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1963, Heroin, Cocaine, and the assassination

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31 minutes ago, Paul Brancato said:

Cliff - two points. The thread wasn't intended to be about Final Charade.

Second - I never said the good old boys weren't dealing drugs, using the drug trade to finance their operations or line their bank accounts. I never said that the drug trade was unimportant. It's very important, and I'm very well read on the subject, so I know most of your references, and sympathize with your point of view. What I did say was that it wasn't the motive for the murder of JFK. I don't see any proof that JFK had targeted the drug trade the way he did the defense contractors, the oil industry, the steel industry, the Federal Reserve, or the national security establishment.

Pulling out of Vietnam would have killed the CIA's hold on the Laotian poppy fields.

For the heroin pipeline to succeed there had to be a partitioned Laos and a militarized Vietnam.


 I'm not even sure JFK knew the extent of the drug trade, the way we do in hindsight.

I doubt he knew what he was up against.


But I am quite sure he wanted to end the Cold War. Of that there is ample proof in my opinion. The drug trade is an adjunct to foreign wars,

Foreign wars are an adjunct to the drug trade.


and the illegal drug industry may have felt threatened by JFK's pro independence stance.

Kennedy wanted a neutral, non-aligned SE Asia.

That was the threat to the illegal drug industry.


But it was the wars themselves that JFK targeted, for moral reasons.

That's not the case in SE Asia.

Kennedy lost control of American foreign policy in Vietnam.

The Diem coup was Harriman's idea, not Kennedy's.


Take a look at the thread about Indonesia. That's not a country that was being used for transport of drugs, yet it was important strategically, for minerals especially.

Please tell me the elite American death squads who were operating widely in Indonesia in 1963.

Laos was lousey with the bastards.


And that brings me to Alan Dulles. Why on earth would you make the statement that Dulles was at most an alternate patsy, not a principal? That has the effect on me, like it or not, of causing me to dismiss your theories. 

Given how badly Dulles blew off the Bay of Pigs who in their right mind would recruit the guy to run a Presidential assassination?

He was the patsy for the Bay of Pigs, and once a patsy always a patsy.

Family friends of his girlfriend hosting a Presidential assassin? -- I don't buy it.

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The Gary Underhill Scenario:

From Larry Hancock's Someone Would Have Talked, pg 496:

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[Former CIA employee Gary] Underhill's concern was that he had become aware of a "clique" within the CIA--a clique
dealing with weapons and gun-running and making money. These individuals had Far Eastern connections, narcotics was
mentioned, supposedly the clique was manipulating political intrigues to serve their own ends.
Underhill believed
that these individuals had been involved with JFK's murder; he felt that JFK had become aware of their dealings and
was about to move against them in some fashion. He also believed that members of the clique knew that Underhill was
aware of their dealings and that his own life could well be in jeopardy.

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A Secret Order, Hank Albarelli, pg: 14

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[D]uring WWII George Hunter White and a number of other [Federal Bureau of Narcotics] agents assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the CIA, worked very closely in New York City with Port Security and the Office of Naval Intelligence on what is now commonly called Operation Underworld. This was the top-secret project that involved freeing infamous gangster Charles "Lucky" Luciano from prison in return for his, and the Mafia's, assistance with security at America's ports and the Allied invasion of Italy. All the FBN agents assigned to work on Operation Underworld went on to become covert operatives of the CIA, and would become involved with Projects MK/ULTRA and MK/NAOMI.

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From Douglas Valentine's The Strength of the Wolf:

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Harvey was so dependent on the FBN and its underworld contacts that he scribbled the words “the Magic Button” beside a reference to the Bureau in his notes.

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Joseph Trento, The Secret History of the CIA, pgs 334-5

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Who changed the coup into the murder of Diem, Nhu and a Catholic priest accompanying them? To this day, nothing has been found in government archives tying the killings to either John or Robert Kennedy. So how did the tools and talents developed by Bill Harvey for ZR/RIFLE and Operation MONGOOSE get exported to Vietnam? Kennedy immediately ordered (William R.) Corson to find out what had happened and who was responsible. The answer he came up with: “On instructions from Averell Harriman…. The orders that ended in the deaths of Diem and his brother originated with Harriman and were carried out by Henry Cabot Lodge’s own military assistant.”

Having served as ambassador to Moscow and governor of New York, W. Averell Harriman was in the middle of a long public career. In 1960, President-elect Kennedy appointed him ambassador-at-large, to operate “with the full confidence of the president and an intimate knowledge of all aspects of United States policy.” By 1963, according to Corson, Harriman was running “Vietnam without consulting the president or the attorney general.”

The president had begun to suspect that not everyone on his national security team was loyal. As Corson put it, “Kenny O’Donnell (JFK’s appointments secretary) was convinced that McGeorge Bundy, the national security advisor, was taking orders from Ambassador Averell Harriman and not the president. He was especially worried about Michael Forrestal, a young man on the White House staff who handled liaison on Vietnam with Harriman.”

At the heart of the murders was the sudden and strange recall of Sagon Station Chief Jocko Richardson and his replacement by a no-name team barely known to history. The key member was a Special Operations Army officer, John Michael Dunn, who took his orders, not from the normal CIA hierarchy but from Harriman and Forrestal.

According to Corson, “John Michael Dunn was known to be in touch with the coup plotters,” although Dunn’s role has never been made public. Corson believes that Richardson was removed so that Dunn, assigned to Ambassador Lodge for “special operations,” could act without hindrance.

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Was Averell Harriman's finger on Harvey's Magic Button?

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Weekend Edition November 7-9, 2014
Drug Trafficking as Strategic Intelligence
The CIA and Drugs, Inc.: a Covert History

Gary Webb was a good investigator. He linked a drug dealer in Los Angeles, through Contra suppliers, to CIA officers and Republican politicians. His editor let the story rip, and the “Dark Alliance” series made a mighty impact on Black Americans, who saw it as evidence that the ruling class was as racist as ever.

Webb stuck a stake in the evil heart of the national security state and embarrassed the CIA’s contacts in the mainstream media. All of which was unforgiveable. Pressure was applied, history re-written, and Webb, in despair, apparently committed suicide.

The irony, of course, is that Webb had exposed only a small part of the story. The fact of the matter is that the US government has always managed large portions of the illicit, international drug business, and was doing so long before the CIA came into existence.

Documented cases abound, like the Opium Scandal of 1927, in which a “former” US Attorney in Shanghai provided a Chinese warlord with 6500 Mausers in exchange for $500,000 worth of opium.

Two years later, US Customs inspectors found a huge quantity of opium, heroin, and morphine in the luggage of Mrs. Kao, the wife of a Nationalist Chinese official in San Francisco. At which point Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson hustled Chiang Kai-shek’s ring of drug dealing diplomats out of the country.

The State Department likewise protected a ring of drug smugglers in 1934, and thus allowed heroin to pour into New Orleans. Two historians said about the Honduran Drugs-For-Guns case: “the defense of the Western hemisphere against the Axis powers…reduced to insignificance clandestine attempts to link the managerial personnel of a major cargo airline to smuggling.”

As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be: the ruling class’s power resides in its control of the criminal underworld; and since 1947, it has been the CIA’s job to advance and protect the conspiracy.

Consider the Federal Narcotic Bureau’s drug conspiracy case on Bugsy Siegel, which included Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, both of whom had provided services to the US government during the war. The conspiracy had its inception in 1939 when, at Lansky’s request, sexy Virginia Hill moved to Mexico and seduced a number of Mexico’s “top politicians, army officers, diplomats, and police officials.”[ii]

Hill came to own a nightclub in Nuevo Laredo and made frequent trips to Mexico City with Dr. Margaret Chung, an alleged prostitute and abortionist, honorary member of the Hip Sing T’ong, and the attending physician to the Flying Tigers – the private airline the US government formed to fly supplies to Chiang Kai-shek’s forces in Kunming, a city described as infused with spies and opium. As the FBN was well aware, Dr. Chung was “in the narcotic traffic in San Francisco.”[iii]

Chung took large cash payments from Siegel and delivered heroin to Hill in New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago. And yet, despite the fact that West Coast FBN agents kept her under surveillance for years, they could never make a case against her, because she was protected by the American military establishment. Indeed, Siegel’s murder in 1947 may have been a government hit designed to protect its sanctioned KMT-Mafia drug operation out of Mexico. As Peter Dale Scott strengthobserved, right after Bugsy was squashed, Mexico’s intelligence service, the DFS, formed relations with the top Mexican drug lord, at which point the CIA “became enmeshed in the drug intrigues and protection of the DFS.” By 1950, Mexican drug lords were receiving narcotics from the Lansky-Luciano connection, which stretched to the Far East.

The CIA’s involvement in the Far East drug trade began with its predecessor organization, the Office of Strategic Services, which supplied Iranian opium to Burmese guerrillas fighting the Japanese. This is no secret: General William Peers, commander of OSS Detachment 101 in Burma, confessed in his autobiography: “If opium could be useful in achieving victory, the pattern was clear. We would use opium.” [iv]

OSS chief William Donovan and Chiang’s intelligence chief, General Tai Li, tried hard to control drug trafficking in China during the war. To ensure security for KMT smuggling operations, the Americans sent a team to Chungking to train Chiang’s secret political police force. The head of the team, Charles Johnston, was described as previously having spent fifteen years “in the narcotics game.” [v]

Johnston’s team and Tai Li’s agents worked closely with Chiang’s designated drug smuggler Du Yue-sheng. Tai Li’s agents escorted Du’s opium caravans from Yunnan to Saigon, where the Kuomintang used Red Cross operations as a front for selling opium to the Japanese. In so far as national security always trumps drug law enforcement, this operation was afforded the same immunity as OSS Detachment 101.

After the war, the Americans did nothing to stop the French from importing tons of opium from Laos, and selling it on the black market to finance their colonial war against the Vietnamese. During a visit to Saigon in 1948, an FBN agent reported that opium was “the greatest single source of revenue” for the French.[vi]

CIA drug ops took a great leap forward in 1949, when Mao chased Chiang to Taiwan, where KMT gangsters slaughtered thousands of people and set up a worldwide drug ring. To facilitate this particular criminal conspiracy in the name of freedom and democracy, US officials exempted a subsidiary of William Donovan’s World Commerce Corporation from the Foreign Agents Registration Act, so it could supply the KMT with everything from gas masks to airplanes. This subsidiary was accused of smuggling “contraband” to America.

Some of the “contraband” no doubt emanated from the KMT’s 93rd Division, which had fled from Yunnan into Burma in 1949. In exchange for launching covert raids into China, these enterprising KMT forces were allowed to grow and export opium onto the black-market in Bangkok and Hong Kong. In the same way the Israeli Lobby blackmails and bribes Congress to achieve its criminal ends, the US China Lobby attacked KMT critics and launched a massive propaganda campaign citing the People’s Republic as the source of all the illicit dope that reached San Francisco.

To facilitate the drug trade emanating from its KMT army in Burma, the China Lobby raised five million dollars of private money, which the CIA used to create its drug smuggling airline Civil Air Transport (CAT). The aforementioned General William Peers, as CIA station chief in Taipai, arranged for CAT to support KMT incursions from Burma into Yunnan – and thus enabled the KMT to bring to market “a third of the world’s illicit opium supply.”[vii]

When Burma charged the KMT with opium smuggling in 1953, the CIA requested “a rapid evacuation in order to prevent the leakage of information about the KMT’s opium business.” The State Department announced that KMT troops were being airlifted by the CAT to Taiwan, but most remained in Burma or were relocated to northern Thailand with the consent of Thailand’s top policeman and drug lord. US Ambassador William J. Sebald wasn’t fooled by this chicanery, and rhetorically asked if the CIA had deliberately left the KMT troops behind in Burma to continue “the opium smuggling racket.”[viii]

Suborning the Police

The story of the CIA’s drug empire is the biggest cover-up in American history – even though the basic facts are available in books like Al McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia and Richard M. Gibson’s The Secret Army.

Organizing the cover-up initially depended on the CIA’s ability to suborn the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which, as the conflict in Vietnam heated up, was forced to investigate the flow drugs from the Far East to America. Thus, in 1963, FBN headquarters sent Agent Sal Vizzini to Thailand to open an office in Bangkok. As Vizzini told me, “Customs was already in Vietnam, but only under the aegis of helping the soldiers. Apart from that, no one’s making cases in Vietnam, because the CIA is escorting dope to its warlords.”

Vizzini’s assertion was validated on 30 August 1964, when Major Stanley C. Hobbs was caught smuggling 57 pounds of opium from Bangkok to a clique of South Vietnamese officers in Saigon. Hobbs had flown into Saigon on the CIA’s new drug smuggling airline, Air America. Hobbs’s court martial was conducted in secret and the defense witnesses were all US army and South Vietnamese intelligence officers. The records of the trial were dutifully lost and Hobbs was fined a mere three thousand dollars and suspended from promotion for five years. As a protected CIA drug courier, he served no time.

The FBN Commissioner wrote a letter to Senator Thomas J. Dodd asking for help obtaining information about Hobbs. But Dodd was stonewalled too, proving that the CIA is able to subvert drug law enforcement at the highest legislative level in the nation.

Later in 1963, FBN Agent Bowman Taylor replaced Sal Vizzini in Bangkok. Taylor was famous for slipping into Laos and making a case on General Vang Pao, commander of the CIA’s private army of indigenous, opium-growing tribesmen. Taylor didn’t know the identity of the person he was buying from: he simply set up an undercover buy, got a flash roll together, and went to “the meet” covered by the Vientiane police. But when the seller stepped out of his car and opened the trunk, and the police saw who it was, they ran away, leaving Taylor to bust the felonious general alone.

“Yep, I made a case on Vang Pao and was thrown out of the country as a result,” Taylor acknowledged. “The prime minister gave him back his Mercedes Benz and morphine base, and the CIA sent him to Miami for six months to cool his heels. I wrote a report to the Commissioner, but when he confronted the CIA, they said the incident never happened.

“The station chiefs ran things in Southeast Asia,” Taylor stressed, adding that the first secretary at the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok had a private airline for smuggling drugs to Saigon, as the CIA was well aware. “I tried to catch him, but there was no assistance. In fact, the CIA actively supported the Thai Border Police, who were involved in trafficking.”

Taylor shrugged. “The CIA would do anything to achieve its goals.”

The 118A Strategic Intelligence Network

Not only was the CIA protecting Vietnamese warlords, their Corsican accomplices, and its private armies of opium growers in Laos, Burma and Thailand, it was managing the caravan that moved opium to the world’s biggest market in Houei Sai, Laos.

In 1991, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I interviewed William Young, the CIA officer who set the operation up.

The son of an American missionary in Burma, Young had learned the local dialects before he mastered English. During World War II, his family was forced to move to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where Young’s father taught William Donovan the intricacies of the region’s opium business.

Following a tour of duty with the US Army in Germany, Young was recruited into the CIA and in 1958, posted to Bangkok then Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai, Young led a succession of CIA officers to the strategically placed Laotian and Burmese villages that would eventually serve as Agency bases.

It was Young who introduced General Vang Pao to his first official CIA case officer.

From his headquarters at the CIA airbase at Long Tieng, on the south side of the opium-rich Plain Of Jars, Vang Pao conscripted 30,000 tribesmen, many as young as 13, into a secret army to fight the Pathet Lao and its Vietnamese allies. In exchange for selling his people as cannon fodder, he was allowed to make a fortune selling opium. Much of the brokering was done at the village of Houei Sai in western Laos. Pao’s front man was the chieftain of the local Yao tribe, but behind the scenes Young set up deals between Pao, the top Laotian generals and politicians, and the KMT generals inside Burma. The Burmese generals operated clandestine CIA radio listening posts inside Burma, and in return were allowed to move 90% of the opium that reached Houei Sai. 

It was a happy arrangement until October 1964, when the Chinese detonated an atomic bomb at Lop Nor. That seminal event signaled a need for better intelligence inside China, and resulted in the CIA directing Young to set up a strategic intelligence network at Nam Yu (aka Base 118), a few miles north of Houei Sai. The purpose of the 118A Strategic Intelligence Network was to use a KMT opium caravan to insert agents inside China. The agents placed by Young in the caravan were his childhood friends, Lahu tribesmen Moody Taw and Isaac Lee. Young equipped them with cameras, and while in China they photographed Chinese engineers building a road toward the Thai border, as well as Chinese soldiers massing along it. Knowing the number and location of these Chinese troops helped the CIA plot a strategy for fighting the Vietnam War.

Once the 118A network was up and running, Young turned it over to CIA officer Lou Ojibwe, and after Ojibwe was killed in the summer of 1965, Anthony Poshepny took charge. A Marine veteran who served with the CIA in the Indonesia and Tibet, “Tony Poe” was the balding, robust model for Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now! Poe also served as a father figure to the junior CIA officers (including Terry Burke, a future acting chief of the DEA) he commanded in the jungles of Laos.

When I interviewed Poe in Udorn, Thailand in 1991, he said he “hated” Vang Pao because he was selling guns to the Communists. But Poe was a company man, and he made sure the CIA’s share of opium was delivered from Nam Yu to the airfield at Houei Sai. The opium was packed in oil drums, loaded on C-47s, and flown by KMT mercenaries to the Gulf of Siam. The oil drums were dropped into the sea and picked up by accomplices in sampans waiting at specified coordinates. The opium was ferried to Hong Kong, where it was cooked into heroin by KMT chemists and sold to the Mafia and Corsicans.

FBN Agent Albert Habib, in a Memorandum Report dated 27 January 1966, cited CIA officer Don Wittaker as confirming that opium drums were dropped from planes, originating in Laos, to boats in the Gulf of Siam. Wittaker identified the chemist in Houei Sai, and fingered the local Yao leaders as the opium suppliers.

By 1966, when FBN Agent Douglas Chandler arrived in Bangkok, the existence of the CIA’s 118A opium caravan was a known fact. As Chandler recalled, “An interpreter took me to meet a Burmese warlord in Chiang Mai. Speaking perfect English, the warlord said he was a Michigan State graduate and the grandson of the king of Burma. Then he invited me to travel with the caravan that brought opium back from Burma.” Chandler paused for effect. “When I sent the information to the CIA, they looked away, and when I told the embassy, they flipped out. We had agents in the caravan who knew where the Kuomintang heroin labs were located, but the Kuomintang was a uniformed army equipped with modern weapons, so the Thai government left them alone.”

As described by Young and Poe, the 118A Strategic Intelligence Network was the CIA’s private drug channel to its Mafia partners in Hong Kong – people like Santo Trafficante, the Mafia boss the CIA hired to kill Fidel Castro, and protected ever thereafter. The same thing is happening today in Afghanistan, with the DEA providing cover for the CIA and military, just as the FBN did in the 1960s.

Which brings me back to Gary Webb. The CIA wasn’t happy that Poe and Young were talking. Poe was told to shut up after his chat with me, and he did. But Young sold his story to a major Hollywood studio for $100,000. And that was unforgivable.

On April Fool’s Day, 2011, Thai police found Bill Young’s corpse. It had been perfectly arranged with a pistol in his one hand and a crucifix in the other.

Maybe he was depressed too?

And it is seriously depressing, the fact our utterly corrupt government, aided by its criminal co-conspirators in the mainstream media, pretends as if the CIA doesn’t deal drugs.

Doug Valentine is the author of The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs, and The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics, and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA.


Douglas Clark Kinder and William O. Walker III, “Stable Force In a Storm: Harry J. Anslinger and United States Narcotic Policy, 1930-1962,” The Journal of American History, Volume 72, No 4, March 1986, p. 919, note.

[ii] Ed Reid, The Mistress and the Mafia, p. 42.

[iii] Reid, Mistress, p. 90.

[iv] William Peers and Dean Brellis, Behind The Burma Road, Boston: Little Brown, 1963 p. 64.

[v] Milton Miles, A Different Kind of War, New York: Doubleday, 1967.

[vi] William O. Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy, University of North Carolina Press, 1991, p. 177.

[vii] Burton Hersh, The Old Boys: The American Elite And The Origins Of The CIA, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992 p. 300

[viii] Walker, Opium, p. 210.


h/t to Magda Hassan at Deep Politics Forum

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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From James Richards, emphasis added:

Charles Siragusa is an interesting character though. The following is from one of A.J. Weberman's Nodules.




The CIA's initial efforts to form an assassination section involved Charles Siragusa. Siragusa (born October 28, 1913; died April 17, 1982, Office of Security # 41 82) was raised amid mob violence in New York City's Little Italy. He worked under ANGLETON in the OSS (March 1944 to December 1945), and then was an official of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. [Winks Cloak and Gown p363] He was sent to Italy in 1951 to neutralize "Lucky" Luciano, who was sending heroin shipments to New York. [sterling, C. Octopus p79] Charles Siragusa was attached to the U.S. Embassy, Rome, where he worked with the CIA Station. A CIA document revealed: "Siragusa was of liaison interest to various components of this Agency from 1961 to 1967, including the Behavioral Activities Branch of the Technical Services Division." [HSCA Gambino/Carpenter 2.28.78] In May 1967 Charles Siragusa supplied the CIA with biographic data that stated he had been employed by the Illinois Crime Commission since 1963. As head of the Commission, Siragusa was instrumental in solving the $4.3 million Purolator theft in 1974 by planting a snitch in the suspected burglary gang. In 1974 the name of Charles Siragusa was given to the Central Cover Staff in response to a request from an individual who might work for a pharmaceutical firm as an investigator.

In October 1977, Charles Siragusa told Senator Edward Kennedy "that he was approached by a CIA employee in 1960 or 1961 who he recalls was Mr. Vincent Thill, who sought Mr. Siragusa's assistance to recruit underworld figures for assassination purposes. Mr. Thill is alleged to have said that one million dollars would be paid for a successful assassination. Mr. Siragusa also stated that in addition to Mr. Thill, he had contact with the following former CIA employees: Sheffield Edwards, JAMES ANGLETON, John Mertz and Robert Bannerman. As related to the CIA, the context of their relationship with Mr. Siragusa was not given. The SSCIA was informed of Mr. Siragusa's allegation. Mr. William Miller, SSCIA, suggested to Commander Bernard McMahon, Executive Assistant to the Director of the CIA, and Mr. John Waller, Inspector General, that CIA investigate the allegation. The Agency has initiated an investigation; following are the results to date: (Deleted)."


Charles Siragusa told journalist Jack Anderson: "After a few minutes of chitchat, the CIA man [Vincent Thill] made this startling suggestion: that Siragusa, drawing on his underworld knowledge and contacts, recruit a crew of mafia torpedoes for standby assassination duty. They would be paid $1 million in fees and expenses for each kill. The CIA would assign the missions and underwrite the payoffs from secret funds." Siragusa, who had underworld and mafia connections because of his position with the Bureau of Narcotics, said that he refused to cooperate. Some evidence, however, indicated Charles Siragusa proposed that narcotics traffickers be utilized as assassins. On December 19, 1960, Harold Meltzer was considered as a possible CIA assassin. Meltzer was an associate of Meyer Lansky. The CIA: "Attached is a rather comprehensive six page biographical history which supplies not only all the information you requested, but many additional facts which will facilitate your evaluation of his potential. Meltzer owns and operates Fried Sportswear Company, Los Angeles, California. On August 3, 1959 he was convicted at Federal Court at Los Angeles for failure to register as a previously convicted narcotics law violator at the time of his travel abroad. He was fined $1,000 and placed on three years probation. Meltzer appeared before a Federal Grand Jury at Los Angeles on March 24, 1960, under subpoena, but invoked the Firth Amendment throughout questioning. Although he was threatened with contempt proceedings, this action never materialized. In the Spring of 1959 he furnished information to our California Office, but has not since cooperated with us. He has the background and talent for the matter we discussed but it is not known whether he would be receptive. Also attached is a copy of his FBI criminal record and an old Wanted Notice which bears a good likeness of him. I have never met Meltzer." [Los Angeles Times 5.3.78; CIA Enc. 12.1960


JAMES ANGLETON was interviewed on October 13, 1977, regarding his relationship with Charles Siragusa: "He knows Siragusa from World War II days. Following the war, during the 1950's, Mr. Siragusa was assigned to Rome as the U.S. representative on narcotics matters for Western Europe. ANGLETON had several official contacts with him but none since. Mr. ANGLETON states he was never associated with assassination plotting."


When CI Director JAMES ANGLETON wanted his own Counter-Intelligence shop in Vietnam he ordered former Pretoria Chief of Station, John Mertz, to set one up. John Mertz told this researcher: "During World War II when ANGLETON was in Italy working for Allen Dulles he made an arrangement where he ran a Counter-Intelligence Unit in Italy. These men were in uniform, and did not report to the military. That was a peculiar situation in Italy for a short period of time. In July 1965 ANGLETON got the idea that he could do the same in Vietnam. They knew at that time that the American forces were thoroughly penetrated by the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. He sent me over to talk to General Joseph A. McChristian. He was top intelligence officer in Vietnam. [McChristian was General Westmoreland's intelligence chief from 1965 to 1967.] He later became DIA Chief, when he came back to the States. McChristian sent me over to confer with him to see if it would be possible for the Agency to set up a Counter-intelligence Unit in uniform, not reporting to the military. McChristian kicked me out the country. He said, 'No way, get the hell out of here. Tell ANGLETON, no.' Our Chief of Station was Gordon L. Jorgensen. I came back and made a report to ANGLETON. He sent a couple a guys over there and they got kicked out. [Gordon Jorgensen was succeeded as Chief of Station of Saigon by John Limond Hart.] That's as far as that went. I went to Africa a year and a half after that."

Mr. John Mertz was interviewed at his retirement home in Florida on October 6, 1977 in regard to Charles Siragusa's allegations. "Mr. Mertz related the following regarding his contacts with Mr. Siragusa. In 1960 or 1961, three CIA employees were arrested in Havana, Cuba, while engaged in an intelligence audio operation directed at a third country. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. Their CIA affiliation was not revealed. Mr. Mertz was tasked with devising a means to free the prisoners. Mr. ANGLETON was Siragusa's OSS Supervisor in Italy during World War II, and suggested to Mr. Mertz that he contact Siragusa...Mr. Mertz states he was never associated with assassination plotting nor did he deal with Mr. Siragusa on any matters other than those discussed above...Mertz says he was never associated with assassination plotting."


Robert Bannerman, who was Deputy Director, Office of Security, during the early 1960's, and later the Director of the Office of Security "remembers Siragusa as a Office of Security covert contact/informer. He says that when an Office of Security investigation turned up information related to narcotics, Siragusa might be contacted to see if he could provide assistance. Bannerman says he is not aware of any other contacts with Siragusa nor was he involved in any assassination plotting. He says he now knows that Sheffield Edwards was involved in Castro assassination plotting, but was not aware of it at the time." [CIA OGC 77-6457 10.11.77 Robert S. Young]

The Office of the Inspector General of the CIA determined that there was no basis for Siragusa's allegations. William K. Harvey took over the assassination project from Charles Siragusa. Notes on ZR/RIFLE stated: "Maximum security. Kubark [CIA Station] only. e.g. What does Siragusa now know?"

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Who set the rules of engagement for the 30,000 strong Hmong army in Laos?

The CIA? Vang Pao himself?


According to William Colby it was Averell Harriman.

"William Colby, the Hmong, and the CIA":

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American desire to adhere to the spirit of the Geneva Accords deemed it necessary that the Hmong serve as a clandestine force which could harass the North Vietnamese without being directly linked to the United States. The Hmong were prohibited from taking any offensive actions as that could lead to an escalation in the war on the part of the North Vietnamese. Increased fighting also had the potential to expose the American support of the Hmong and could possibly lead to a complete annulment of the Geneva Accords. Colby - then CIA Deputy Director - was instructed by Assistant Secretary W. Averell Harriman of the State Department to keep the effort in Laos purely defensive in nature.

"'Okay, one hundred guns but no attacks, only for defense,' " Colby said of Harriman's orders.

<quote off>

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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Cliff - I find it hard to imagine Harriman as being in on the conspiracy to kill JFK. I know there are many instances of Harriman setting foreign policies that were not always in synch with JFK. But unlike with Dulles, Harriman had no personal grudge against Kennedy. Do you know otherwise?

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14 minutes ago, Paul Brancato said:

Cliff - I find it hard to imagine Harriman as being in on the conspiracy to kill JFK. I know there are many instances of Harriman setting foreign policies that were not always in synch with JFK. But unlike with Dulles, Harriman had no personal grudge against Kennedy. Do you know otherwise?

Money killed JFK. I don't know enough about Harriman and drugs in '62. But I definitely gravitate towards money.

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The actions in Laos with the Hmong went on for a number of years....actually in 1963 JFK authorized equipping the Hmong with artillery for the first time. Earlier in 1962 he had authorized a major offensive involving the Hmong and large scale covert air strikes; the attack was scheduled to go in virtually in tandem with the landings in Cuba. When that turned into a fiasco JFK canceled that Laotian offensive.  In later years, once Shackley moved to Laos he became the driving force and involved the Hmong in a series of disastrous offensives, they did OK when fighting the native insurgents but once the North Vietnamese deployed in force, with tanks and artillery, they were merciless in grinding down the Hmong and first Shackley and later Kissenger literally sacrificed the Hmong....neither man showed any guilt or remorse at all.

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The sources for heroin and cocaine have shifted many times. It's not like growing a forest from scratch. When foreign engagements or policies make one growing region problematic another one quickly takes its place. 

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Just now, Paul Brancato said:

The sources for heroin and cocaine have shifted many times. It's not like growing a forest from scratch. When foreign engagements or policies make one growing region problematic another one quickly takes its place. 

Not so much. Coca Cola, er, I mean, coca plants are limited, or, historically, have been limited to equatorial South America. Heroin, in Asia.

The question arises, why is marijuana, which can be grown anywhere, listed among opiates, and cocaine, as class 1 narcotics?

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Michael - watch the documentary 'Thirteenth'. It answers the questions regarding the classification of marijuana.

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17 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

Cliff - I find it hard to imagine Harriman as being in on the conspiracy to kill JFK. I know there are many instances of Harriman setting foreign policies that were not always in synch with JFK. But unlike with Dulles, Harriman had no personal grudge against Kennedy. Do you know otherwise?

"It's not personal, Sonny.  It's strictly business."

Vietnam business.

From Spanning the Century: The Life of W. Averell Harriman, by Rudy Abramson, pgs 624-5, 630 emphasis added:

<quote on, emphasis added>

Some of Averell's friends, including [Roger] Hilsman, who had heard Bob Kennedy muse about the possibility of Harriman as secretary of state, thought there was still a chance that Averell might yet get the Foggy Bottom job he long coveted.  But that had been before the notorious coup cable [243 authorizing Diem coup 8/24/63].

    Though the President had avoided criticism of Averell in the episode, Harriman knew Kennedy's confidence in him was shaken.  After working his way to the seventh floor, he was suddenly viewed as a problem.  Almost overnight, he looked ten years older.  Privately, the President and the attorney general talked of finding a way to rehabilitate him, to find a job that would get him out of the Vietnam business.  There was a need to put more emphasis on hemispheric matters, and the President thought that one way to solve two problems might be to create a new post of undersecretary for Latin American affairs for him.

As deeply as the administration had involved itself in the machinations against Diem, Kennedy still appeared stunned when the long-anticipatred coup ended with the assassination of Diem and Nhu on November 1.  The United States could technically claim that it had been a Vietnamese affair; but the administration had conditioned the atmosphere, beginning with the Harriman-Hilsman cable to Lodge.

By that time, Averell was already turning more attention to hemispheric problems.  The afternoon of November 22 was set a side for a meeting with oil company executives about the future of their contracts with the government in Argentina.  Beforehand, he went to a Hilsman luncheon for a delegation of politicians from the Phillipines.  He was finishing his dessert and talking with Senator Frank Church about extremism in American politics when Church was called to the telephone.  A minute later, the senator rushed back into the room, his face ashen.  The President had been shot, and was feared dead.  There was a momen of silence, and then turmoil, shouted questions, and people getting up from the table to head for telephones.  Averell hadn't heard, and when Church repeated the news, his reaction was that it couldn't be true.  "No, sir, I'm not joking," said Church.

Averell heard the shattering confirmation of Kennedy's death in George Ball's office moment later.  So undone that he could only think of nothing else to do, he convened his oil meeting, but it lasted only a few minutes.  When an executive tastelessly suggested an urgent approach to the new President to write the government of Argentina in behalf of American oil interests, he adjourned in disgust.

He spent the afternoon helping Ball, who was, if anyone truly was, running the United States government, since Rusk and several other Cabinet members were airborne, coming home after turning back from a flight to the Far East.  As darkness fell, Averell drove out to Andrews Air Force Base with Ball and Alexis Johnson, joining the official mourning party standing silently on the floodlit ramp as the President's casket was lowered from the rear door of Air Force One.

The following days were a blur of meetings and trips to airports to greet delegations arriving from all over the world for the state funeral.  While Rusk and Ball attended to ceremonial duties, Harriman sat down with visitors who brought urgent diplomatic problems with them--an insurgency developing against the government in the Dominican Republic, intelligence warnings of political upheaval in Brazil, and signs of new trouble between India and Pakistan over Kashmir...

<quote off>

Harriman blew off his fondest desire -- the Sec. of State slot -- in order to prosecute his own Vietnam policies.

Kennedy was planning to withdraw from 'Nam.

As a banker W. Averell Harriman financed 45% of Nazi raw material purchases for Hitler's war machine; as a member of FDR's administration he was the #1 war hawk, pushing the United States toward war with Germany.

Who implemented the Marshall Plan, re-building Europe after the world war Harriman personally facilitated? 

W. Averell Harriman.

If a man as treacherous as Averell Harriman could sacrifice his greatest personal ambition in order to maintain a militarized So. Vietnam, how hard would it have been for him to push a button on JFK?

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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