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Col. James E. Sabow USMC


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"....Are their 'assassin teams' still operating? Are there "clean up artist" embeded in the media?.... does a bear crap in the woods?". BAT-316; SoA D-8 RTC SEC C

".....It was just four paragraphs under the heading “Other Matters” dealing with Marine Corps operations for next year, but each word reverberated at Quantico like a shot from a 105mm Howitzer.

Buried in the hundreds of pages that comprise the 2004 Defense Authorization Act, was the order that the mysterious death of Col. John Sabow, USMC, be reviewed and that “experts outside the Defense Department” investigate the medical and forensic evidence from the 12 year-old shotgun death.

Thanks to California Congressman Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the Marine Corps will no longer have absolute control on what is revealed by the new probe. And that could open a Pandora’s Box when the cover-up of Sabow’s murder is revealed.

More than 12 years has gone by since the colonel’s body was discovered outside his quarters at El Toro MCAS in California, a shotgun by his side. Evidence the Marine Corps chose to ignore showed Sabow did not commit “suicide.” For all these years, the Corps refused to re-examine the case. Politicians and most of the establishment media declined to get involved. Until now.

“This is something I have prayed for so long,” said Dr. David Sabow from his home in South Dakota. “My brother was murdered and his name blackened all this time. Now, at last, we may get to the bottom of what really happened!

".... various authors can be accessed from one location..".

Investigation of the death of Colonel James Sabow, USMC

The investigation of the circumstances of the death of Colonel James E. Sabow is continued in this report. The extraordinary quality of the photographs of the crime scene and autopsy was instrumental for this examination. Evaluation of the gunshot residue, back spatter residue, cranial injuries, blood spatter, the Colonel s bathrobe and the position of the body lead to the conclusion that Colonel James Sabow was murdered and an attempt was made to stage the body to appear that he committed suicide. The Colonel was rendered unconscious and mortally wounded by a devastating blow by a broad, flat club to the right occipital region of his skull prior to the intraoral shotgun blast. The reconstruction of the homicide crime scene indicates that three or more assailants were likely.

Summary of the case, by Dr, David Sabow

Shotgun Death of Col. James Sabow By Dr. Jon Nordby

Dr. Jon Nordby was retained by the Deaprtment of Defense to reanalyze all the evidence in this case. This is a link to the massive report by Dr. Nordby. Dr. Nordby concluded that Col. Sabow committed suicide.

Dr. David Sabow Critiques Dr. Nordby's Report

Bryan Burnett Critiques Dr. Nordby's Report

Investigation of the death of Colonel James Sabow:

Gunshot residue, backspatter and crime scene analysis.

Colonel James E. Sabow , USMC, died on January 22, 1991. He was found dead in the backyard of his home on the Marine Corps air base at MCAS, EL Torro, California. The circumstances of his death have been controversial for more than fourteen years. The gunshot residue (GSR) investigation in this case had remained, until this paper, incomplete. This paper examines the GSR as well as the backspatter residue associated with the clothing of Col Sabow. The results show that it is highly probable that the Colonel did not commit suicide, but was murdered. Enhanced photographs of the crime scene and autopsy also support the homicide scenario.

Letter to Congressman Duncan Hunter from Attorney Michael Jacobs (December 24, 2006)

Attorney Michael Jacobs recently retired from the Homicide Trials Division, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, has reviewed over 400 suspicious death cases and after reviewing the evidence of the Colonel Sabow death has concluded that this is a homicide.

Letter to Alberto Gonzales from Congressman Duncan Hunter (April 19, 2007)

Congressman Duncan Hunter, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, has been involved in this case since 2003 when he requested a reinvestigation of the Colonel Sabow death through the Armed Services Appropriation Bill of 2004. The recent submission of the report by Bryan Burnett and Dr. Sabow, and more importantly, the letter from attorney Michael Jacobs, recently retired chief of the Homicide Trials Division of the Orange County’s District Attorney’s Office (El Torro Marine Air Corps Base was located in Orange County, CA).

Letter to Congressman Hunter from the Department of Justice (May 17, 2007)

The response letter from the Department of Justice to Congressman Duncan Hunter. The lack of a personal letter from Alberto Gonzales displays the continued lack of interest on the part of the Department of Justice to investigate the Sabow homicide.

Semper Fidelis – The Homicide of Colonel James E. Sabow

Dr. J. David Sabow, the brother of Colonel James Sabow, has devoted enormous amounts of time and resources into the investigation of the death of his brother. Dr. Sabow kept a diary of his extraordinary observations and experiences. This account of the events before, during and almost a year after the homicide is presented here.

[Edited by Bryan Burnett]

Sort of like the JFK matter.... the MO lives on.

Edited by William Plumlee
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  • 3 months later...

Part of the article: [i'll post full article on May 15th]

".......has spent many of his waking moments gathering evidence to prove something he knew instinctively – that his brother would not have killed himself, and that someone other than his brother had fired the shotgun. His determination to prove that it was murder and not suicide has cost him his life savings, most of his earnings, and, as a final blow, he is now being forced to sell his home nestled in the Black Hills of western South Dakota to pay for the accumulated debts he has incurred over the years. The burden bthat this case has laid over him and his family is one that is difficult to describe.

Dr. Sabow has lived in nearly perpetual outrage, not only because of the murder itself but also because of the 15-year Pentagon cover-up.

Military officials have surpassed themselves in their efforts to deny the charges that Col. Sabow was murdered -- denials which have only increased

Dr. Sabow's resolve to prove otherwise.

The Murder

eThe forensic scientist who proved Dr. Sabow's theory of outright murder – Bryan Burnett – studied in minute detail all the evidence gathered at the scene by investigators in the immediate aftermath of Col. Sabow's death, including results of the initial crime scene investigation, the photos taken by the crime scene investigators, Col. Sabow's clothing, the shotgun used in the killing, as well as the pathology report by the Orange County, California, medical examiner.

Burnett's conclusions were definite: without question Col. Sabow was the victim of a murder, and not of a suicide.

Burnett based his report on irrefutable evidence, beginning with firing tests of the shotgun, which clearly showed that it leaked gunshot residue when it was fired.

According to the scenario by the Naval Investigative Service and the Pentagon, Col. Sabow was seated in a patio chair in his backyard. e scene scripted by these two organizations was that Col. Sabow placed the butt of the double-barreled shotgun on the ground next to his right foot with the breech against his right leg. eThen, while holding the barrel in hiss mouth with his left hand, he supposedly reached down to discharge the weapon with his right hand.

Because all the tests performed on the gun have proven that it leaked gunshot residue from the breech and the trigger housing, if suicide was the means of his death, then his right hand would contain evidence of gunshot resi-due.

According to their own tests, which were performed for the government by the Riverside County, California, forensic laboratory, there was no evidence of

gunshot residue on Colonel Sabow's right hand. Moreover, in this same situation, gunshot residue would have covered that portion of the pajama leg or that part of the bathrobe that would have been in contact with the breech of the shotgun.

All tests prove that there was either no gunshot residue whatsoever, or a minimal amount in these areas. Significantly, none of the residue was found on Col. Sabow's right hand: the hand which would have pulled the trigger had he committed suicide.

Because of the position of the bathrobe, which had been carefully tucked around his legs by the killers, the residue would have shown on the bathrobe but not on the pajamas, which the killers covered by the tucking in the bathrobe. eThere was a small amountt of residue on the pajamas, but it was in areas under the bathrobe.

Neither the pajamas nor the bathrobe showed levels of gunshot residue, which would confirm that the breech of the shotgun in contact was in contact with the right leg, which it would have been if it were really suicide.

Clearly, the shotgun was fired when the breech was away from the body. Further evidence of murder accumulates when Burnett pointed out that a suicide victim does not jump from a sitting position to a fully extended body position. Instead, such a victim would merely slump in the chair after death. What would make such a jump impossible is the immediate destruction of the brain stem from the shotgun blast when all the muscles would become flaccid.

Further, blood spatter that was found on the grass near the body as well as on Col. Sabow's left wrist indicates that the expiration of blood was occurring prior to the shotgun blast. The colonel was bleeding on the grass before the shotgun was fired.

Burnett also found that the bruising of the back of Col. Sabow's head shows the impression of the end of the club used to strike him. He found that the bruising of the right ear and around the eyes is typical of a basilar skull fracture. Col. Sabow had undergone seizures after being clubbed, again, prior to the shotgun blast, as indicated by the lip and tongue injuries detected on his body.

Skull X-rays taken at the autopsy were reviewed both by independent neurosurgery and neuro-radiology experts, all of whom concluded that Col. Sabow had been struck on the head by a blunt instrument, resulting in a massive depressed fracture. e The X-rayss from the autopsy report showed that his skull was partially caved in as a result of what was described as "blunt force trauma."

In layman's terms, he had been clubbed before he was made the target of the shotgun blast.

Burnett's analysis is that, after being rendered unconscious by the blow, Colonel Sabow fell on his right side, after which the shotgun was placed in his mouth, fired, and then shoved under his body to simulate suicide. His bathrobe was then carefully but inexplicably tucked around his legs.

The post-mortem examination disclosed another fact – that there was a large amount of blood in Col. Sabow's right lung; solid evidence that he was still

alive before the shotgun was discharged in his mouth by the killers. Had it been suicide, he would have died instantaneously, and there would have been no

inhaling of blood into his lung following death.

According to Burnett's report, the blood spatter both on the grass and on the body is evidence of homicide. He points out that bleeding was occurring

prior to the shotgun blast, explained by basilar skull fractures that occurred as a result of the blow to the head. Both expirated and aspirated blood is evident, which would not occur if the death were by shotgun without the prior blunt force injury.

Bloody blowback shows up on the palm of the left hand (which would not occur if he had committed suicide). And the body position makes no sense if it

were suicide. eThere was no blood on the exterior of the shotgun.

e The bathrobe tucks provide evidence of post-mortem manipulation of the body, that is, the killer or killers arranged his body, the shotgun, and straightened out his bathrobe in their effort to stage the scene. All the assembled evidence offers overwhelming verification of homicide, and there is no evidence that supports suicide.

Even more evidence of murder overlooked by the government was the complete absence of fingerprints on the shotgun used in his death, as well as the absence of bloody blowback. e tThe absence of blowback indicates that the shotgun either had not been exposed to blowback, or it had been cleaned before being placed under the Colonel's body.

It is obvious that a suicide would be unable to wipe a weapon clean. Interestingly, the FBI, when it was asked, has gone on record as saying that rarely are fingerprints found on firearms, which in fact is true in most cases. But what the FBI has omitted in its opinion is that its "rule of thumb" applies generally to pistols and revolvers, but not necessarily to shotguns and rifles, which are much more susceptible to retaining fingerprints.

Moreover, the FBI has no explanation for the absence of bloody blowback on the shotgun, unless removed by outside forces, either by washing or by other means.

Applying Dr. Nordby's logic, the simple failure to find fingerprints on the barrel of the shotgun used to kill Col. Sabow does not by itself mean that they were never there.

In his new report, Dr. Nordby also makes much of what he calls "voids" on Col. Sabow's bathrobe – meaning clean areas on the bathrobe that are devoid of bloodstains. He attributes such voids to those areas having been covered by Col. Sabow's arms at the time of the shotgun blast.

eThe drawings he made of the bathrobe in his report show that Col. Sabow's left arm certainly could have covered the left part of the bathrobe, thereby, preventing blood spatters from hitting that part of the bathrobe which his left arm apparently covered when the gun was fired.

However, Nordby exposes a major flaw in his own investigation by including his diagram of the position of Col. Sabow's right arm relative to the bathrobe, which shows the right arm coming across his chest, downward, in a position that Nordby says would allow the colonel to reach the trigger mechanism of the shotgun.

In this new scenario plotted by Nordby, he would have Col. Sabow holding the shotgun between his legs, rather than alongside his right leg, in order to fit the location of the "void" created by his right arm across his bathrobe.

Unwittingly, Dr. Nordby's diagram showing the location of the "void," or the clean area of the bathrobe covered by his right arm, specifically disproves suicide, providing even more evidence of a murder.

eThe suicide scenario posited by the Naval Investigative Service and the Pentagon, and not refuted by Dr. Nordby in his initial report, was that Col. Sabow

was seated, with his left hand holding the muzzle of the shotgun in his mouth, the gun placed alongside and outside of his right leg with his right hand pulling the trigger. In this scenario, the Colonel's right arm could not possibly have covered the bathrobe in the place that Nordby specfies.

His arm would have been along the right side of the bathrobe, and not the front, which is where Nordby diagrams it. But to justify his suicide theory, in his

supplemental report he was compelled to create a scenario where Col. Sabow held the gun between his legs, and not along-side his right leg – a shift of 180 degrees from his assumption in his first report.

Dr. Nordby seems unable to explain away the staged murder scene, the Colonel's crushed skull, the neatened up bathrobe, or the absence of gunshot residue on his right hand.

Questions Not Answered

Case Not Closed

eTh e murder tof Colonel Sabow is a flawed investigation by the military, and the cover-up together raise many more questions than there are answers.

Why was this Marine hero murdered?

Why did the military investigators carelessly rush to judgment on how he died?

Why have the Pentagon and the FBI made such great efforts to cover up the fact that he was murdered?

More importantly, what are they hiding? It is not an exaggeration to say that the Marine Corps has no interest in exposing their senior officers, nor is it a reach to understand why the military has no interest in exposing their part in illegal arms shipments or illegal drug running, even if the commander in chief had initially ordered the weapons shipments.

Whatever the reason for the cover-up, the result was the murder of a member of the United States Marine Corps who served his country honorably, as he had sworn to do, as well as a blot on the reputation of the United States military.

In her statement, Mrs. Sabow accused the Marine Corps and the federal government of engaging in lies and a cover-up in its report in order to hide the murder of her husband.

Footnote: For those who have a hard time believing that George H.W. Bush could be involved in covert operations, one must consider his experience. He was director of Central Intelligence in the 1970s, and was vice president during the Iran-Contra business in the 1980s. If you remember, at that time, he vehemently denied having anything to do with meeting with the Iranians with respect to trading weapons for hostages. He was, as he said, "out of the loop."

Not long after that denial, and during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's investigation of the matter, I was contacted by a Foreign Relations Committee staff member who asked what I knew about Bush's {to use Sr. to avoid confusion?] involvement. I knew nothing, but I called Beirut and talked to Bassem Abu Sharif, who was then Yasir Arafatâ's top aide. Abu Sharif held me to secrecy, then told me that he was present when Bush and Arafat attended a meeting in Abu Sharif's Beirut home that dealt with trading weapons for hostages.

I asked him why Arafat wouldn't make that public, as it was a hot news item at the time, and his response was that Arafat "didn't want to anger the Americans."

The Motive

eThere is no definite evidence with re-spect to who the murderer or murderers are. eT here is only suspicion, and given the government’s frenzied efforts to cover up the killing, ultimately finding the guilty party or parties will not be easy.

David Sabow believes that his brother, Col. Sabow, was part of a Marine Corps operation flying weapons to South America as part of the arms-for-drugs

operation in the Reagan era, designed to supply the Contras subsidized by the U.S.A. He is also convinced that, not long before his murder, his brother learned of the senior Marine Corps officers who were involved in bringing illegal drugs back into the country.

C-130 cargo planes were geared up so they could fly weapons south to Colombia and to bring back illegal drugs on the return trip to the United States.

Once converted, the C-123s were flown to El Toro Marine Air Station, where a senior officer would authorize the planes tested at China Lake and Twenty-nine Palms, in California, they were staged and once again flown back from El Toro Marine Air Base to Latin America, via Mexico, to be supplied to the Contras, the American-financed rebel group seeking to overthrow the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

e The aircraft used by this group were designated as "cutouts" and certified as belonging to the U.S. Forest Service's air-craft fleet, but they were controlled by U.S. military intelligence, and contracted by civilian operators for whom Plumlee and other pilots worked.

These pilots used secret air bases in Costa Rica, as well as on the notorious John Hull Ranch, as unloading and staging areas for the illegal weapons. eThey also used hidden runways in Costa Rica and El Salvador, controlled by the drug cartel, which then allowed them to bring into the United States drugs on the return trips.

eThese flyways and airstrips were s ecretly recorded by undercover flight crews and reported to various government interdiction agencies in the United

States. In 1986, an early operation known by the code name, "Penetrate," was shut down because of the politically explosive Iran-Contra matter.

In 1990, however, there was still a covert weapons operation – detailed above – that continued to fly weapons to Latin America, mostly to Bogota, Columbia, which allowed the group to bring back illegal drugs into the United States via Mexico.

eThese flyways and staging areas in Mexico were duly noted by undercover pilots and passed on to CIA and DEA personnel. According to Plumlee, an American DEA agent from Guadalajara, Mexico, by the name of Kiki Camarena, was killed because of his knowledge concerning the "CIA-Mexico" thing, as it was widely known among the covert civilian pilots.

Plumlee states that the word being spread from military personnel at El Toro through his group was that Col. Sabow had discovered illegal flights coming into El Toro Marine Air Base at 2 or 3 a.m., obviously carrying illegal contraband, and that he intended to blow the whistle.

He had also heard that Col. Sabow was going to be relieved of his duties because of his intention to report the drug ship-ments. Plumlee is convinced that Col. Sabow was murdered to silence him.

When the weapons were repaired and to be re-fueled at night, and then sent to the Southern Mexico weapons dump to transfer on to Columbia. On the return trip from Columbia, the C-123s brought cocaine back to El Toro, always at night, where the drugs were unloaded.

Tosh Plumlee, one of the civilian pilots running guns for the U.S. government in the 1980s, has told this writer that he made a number of operationally

approved trips to Latin America, trips that were described as "sanctioned drug interdiction operations."

eT hese trips were approved by military intelligence personnel attached to the Pentagon, with CIA logistical support. They were made in total secrecy to the extent that other government agencies were not aware of the existence of these flights, or of the operation.

eThe pilots were given a specific coded transponder number to squawk so their aircraft would not be challenged by U.S. Customs aircraft when patrolling the U.S. border.

When, in the 1980s, the 82 nd and 101 st Airborne were sent to Costa Rica for maneuvers, a great deal of weapons were sent with them. However, some of the weapons did not return to the United States and were later taken off the books by the military, marked as either lost or destroyed and reported to the Government Accounting Office as such.

Plumlee and other pilots have testified to Congress that they were working for a secret U.S. military intelligence operation that clandestinely sent them from the United States to bring back the so-called damaged and disappeared weapons for retrofitting and repair.

APRIL 1-15, 2008

CP

James G. Abourezk is a lawyer practicing in South Dakota. He is a former United States senator and the author of two books, Advise and Dissent, and a co-author of rough Different Eyes.

***************************************************************

I've taken the liberty to put the information in a more concise form due to the way it seemed to be chopped up and pieced together. I hope I haven't left anything out. But, it was very difficult reading it in the form that it was posted.

Was the code name for this, Operation Watchtower?

With all due respect, I think this is extremely important because it outlines to what extent the Reagan administration [a la G.H. Bush] would lend itself to subterfuge, and the type of double-dealing with which the U.S. Government has notably and totally disregarded The Geneva Accords, by engaging in drug and arms running, as well as coercion of foreign nation states, in its implication.

It's deja vu all over again, and again, and again...from Vietnam to Nicaragua to Iraq. And, the Bush family name is all over the place, each and every time.

Ter

Edited by Terry Mauro
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Deleted duplicate post on 05-11-08 19:40 PDT by T. Mauro

Edited by Terry Mauro
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Deleted duplicate post on 05-11-08 19:40 PDT by T. Mauro

http://www.wethepeople.la/cockburn.htm (link to complete Civ. Action # No. 88-0727)

Referenced: The book "Out of Control by Leslie Cockburn 1987" as well as CBS 60 Min. producer Ty West, 1987

".... Richard V. SECORD, Plaintiff,

v.

Leslie COCKBURN, et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 88-0727-GHR.

United States District Court,

District of Columbia.

Aug. 27, 1990

Thomas C. Green, Sharp, Green & Lankford, W. Michael Kramer, Kramer &

Associates, Michael P. McDonald, Center for Individual Rights, Washington,

D.C., for plaintiff. .....

con't

[i]( My notation: The body of this Law suit is 52 pages..... last ten pages of primary interest as to the Regan/Bush/Clinton Drug War of the 80's and 90's

note: This law suit I feel is very revealing and should be used as a reference guide to established facts as to illegal activities conducted over many years in behalf of various agencies of the United States government. It shows a referenced network of illegal activities of 'special interest',and the activities of their lobbyist to circumnavigate the law for their profits at the expense of the American tax payer.

The context of this civil action establishes a patten of deceit which dates back forty plus years as to special interest activities of various administrations within the powers of the White house and its National Security apparatus of the times.

I have not copied the complete body of the work. You can find it on the Web at the link above. However I have copied the last few pages as a reference for serious researchers.

I'm sure some will say, "What does this have to do with the JFK?". My reply.. If you cross check some of the names and operations found in this civil action you will be lead back to JM/WAVE and connected players of the early sixties and beyond and too, the CIA including Bush Sr. CIA Director before becoming President.. Special note reference to "THE DRUG WAR and SECRET AIR BASES in CENTRAL AMERICA)

Selected last pages of the Body of law suit:[/i]

"......... See generally Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at pp 33-43. The

defendant makes the showing that she relied upon many sources which

independently corroborate the statement of the unidentified "observer" whom the

plaintiff characterizes as unreliable. As paragraph 37 of her affidavit

provides:

As I testified at my deposition (Leslie Cockburn Dep. at

221-25) it had also been widely reported prior to the publication of Out of

Control that the programs that Mr. Secord oversaw involved massive bribery.

For example, the Iran-Contra Connection, a book published in 1987 prior to

publication of my book and relied upon by me, reported that:

"In Iran, Hakim made a handsome living selling military

equipment from such firms as Olin Corp., Hewlett-Packard and his own Stanford

Technology Corp. Hakim's STC had a $5.5 million contract to supply the

notorious, CIA-promoted IBEX project, which Secord oversaw. Secord reportedly

helped Hakim win another, $7.5 million contract with Iran's air force for a

sophisticated telephone monitoring system to allow the Shah to keep track of

his top commanders' communications. The Shah's secret police, SAVAK, operated

the equipment. Hakim's business methods were as controversial as his products:

He arranged the latter communications deal through the air force commander,

Gen. Mohammed Khatemi, who Hakim bribed on at least one other deal and who also

received hefty payoffs for approving the IBEX contract." (Exh. 33.)

* * * * * *

"In the most notorious case, the CIA and Rockwell International

pushed on Iran a gigantic electronic spying and communication system called

IBEX....

"The IBEX project smelled for other reasons beyond its

doubtful contribution to Iran's defensive needs. Rockwell paid huge bribes to

Iran's air force commander (and the Shah's brother-in-law), Gen. Mohammed

Khatami, to win approval for the $500 million project. Other military

contractors, including Bell Helicopter, Northrop and Grunman, hired agents who

bribed Iranian officials with handsome commissions, often amounting to millions

of dollars." (Exh. 35) (footnotes omitted) (Iran-Contra Connection at 153).

* * * * * *

"Secord headed the Air Force Military Advisory Group, which in

effect represented the U.S. arms merchants before the Shah.... That job would

have given Secord a direct role (with the CIA) in the shady deal of IBEX...."

(Exh. 35) (Iran-Contra Connection at 156) (footnotes omitted).

I also read and relied upon: Los Angeles Times, February 14,

1987 ("One source who knew him said Secord helped Hakim get Air Force

contracts, including one from the Iranian government for 15 million to install

phone taps at the main Iranian Air Force base. In turn, Hakim provided

intelligence to his contacts among U.S. intelligence officers in Iran.")

(Exh. 40); P. Maas, Manhunt at 59 (Edwin "Wilson had tried to sell the

Iranians [a surveillance system], using the good offices of General Secord in

Teheran, but despite Secord's best efforts, SAVAK wasn't in the market ...")

(Exh. 41); S. Rosenfeld, San Francisco Examiner, December 9, 1986 (linking

both Hakim and Secord to the IBEX project and describing Hakim as a "bag man

for U.S. concerns seeking approval from Iranian officials on military sales")

(Exh. 42).

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 37 (footnote omitted).

Furthermore, paragraph 34 specifically details the basis of the author's

assertion that General Secord did head the Air Force Military Assistance

Advisory Group in Iran in the late 70's:

As one published source stated: "According to his Pentagon

biography Secord 'acted as chief advisor to the commander in chief of the

Iranian air force and managed all U.S. Air Force programs to Iran as well as

some Army and Navy assistance programs.' " J. Marshall, P. Scott and J.

Hunter, Iran-Contra Connection at 156 (Exh. 35). The MAAG, whose Air Force

contingent was headed by Secord, according to the authors "in effect

represented the U.S. arms merchants before the Shah." Id.

"Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi himself complained that he

sometimes was unable to tell whether various weapons systems were promoted to

further U.S. policy or to generate profits for defense contractors and fees for

their representatives....

" 'You Americans pretend to be so righteous,' fumed the

ruler when U.S. Senate investigators were alleging corruption by Iranian

military commanders in connection with defense contractors.

" 'But,' he continued in the presence of a high American

official, 'it is hard for me to believe that your MAAG officers (the military

advisory group at the U.S. Embassy) haven't already been hired by American

companies and aren't under their influence.... Are they giving me real advise

or just promoting companies?' " Los Angeles Times, 2/3/80. (Exh. 36).

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 34.

The plaintiff has not cited to any record facts to demonstrate that the

author either knew that the above sources were wrong or had serious doubt as to

their credibility. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Circuit has held that "good faith reliance on previously published sources" as

to the matters at issue "precludes a finding of actual malice as a matter of

law." Liberty Lobby v. Dow Jones, 838 F.2d at 1297.

In regard to the defendant's statements concerning "official profiteering" in

Iran, the plaintiff himself has agreed to an operative definition of the phrase

"official profiteering"; in his deposition the plaintiff admitted that if

there were price differences between the cost of the weapons to the United

States and their subsequent sale to the Iranians then those differences would

constitute "official profiteering" unless actually incurred expenses justified

the cost differentials. Secord Deposition (II) (attached to Ringel Affidavit )

at 21-30.

The author's affidavit provides:

It was well-known that the Shah was paying inflated prices for

U.S. equipment at this time and I had seen several documents demonstrating

this. For example, as noted in The Iran-Contra Connection at 156,

"Erich von Marbod, [who] had worked closely with Secord to

arrange covert financing for CIA-directed Thai guerillas fighting in Laos in

the early 1970s ... championed the Carter administration's controversial

proposal to sell Iran 8 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes, a

system blasted by the General Accounting Office as too advanced for Iran's

needs and overpriced." (Exh. 35)

The AWACS planes were to have been sold to the Iranians at

$102.671 million each (in addition to a separate $510.2 million contribution

for spares, maintenance support, site surveys and training) under a 1977

contract; a year later, the United States Air Force bought more sophisticated

versions of the same plane for $78.1 million each. T. Gervasi, Arsenal of

Democracy II (1981) ("Arsenal ") at 137. (Exh. 43.) The Khomeni government

cancelled Iran's order, and the planes were never delivered. Id. at 272.

Other military equipment sold or delivered to Iran by the

United States during Mr. Secord's tenure as head of the Air Force MAAG in

Teheran (1975-8) was similarly overpriced as compared to sales to other allies

or to the United States armed services. In 1974, Iran ordered several hundred

AIM 54-A air-to-air missiles for delivery in 1976 through 1978 at a cost of

$708,000 each; the 1976 unit procurement cost to the United States Navy of the

same missiles was $363,823. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute,

World Armament and Disarmament (1978) ("World Armament " ) at 264 (Exh. 44);

Arsenal at 213. Also in 1974, Iran ordered 80 F-14A Tomcat aircraft for

delivery in 1976 and 1977 at a price of $23.750 million each; in 1978, the

unit procurement cost to the United States military was $20.624 million each.

World Armament at 265; Arsenal at 97. In 1978, Iran ordered (and later

cancelled) 160 F-16 aircraft at $14.844 million each; the cost of the same

aircraft to the United States military in 1978 was $9.482 million each.

Arsenal at 272, 283. Iran ordered (and later cancelled) August 1978 delivery

of 186 AIM-9H air intercept missiles for $75,268 each; the 1975 unit

procurement *792 cost to the United States Navy was $17,176 each. Arsenal at

211, 272.

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 41.

The plaintiff has failed to come forward with any record facts to put the

defendant's showing of an absence of evidence on the element of actual malice

into dispute; a reasonable jury would be unable to find under the clear and

convincing standard that the defendant acted with knowing or reckless disregard

for the truth.

3. La Penca Bombing

In regard to the defendant's statements involving the attempted assassination

of Contra leader Eden Pastora at La Penca, see footnote 1 and accompanying

text, supra, the defendant's affidavit provides:

Mr. Secord's name is not used, nor is he referred to by

implication, in connection with La Penca. I did not intend to state that, nor

did I understand the book to accuse Mr. Secord of, playing a role in the La

Penca assassination attempt.

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 18. Although the plaintiff deposed the author

for two full days, he has not been able to point to any record facts to put

into dispute her showing of an absence of evidence in the plaintiff's libel

claim to support the element of actual malice in any implication of the

plaintiff in the La Penca assassination attempt.

The plaintiff contends that the fact that the defendant made her statements

in regard to the La Penca bombing on the basis of an affidavit filed by Danny

Sheehan in Avirgan v. Hull is evidence of actual malice. However, the

plaintiff can point to no record facts to demonstrate that the defendant knew

that the Sheehan affidavit was false or that she had serious doubt as to its

truth.

The plaintiff points to the "paste over page 103 containing the corrections

regarding the alleged involvement of former State Department official Richard

Armitage in drug trafficking." Plaintiff's Opposition at 37. The plaintiff

is referring to the fact that after publication of Out of Control the Sheehan

affidavit in Avirgan v. Hull was amended to delete the portions upon which

Leslie Cockburn relied for certain allegations concerning Richard Armitage. At

the request of Armitage a sticker was affixed in the unshipped copies to the

two pages of the book which discussed Mr. Armitage. That sticker explained the

post-publication withdrawal of Sheehan's original affidavit. (FN9) Entrekin

Affidavit at p 16; Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 17.

The plaintiff's reliance on the Armitage "paste-over" as a fact to show

that the defendant knew the Sheehan affidavit was false or that she had serious

doubt as to its truth is fundamentally misplaced. The Sheehan affidavit was

amended after publication of Out of Control and does not show that at the time

of publication that the defendant knew the affidavit was false or had serious

doubt as to its truth. To argue that evidence of actual malice exists by the

mere fact that subsequent events determine the falsity of a source or statement

would be tantamount to conflating the actual malice and falsity elements of a

libel action. Accordingly, it is hornbook libel law that post-publication

events have no impact whatever on actual malice as it bears on this lawsuit

since the existence or non-existence of such malice must be determined as of

the date of publication. See, e.g., Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United

States, Inc., 466 U.S. 485, 512, 104 S.Ct. 1949, 1965, 80 L.Ed.2d 502 (1984)

(evidence must establish that defendant "realized the inaccuracy at the time of

publication"); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. at 286, 84 S.Ct. at

729 (1964) (malice must be shown "at the time of publication"); Sharon

v. Time, Inc., 599 F.Supp. 538, 564 (S.D.N.Y.1984) ("actual malice rests on the

defendant's state of mind at the time of the publication").

The plaintiff also contends that defendant's reliance on the Sheehan

affidavit is evidence of actual malice because several investigators and

reporters expressed significant doubts in an article in the February/March 1988

issue of Mother Jones about Sheehan's credibility and the veracity of his

allegations. Again, however, this article was published three months after the

publication of Out of Control and accordingly is not relevant to the author's

state of mind at the time of publication. Moreover, even assuming that the

article existed prior to or at the time of publication of Out of Control, and

that the defendant was aware that Sheehan had his detractors, the mere fact

that divided opinion exists among reporters as to the credibility of an

individual does not reflect on the defendant's state of mind and actual malice.

The plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that Ms. Cockburn was aware that other

reporters questioned the reliability of Sheehan. (FN10)

4. Drug Trafficking

This Court repeats that in order to defeat the defendants' motion for summary

judgment the plaintiff must come forward with "evidence in the record [that]

could support a reasonable jury finding that the plaintiff has shown actual

malice by clear and convincing evidence." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477

U.S. at 255-56, 106 S.Ct. at 2514. The plaintiff is unable to meet this

burden with respect to the defendant's statements of and concerning the

plaintiff about drug trafficking in Southeast Asia and in Central America. See

footnote 2 and accompanying text, supra.

The plaintiff contends that "[t]he statements regarding plaintiff's alleged

involvement in drug trafficking in Southeast Asia are drawn from the Sheehan

affidavit and its unnamed sources." Plaintiff's Opposition at 39. (FN11)

The plaintiff states that defendant's reliance on the Sheehan affidavit is a

fact which is illustrative of actual malice. Again, however, the plaintiff

fails to point to any record facts to demonstrate how reliance on the Sheehan

affidavit is probative of defendant's state of mind and actual malice at the

time of publication of Out of Control. See Part 3, supra (this Court's

discussion of the Sheehan affidavit).

The defendant's affidavit provides that with respect to her statements in

regard to drug trafficking in Southeast Asia she relied on much more than the

Sheehan affidavit. The defendant in her affidavit provides a detailed showing

of the absence of evidence to support the element of actual malice in

plaintiff's libel suit on these statements. Her affidavit provides:

Both Vang Pao's and Air America's involvement in opium

trafficking, and the CIA's sponsorship of Vang Pao, were well documented by

accounts I had read prior to publication and which I credited. Those accounts

included A. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (1972); former CIA

agent Victor Marchetti's The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1974); C.

Robbins, Air America: The Story of the CIA's Secret Airlines (1979); and R.

McGehee, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA (1983). These accounts established that

Vang Pao had established a heroin laboratory at Long Tieng--the town where the CIA had its

Laotian quarters (Politics of Heroin at 248-49 and n. 23, 281 and 247: "the U.S. Bureau of

Narcotics reports that Gen. Vang Pao, Commander of the CIA's Secret Army, has

been operating a heroin factory at Long Tieng, headquarters for CIA operations

in northern Laos" (Exh. 32); Air America at 138, 232, 237-38) (Exh. 31); that

the CIA turned a blind eye (or, to use the phrase of Mr. Secord's complaint as

to other matters, "acquiesced in and condoned") towards Vang Pao's narcotics

activities (Air America at 230, 237 ("[w]hile the Meo fought the war for the

CIA, the agency turned a blind eye to their generals' profitable sideline in

opium") (Exh. 33; Cult of Intelligence at 254 (Exh. 34); Politics of Heroin

at 353 (Exh. 32) ("American involvement has gone far beyond coincidental

complicity; embassies have covered up involvement by client governments, CIA

contract airlines have carried opium, and individual CIA agents have winked at

opium traffic"); and the CIA Airline, Air America, carried opium to Long Tieng

and other locations. Id. These books are well respected and credible, and I

believed (and believe today) that the accounts I have referred to are accurate.

(The pages I refer to from these books in this affidavit are attached as Exhs.

32-34.)

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 31; see also Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 32.

In regard to the "the allegations and implications of plaintiff's

alleged participation in drug trafficking in Central America" the only fact to

which the plaintiff points is that a number of the author's sources are

convicted felons. (FN12) The plaintiff apparently is advancing the argument

that anything a convicted felon states is false and accordingly any reliance on

such statements ipso facto constitutes evidence of actual malice. This Court

cannot accept such reasoning. The use of convicted felons cannot alone

constitute a fact of actual malice. Rather, the plaintiff must specifically

establish that there were surrounding circumstances in relying upon a

particular felon as a source which would constitute evidence of a knowing or

reckless disregard of the truth (i.e., the author knew that the particular

felon had a long history of unreliability as a source). The caselaw is clear

that the plaintiff must establish that even in relying upon an otherwise

questionable source the defendant actually possessed subjective doubt. St.

Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. at 730, 88 S.Ct. at 1325; Price v. Viking Penguin,

881 F.2d at 1441; Hardin v. Santa Fe Reporter, 745 F.2d at 1325-26; Loeb v.

New Times Communications, 497 F.Supp. at 93. The plaintiff has pointed to no

record facts to put at issue whether the defendant knew that the allegations of

her sources were false or had serious doubt as to the truth of their

allegations. (FN13)

As the record facts illustrate, the defendant relied upon many

sources other than convicted felons. Her sources included a United States

Senator, Senate staff members, Oliver North's notebooks and testimony before

Congress, and other published sources. See Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at pp

25-28.

Paragraph 25 of her affidavit provides, in part:

[O]n September 24, 1986, the Costa Rican Interior Minister

(Santa Elena is in Costa Rica) announced that his government had discovered and

shut down an airfield (Santa Elena) that he stated had been used for

resupplying the Contras, for drug trafficking or for both. This announcement

was reported in the September 25, 1986 edition of the New York Times (Exh. 12),

which I saw and was subsequently discussed in the Report of the Congressional

Committees investigating the Contra Affair ("Iran-Contra Report") at 142-44

(Exh. 13.) I was also aware that Lewis Tambs, the then-U.S. Ambassador to

Costa Rica was concerned in mid-1986 about the possibility of drug traffickers

using Santa Elena. I knew, for example, that CIA station chief Thomas Castillo

had testified in May, 1987 in his Iran-Contra deposition that Ambassador Tambs

wanted to place armed guards at Santa Elena to avoid the possibility of having

drug traffickers use that site. See Exh. 14 (Castillo Cong. Deposition at 483;

later released by Congress.) Thus, there was a substantial body of

information linking the Santa Elena airstrip, built with Mr. Secord's

assistance, to drug flights. (FN14)

Paragraph 28 provides in part:

I did, of course, have substantial evidence that there were

links between Contra activities generally and drug running. I spoke

with Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics[, Terrorism and International Operations

of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee] members and staff on numerous

occasions prior to publication of Out of Control. Indeed, I reported on the

subcommittee's investigation, which began in the Spring of 1986, in three CBS

broadcasts prepared and broadcast prior to publication of Out of Control. In

addition to the information discussed above, I was aware of a good deal of

information linking the Contra resupply efforts and drug trafficking. For

example:

I was aware that portions of Oliver North's notebooks,

which had been produced by North to the Iran-Contra Committee in 1987,

contained a number of references to drugs or drug-smuggling and that the Senate

Subcommittee on *796 Narcotics intended to subpoena them. These diaries, and

several memoranda that I had seen prior to publication (see, e.g., Exh. 20

(memorandum from Rob Owen to Oliver North, dated April 1, 1985, discussing

"Blackie" Chamorro at p. 3)), reflected that Oliver North--Mr. Secord's contact

with the government in connection with what Mr. Secord has called "The

Enterprise"--was warned repeatedly of drug connections on the part of Contra

leaders and arms suppliers.

As detailed in my July 1987 broadcast for West 57th, two

companies, Ocean Hunter and Frigorificos de Puntarenas, that received over

$200,000 from the State Department for "humanitarian aid" to the Contras, were

deeply involved in cocaine trafficking. My sources for this link included FBI

documents, on-camera interviews, bank records, customs documents, sworn

testimony given to the Kerry Committee, and interviews with defense lawyers,

DEA bounty hunters, and Coast Guard officials, among others. State Department

documents that I had reviewed showed that Robert Owen, who worked directly

under Oliver North in the Contra resupply operation, was overseeing the Ocean

Hunter/Frigorificos accounts while the companies were under active

investigation by the DEA, Customs and the Coast Guard.

A number of newspaper reports published prior to the

release of Out of Control, some quoted in the book, reported allegations of

drug flights being made in connection with the contra effort. (See e.g., Ex.

27.) Many of these articles reported on pending congressional or other

investigations on this subject. See, e.g., "Top 'Contras' Under Scrutiny for

Corruption," Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/86; "2 Hill Panels Probing

Alleged Links Between Contras and Drug Trafficking," Washington Post, 8/8/87;

"U.S. Probing Drug Link to CIA's Flights: Officials Suspect Drug Runners Used

CIA Contra Supply Flights," Boston Globe, 4/25/87; "Inquiry Reported Into

Contra Arms," New York Times, 4/11/86; "Cocaine, Gun Charges Probed,"

Washington Post, 4/11/86; "Four Legislative Panels Study Accusations Against

Contras," Miami Herald, 5/14/86; "Big Bay Area Cocaine Ring Tied to Contras,"

San Francisco Examiner, 3/16/86.

This Court will not quote all of these newspaper articles but quotes one as

part of the defendant's showing in the record that there is an absence of

evidence to support the element of actual malice in the plaintiff's libel claim

in regard to defendant's statements that Contra activities and the activities

of drug traffickers are intimately connected. The April 11, 1986 article in

the Christian Science Monitor provides:

[C]onservative Representative Charles Stenholm (D) of Texas, ...

voted for contra aid. Despite his vote, he is also very concerned about the

allegations of corruption in the contras.

"There is no doubt in my mind that an overwhelming majority of

the members of the House want to stop communism in Nicaragua," he says. "But

the question is: How do you do it? These allegations are troubling, and I

think they are credible. I have spoken to the President, the vice-president,

and the secretary of state about them. We were very much aware of Sandinista

involvement in drugs, which has been well documented. What we did not know is

that maybe the contras are doing it, too."

The congressman, when asked, stated that it was his

understanding that one top FDN leader closely linked to FDN chief Calero was

being investigated by the US Customs Service for charges of alleged involvement

in drug trafficking.

* * * * * *

[John] Mattes [an attorney in the U.S. Public Defenders Office]

also said that in his interviews he discovered "convincing allegations" of

contra gunrunning and drug trafficking.

"A number of very serious allegations have surfaced which

suggests that those involved in the contra movement have engaged in a wide

range of criminal activities in the US and in the region," Senator Kerry told the Monitor.

"The very serious nature of these allegations strongly suggests

the need for a detailed and complete congressional inquiry."

Moreover, the defendant has further shown that there is an absence of

evidence in the record of actual malice behind any statement by the defendant

that the plaintiff himself was aware of the connection between drugs and guns

in the contra supply effort. The defendant's affidavit provides in part:

A prime example of this acquiescence is reflected by the use in

the Contra resupply operation of Contra commander Fernando ("Blackie" or "El

Negro") Chamorro despite knowledge by Oliver North, Rob Owen and Mr. Secord

that he had ties to drug traffickers. As I reported in Out of Control at 88,

Chamorro had been identified by Rob Owen in an April 1, 1985 memorandum to

Oliver North as a problem drinker who surrounded himself with profiteers and

drug runners. (Exh. 20). In an August, 1987 pre-publication telephone

interview I asked Mr. Secord about these allegations and he confirmed that he

had "heard those allegations" and "most of them are true." My notes of

this conversation (which are annexed as Exh. 30) [footnote omitted] read:

"when asked why Blackie Chamorro was chosen as the leading

commander for the southern front in light of Rob Owens memo to North about

drinking, drug trafficking, and stealing money from the USG) 'all we were was a

trucking company. I've heard those allegations. Most of them are true. I

didn't pick them. (the commandantes) the Agency picked them."

(I understand that in his deposition Mr. Secord confirmed the

accuracy of this quotation. Secord Dep. (II) at 244.)

I had other information that supported my conclusion at the

time of publication that Mr. Secord had, in fact, acquiesced in or condoned

drug activity involving the Contras. At the time Out of Control was published

I also knew (because Mr. Secord had told me) that Mr. Secord had commissioned a

former F.B.I. agent in Miami to investigate drug charges involving another arms

dealer working with the Contras (Ronald Martin), and received a report from

this agent that such charges might well be true. Yet Mr. Secord did not pursue

these allegations. (See notes of my conversation with Mr. Secord. (Exh. 30.))

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at pp 29, 30.

The plaintiff did not meet his burden of putting into dispute the defendant's

showing of an absence of evidence of actual malice. The plaintiff's burden was

to come forward with record facts from which a reasonable jury could find

pursuant to the clear and convincing standard that the defendant wrote Out of

Control with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth. The plaintiff was

unable to point this Court to a single fact and the defendant's showing of

absence of actual malice remains undisputed on this record. Accordingly, this

Court must also grant the defendant Leslie Cockburn's motion for summary

judgment.

It hereby is

ORDERED that the defendants' motion for summary judgment be, and the same

hereby is, GRANTED.

FN1. The specific passage in Out of Control to which the

plaintiff cites provides:

Shackley and Clines were, however, besmirched enough by their

associations with Wilson to be forced to resign from the CIA by Stansfield

Turner in 1979. They thereupon joined forces with two people whose names were

to become well known to Sheehan and, much later, to the press and public:

Richard Secord, at the time an active general officer in the U.S. Air Force,

and the Iranian-born arms dealer Albert Hakim.

According to the intelligence officer's story, this group began

shipping arms, ammunition, and explosives to the remnant of Somoza's National

Guard immediately after they escaped from Nicaragua and began to reform

themselves as the contras. Later on, the same cast of characters, employing

Quintero among others, delivered lethal supplies to contras in Costa Rica, in

part through John Hull. In fact it appeared that this group had been the main

suppliers of the contras from 1979 through 1980, and again from 1984 to 1986,

during the official cutoff of U.S. assistance.

Sheehan realized he was now getting very close to the background

to La Penca. Indeed, he was told that a close associate of Quintero's, a man

by the name of John Harper, had actually given a course in Honduras on the

construction of bombs identical to the one used at La Penca.

Out of Control at 96-97.

FN2. The plaintiff generally cites to the chapters in Out of

Control entitled "The Cocaine Connection" at pages 152-167 and "Guns for Drugs"

at pages 168-188. More specifically, the plaintiff challenges the following

passages:

Scandalous though the use of Hull's strips for drugs and arms

may seem, there was another airfield in Costa Rica reportedly being used for

drug trafficking, one that puts Oliver North and his associates in even closer

conjunction with the narcotics business. The secret airfield at Santa Elena

authorized by North and Secord, promoted by Ambassador Tambs, scouted by

Station Chief Fernandez and Robert Owens and Rafael Quintero was also,

according to several sources, a transshipment point for cocaine.

Seal told [Mickey Tolliver] that not only would the flying be

interesting, the pay would be good too. He told Tolliver to go to Miami and

call a particular number. The interesting flying, thought Tolliver, could be

"anything from Campbell's soup to dead babies, but knowing Seal, it involved

drugs." He had no idea however that he was stepping into the middle of the

secret contra supply network, and that his control agents would include,

according to Tolliver, at least one high-level operative in the

North-Secord-CIA operation: Rafael Quintero.

Out of Control at 177-78, 180. *797_ The plaintiff concedes that Out of Control does

not explicitly charge him with engaging in drug trafficking for personal profit. Rather, the

plaintiff contends that the book "clearly conveys to the average reader the

message that I would stand by and condone such activities within my

organizations." Affidavit of Richard V. Secord at p 35.

FN3. The book provides:

In 1976 Richard Secord turned up in Tehran, posted to run the

air force component of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group, the main

function of which was to advise the shah to buy lots of expensive American

weapons. Weapon sales promoted by Secord involved what one observer calls

"some of the biggest bribery in Iran."

The enormous U.S. weapons sales program to Iran was, in

addition, marked by a huge disparity between the prices paid by the Iranians

and what the U.S. military paid for identical equipment. This, as we shall

see, was not the last time the Iranians were to be subject to such official

profiteering. Secord's superior and partner in these efforts was Erich von

Marbod, who had now become the senior U.S. defense representative to Iran.

Handling bribes, or as he prefers to call it, baksheesh, was the

specialty of a man whom Secord first met in Iran and who was to become the

financial comptroller of Secord's complex business organization. Albert Hakim

was a middleman who would receive bribe money from defense contractors to be

paid to Iranian officials who were purchasing the weapons. Not all the money

would pass out of his control, however. As he later testified to the

Iran-Contra committees, Hakim was trusted by the shah's generals to invest

their ill-gotten gains in Switzerland, in accounts untraceable to the true

owners of the money.

It was in this period that the network began to set up its own

proprietaries, as private companies owned by the CIA are called. Some of these

were to become famous when the Iran-Contra scandal finally burst on America.

They included the Stanford Technology Corp. and Energy Resources. Others, such

as CSF Investments Ltd., were specifically Central American in their

orientation. This was hardly a coincidence, for in 1978 the network had made a

new and fateful connection.

Out of Control at 105.

FN4. The plaintiff was indicted on Iran-Contra charges on the

very day that he filed this libel action.

FN5. More fully, the plaintiff's opposition to the stay strongly concluded:

We conclude with the observation that absent compelling

circumstances, plaintiff Secord should not be deprived of a prompt adjudication

of his libel claim. A stay will serve only to perpetuate the libel and its

circulation at the expense of plaintiff's reputation. Libel is not a form of

protected speech, and defendants should not be provided with an indefinite

license to circulate for profit false and outrageous accusations about

plaintiff while only pretending to be hobbled in their ability to defend this

case. Ms. Cockburn and her codefendants surely understood the risks involved

in publishing ugly and unprovable allegations of criminal misconduct totally

unrelated to the Iran/Contra affair. Undoubtedly they thought that plaintiff

would be distracted by other concerns and not disposed to sue and that they

could therefore exploit plaintiff's predicament with impunity. That strategy

was ill-conceived, and it ought not to be rewarded with the imposition of an

indefinite stay which would serve only defendants' objectives.

Id. at 8-9.

FN6. Indeed, plaintiff's claim of a need for additional

discovery does not even contain a specific factual proffer of what he expects

to find. Rather, he asserts only general and conclusory statements that he

expects to find actual malice after more discovery. There has been no proffer

on who or what the plaintiff will discover to find facts which can establish

actual malice.

FN7. Andrew Cockburn's affidavit provides:

In May 1987 I began working with Leslie Cockburn, editing the

manuscript of Out of Control that she had prepared and submitted to Atlantic

Monthly Press ("AMP"). During the next several months I worked with Leslie

Cockburn editing and reorganizing the manuscript. I also helped my wife

incorporate into the manuscript new material that was becoming available on an

almost daily basis as a result of the ongoing investigation of the Iran-Contra

Committees (which were then in the process of holding hearings). All writing

suggestions that I made were read by and/or discussed with Leslie to assure

their accuracy.

Andrew Cockburn Affidavit at p 3.

The plaintiff's own deposition of defendant Andrew Cockburn

establishes that he was not involved in substantively writing Out of Control as

a "co-author":

BY MR. KRAMER:

Q. Did you redraft entire paragraphs in your own words?

MR. RINGEL: Objection to form.

THE WITNESS: What do you mean by redrafting? I recommended

that paragraphs be changed.

BY MR. KRAMER:

Q. Did you do any of the changing yourself?

A. You mean did I type them or what do you mean by doing them

myself?

Q. Did you rewrite any paragraphs of the book yourself?

A. I suggested to Leslie Cockburn that paragraphs be rewritten.

Sometimes I submitted ideas. I don't really know that I rewrote. *797_ Andrew Cockburn

Deposition at 42.

FN8. Indeed, a total failure to investigate does not establish

actual malice. See, e.g., St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. at 731, 88 S.Ct. at

1325; Tavoulareas v. Piro, 817 F.2d 762, 789-90 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 484

U.S. 870, 108 S.Ct. 200, 98 L.Ed.2d 151 (1987); Hardin v. Santa Fe Reporter,

Inc., 745 F.2d 1323, 1324 (10th Cir.1984). The plaintiff has cited this Court

to no caselaw providing that an author must clear her statements with the

subject of the book.

FN9. The "paste over" provides in part:

The discussion on these pages concerning Mr. Richard Armitage

was initially drawn from allegations filed by Daniel Sheehan and the Christic

Institute as counsel in a 1986 lawsuit. (See pp. 97, 262.) In June 1988, a

federal judge dismissed on summary judgment all of Sheehan's charges in the

1986 lawsuit. While Sheehan has appealed, Sheehan had on his own restated his

case shortly before the dismissal (and after the publication of this book) to

omit virtually all the allegations reported on these pages concerning Mr.

Armitage and all claims of evidentiary support. Mr. Armitage has consistently

and vigorously denied each and every one of Sheehan's allegations of wrongdoing

as "ludicrous" and "baseless."

FN10. The plaintiff contends that it is implausible that Ms.

Cockburn did not recall at her deposition whether she was aware that at the

time of publication of Out of Control other journalists were discovering

Sheehan's allegations without foundation. However, the plaintiff has the

affirmative duty to develop a record of actual malice in order to survive the

defendants' motion for summary judgment. For example, as part of preparing for

the Ms. Cockburn's deposition, the plaintiff could have interviewed journalists

who suspected the credibility of Sheehan to determine whether they had on prior

occasions discussed their views of Sheehan with Cockburn. Moreover, the

plaintiff could have produced accounts or articles critical of Sheehan which

were published prior to the time that Out of Control was published.

FN11. The defendant wrote in Out of Control that the "CIA Station [in Laos]

threw its weight behind one of the competing warlords, a certain Vang Pao" and

that Vang Pao engaged in opium trafficking, in part through the use of Air

America, the CIA's own proprietary airline. Out of Control at 100-102.

FN12. Much of plaintiff's discussion of actual malice, rather than pointing to

specific record facts, is simply conclusory argument. For example, the

plaintiff provides:

Again, the plaintiff expects to discovery that the defendants

purposefully distorted and exaggerated accounts of alleged drug trafficking by

persons indirectly linked to the Contra supply effort to make it appear,

falsely, that plaintiff and other members of Contra resupply were themselves

directly involved in such activity, in order to embarrass the Administration

and to influence public and Congressional opinion against further Contra aid.

Plaintiff's Opposition at 40. The plaintiff points to no record

basis to support his contention of what he expects to discover.

This Court further notes that when the author relies upon a

convicted felon as a source she points out that fact in Out of Control. See,

e.g., Out of Control at 168 (George Morales "jailed and eventually sentenced to

sixteen years in prison" for "the importation and sale of very large quantities

of cocaine"), 172 (Gary Betzner "was serving fifteen years on a drug charge

unrelated to his contra missions"), 178 (Geraldo Duran "served a brief jail

term in Costa Rica when apprehended with a 421-pound cocaine shipment bound for

the Bahamas") and 179 (Michael Tolliver "was serving a two-year drug sentence

on charges, as with Betzner and Morales, unrelated to CIA-White House-contra

affairs"). Accordingly, the defendant has provided a basis for the reader to

assess the credibility of the sources' allegations.

FN13. Ms. Cockburn's affidavit provides that she credited the

accounts that were detailed by these former convicted felons. Leslie Cockburn

Affidavit at pp 25 to 27. For example, as paragraph 26 of her affidavit

provides, the defendant had additional information and sources which in her

mind corroborated the credibility of Michael Tolliver:

[P]ilot Mickey Tolliver was interviewed on videotape for CBS

News and he said that his guns-for-drugs flights were carried out at the

request of Rafael Quintero. [Footnote omitted.] (A transcript is annexed as

Exh. 16.) Tolliver later repeated this story to Jack Blum (the chief

investigator for Senator Kerry's Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and

International Operations and Knut Royce (a Newsday correspondent) who published

Tolliver's story in Newsday in April 1987. (Exh. 17 is a computer print-out of

the article I read at the time of the publication.) After speaking to

Tolliver, we tracked the aircraft used by Tolliver to one Michael Palmer, a

known marijuana smuggler who, as an executive of a Florida firm named Vortex,

had received a State Department contract in early 1986 to ship Contra aid. (A

copy of a newspaper article dated March 22, 1987 relating to Vortex, with my

handwritten notes relating to the aircraft, is annexed as Exh. 18.) In my

mind this reinforced the credibility of allegations that linked drugs to

aspects of Contra supply. I believed Tolliver was telling the truth. A

further confirmation came from Shirley Brill, a former CIA employee and

long-time girlfriend of Thomas Clines, an individual who had worked with Mr.

Quintero and Mr. Secord. Ms. Brill alleged in March 1987 that Rafael Quintero

had business dealings with narcotics traffickers in south Florida. In a later

taped interview, Brill reiterated this statement. (A transcript of the

relevant portions of that tape are annexed as Exh. 19.)

FN14. The plaintiff does not dispute that he was involved in

the construction of the Santa Elena airstrip. Mr. Secord himself testified

before the Iran-Contra Committee in May 5-8, 1987 that he had been responsible

for the construction of the airstrip. Secord Cong. Testimony at 44, 62-64

(attached as Exhibit 9 to Leslie Cockburn Affidavit).

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Deleted duplicate post on 05-11-08 19:40 PDT by T. Mauro

http://www.wethepeople.la/cockburn.htm (link to complete Civ. Action # No. 88-0727)

Referenced: The book "Out of Control by Leslie Cockburn 1987" as well as CBS 60 Min. producer Ty West, 1987

".... Richard V. SECORD, Plaintiff,

v.

Leslie COCKBURN, et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 88-0727-GHR.

United States District Court,

District of Columbia.

Aug. 27, 1990

Thomas C. Green, Sharp, Green & Lankford, W. Michael Kramer, Kramer &

Associates, Michael P. McDonald, Center for Individual Rights, Washington,

D.C., for plaintiff. .....

con't

[i]( My notation: The body of this Law suit is 52 pages..... last ten pages of primary interest as to the Regan/Bush/Clinton Drug War of the 80's and 90's

note: This law suit I feel is very revealing and should be used as a reference guide to established facts as to illegal activities conducted over many years in behalf of various agencies of the United States government. It shows a referenced network of illegal activities of 'special interest',and the activities of their lobbyist to circumnavigate the law for their profits at the expense of the American tax payer.

The context of this civil action establishes a patten of deceit which dates back forty plus years as to special interest activities of various administrations within the powers of the White house and its National Security apparatus of the times.

I have not copied the complete body of the work. You can find it on the Web at the link above. However I have copied the last few pages as a reference for serious researchers.

I'm sure some will say, "What does this have to do with the JFK?". My reply.. If you cross check some of the names and operations found in this civil action you will be lead back to JM/WAVE and connected players of the early sixties and beyond and too, the CIA including Bush Sr. CIA Director before becoming President.. Special note reference to "THE DRUG WAR and SECRET AIR BASES in CENTRAL AMERICA)

Selected last pages of the Body of law suit:[/i]

"......... See generally Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at pp 33-43. The

defendant makes the showing that she relied upon many sources which

independently corroborate the statement of the unidentified "observer" whom the

plaintiff characterizes as unreliable. As paragraph 37 of her affidavit

provides:

As I testified at my deposition (Leslie Cockburn Dep. at

221-25) it had also been widely reported prior to the publication of Out of

Control that the programs that Mr. Secord oversaw involved massive bribery.

For example, the Iran-Contra Connection, a book published in 1987 prior to

publication of my book and relied upon by me, reported that:

"In Iran, Hakim made a handsome living selling military

equipment from such firms as Olin Corp., Hewlett-Packard and his own Stanford

Technology Corp. Hakim's STC had a $5.5 million contract to supply the

notorious, CIA-promoted IBEX project, which Secord oversaw. Secord reportedly

helped Hakim win another, $7.5 million contract with Iran's air force for a

sophisticated telephone monitoring system to allow the Shah to keep track of

his top commanders' communications. The Shah's secret police, SAVAK, operated

the equipment. Hakim's business methods were as controversial as his products:

He arranged the latter communications deal through the air force commander,

Gen. Mohammed Khatemi, who Hakim bribed on at least one other deal and who also

received hefty payoffs for approving the IBEX contract." (Exh. 33.)

* * * * * *

"In the most notorious case, the CIA and Rockwell International

pushed on Iran a gigantic electronic spying and communication system called

IBEX....

"The IBEX project smelled for other reasons beyond its

doubtful contribution to Iran's defensive needs. Rockwell paid huge bribes to

Iran's air force commander (and the Shah's brother-in-law), Gen. Mohammed

Khatami, to win approval for the $500 million project. Other military

contractors, including Bell Helicopter, Northrop and Grunman, hired agents who

bribed Iranian officials with handsome commissions, often amounting to millions

of dollars." (Exh. 35) (footnotes omitted) (Iran-Contra Connection at 153).

* * * * * *

"Secord headed the Air Force Military Advisory Group, which in

effect represented the U.S. arms merchants before the Shah.... That job would

have given Secord a direct role (with the CIA) in the shady deal of IBEX...."

(Exh. 35) (Iran-Contra Connection at 156) (footnotes omitted).

I also read and relied upon: Los Angeles Times, February 14,

1987 ("One source who knew him said Secord helped Hakim get Air Force

contracts, including one from the Iranian government for 15 million to install

phone taps at the main Iranian Air Force base. In turn, Hakim provided

intelligence to his contacts among U.S. intelligence officers in Iran.")

(Exh. 40); P. Maas, Manhunt at 59 (Edwin "Wilson had tried to sell the

Iranians [a surveillance system], using the good offices of General Secord in

Teheran, but despite Secord's best efforts, SAVAK wasn't in the market ...")

(Exh. 41); S. Rosenfeld, San Francisco Examiner, December 9, 1986 (linking

both Hakim and Secord to the IBEX project and describing Hakim as a "bag man

for U.S. concerns seeking approval from Iranian officials on military sales")

(Exh. 42).

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 37 (footnote omitted).

Furthermore, paragraph 34 specifically details the basis of the author's

assertion that General Secord did head the Air Force Military Assistance

Advisory Group in Iran in the late 70's:

As one published source stated: "According to his Pentagon

biography Secord 'acted as chief advisor to the commander in chief of the

Iranian air force and managed all U.S. Air Force programs to Iran as well as

some Army and Navy assistance programs.' " J. Marshall, P. Scott and J.

Hunter, Iran-Contra Connection at 156 (Exh. 35). The MAAG, whose Air Force

contingent was headed by Secord, according to the authors "in effect

represented the U.S. arms merchants before the Shah." Id.

"Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi himself complained that he

sometimes was unable to tell whether various weapons systems were promoted to

further U.S. policy or to generate profits for defense contractors and fees for

their representatives....

" 'You Americans pretend to be so righteous,' fumed the

ruler when U.S. Senate investigators were alleging corruption by Iranian

military commanders in connection with defense contractors.

" 'But,' he continued in the presence of a high American

official, 'it is hard for me to believe that your MAAG officers (the military

advisory group at the U.S. Embassy) haven't already been hired by American

companies and aren't under their influence.... Are they giving me real advise

or just promoting companies?' " Los Angeles Times, 2/3/80. (Exh. 36).

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 34.

The plaintiff has not cited to any record facts to demonstrate that the

author either knew that the above sources were wrong or had serious doubt as to

their credibility. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Circuit has held that "good faith reliance on previously published sources" as

to the matters at issue "precludes a finding of actual malice as a matter of

law." Liberty Lobby v. Dow Jones, 838 F.2d at 1297.

In regard to the defendant's statements concerning "official profiteering" in

Iran, the plaintiff himself has agreed to an operative definition of the phrase

"official profiteering"; in his deposition the plaintiff admitted that if

there were price differences between the cost of the weapons to the United

States and their subsequent sale to the Iranians then those differences would

constitute "official profiteering" unless actually incurred expenses justified

the cost differentials. Secord Deposition (II) (attached to Ringel Affidavit )

at 21-30.

The author's affidavit provides:

It was well-known that the Shah was paying inflated prices for

U.S. equipment at this time and I had seen several documents demonstrating

this. For example, as noted in The Iran-Contra Connection at 156,

"Erich von Marbod, [who] had worked closely with Secord to

arrange covert financing for CIA-directed Thai guerillas fighting in Laos in

the early 1970s ... championed the Carter administration's controversial

proposal to sell Iran 8 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes, a

system blasted by the General Accounting Office as too advanced for Iran's

needs and overpriced." (Exh. 35)

The AWACS planes were to have been sold to the Iranians at

$102.671 million each (in addition to a separate $510.2 million contribution

for spares, maintenance support, site surveys and training) under a 1977

contract; a year later, the United States Air Force bought more sophisticated

versions of the same plane for $78.1 million each. T. Gervasi, Arsenal of

Democracy II (1981) ("Arsenal ") at 137. (Exh. 43.) The Khomeni government

cancelled Iran's order, and the planes were never delivered. Id. at 272.

Other military equipment sold or delivered to Iran by the

United States during Mr. Secord's tenure as head of the Air Force MAAG in

Teheran (1975-8) was similarly overpriced as compared to sales to other allies

or to the United States armed services. In 1974, Iran ordered several hundred

AIM 54-A air-to-air missiles for delivery in 1976 through 1978 at a cost of

$708,000 each; the 1976 unit procurement cost to the United States Navy of the

same missiles was $363,823. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute,

World Armament and Disarmament (1978) ("World Armament " ) at 264 (Exh. 44);

Arsenal at 213. Also in 1974, Iran ordered 80 F-14A Tomcat aircraft for

delivery in 1976 and 1977 at a price of $23.750 million each; in 1978, the

unit procurement cost to the United States military was $20.624 million each.

World Armament at 265; Arsenal at 97. In 1978, Iran ordered (and later

cancelled) 160 F-16 aircraft at $14.844 million each; the cost of the same

aircraft to the United States military in 1978 was $9.482 million each.

Arsenal at 272, 283. Iran ordered (and later cancelled) August 1978 delivery

of 186 AIM-9H air intercept missiles for $75,268 each; the 1975 unit

procurement *792 cost to the United States Navy was $17,176 each. Arsenal at

211, 272.

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 41.

The plaintiff has failed to come forward with any record facts to put the

defendant's showing of an absence of evidence on the element of actual malice

into dispute; a reasonable jury would be unable to find under the clear and

convincing standard that the defendant acted with knowing or reckless disregard

for the truth.

3. La Penca Bombing

In regard to the defendant's statements involving the attempted assassination

of Contra leader Eden Pastora at La Penca, see footnote 1 and accompanying

text, supra, the defendant's affidavit provides:

Mr. Secord's name is not used, nor is he referred to by

implication, in connection with La Penca. I did not intend to state that, nor

did I understand the book to accuse Mr. Secord of, playing a role in the La

Penca assassination attempt.

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 18. Although the plaintiff deposed the author

for two full days, he has not been able to point to any record facts to put

into dispute her showing of an absence of evidence in the plaintiff's libel

claim to support the element of actual malice in any implication of the

plaintiff in the La Penca assassination attempt.

The plaintiff contends that the fact that the defendant made her statements

in regard to the La Penca bombing on the basis of an affidavit filed by Danny

Sheehan in Avirgan v. Hull is evidence of actual malice. However, the

plaintiff can point to no record facts to demonstrate that the defendant knew

that the Sheehan affidavit was false or that she had serious doubt as to its

truth.

The plaintiff points to the "paste over page 103 containing the corrections

regarding the alleged involvement of former State Department official Richard

Armitage in drug trafficking." Plaintiff's Opposition at 37. The plaintiff

is referring to the fact that after publication of Out of Control the Sheehan

affidavit in Avirgan v. Hull was amended to delete the portions upon which

Leslie Cockburn relied for certain allegations concerning Richard Armitage. At

the request of Armitage a sticker was affixed in the unshipped copies to the

two pages of the book which discussed Mr. Armitage. That sticker explained the

post-publication withdrawal of Sheehan's original affidavit. (FN9) Entrekin

Affidavit at p 16; Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 17.

The plaintiff's reliance on the Armitage "paste-over" as a fact to show

that the defendant knew the Sheehan affidavit was false or that she had serious

doubt as to its truth is fundamentally misplaced. The Sheehan affidavit was

amended after publication of Out of Control and does not show that at the time

of publication that the defendant knew the affidavit was false or had serious

doubt as to its truth. To argue that evidence of actual malice exists by the

mere fact that subsequent events determine the falsity of a source or statement

would be tantamount to conflating the actual malice and falsity elements of a

libel action. Accordingly, it is hornbook libel law that post-publication

events have no impact whatever on actual malice as it bears on this lawsuit

since the existence or non-existence of such malice must be determined as of

the date of publication. See, e.g., Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United

States, Inc., 466 U.S. 485, 512, 104 S.Ct. 1949, 1965, 80 L.Ed.2d 502 (1984)

(evidence must establish that defendant "realized the inaccuracy at the time of

publication"); New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. at 286, 84 S.Ct. at

729 (1964) (malice must be shown "at the time of publication"); Sharon

v. Time, Inc., 599 F.Supp. 538, 564 (S.D.N.Y.1984) ("actual malice rests on the

defendant's state of mind at the time of the publication").

The plaintiff also contends that defendant's reliance on the Sheehan

affidavit is evidence of actual malice because several investigators and

reporters expressed significant doubts in an article in the February/March 1988

issue of Mother Jones about Sheehan's credibility and the veracity of his

allegations. Again, however, this article was published three months after the

publication of Out of Control and accordingly is not relevant to the author's

state of mind at the time of publication. Moreover, even assuming that the

article existed prior to or at the time of publication of Out of Control, and

that the defendant was aware that Sheehan had his detractors, the mere fact

that divided opinion exists among reporters as to the credibility of an

individual does not reflect on the defendant's state of mind and actual malice.

The plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that Ms. Cockburn was aware that other

reporters questioned the reliability of Sheehan. (FN10)

4. Drug Trafficking

This Court repeats that in order to defeat the defendants' motion for summary

judgment the plaintiff must come forward with "evidence in the record [that]

could support a reasonable jury finding that the plaintiff has shown actual

malice by clear and convincing evidence." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477

U.S. at 255-56, 106 S.Ct. at 2514. The plaintiff is unable to meet this

burden with respect to the defendant's statements of and concerning the

plaintiff about drug trafficking in Southeast Asia and in Central America. See

footnote 2 and accompanying text, supra.

The plaintiff contends that "[t]he statements regarding plaintiff's alleged

involvement in drug trafficking in Southeast Asia are drawn from the Sheehan

affidavit and its unnamed sources." Plaintiff's Opposition at 39. (FN11)

The plaintiff states that defendant's reliance on the Sheehan affidavit is a

fact which is illustrative of actual malice. Again, however, the plaintiff

fails to point to any record facts to demonstrate how reliance on the Sheehan

affidavit is probative of defendant's state of mind and actual malice at the

time of publication of Out of Control. See Part 3, supra (this Court's

discussion of the Sheehan affidavit).

The defendant's affidavit provides that with respect to her statements in

regard to drug trafficking in Southeast Asia she relied on much more than the

Sheehan affidavit. The defendant in her affidavit provides a detailed showing

of the absence of evidence to support the element of actual malice in

plaintiff's libel suit on these statements. Her affidavit provides:

Both Vang Pao's and Air America's involvement in opium

trafficking, and the CIA's sponsorship of Vang Pao, were well documented by

accounts I had read prior to publication and which I credited. Those accounts

included A. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (1972); former CIA

agent Victor Marchetti's The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1974); C.

Robbins, Air America: The Story of the CIA's Secret Airlines (1979); and R.

McGehee, Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA (1983). These accounts established that

Vang Pao had established a heroin laboratory at Long Tieng--the town where the CIA had its

Laotian quarters (Politics of Heroin at 248-49 and n. 23, 281 and 247: "the U.S. Bureau of

Narcotics reports that Gen. Vang Pao, Commander of the CIA's Secret Army, has

been operating a heroin factory at Long Tieng, headquarters for CIA operations

in northern Laos" (Exh. 32); Air America at 138, 232, 237-38) (Exh. 31); that

the CIA turned a blind eye (or, to use the phrase of Mr. Secord's complaint as

to other matters, "acquiesced in and condoned") towards Vang Pao's narcotics

activities (Air America at 230, 237 ("[w]hile the Meo fought the war for the

CIA, the agency turned a blind eye to their generals' profitable sideline in

opium") (Exh. 33; Cult of Intelligence at 254 (Exh. 34); Politics of Heroin

at 353 (Exh. 32) ("American involvement has gone far beyond coincidental

complicity; embassies have covered up involvement by client governments, CIA

contract airlines have carried opium, and individual CIA agents have winked at

opium traffic"); and the CIA Airline, Air America, carried opium to Long Tieng

and other locations. Id. These books are well respected and credible, and I

believed (and believe today) that the accounts I have referred to are accurate.

(The pages I refer to from these books in this affidavit are attached as Exhs.

32-34.)

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 31; see also Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at p 32.

In regard to the "the allegations and implications of plaintiff's

alleged participation in drug trafficking in Central America" the only fact to

which the plaintiff points is that a number of the author's sources are

convicted felons. (FN12) The plaintiff apparently is advancing the argument

that anything a convicted felon states is false and accordingly any reliance on

such statements ipso facto constitutes evidence of actual malice. This Court

cannot accept such reasoning. The use of convicted felons cannot alone

constitute a fact of actual malice. Rather, the plaintiff must specifically

establish that there were surrounding circumstances in relying upon a

particular felon as a source which would constitute evidence of a knowing or

reckless disregard of the truth (i.e., the author knew that the particular

felon had a long history of unreliability as a source). The caselaw is clear

that the plaintiff must establish that even in relying upon an otherwise

questionable source the defendant actually possessed subjective doubt. St.

Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. at 730, 88 S.Ct. at 1325; Price v. Viking Penguin,

881 F.2d at 1441; Hardin v. Santa Fe Reporter, 745 F.2d at 1325-26; Loeb v.

New Times Communications, 497 F.Supp. at 93. The plaintiff has pointed to no

record facts to put at issue whether the defendant knew that the allegations of

her sources were false or had serious doubt as to the truth of their

allegations. (FN13)

As the record facts illustrate, the defendant relied upon many

sources other than convicted felons. Her sources included a United States

Senator, Senate staff members, Oliver North's notebooks and testimony before

Congress, and other published sources. See Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at pp

25-28.

Paragraph 25 of her affidavit provides, in part:

[O]n September 24, 1986, the Costa Rican Interior Minister

(Santa Elena is in Costa Rica) announced that his government had discovered and

shut down an airfield (Santa Elena) that he stated had been used for

resupplying the Contras, for drug trafficking or for both. This announcement

was reported in the September 25, 1986 edition of the New York Times (Exh. 12),

which I saw and was subsequently discussed in the Report of the Congressional

Committees investigating the Contra Affair ("Iran-Contra Report") at 142-44

(Exh. 13.) I was also aware that Lewis Tambs, the then-U.S. Ambassador to

Costa Rica was concerned in mid-1986 about the possibility of drug traffickers

using Santa Elena. I knew, for example, that CIA station chief Thomas Castillo

had testified in May, 1987 in his Iran-Contra deposition that Ambassador Tambs

wanted to place armed guards at Santa Elena to avoid the possibility of having

drug traffickers use that site. See Exh. 14 (Castillo Cong. Deposition at 483;

later released by Congress.) Thus, there was a substantial body of

information linking the Santa Elena airstrip, built with Mr. Secord's

assistance, to drug flights. (FN14)

Paragraph 28 provides in part:

I did, of course, have substantial evidence that there were

links between Contra activities generally and drug running. I spoke

with Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics[, Terrorism and International Operations

of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee] members and staff on numerous

occasions prior to publication of Out of Control. Indeed, I reported on the

subcommittee's investigation, which began in the Spring of 1986, in three CBS

broadcasts prepared and broadcast prior to publication of Out of Control. In

addition to the information discussed above, I was aware of a good deal of

information linking the Contra resupply efforts and drug trafficking. For

example:

I was aware that portions of Oliver North's notebooks,

which had been produced by North to the Iran-Contra Committee in 1987,

contained a number of references to drugs or drug-smuggling and that the Senate

Subcommittee on *796 Narcotics intended to subpoena them. These diaries, and

several memoranda that I had seen prior to publication (see, e.g., Exh. 20

(memorandum from Rob Owen to Oliver North, dated April 1, 1985, discussing

"Blackie" Chamorro at p. 3)), reflected that Oliver North--Mr. Secord's contact

with the government in connection with what Mr. Secord has called "The

Enterprise"--was warned repeatedly of drug connections on the part of Contra

leaders and arms suppliers.

As detailed in my July 1987 broadcast for West 57th, two

companies, Ocean Hunter and Frigorificos de Puntarenas, that received over

$200,000 from the State Department for "humanitarian aid" to the Contras, were

deeply involved in cocaine trafficking. My sources for this link included FBI

documents, on-camera interviews, bank records, customs documents, sworn

testimony given to the Kerry Committee, and interviews with defense lawyers,

DEA bounty hunters, and Coast Guard officials, among others. State Department

documents that I had reviewed showed that Robert Owen, who worked directly

under Oliver North in the Contra resupply operation, was overseeing the Ocean

Hunter/Frigorificos accounts while the companies were under active

investigation by the DEA, Customs and the Coast Guard.

A number of newspaper reports published prior to the

release of Out of Control, some quoted in the book, reported allegations of

drug flights being made in connection with the contra effort. (See e.g., Ex.

27.) Many of these articles reported on pending congressional or other

investigations on this subject. See, e.g., "Top 'Contras' Under Scrutiny for

Corruption," Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/86; "2 Hill Panels Probing

Alleged Links Between Contras and Drug Trafficking," Washington Post, 8/8/87;

"U.S. Probing Drug Link to CIA's Flights: Officials Suspect Drug Runners Used

CIA Contra Supply Flights," Boston Globe, 4/25/87; "Inquiry Reported Into

Contra Arms," New York Times, 4/11/86; "Cocaine, Gun Charges Probed,"

Washington Post, 4/11/86; "Four Legislative Panels Study Accusations Against

Contras," Miami Herald, 5/14/86; "Big Bay Area Cocaine Ring Tied to Contras,"

San Francisco Examiner, 3/16/86.

This Court will not quote all of these newspaper articles but quotes one as

part of the defendant's showing in the record that there is an absence of

evidence to support the element of actual malice in the plaintiff's libel claim

in regard to defendant's statements that Contra activities and the activities

of drug traffickers are intimately connected. The April 11, 1986 article in

the Christian Science Monitor provides:

[C]onservative Representative Charles Stenholm (D) of Texas, ...

voted for contra aid. Despite his vote, he is also very concerned about the

allegations of corruption in the contras.

"There is no doubt in my mind that an overwhelming majority of

the members of the House want to stop communism in Nicaragua," he says. "But

the question is: How do you do it? These allegations are troubling, and I

think they are credible. I have spoken to the President, the vice-president,

and the secretary of state about them. We were very much aware of Sandinista

involvement in drugs, which has been well documented. What we did not know is

that maybe the contras are doing it, too."

The congressman, when asked, stated that it was his

understanding that one top FDN leader closely linked to FDN chief Calero was

being investigated by the US Customs Service for charges of alleged involvement

in drug trafficking.

* * * * * *

[John] Mattes [an attorney in the U.S. Public Defenders Office]

also said that in his interviews he discovered "convincing allegations" of

contra gunrunning and drug trafficking.

"A number of very serious allegations have surfaced which

suggests that those involved in the contra movement have engaged in a wide

range of criminal activities in the US and in the region," Senator Kerry told the Monitor.

"The very serious nature of these allegations strongly suggests

the need for a detailed and complete congressional inquiry."

Moreover, the defendant has further shown that there is an absence of

evidence in the record of actual malice behind any statement by the defendant

that the plaintiff himself was aware of the connection between drugs and guns

in the contra supply effort. The defendant's affidavit provides in part:

A prime example of this acquiescence is reflected by the use in

the Contra resupply operation of Contra commander Fernando ("Blackie" or "El

Negro") Chamorro despite knowledge by Oliver North, Rob Owen and Mr. Secord

that he had ties to drug traffickers. As I reported in Out of Control at 88,

Chamorro had been identified by Rob Owen in an April 1, 1985 memorandum to

Oliver North as a problem drinker who surrounded himself with profiteers and

drug runners. (Exh. 20). In an August, 1987 pre-publication telephone

interview I asked Mr. Secord about these allegations and he confirmed that he

had "heard those allegations" and "most of them are true." My notes of

this conversation (which are annexed as Exh. 30) [footnote omitted] read:

"when asked why Blackie Chamorro was chosen as the leading

commander for the southern front in light of Rob Owens memo to North about

drinking, drug trafficking, and stealing money from the USG) 'all we were was a

trucking company. I've heard those allegations. Most of them are true. I

didn't pick them. (the commandantes) the Agency picked them."

(I understand that in his deposition Mr. Secord confirmed the

accuracy of this quotation. Secord Dep. (II) at 244.)

I had other information that supported my conclusion at the

time of publication that Mr. Secord had, in fact, acquiesced in or condoned

drug activity involving the Contras. At the time Out of Control was published

I also knew (because Mr. Secord had told me) that Mr. Secord had commissioned a

former F.B.I. agent in Miami to investigate drug charges involving another arms

dealer working with the Contras (Ronald Martin), and received a report from

this agent that such charges might well be true. Yet Mr. Secord did not pursue

these allegations. (See notes of my conversation with Mr. Secord. (Exh. 30.))

Leslie Cockburn Affidavit at pp 29, 30.

The plaintiff did not meet his burden of putting into dispute the defendant's

showing of an absence of evidence of actual malice. The plaintiff's burden was

to come forward with record facts from which a reasonable jury could find

pursuant to the clear and convincing standard that the defendant wrote Out of

Control with knowing or reckless disregard for the truth. The plaintiff was

unable to point this Court to a single fact and the defendant's showing of

absence of actual malice remains undisputed on this record. Accordingly, this

Court must also grant the defendant Leslie Cockburn's motion for summary

judgment.

It hereby is

ORDERED that the defendants' motion for summary judgment be, and the same

hereby is, GRANTED.

FN1. The specific passage in Out of Control to which the

plaintiff cites provides:

Shackley and Clines were, however, besmirched enough by their

associations with Wilson to be forced to resign from the CIA by Stansfield

Turner in 1979. They thereupon joined forces with two people whose names were

to become well known to Sheehan and, much later, to the press and public:

Richard Secord, at the time an active general officer in the U.S. Air Force,

and the Iranian-born arms dealer Albert Hakim.

According to the intelligence officer's story, this group began

shipping arms, ammunition, and explosives to the remnant of Somoza's National

Guard immediately after they escaped from Nicaragua and began to reform

themselves as the contras. Later on, the same cast of characters, employing

Quintero among others, delivered lethal supplies to contras in Costa Rica, in

part through John Hull. In fact it appeared that this group had been the main

suppliers of the contras from 1979 through 1980, and again from 1984 to 1986,

during the official cutoff of U.S. assistance.

Sheehan realized he was now getting very close to the background

to La Penca. Indeed, he was told that a close associate of Quintero's, a man

by the name of John Harper, had actually given a course in Honduras on the

construction of bombs identical to the one used at La Penca.

Out of Control at 96-97.

FN2. The plaintiff generally cites to the chapters in Out of

Control entitled "The Cocaine Connection" at pages 152-167 and "Guns for Drugs"

at pages 168-188. More specifically, the plaintiff challenges the following

passages:

Scandalous though the use of Hull's strips for drugs and arms

may seem, there was another airfield in Costa Rica reportedly being used for

drug trafficking, one that puts Oliver North and his associates in even closer

conjunction with the narcotics business. The secret airfield at Santa Elena

authorized by North and Secord, promoted by Ambassador Tambs, scouted by

Station Chief Fernandez and Robert Owens and Rafael Quintero was also,

according to several sources, a transshipment point for cocaine.

Seal told [Mickey Tolliver] that not only would the flying be

interesting, the pay would be good too. He told Tolliver to go to Miami and

call a particular number. The interesting flying, thought Tolliver, could be

"anything from Campbell's soup to dead babies, but knowing Seal, it involved

drugs." He had no idea however that he was stepping into the middle of the

secret contra supply network, and that his control agents would include,

according to Tolliver, at least one high-level operative in the

North-Secord-CIA operation: Rafael Quintero.

Out of Control at 177-78, 180. *797_ The plaintiff concedes that Out of Control does

not explicitly charge him with engaging in drug trafficking for personal profit. Rather, the

plaintiff contends that the book "clearly conveys to the average reader the

message that I would stand by and condone such activities within my

organizations." Affidavit of Richard V. Secord at p 35.

FN3. The book provides:

In 1976 Richard Secord turned up in Tehran, posted to run the

air force component of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group, the main

function of which was to advise the shah to buy lots of expensive American

weapons. Weapon sales promoted by Secord involved what one observer calls

"some of the biggest bribery in Iran."

The enormous U.S. weapons sales program to Iran was, in

addition, marked by a huge disparity between the prices paid by the Iranians

and what the U.S. military paid for identical equipment. This, as we shall

see, was not the last time the Iranians were to be subject to such official

profiteering. Secord's superior and partner in these efforts was Erich von

Marbod, who had now become the senior U.S. defense representative to Iran.

Handling bribes, or as he prefers to call it, baksheesh, was the

specialty of a man whom Secord first met in Iran and who was to become the

financial comptroller of Secord's complex business organization. Albert Hakim

was a middleman who would receive bribe money from defense contractors to be

paid to Iranian officials who were purchasing the weapons. Not all the money

would pass out of his control, however. As he later testified to the

Iran-Contra committees, Hakim was trusted by the shah's generals to invest

their ill-gotten gains in Switzerland, in accounts untraceable to the true

owners of the money.

It was in this period that the network began to set up its own

proprietaries, as private companies owned by the CIA are called. Some of these

were to become famous when the Iran-Contra scandal finally burst on America.

They included the Stanford Technology Corp. and Energy Resources. Others, such

as CSF Investments Ltd., were specifically Central American in their

orientation. This was hardly a coincidence, for in 1978 the network had made a

new and fateful connection.

Out of Control at 105.

FN4. The plaintiff was indicted on Iran-Contra charges on the

very day that he filed this libel action.

FN5. More fully, the plaintiff's opposition to the stay strongly concluded:

We conclude with the observation that absent compelling

circumstances, plaintiff Secord should not be deprived of a prompt adjudication

of his libel claim. A stay will serve only to perpetuate the libel and its

circulation at the expense of plaintiff's reputation. Libel is not a form of

protected speech, and defendants should not be provided with an indefinite

license to circulate for profit false and outrageous accusations about

plaintiff while only pretending to be hobbled in their ability to defend this

case. Ms. Cockburn and her codefendants surely understood the risks involved

in publishing ugly and unprovable allegations of criminal misconduct totally

unrelated to the Iran/Contra affair. Undoubtedly they thought that plaintiff

would be distracted by other concerns and not disposed to sue and that they

could therefore exploit plaintiff's predicament with impunity. That strategy

was ill-conceived, and it ought not to be rewarded with the imposition of an

indefinite stay which would serve only defendants' objectives.

Id. at 8-9.

FN6. Indeed, plaintiff's claim of a need for additional

discovery does not even contain a specific factual proffer of what he expects

to find. Rather, he asserts only general and conclusory statements that he

expects to find actual malice after more discovery. There has been no proffer

on who or what the plaintiff will discover to find facts which can establish

actual malice.

FN7. Andrew Cockburn's affidavit provides:

In May 1987 I began working with Leslie Cockburn, editing the

manuscript of Out of Control that she had prepared and submitted to Atlantic

Monthly Press ("AMP"). During the next several months I worked with Leslie

Cockburn editing and reorganizing the manuscript. I also helped my wife

incorporate into the manuscript new material that was becoming available on an

almost daily basis as a result of the ongoing investigation of the Iran-Contra

Committees (which were then in the process of holding hearings). All writing

suggestions that I made were read by and/or discussed with Leslie to assure

their accuracy.

Andrew Cockburn Affidavit at p 3.

The plaintiff's own deposition of defendant Andrew Cockburn

establishes that he was not involved in substantively writing Out of Control as

a "co-author":

BY MR. KRAMER:

Q. Did you redraft entire paragraphs in your own words?

MR. RINGEL: Objection to form.

THE WITNESS: What do you mean by redrafting? I recommended

that paragraphs be changed.

BY MR. KRAMER:

Q. Did you do any of the changing yourself?

A. You mean did I type them or what do you mean by doing them

myself?

Q. Did you rewrite any paragraphs of the book yourself?

A. I suggested to Leslie Cockburn that paragraphs be rewritten.

Sometimes I submitted ideas. I don't really know that I rewrote. *797_ Andrew Cockburn

Deposition at 42.

FN8. Indeed, a total failure to investigate does not establish

actual malice. See, e.g., St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. at 731, 88 S.Ct. at

1325; Tavoulareas v. Piro, 817 F.2d 762, 789-90 (D.C.Cir.), cert. denied, 484

U.S. 870, 108 S.Ct. 200, 98 L.Ed.2d 151 (1987); Hardin v. Santa Fe Reporter,

Inc., 745 F.2d 1323, 1324 (10th Cir.1984). The plaintiff has cited this Court

to no caselaw providing that an author must clear her statements with the

subject of the book.

FN9. The "paste over" provides in part:

The discussion on these pages concerning Mr. Richard Armitage

was initially drawn from allegations filed by Daniel Sheehan and the Christic

Institute as counsel in a 1986 lawsuit. (See pp. 97, 262.) In June 1988, a

federal judge dismissed on summary judgment all of Sheehan's charges in the

1986 lawsuit. While Sheehan has appealed, Sheehan had on his own restated his

case shortly before the dismissal (and after the publication of this book) to

omit virtually all the allegations reported on these pages concerning Mr.

Armitage and all claims of evidentiary support. Mr. Armitage has consistently

and vigorously denied each and every one of Sheehan's allegations of wrongdoing

as "ludicrous" and "baseless."

FN10. The plaintiff contends that it is implausible that Ms.

Cockburn did not recall at her deposition whether she was aware that at the

time of publication of Out of Control other journalists were discovering

Sheehan's allegations without foundation. However, the plaintiff has the

affirmative duty to develop a record of actual malice in order to survive the

defendants' motion for summary judgment. For example, as part of preparing for

the Ms. Cockburn's deposition, the plaintiff could have interviewed journalists

who suspected the credibility of Sheehan to determine whether they had on prior

occasions discussed their views of Sheehan with Cockburn. Moreover, the

plaintiff could have produced accounts or articles critical of Sheehan which

were published prior to the time that Out of Control was published.

FN11. The defendant wrote in Out of Control that the "CIA Station [in Laos]

threw its weight behind one of the competing warlords, a certain Vang Pao" and

that Vang Pao engaged in opium trafficking, in part through the use of Air

America, the CIA's own proprietary airline. Out of Control at 100-102.

FN12. Much of plaintiff's discussion of actual malice, rather than pointing to

specific record facts, is simply conclusory argument. For example, the

plaintiff provides:

Again, the plaintiff expects to discovery that the defendants

purposefully distorted and exaggerated accounts of alleged drug trafficking by

persons indirectly linked to the Contra supply effort to make it appear,

falsely, that plaintiff and other members of Contra resupply were themselves

directly involved in such activity, in order to embarrass the Administration

and to influence public and Congressional opinion against further Contra aid.

Plaintiff's Opposition at 40. The plaintiff points to no record

basis to support his contention of what he expects to discover.

This Court further notes that when the author relies upon a

convicted felon as a source she points out that fact in Out of Control. See,

e.g., Out of Control at 168 (George Morales "jailed and eventually sentenced to

sixteen years in prison" for "the importation and sale of very large quantities

of cocaine"), 172 (Gary Betzner "was serving fifteen years on a drug charge

unrelated to his contra missions"), 178 (Geraldo Duran "served a brief jail

term in Costa Rica when apprehended with a 421-pound cocaine shipment bound for

the Bahamas") and 179 (Michael Tolliver "was serving a two-year drug sentence

on charges, as with Betzner and Morales, unrelated to CIA-White House-contra

affairs"). Accordingly, the defendant has provided a basis for the reader to

assess the credibility of the sources' allegations.

FN13. Ms. Cockburn's affidavit provides that she credited the

accounts that were detailed by these former convicted felons. Leslie Cockburn

Affidavit at pp 25 to 27. For example, as paragraph 26 of her affidavit

provides, the defendant had additional information and sources which in her

mind corroborated the credibility of Michael Tolliver:

[P]ilot Mickey Tolliver was interviewed on videotape for CBS

News and he said that his guns-for-drugs flights were carried out at the

request of Rafael Quintero. [Footnote omitted.] (A transcript is annexed as

Exh. 16.) Tolliver later repeated this story to Jack Blum (the chief

investigator for Senator Kerry's Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and

International Operations and Knut Royce (a Newsday correspondent) who published

Tolliver's story in Newsday in April 1987. (Exh. 17 is a computer print-out of

the article I read at the time of the publication.) After speaking to

Tolliver, we tracked the aircraft used by Tolliver to one Michael Palmer, a

known marijuana smuggler who, as an executive of a Florida firm named Vortex,

had received a State Department contract in early 1986 to ship Contra aid. (A

copy of a newspaper article dated March 22, 1987 relating to Vortex, with my

handwritten notes relating to the aircraft, is annexed as Exh. 18.) In my

mind this reinforced the credibility of allegations that linked drugs to

aspects of Contra supply. I believed Tolliver was telling the truth. A

further confirmation came from Shirley Brill, a former CIA employee and

long-time girlfriend of Thomas Clines, an individual who had worked with Mr.

Quintero and Mr. Secord. Ms. Brill alleged in March 1987 that Rafael Quintero

had business dealings with narcotics traffickers in south Florida. In a later

taped interview, Brill reiterated this statement. (A transcript of the

relevant portions of that tape are annexed as Exh. 19.)

FN14. The plaintiff does not dispute that he was involved in

the construction of the Santa Elena airstrip. Mr. Secord himself testified

before the Iran-Contra Committee in May 5-8, 1987 that he had been responsible

for the construction of the airstrip. Secord Cong. Testimony at 44, 62-64

(attached as Exhibit 9 to Leslie Cockburn Affidavit).

***********************************************************

Thanks, Bill. This really pieces it all together, for me.

The most ironic twist of all, if I remember this correctly, was that during the Iran-Contra hearings, Secord himself, was conducting much of the questioning of Ollie North with regard to the role he played in all of this. In fact, just about all the interrogators would eventually be implicated as part and parcel to the deal that went down. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house! Much the same as putting Johannides on the HSCA as the CIA liaison.

The first I heard of John Hull's plantation air strip was in an article in Harper's Magazine, circa 1994. They referred to him as "Senator" John Hull.

I remember telling my boss, who is Costa Rican by birth, about it at the time, and gave him the magazine to read. He was astounded to see this and exclaimed, "But, he's such a well respected member of the community in Costa Rica!"

Yeah, right.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive..."

I sure ain't proud to be an American, thanks to the dirty, double-dealing tricks played by the U.S. Government, at my expense.

Well, it's time for me to get in the wind, and head on up to The Hill Of The Seven Jackals. Working for the state really sucks.

Ter

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Guest David Guyatt

Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

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Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

You asked. "... Tosh, did you ever fly into El Toro? ...".

Yes. more than once.

The details of those flights and others were given under sworn testimony to Senator John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Aug of 1990, and again in May of 1991, in reference to the Iran-Contra investigations and the secret airbase located at Santa Elena CR. Shortly thereafter, the information and testimony was "Classified Top Secret; Committee Sensitive" in the interest of "National Security".

In 1999 a request to declassified was submitted but was not granted because of National Security (compromising methods and proceedures). In 2000 a detailed FOIA request was filed to various agencies; in reference to the 1990 and 1991 testimony , but no respond as to documentation was forwarded. In 2002 a letter was received from DoD advising how to request declassification of government documents.

Thanks for the link. I found it very interesting. I forwarded it to Dr David Sabow... Col. James Sabow's brother.

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CounterPunch

may 1-15, 2008

vol. 15, no. 9

The Story of a 15 Year Pentagon Cover-Up

The Murder of Colonel Sabow

By JamesG.Abourezk

On January 22, 1991, the wife of Marine Corps Col. James Sabow found him shot dead in the backyard of their base housing unit at the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, California. Naval Investigators sent to the death scene immediately pronounced his death a suicide and just as quickly notified Dr. David Sabow, the Colonel’s brother, of their conclusion.

Any nonprofessional taking a first look at the scene could easily come to that same conclusion. Col. Sabow’s body, in pajamas and bathrobe, was found lying on his right side, with a lawn chair perched on top of his body. The shotgun that caused his death was lying under his body. But these were not amateur investigators. The Navy had sent professional crime scene investigators to inquire into the death of Col. Sabow, but what these professionals overlooked – whether deliberately or through incompetence – was evidence that Col. Sabow had been bludgeoned, after which a shotgun was placed in his mouth by the killers, who pulled the shotgun’s trigger, then arranged the body to make it look like a suicide. Dr. Sabow conducted his own investigation and found from the autopsy records evidence of a massive skull fracture over his right ear, clearly showing that his brother had been clubbed over the head, following which the scene was arranged to make it look like a suicide. Dr. Sabow shared much of the critical autopsy findings with competent university medical experts who came to the same conclusion.

This more accurate evidence, as well as additional findings, and the conclu- sions that followed, all came together fif- teen years later, in 2005, when Dr. David Sabow, the colonel’s brother, ultimately hired a forensic scientist to re-examine the crime scene and the evidence. What

spurred Dr. Sabow’s hiring of Bryan Burnett, the independent forensic scien- tist, was the issuance of a newly written report by Dr. Jon Nordby, who had been hired by the Pentagon under a mandate from Congress to re-investigate the kill- ing.

Nordby’s investigation changed noth- ing from the government’s point of view, only confirming the earlier Pentagon conclusion that, in the face of all evi- dence to the contrary, Col. Sabow’s death was suicide. However, using modern scientific methods to re-enact what had actually happened, Burnett concluded that, without question, Col. Sabow, in- deed, had been murdered. Burnett also concluded from the crime scene evidence that at least three people were involved in the murder. These are conclusions the Pentagon has been desperately trying to avoid ever since Col. Sabow’s death.

Colonel James Sabow was a veteran Marine Corps pilot who had survived over 200 combat missions during the Vietnam War, earning a Bronze Star for valor. The colonel’s brother, Dr. David Sabow, is a neurologist who has practiced medicine in Rapid City, South Dakota, for the last 25 years. As the Pentagon has learned the hard way, he is also someone who is not easily deterred.

In his third year in college in 1961, Dr. Sabow was injured in a water skiing ac- cident which rendered him a total quadriplegic. Since then, with a partial recov- ery of some of his motor functions, he is now able to move around in a motorized wheel chair, which he has learned to navigate with seemingly great ease.

Since that day in January 1991, when the Naval investigators called to tell him his brother committed suicide, Dr. Sabow

has spent many of his waking moments gathering evidence to prove something he knew instinctively – that his brother would not have killed himself, and that someone other than his brother had fired the shotgun. His determination to prove that it was murder and not suicide has cost him his life savings, most of his earnings, and, as a final blow, he is now being forced to sell his home nestled in the Black Hills of western South Dakota to pay for the accumulated debts he has incurred over the years. The burden that the case has laid over him and his family is one that is difficult to describe.

Dr. Sabow has lived in nearly per- petual outrage, not only because of the murder itself but also because of the 15- year Pentagon cover-up. Military officials have surpassed themselves in their efforts to deny the charges that Col. Sabow was murdered -- denials which have only in- creased Dr. Sabow’s resolve to prove oth- erwise.

The Murder

The forensic scientist who proved Dr. Sabow’s theory of outright murder – Bryan Burnett – studied in minute detail all the evidence gathered at the scene by investigators in the immediate aftermath of Col. Sabow’s death, including results of the initial crime scene investigation, the photos taken by the crime scene in- vestigators, Col. Sabow’s clothing, the shotgun used in the killing, as well as the pathology report by the Orange County, California, medical examiner.

Burnett’s conclusions were definite: without question Col. Sabow was the victim of a murder, and not of a suicide. Burnett based his report on irrefutable evidence, beginning with firing tests of the shotgun, which clearly showed that it leaked gunshot residue when it was fired. According to the scenario by the Naval Investigative Service and the Pentagon, Col. Sabow was seated in a patio chair in his backyard. The scene scripted by these two organizations was that Col. Sabow placed the butt of the double-barreled shotgun on the ground next to his right foot with the breech against his right leg. Then, while holding the barrel in his mouth with his left hand, he supposedly reached down to discharge the weapon with his right hand. Because all the tests performed on the gun have proven that it leaked gunshot residue from the breech and the trigger housing, if suicide was the means of his death, then his right hand would contain evidence of gunshot resi- due. According to their own tests, which were performed for the government by the Riverside County, California, foren- sic laboratory, there was no evidence of gunshot residue on Colonel Sabow’s right hand. Moreover, in this same situation, gunshot residue would have covered that portion of the pajama leg or that part of the bathrobe that would have been in contact with the breech of the shotgun. All tests prove that there was either no gunshot residue whatsoever, or a mini- mal amount in these areas.

Significantly, none of the residue was found on Col. Sabow’s right hand: the hand which would have pulled the trigger had he committed suicide. Because of

the position of the bathrobe, which had been carefully tucked around his legs by the killers, the residue would have shown on the bathrobe but not on the pajamas, which the killers covered by the tucking in the bathrobe. There was a small amount of residue on the pajamas, but it was in areas under the bathrobe. Neither the pajamas nor the bathrobe showed levels of gunshot residue, which would confirm that the breech of the shotgun in contact was in contact with the right leg, which it would have been if it were really suicide. Clearly, the shotgun was fired when the breech was away from the body. Further evidence of murder accumulates when Burnett pointed out that a suicide victim does not jump from a sitting position to a fully extended body position. Instead, such a victim would merely slump in the chair after death. What would make such a jump impossible is the immediate destruction of the brain stem from the shotgun blast when all the muscles would become flaccid.

Further, blood spatter that was found on the grass near the body as well as on Col. Sabow’s left wrist indicates that the expiration of blood was occurring prior to the shotgun blast. The colonel was bleeding on the grass before the shotgun was fired.

Burnett also found that the bruising of the back of Col. Sabow’s head shows the impression of the end of the club used to strike him. He found that the bruising of the right ear and around the eyes is typical of a basilar skull fracture. Col. Sabow had undergone seizures after being clubbed, again, prior to the shotgun blast, as indicated by the lip and tongue injuries detected on his body. Skull X-rays taken at the autopsy were reviewed both by independent neurosurgery and neuro- radiology experts, all of whom concluded that Col. Sabow had been struck on the head by a blunt instrument, resulting in a massive depressed fracture. The X-rays from the autopsy report showed that his skull was partially caved in as a result of what was described as “blunt force trauma.”

In layman’s terms, he had been clubbed before he was made the target of the shotgun blast.

Burnett’s analysis is that, after being rendered unconscious by the blow, Colonel Sabow fell on his right side, after which the shotgun was placed in his mouth, fired, and then shoved under his body to simulate suicide. His bath- robe was then carefully but inexplicably tucked around his legs.

The post-mortem examination disclosed another fact – that there was a large amount of blood in Col. Sabow’s right lung; solid evidence that he was still alive before the shotgun was discharged in his mouth by the killers. Had it been suicide, he would have died instantaneously, and there would have been no inhaling of blood into his lung following death.

According to Burnett’s report, the blood spatter both on the grass and on the body is evidence of homicide. He points out that bleeding was occurring prior to the shotgun blast, explained by basilar skull fractures that occurred as a result of the blow to the head. Both ex- pirated and aspirated blood is evident, which would not occur if the death were by shotgun without the prior blunt force injury. Bloody blowback shows up on the palm of the left hand (which would not occur if he had committed suicide). And the body position makes no sense if it were suicide. There was no blood on the exterior of the shotgun

The bathrobe tucks provide evidence of post-mortem manipulation of the body, that is, the killer or killers arranged his body, the shotgun, and straightened out his bathrobe in their effort to stage the scene. All the assembled evidence offers overwhelming verification of homicide, and there is no evidence that supports suicide.

Even more evidence of murder over- looked by the government was the complete absence of fingerprints on the shotgun used in his death, as well as the absence of bloody blowback. The absence of blowback indicates that the shotgun either had not been exposed to blowback, or it had been cleaned before being placed under the Colonel’s body. It is obvious that a suicide would be unable to wipe a weapon clean. Interestingly, the FBI, when it was asked, has gone on re- cord as saying that rarely are fingerprints found on firearms, which in fact is true in most cases. But what the FBI has omitted in its opinion is that its “rule of thumb” applies generally to pistols and revolvers, but not necessarily to shotguns and rifles, which are much more susceptible to retaining fingerprints. Moreover, the FBI has no explanation for the absence of bloody blowback on the shotgun.

The Motive

There is no definite evidence with re- spect to who the murderer or murderers are. There is only suspicion, and given the government’s frenzied efforts to cover up the killing, ultimately finding the guilty party or parties will not be easy.

David Sabow believes that his brother, Col. Sabow, was part of a Marine Corps operation flying weapons to South America as part of the arms-for-drugs operation in the Reagan era, designed to supply the Contras subsidized by the U.S.A. He is also convinced that, not long before his murder, his brother learned of the senior Marine Corps officers who were involved in bringing illegal drugs back into the country.

C-123 cargo planes were geared up so they could fly weapons south to Colombia and to bring back illegal drugs on the return trip to the United States. Once converted, the C-123s were flown to El Toro Marine Air Station, where a senior officer would authorize the planes to be re-fueled at night, and then sent to the Southern Mexico weapons dump to transfer on to Columbia. On the return trip from Columbia, the C-123s brought cocaine back to El Toro, always at night, where the drugs were unloaded.

Tosh Plumlee, one of the civilian pilots running guns for the U.S. government in the 1980s, has told this writer that he made a number of operationally approved trips to Latin America, trips that were described as “sanctioned drug interdiction operations.” These trips were approved by military intelligence personnel attached to the Pentagon, with CIA logistical support. They were made in

total secrecy to the extent that other government agencies were not aware of the existence of these flights, or of the operation. The pilots were given a specific coded transponder number to squawk so their aircraft would not be challenged by U.S. Customs aircraft when patrolling the U.S. border.

When, in the 1980s, the 82nd and 101st Airborne were sent to Costa Rica for maneuvers, a great deal of weapons were sent with them. However, some of the weapons did not return to the United States and were later taken off the books by the military, marked as either lost or destroyed and reported to the Government Accounting Office as such. Plumlee and other pilots have testified to Congress that they were working for a secret U.S. military intelligence operation that clandestinely sent them from the United States to bring back the so-called damaged and disappeared weapons for

retrofitting and repair.

When the weapons were repaired and tested at China Lake and Twentynine Palms, in California, they were staged and once again flown back from El Toro Marine Air Base to Latin America, via Mexico, to be supplied to the Contras, the American-financed rebel group seek- ing to overthrow the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

The aircraft used by this group were designated as “cutouts” and certified as belonging to the U.S. Forest Service’s air- craft fleet, but they were controlled by U.S. military intelligence, and contracted by civilian operators for whom Plumlee and other pilots worked. These pilots used secret air bases in Costa Rica, as well as on the notorious John Hall Ranch, as unloading and staging areas for the illegal weapons. They also used hidden runways in Costa Rica and El Salvador, controlled by the drug cartel, which then allowed them to bring into the United States drugs on the return trips.

These flyways and airstrips were secretly recorded by undercover flight crews and reported to various government interdiction agencies in the United States. In 1986, an early operation known by the code name, “Penetrate,” was shut down because of the politically explosive Iran-Contra matter. In 1990, however, there was still a covert weapons operation – detailed above – that continued to fly weapons to Latin America, mostly to Bogota, Columbia, which allowed the group to bring back illegal drugs into the United States via Mexico. These flyways and staging areas in Mexico were duly noted by undercover pilots and passed on to CIA and DEA personnel. According to Plumlee, an American DEA agent from Guadalajara, Mexico, by the name of Kiki Camarena, was killed because of his knowledge concerning the “CIA-Mexico” thing, as it was widely known among the covert civilian pilots.

Plumlee states that the word being spread from military personnel at El Toro through his group was that Col. Sabow had discovered illegal flights coming into El Toro Marine Air Base at 2 or 3 a.m., obviously carrying illegal contraband, and that he intended to blow the whistle. He had also heard that Col. Sabow was going to be relieved of his duties because of his intention to report the drug ship- ments.

Plumlee is convinced that Col. Sabow was murdered to silence him.

It is highly probable that Col. Sabow

became aware of the night flights into El Toro, as his base housing was on the landing flight path.

A serious hitch in the operation came when a new loadmaster assigned to El Toro complained about the unregistered planes landing at night and demanded that they be registered, but a senior officer ordered him to shut up and to stop insisting on registration. The loadmaster complained to the inspector general, which prompted the IG to come to El Toro for an investigation.

Dr. Sabow believes the inspector general was making an effort to force the officers under suspicion to resign for the good of the Corps. But because Col. Sabow knew he was clean so far as drug shipments were concerned, instead of quietly accepting the accusations, he planned to insist that a court martial be convened in order to clear his name. He was willing to expose the operation that sent American weapons into Latin America on American cargo aircraft, and he would prove that he had no hand in bringing illegal drugs into the country on return trips.

Sally Sabow, Col. Sabow’s wife, has told her brother in law that the day before her husband was killed, a senior officer had walked into Col. Sabow’s home, and, dur- ing a conversation overheard by her, she saw the officer shaking his finger in Col. Sabow’s face, shouting, “You will never go to a court martial!”

Sally Sabow has since detailed a chronology of events on the morning of the murder. The phone rang just as she was leaving the house to go to morning Mass. Because of the time Mass was to start, she remembered the time as being 8:30 on that morning, January 22, 1991. The routine of the Sabows’ neighbor, Col. Joseph Underwood, was that when he came next door to visit the Sabows, he would call the Sabow home in advance so Col. Sabow’s dog, usually in the back yard, could be put into the garage. Underwood’s home was next door, their back yards connected by a gate placed in the five-foot privacy fence. Sally Sabow heard the phone ring just as she was leaving the house that morning, and Col. Sabow answered it. She saw him heading for the back door to take the dog into the garage. She says her natural assumption was that it was Col. Underwood calling before he was to visit.

On her return from Mass, she found her husband dead.

What was interesting about the inspector general’s actions was that the Marine Corps wanted a quiet resignation from the officers they believed were involved in drug shipments from Central America. There’s no doubt that a finding that Col. Sabow committed suicide would serve the interests of the Marine Corps as well as the Pentagon’s civilian leaders. If it were murder, it is obvious that too much information would be ex- posed about the illegal drug operations of the senior Marine Corps officers, which

would have been a huge embarrassment for the Marine Corps.

Col. Sabow, along with Col. Underwood and Marine Corps General Tom Adams, were accused of using Marine airplanes for personal reasons. California news- papers at the time were full of stories about the scandal involving misuse of Marine Corps aircraft: a scandal uncovered as a result of an anonymous phone call to the Marine Corps Fraud Hotline. General Adams was accused of using Marine Corps aircraft to fly to Florida to sign his divorce papers, then to spend time at a military resort called “Big Bear” with his girl friend. Col. Underwood was accused of using aircraft for personal use. Sabow was targeted as having transport- ed personal items in a Marine Corps air- craft to give to his son who was attending

school in the Spokane, Washington, area. The Marine Corps inspector general had relieved both Underwood and Sabow from their duties, pending the disposi- tion of the accusations against them. After Col. Sabow’s death, and because the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had pronounced it a suicide, it was widely assumed that the scandal was the cause of his “self-inflicted” mortal wound.

Not according to Col. Sabow’s widow, however. Sally Sabow filed an affidavit to counter the speculation that her husband was depressed and that his mental condition had deteriorated – allegations made in a Defense Department report released in an effort to explain his suicide. Instead of being depressed, Mrs. Sabow, who had earned a minor degree in Psychology and who had worked as a social worker in a mental ward after college, said in her sworn statement that her husband was, indeed, of sound mind and, in fact, was working on his resume in the days before his death. She also refuted a statement in the report that, according to her, Col. Sabow had left a suicide note. In her statement, she accused the Marine Corps

and the federal government of engaging in lies and a cover-up in its report in order to hide the murder of her husband. Underwood pled guilty at an “Article

15” administrative hearing to a number of the charges, among them misusing both Marine Corps aircraft as well as the misuse of his official car, of using his aides for personal chores, for demanding a kickback from another officer for a prize-winning entry to a base contest he ad- ministered, and for taking a laptop computer home for use by his family. Article

15 allows a commander – in this case General Adams – to administer the punishment for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Underwood was fined

$4,000 and agreed to make restitution in the amount of $2,300. He also received an official letter of reprimand. He then asked that he be allowed to retire from the Marine Corps, a retirement agreed to by General Adams, which would allow him to receive about $3,700 a month in retirement pay. General Adams said at the time, “I am completely satisfied that this was a thorough investigation.” Adams himself was ultimately allowed to retire. With Col. Sabow’s “suicide” and Col. Underwood’s guilty plea, the Marine Corps was able to close the file on the scandal and to end the investigation. No further facts, therefore, were supposed to come out.

The Cover-up

Although the Naval investigators and the Orange County coroner conducted various tests that Bryan Burnett was able to use in his investigation, his conclusion was the exact opposite of theirs. He has categorically stated in his investigative report that Col. Sabow was murdered.

In 2003, Senators Pat Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, then respectively the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a joint letter to the FBI demanding that the investigation into Col. Sabow’s death be re- opened. In an amazing rebuff to the high- ranking senators, the FBI wrote back and effectively told the two senators that it had already conducted a review of the evidence surrounding Col. Sabow’s death and concluded that it was suicide.

The letter from the FBI’s assistant of the Office of Public and Congressional

Affairs, John Collingwood, emphasized that the absence of fingerprints on the weapon was not abnormal, that rarely are fingerprints found on weapons. Further, the FBI concluded that the evidence of Col. Sabow being bludgeoned was an injury from the gunshot wound and not from the bludgeon – exactly the opposite of what Bryan Burnett and other medical experts had found. The FBI dropped the case.

One of Dr. Sabow’s investigators was able to go to Camp Pendleton and get a look at the flight records for El Toro Marine Air Base. He learned from the records that on the morning of the murder, a shuttle helicopter landed at a re- mote area of El Toro’s air field somewhat close to the base housing. Witnesses said that four men dressed in civilian clothing emerged from the helicopter and crossed a vacant field toward the base housing area. Their landing spot was a far distance from the control tower but a near distance to the Sabow house.

In March of 1991, at the beginning of the investigation, both Dr. Sabow and Col. Sabow’s widow, Sally, were warned, with threats of dire sanctions, by General Adams that they should not speak to the news media.

In 2003, Dr. Sabow was able to get Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to attach an amend- ment to a military authorization bill requiring the Pentagon to re-open the in- vestigation. The Pentagon hired Dr. Jon Nordby, of Seattle, Washington, to re- investigate the killing. Nordby had been affiliated with the FBI in previous years

–a history that raised a red flag with Dr. Sabow. Because of his distrust of Nordby, he refused to turn over the shotgun to him: a rebuff that provided Nordby with an excuse to denounce Dr. Sabow. Nordby received a Ph.D. degree in 1977 from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Unsurprisingly, Nordby’s report con- firmed the military’s view that Col. Sabow committed a suicide. Nordby spent a substantial amount of time in his report attempting to ridicule Dr. Sabow. One expert who consulted for the Pentagon, Dr. Vincent DiMaio, had also concluded that Col. Sabow’s death was a suicide. Dr. Nordby referred to Dr. DiMaio’s re- port, saying that DiMaio “answered Dr. Sabow’s misleading and misdirected

questions with the evident frustration of a knowledgeable professional too busy to baby-sit fanatics – hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.”

According to his report, after Nordby took on the case for the Pentagon, he was called by Dr. Sabow, who told Nordby that he wanted to work with him. One might expect that this offer, coming from an experienced neurologist, in addition to his personal interest, might result in a positive contribution to the case. However, Nordby felt that Sabow was too emotional and that he had a predetermined outcome in mind – that his brother had been murdered. This prompted Nordby to hang up the phone during the conversation but not before he told Dr. Sabow

“what I thought and what I felt about this ignorant and biased unscientific attitude.”

(Emphasis added). Nordby also included in his report, “I was neither asked to baby sit family members in this case, nor to provide psychological therapy, no matter how desperately both interventions may be needed. These activities simply do not appear in the language of my contract.”

At another point in his report, Nordby responds to Dr. Sabow’s statement that a number of district attorneys and detectives plus one judge had all evaluated the evidence and had stated categorically that this was an obvious homicide. Nordby’s response was: “It is wise to remember that not all experts are equally expert on the same things. No one with forensic training who has examined the real evidence in this case has concluded that Col. Sabow was murdered. The physical and medical evidence points unequivocally toward suicide.”

At the request of the Pentagon, Nordby issued a supplemental report in August 2006, which did nothing more than affirm what he had said in his initial report. There was one added feature, however. On page 23 of his supplemental report, he placed in a box the following:

“The simple failure to find Osama Bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2001 does not by itself mean that he was never there.” Similarly, “The simple failure to find GSR [gunshot residue] on Col. Sabow’s right hand in 1991 does not by itself mean that it was never there.” Neither in his report nor elsewhere does Dr. Nordby explain the difference between (a) a person capable of moving about to avoid detection and (:) gunshot residue, which is incapable of moving

about unless removed by outside forces, either by washing or by other means.

Applying Dr. Nordby’s logic, the simple failure to find fingerprints on the barrel of the shotgun used to kill Col. Sabow does not by itself mean that they were never there.

In his new report, Dr. Nordby also makes much of what he calls “voids” on Col. Sabow’s bathrobe – meaning clean areas on the bathrobe that are devoid of bloodstains. He attributes such voids to those areas having been covered by Col. Sabow’s arms at the time of the shotgun blast. The drawings he made of the bath- robe in his report show that Col. Sabow’s left arm certainly could have covered the left part of the bathrobe, thereby, pre- venting blood spatters from hitting that part of the bathrobe which his left arm apparently covered when the gun was fired.

However, Nordby exposes a major flaw in his own investigation by including his diagram of the position of Col. Sabow’s right arm relative to the bath- robe, which shows the right arm coming across his chest, downward, in a position that Nordby says would allow the colonel to reach the trigger mechanism of the shotgun. In this new scenario plotted by Nordby, he would have Col. Sabow holding the shotgun between his legs, rather than alongside his right leg, in order to fit the location of the “void” created by his right arm across his bathrobe. Unwittingly, Dr. Nordby’s diagram showing the location of the “void,” or the clean area of the bathrobe covered by his right arm, specifically disproves suicide, pro- viding even more evidence of a murder. The suicide scenario posited by the Naval Investigative Service and the Pentagon, and not refuted by Dr. Nordby in his initial report, was that Col. Sabow was seated, with his left hand holding the muzzle of the shotgun in his mouth, the gun placed alongside and outside of his right leg with his right hand pulling the trigger. In this scenario, the colonel’s right arm could not possibly have covered the bathrobe in the place that Nordby specifies. His arm would have been along the right side of the bathrobe, and not the front, which is where Nordby diagrams it. But to justify his suicide theory, in his supplemental report he was compelled to create a scenario where Col. Sabow held the gun between his legs, and not along- side his right leg – a shift of 180 degrees

from his assumption in his first report. Dr. Nordby seems unable to explain

away the staged murder scene, the colonel’s crushed skull, the neatened up bath- robe, or the absence of gunshot residue on his right hand.

Questions Not Answered, Case Not Closed

The murder of Col. Sabow, the flawed investigation by the military, and the cover-up together raise many more questions than there are answers. Why was this Marine hero murdered? Why did the military investigators carelessly rush to judgment on how he died? Why have the Pentagon and the FBI made such great efforts to cover up the fact that he was murdered?

More importantly, what are they hiding?

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Marine Corps has no interest in exposing their senior officers, nor is it a reach to understand why the military has no interest in exposing their part in illegal arms shipments or illegal drug running, even if the commander in chief had initially ordered the weapons shipments.

Whatever the reason for the cover-up, the result was the murder of a member of the United States Marine Corps who served his country honorably, as he had sworn to do, as well as a blot on the reputation of the United States military.

Footnote: For those who have a hard time believing that George H.W. Bush could be involved in covert operations, one must consider his experience. He was director of Central Intelligence in the 1970s, and was vice president during the Iran- Contra business in the 1980s. If you re- member, at that time, he vehemently denied having anything to do with meeting with the Iranians with respect to trading weapons for hostages. He was, as he said,

“out of the loop.”

Not long after that denial, and during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s investigation of the matter, I was contacted by a Foreign Relations Committee staff member who asked what I knew about Bush’s {to use Sr. to avoid confu- sion?] involvement. I knew nothing, but I called Beirut and talked to Bassem Abu Sharif, who was then Yasir Arafat’s top aide. Abu Sharif held me to secrecy, then told me that he was present when Bush and Arafat attended a meeting in Abu Sharif’s Beirut home that dealt with trading weapons for hostages.

I asked him why Arafat wouldn’t make that public, as it was a hot news item at the time, and his response was that Arafat

“didn’t want to anger the Americans.”

James G. Abourezk is a lawyer practicing in South Dakota. He is a former United States senator and the author of two books, Advise and Dissent, and a co- author of Through Different Eyes. He can be reached at georgepatton@alyajames. net.

April 1-15, 2008

Note: The aircraft in the article, in reference to El Toro, was stated as being C-123's. when in fact they were C-130's. The refuling receipts reflect this and are contained within classified files along with the aircraft I.D. numbers as well as names of most of the flight crews and cargo kickers. The reference to C-123's came from a load master who knew about Berry Seal's 'Fat Lady" which was later shot down in Nicaragua which launched the Iran-Contra affair. One of the C-130's used in the "Interdiction program, was named "The Iron Butterfly". and was reg. at one time as a air tanker used by the Forest Service as a contract supplier. ( reference CBS 60 Minutes, "Our Planes are Missing".) This aircraft was based in Arizona south of Phoenix and later near Hemmit CA before it went to Angola on a classified mission. (documented)

Supporting references as to above article:

from article:

"... When, in the 1980s, the 82nd and 101st Airborne were sent to Costa Rica for maneuvers, a great deal of weapons were sent with them. However, some of the weapons did not return to the United States and were later taken off the books by the military, marked as either lost or destroyed and reported to the Government Accounting Office as such. Plumlee and other pilots have testified to Congress that they were working for a secret U.S. military intelligence operation that clandestinely sent them from the United States to bring back the so-called damaged and disappeared weapons for

retrofitting and repair. ...".

From a 2003 Pentagon Report: (supporting reference to above section of May 15th 08 Counter Punch article)

"... Military waste under fire: $1 trillion missing

May 18, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...18/MN251738.DTL

The Department of Defense, already infamous for spending $640 for a toilet seat...couldn't account for more than a trillion dollars in financial transactions, not to mention dozens of tanks, missiles and planes. The nonpartisan General Accounting Office has raised the volume of its perennial complaints about the financial woes at Defense, which recently failed its seventh audit in as many years. "Overhauling DOD's financial management operations represent a challenge that goes far beyond financial accounting," GAO chief David Walker told lawmakers. Recent government reports suggest the Pentagon's money management woes have reached astronomical proportions. A GAO report found Defense inventory systems so lax that the U.S. Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units. When military leaders were scrambling to find enough chemical and biological warfare suits to protect U.S. troops, the department was caught selling these suits as surplus on the Internet "for pennies on the dollar," a GAO official said.

"We are overhauling our financial management system," said Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon's chief financial officer. "The Pentagon has failed to address financial problems that dwarf those of Enron," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles. Gregory Kutz, director of GAO's financial management division [said] "I've been to Wal-Mart. They were able to tell me how many tubes of toothpaste were in Fairfax, Va. And DOD can't find its chem-bio suits." Opposition to defense spending is portrayed as unpatriotic. Legislators are often more concerned about winning Pentagon pork than controlling defense waste. ....". (end)

Edited by William Plumlee
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Guest David Guyatt
Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

You asked. "... Tosh, did you ever fly into El Toro? ...".

Yes. more than once.

The details of those flights and others were given under sworn testimony to Senator John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Aug of 1990, and again in May of 1991, in reference to the Iran-Contra investigations and the secret airbase located at Santa Elena CR. Shortly thereafter, the information and testimony was "Classified Top Secret; Committee Sensitive" in the interest of "National Security".

In 1999 a request to declassified was submitted but was not granted because of National Security (compromising methods and proceedures). In 2000 a detailed FOIA request was filed to various agencies; in reference to the 1990 and 1991 testimony , but no respond as to documentation was forwarded. In 2002 a letter was received from DoD advising how to request declassification of government documents.

Thanks for the link. I found it very interesting. I forwarded it to Dr David Sabow... Col. James Sabow's brother.

Thanks for this, Tosh. I had a feeling that might be the case. Would it still be classified matter to ask you the names of the locations from which you took off on your journeys to El Toro?

David

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Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

You asked. "... Tosh, did you ever fly into El Toro? ...".

Yes. more than once.

The details of those flights and others were given under sworn testimony to Senator John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Aug of 1990, and again in May of 1991, in reference to the Iran-Contra investigations and the secret airbase located at Santa Elena CR. Shortly thereafter, the information and testimony was "Classified Top Secret; Committee Sensitive" in the interest of "National Security".

In 1999 a request to declassified was submitted but was not granted because of National Security (compromising methods and proceedures). In 2000 a detailed FOIA request was filed to various agencies; in reference to the 1990 and 1991 testimony , but no respond as to documentation was forwarded. In 2002 a letter was received from DoD advising how to request declassification of government documents.

Thanks for the link. I found it very interesting. I forwarded it to Dr David Sabow... Col. James Sabow's brother.

Thanks for this, Tosh. I had a feeling that might be the case. Would it still be classified matter to ask you the names of the locations from which you took off on your journeys to El Toro?

David

Ilapango El Salvadora, Santa Elena and Poco Solo, Costa Rico,, Lajtas Mexico, John Hull's Ranch in Costa Rico, as well as various location in Columbia.

note: In April of 1984 an aircraft flown by a Nicaraguan pilot crashed while taking off from the airfield located at John Hull's ranch. The aircraft was overloaded by some six hundred pounds of US military hardware and supplies. (Tico Times 9-28-84)

The aircraft and weapons were quickly removed. The weapons went to the Contra's sourthern front and the aircraft remains went to the bone yard as scrap metal.

In April 1986 A CBS "West 57th Street" broadcast airs in which former contra resupply pilots identified John Hull's ranch as a major transhipment point for military supplies and cocain. John Hull denies any roll in the contra resupply network.

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Guest David Guyatt
Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

You asked. "... Tosh, did you ever fly into El Toro? ...".

Yes. more than once.

The details of those flights and others were given under sworn testimony to Senator John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Aug of 1990, and again in May of 1991, in reference to the Iran-Contra investigations and the secret airbase located at Santa Elena CR. Shortly thereafter, the information and testimony was "Classified Top Secret; Committee Sensitive" in the interest of "National Security".

In 1999 a request to declassified was submitted but was not granted because of National Security (compromising methods and proceedures). In 2000 a detailed FOIA request was filed to various agencies; in reference to the 1990 and 1991 testimony , but no respond as to documentation was forwarded. In 2002 a letter was received from DoD advising how to request declassification of government documents.

Thanks for the link. I found it very interesting. I forwarded it to Dr David Sabow... Col. James Sabow's brother.

Thanks for this, Tosh. I had a feeling that might be the case. Would it still be classified matter to ask you the names of the locations from which you took off on your journeys to El Toro?

David

Ilapango El Salvadora, Santa Elena and Poco Solo, Costa Rico,, Lajtas Mexico, John Hull's Ranch in Costa Rico, as well as various location in Columbia.

note: In April of 1984 an aircraft flown by a Nicaraguan pilot crashed while taking off from the airfield located at John Hull's ranch. The aircraft was overloaded by some six hundred pounds of US military hardware and supplies. (Tico Times 9-28-84)

The aircraft and weapons were quickly removed. The weapons went to the Contra's sourthern front and the aircraft remains went to the bone yard as scrap metal.

In April 1986 A CBS "West 57th Street" broadcast airs in which former contra resupply pilots identified John Hull's ranch as a major transhipment point for military supplies and cocain. John Hull denies any roll in the contra resupply network.

Again thanks, Tosh. I thought that might be the case.

Did you ever fly into or out of mainland China carrying cargo? I seem to remember there was an influential family there, Wong (so my memory says anyway) that had certain interests.

Incidentally, I tried to PM you but seems its switched off. Years ago Rod Stich put me in touch with you to discuss the curious US Treasury Notes that were circulating in the Philippines and which dated from WWII -- which the US Treasury denied were genuine. I am sure there were a lot of fakes circulating as the Philippines seems to be especially capable at producing such paperwork, but there were also (I am told) genuine debt instruments that have been disavowed...

David

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Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

You asked. "... Tosh, did you ever fly into El Toro? ...".

Yes. more than once.

The details of those flights and others were given under sworn testimony to Senator John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Aug of 1990, and again in May of 1991, in reference to the Iran-Contra investigations and the secret airbase located at Santa Elena CR. Shortly thereafter, the information and testimony was "Classified Top Secret; Committee Sensitive" in the interest of "National Security".

In 1999 a request to declassified was submitted but was not granted because of National Security (compromising methods and proceedures). In 2000 a detailed FOIA request was filed to various agencies; in reference to the 1990 and 1991 testimony , but no respond as to documentation was forwarded. In 2002 a letter was received from DoD advising how to request declassification of government documents.

Thanks for the link. I found it very interesting. I forwarded it to Dr David Sabow... Col. James Sabow's brother.

Thanks for this, Tosh. I had a feeling that might be the case. Would it still be classified matter to ask you the names of the locations from which you took off on your journeys to El Toro?

David

Ilapango El Salvadora, Santa Elena and Poco Solo, Costa Rico,, Lajtas Mexico, John Hull's Ranch in Costa Rico, as well as various location in Columbia.

note: In April of 1984 an aircraft flown by a Nicaraguan pilot crashed while taking off from the airfield located at John Hull's ranch. The aircraft was overloaded by some six hundred pounds of US military hardware and supplies. (Tico Times 9-28-84)

The aircraft and weapons were quickly removed. The weapons went to the Contra's sourthern front and the aircraft remains went to the bone yard as scrap metal.

In April 1986 A CBS "West 57th Street" broadcast airs in which former contra resupply pilots identified John Hull's ranch as a major transhipment point for military supplies and cocain. John Hull denies any roll in the contra resupply network.

Again thanks, Tosh. I thought that might be the case.

Did you ever fly into or out of mainland China carrying cargo? I seem to remember there was an influential family there, Wong (so my memory says anyway) that had certain interests.

Incidentally, I tried to PM you but seems its switched off. Years ago Rod Stich put me in touch with you to discuss the curious US Treasury Notes that were circulating in the Philippines and which dated from WWII -- which the US Treasury denied were genuine. I am sure there were a lot of fakes circulating as the Philippines seems to be especially capable at producing such paperwork, but there were also (I am told) genuine debt instruments that have been disavowed...

David

Only one time into China (near where they were building the big damn, biggest in the world at the time)

I heard a story that was said to have came from a pilot lost in Laos and who had flown into Diem Bin Phou in the fifties. (?) His name was "Earthquake Mc Goon" ( note: His remains were found a few years ago and brought back home recently.) His story was that a large sum of US money was found in the jungles, which had been taken by the Japaneese during WW11. American troops found the hidden loot in caves and scattered through out the jungle. Most of the loot was never turned over to the authorites. Sometime after the war some of the US troops who had discovered the money went back to retrieve the loot, but I am not sure what happened after thiat point. Its a lost treasure story of WWII of which there are many. This was told to me by third parties and one of the persons claimed to have been there when the money was found in 1944. He is 89 years old today and still tells the story of how and when they found the "loot" as he calls it.

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Guest David Guyatt
Seems that "shotgunning" became a derigeur method of suiciding military officers, if the case of Admiral Jerry Boorda is also considered. Very interesting that his former CNO was Admiral Zumwalt, methinks ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Michael_Boorda ).

But apologies for detracting from the Sabow case that has always interested me.

Tosh, did you ever fly in to El Toro?

David

You asked. "... Tosh, did you ever fly into El Toro? ...".

Yes. more than once.

The details of those flights and others were given under sworn testimony to Senator John Kerry, Senator Gary Hart, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Aug of 1990, and again in May of 1991, in reference to the Iran-Contra investigations and the secret airbase located at Santa Elena CR. Shortly thereafter, the information and testimony was "Classified Top Secret; Committee Sensitive" in the interest of "National Security".

In 1999 a request to declassified was submitted but was not granted because of National Security (compromising methods and proceedures). In 2000 a detailed FOIA request was filed to various agencies; in reference to the 1990 and 1991 testimony , but no respond as to documentation was forwarded. In 2002 a letter was received from DoD advising how to request declassification of government documents.

Thanks for the link. I found it very interesting. I forwarded it to Dr David Sabow... Col. James Sabow's brother.

Thanks for this, Tosh. I had a feeling that might be the case. Would it still be classified matter to ask you the names of the locations from which you took off on your journeys to El Toro?

David

Ilapango El Salvadora, Santa Elena and Poco Solo, Costa Rico,, Lajtas Mexico, John Hull's Ranch in Costa Rico, as well as various location in Columbia.

note: In April of 1984 an aircraft flown by a Nicaraguan pilot crashed while taking off from the airfield located at John Hull's ranch. The aircraft was overloaded by some six hundred pounds of US military hardware and supplies. (Tico Times 9-28-84)

The aircraft and weapons were quickly removed. The weapons went to the Contra's sourthern front and the aircraft remains went to the bone yard as scrap metal.

In April 1986 A CBS "West 57th Street" broadcast airs in which former contra resupply pilots identified John Hull's ranch as a major transhipment point for military supplies and cocain. John Hull denies any roll in the contra resupply network.

Again thanks, Tosh. I thought that might be the case.

Did you ever fly into or out of mainland China carrying cargo? I seem to remember there was an influential family there, Wong (so my memory says anyway) that had certain interests.

Incidentally, I tried to PM you but seems its switched off. Years ago Rod Stich put me in touch with you to discuss the curious US Treasury Notes that were circulating in the Philippines and which dated from WWII -- which the US Treasury denied were genuine. I am sure there were a lot of fakes circulating as the Philippines seems to be especially capable at producing such paperwork, but there were also (I am told) genuine debt instruments that have been disavowed...

David

Only one time into China (near where they were building the big damn, biggest in the world at the time)

I heard a story that was said to have came from a pilot lost in Laos and who had flown into Diem Bin Phou in the fifties. (?) His name was "Earthquake Mc Goon" ( note: His remains were found a few years ago and brought back home recently.) His story was that a large sum of US money was found in the jungles, which had been taken by the Japaneese during WW11. American troops found the hidden loot in caves and scattered through out the jungle. Most of the loot was never turned over to the authorites. Sometime after the war some of the US troops who had discovered the money went back to retrieve the loot, but I am not sure what happened after thiat point. Its a lost treasure story of WWII of which there are many. This was told to me by third parties and one of the persons claimed to have been there when the money was found in 1944. He is 89 years old today and still tells the story of how and when they found the "loot" as he calls it.

Okay and thanks for that...

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