scheme. Given Bush™s expanding role in covert planning, North
call to Gregg that day, but Gregg™s own phone logs,
may have briefed him on this operation. How much he
Nor was Honduras the Administration™s only “touch”.
obtained in a 1988 lawsuit, confirm that he did. They also
The previous August, according to recently revealed may have told him cam-rotbe determined, but on March 6,
reflect a call from North, suggesting that everybody with a
Panamanian sappers backed by British mercenaries blew up
evidence, Secretary of State Sh ltz had proposed a similar
stake in &cord™s new setup was now gabbing openly about


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