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Thomas G. Clines

John Simkin

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Has anyone got any information on Thomas G. Clines? His name keeps on appearing in my research. For example, he was involved in covert operations in Cuba (1961-1962) before joining Ted Shackley, David Atlee Phillips and David Morales at JM WAVE in Miami.

In 1966 Ted Shackley was placed in charge of CIA secret war in Laos. He appointed Clines as his deputy. Shackley also recruited Carl Jenkins and David Morales for this project. In 1972 Clines was involved in helping Augusto Pinochet overthrow Salvador Allende.

Clines became friends with Raphael Quintero while working on the attempt to undermine the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. When he was given responsiblity for Nicaragua in 1978 he recruited Quintero to help the CIA in its struggle with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). This included helping Anastasio Somoza to develop a counter-subversion program in the country.

In 1978 Clines left the CIA. He now joined with Raphael Quintero, Ted Shackley and Ricardo Chavez (another former CIA operative) to establish API Distributors. According to David Corn (Blond Ghost) Edwin Wilson provided Clines with "half a million dollars to get his business empire going". In 1979 Clines established International Research and Trade Limited in Bermuda. Later that year he joined forces with Hussein Salem in providing U.S. military hardware to Egypt.

Shirley Brill, a former CIA official, published a 24 page affidavit in 1988. Brill had lived with Clines in 1977 and claimed that he was involved in illegal activities with Raphael Quintero and a drug dealer living in Miami. After retering from the CIA in 1978, Brill claims Clines joined forces with Ted Shackley, Richard Secord and Edwin Wilson in order to gain Pentagon contracts. Brill also argued that she heard Clines, Secord, Quintero and Shakley plotting to frame Wilson.

In 1990 Clines was charged with under-reporting his income from his various business enterprises by at least $260,000 and with failing to disclose on his tax returns that he had an overseas bank account. Clines was found guilty and sentenced to sixteen months and a $40,000 fine.

On 12th December, 1986, Daniel Sheehan submitted to the court an affidavit detailing the Irangate scandal. He also claimed that Tom Clines and Ted Shackley were running a private assassination program that had evolved from projects they ran while working for the CIA. Others named as being part of this assassination team included Raphael Quintero, Richard Secord, Felix Rodriguez and Albert Hakim. It later emerged that another source for this story was Carl E. Jenkins.

Recently Gene Wheaton claimed that Jenkins and Quintero were involved in the assassination of JFK. If that is the case, Tom Clines and Ted Shackley were also involved in this conspiracy to kill JFK.

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Thee man who was supplying the guns and the military

hardware to the contras in Central America was a man

by the name of Theodore Shackley.

Theodore Shackley had been the worldwide director of

covert operations for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in

1976 under George Bush, when he was the director of the CIA.

Theodore Shackley had been the man in 1961 who had run the

major contra operation against the Cuban socialist

revolutionary government starting in 1961. But the U.S. CIA

had run a secret covert war against Cuba about which the

American public knew virtually nothing, both before and after

the Bay of Pigs. And I will now tell you what it is we all

need to know.

We discovered that back in late 1959, when Fidel Castro

drove the dictator Batista from Cuba, he also drove out the

organized crime syndicate from Cuba, the major criminal

operation that was operating under the name of Resorts

International. It was Meyer Lanskey's major criminal

syndicate that ran the casinos and hotels and prostitution

rings in Havana. They indeed were business partners with

Batista, and they were all driven from Havana in 1959. They

came to Southern Florida, and there they were contacted by

Richard Nixon, then vice president in the Eisenhower


Indeed, Richard Nixon was the point man responsible for

establishing inside the National Security Council a secret

committee that was to be responsible for mounting a contra-

like war against Cuba. They had determined that they did not

like the politics or the economics of the Cuban government,

and therefore, they were going to secretly recruit the ultra

right-wing supporters of the dictator Batista, train them at

a military base in Southern Florida -- in the Cays -- and set

up another military training base in Guatemala.

There they would train these people to constitute a

"contra" guerrilla force, and they would undertake attacks

into Cuba, riding on Swiss boats. They would blow up

bridges, burn crops, poison materials to be exported from

Cuba -- all to destroy their economic infrastructure. This

operation began in late 1959 and it was code-named "Operation

40." But not satisfied with that, the then-vice president,

Richard Nixon, received communications from a man by the name

of Santos Trafficante.

Santos Trafficante had been the lieutenant for Meyer

Lanskey, running the Havana operations for the New York mob.

He had come to Florida and learned about this secret

"Operation 40," since a large portion of the people who had

been recruited by the CIA to work in it had been the criminal

elements working for Batista and Santos Trafficante in

Havana. After learning about it, he wanted to help. Being

the red-blooded patriot that he was, and, of course, as the

beneficiary of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise

that he had lost when he was driven out of Havana, he wished

to re-establish it. And he reached out to two men.

One was a man by the name of John Roselli. The other

man was a man by the name of Sam Giancana, the don of the

mafia in Chicago. THese two men were designated by Santos

Trafficanted to meet with representatives of Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon selected a man with whom he had maintained an

extraordinary secret contact. This man was the head of the

empire of Howard Hughes, a man by the name of Robert Maheu.

Because the secrecy of their ongoing relationship was

long established, he was selected to undertake this super-

secret communication. This meeting took place at the

Fountainbleau Hotel in early 1960. And there, Richard Nixon,

through his representatives, agreed to set up a sub-

organization inside Operation 40 which was a professional

assassination unit. This unit was given the responsibility

for carrying out the political assassination of Fidel Castro,

his brother Raul Castro, Che Guevara, and five other men in

the leadership of the Cuban government. This group was

recruited out of the Operation 40 people, known only to

Richard Nixon and a limited number of people. They were

trained in a secret base down in Mexico. This particular

group had in it a number of very interesting people who you

are coming to hear about every day that we live.

One of the men on this secret team -- this assassination

unit -- was a man by the name of Felix Gomez. You know him

as Felix Rodriguez and you know him as Max Gomez, the man who

was named by [Eugene] Hasenfus as the man who directed the

Ilopango airlifts into Nicaragua. Another man on this secret

assassination team in early 1960 was a man using the name of

Ramon Medina, whose real name is Jose Posada Carriles, who

was the second man running the Ilopango airlift into

Nicaragua. Another man in this group was a man by the name

of Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero. He was the man who supervised

the construction of the secret air strip in Costa Rica that

you've heard so much about of late.

Indeed, those who delivered the $2 million that was

being given as a bribe to get Mr. Buckley away from the

terrorists in Beirut, were Chi Chi Quintero and Tom Clines.

The money was given by Mr. Ross Perot. The other people in

this assassination team who you've probably heard about are a

man by the name of Frank Stirgus, later caught in the

Watergate Hotel in 1971, when Richard Nixon was President.

With him in the Watergate Hotel was a man by the name of

Eugenio Martinez, another man on the assassination team in

1960 run by Richard Nixon. Another man by the name of

[Virgilio] Gonzalez was on that assassination team. He was

also found in the Watergate Hotel. Two more men, Rafael

Villaverde and Raul Villaverde, were on that "shooter team."

Ricardo Chavez was also on that team.

One of the directors of that team was a man by the name

of E. Howard Hunt. This particular group had the

extraordinary authority given to them by this secret grouping

inside the National Security Council, and headed by the vice

president of the United States to carry out the slaughter,

the murder of political leadership of the Cuban government.

Now, that operation ran all the way to 1961. When President

Kennedy came to office, all the indications are that he was

never told about the assassination team. He was told about

Operation 40, the contra operation, the contra operation

against Cuba. His young industrious brother, Bob, decided

that he would transmute Operation 40 into a full-scale

invasion. This they tried, in April of 1961, with the

disastrous Bay of Pigs resulting.

The invaders from Operation 40 were all killed or

captured. By June of 1961, Bobby Kennedy had dropped back

and re-established the Operation 40 program. Only they

renamed it "Operation Mongoose." That particular program was

put under the commanding control of a young 34-year-old CIA

official by the name of Theodore Shackley. His director of

training was a man by the name of Tom Clines. They ran the

contra war, along with Ed Lansdale, against the Cuban

government from 1961 to 1965.

And then a very strange series of events began to

unfold. In 1965, the entire unit and team was transferred to

Laos in Southern Asia. Theodore Shackley became chief of

station under Gorden Jergenson. Shackley brought with him

Tom Clines. They brought with them Rafael Chi Chi Quintero.

They also brought with them Felix Rodriguez and Jose Posada

Carriles -- assassins, professional assassins.

By 1966, Theodore Shackley and Tom Clines were,

peculiarly enough, supplying air power to a man by the name

of Vang Pao, a major opium trafficker in Laos. He was

engaged in a three-way war with two other men for control of

the opium trade in Laos. They actually figured out a way of

dropping bombs on these drug dealers for Vang Pao. The man

who ran the air operation for Vang Pao, under Tom Clines, was

a young major in the Air Force by the name of Richard Secord.

By the end of 1966, both of the opponents of Vang Pao in

this war for the opium market had been assassinated, and Van

Pao was the undisputed controller of the opium trade in Laos.

Very interestingly he then, out of the largess of his heart,

decided that he would contribute an ongoing portion of the

heroin income to finance the secret training of the Lao

tribesmen, the Hmung down in Southern Laos. They were being

trained by the same man who had been commander of the

Guatemalan base for the Cuban contras. They were sent out to

carry out the covert assassination of suspected Communist

sympathizers throughout Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.

By 1966, this program had been formalized into a group

called the Special Operations Group, also known as the Joint

Task Force on Unconventional Warfare, based in Vientiane. It

was placed under the control fo the military even though it

was in fact run by Theodore Shackley and Tom Clines of the

CIA. The man who was chosen as the military commander for

that unit (that supervised the Lao tribesmen in the

assassination program) was Major General John K. Singlaub.

The Deputy Air Wing Commander for the Special Operations

Group became Richard Secord.

In the end of December of 1966, a young Marine, a recent

graduate of the Naval Academy, joined the Special Operation

Group in Vientiane, a man by the name of Oliver North. One

of the commanders of the Army's Special Forces Unit in the

Special Operations Group was a man by the name of Dewey

Owens, the older brother Rob Owens. This group functioned to

supervise the political assassinations of some 100,000 non-

combatant civilians in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand -- young

mayors, bookkeepers, clerks, school teachers -- attempting to

eliminate the infrastructure of that society for fear it

would fall into the hands of the Communists.

In 1968, Theodore Shackley became the chief of station

in Laos, and a man by the name of Santos Trafficantes, from

Southern Florida, flew to Southeast Asia and met in a hotel

in Saigon with Vang Pao. By the end of 1968, Santos

Trafficantes had become the number one importer and

trafficker in China-white heroin in the United States. The

China-white heroin began to flow and the commensurate profits

began to flow to Vang Pao. And the size of the Hmung

tribesmen training group that was committing the

assassinations began burgeoning accordingly.

In 1969, Theodore Shackley was transferred to become the

CIA chief of station in Vietnam, and they established the now

infamous Phoenix Program that carried out the political

assassination of some 60,000 non-combatant civilians in the

country. He remained in that position until 1972, when

Theodore Shackley and Tom Clines were brought back to the

United States and put in charge of Western Hemisphere

operations of the CIA.

Now, since they don't do an awful lot in Canada, and

less and less in the United States, that leaves you Central

and South America. Tom Clines and Theodore Shackley ran

their "Track Two" operation against Salvador Allende in Chile

and supervised the political capture and assassination of

Allende's Chief of Staff General Schneider, and, eventually,

the assassination of Allende himself. When that had been

accomplished in September of 1973, Theodore Shackley was

transferred to become the head of Far East Operations for the


Now at this point, we reach an extraordinary important

juncture in our story, because Theodore Shackley, Tom Clines,

and cohorts had come to the conclusion that the waffling

American democracy was not going to continue their efforts in

Vietnam. They were not going to continue their effort

against the Communists. And so, they began an extraordinary

program by means of which they took more and more money from

Vang Pao's heroin funds, had them transferred into Vietnam,

with the cover of having to carry out a more and more massive

Phoenix Program. But, in fact, they brought more money in

there than was necessary and began to embezzle this money

from Van Pao's heroin sales and transfer the money secretly

to a bank in Australia -- the Nugen-Hand Bank.

Millions of dollars were transferred between '73 and '75

in an extraordinarily sophisticated program. What they did

was have Tom Clines and Richard Secord load millions of

dollars into suitcases, get on an airplane, and fly to

Australia and unload the money and put it in the bank

account. That went on from '73 to '75. They also began to

pilfer thousands of tons of U.S. military equipment from

Vietnam and transfer it to a secret camp in Thailand. When

the war ended in 1975, all of these people simply


Where did they transfer to? Iran. Richard Secord was

made the director of Foreign Military Sales for the U.S.

Pentagon in the Middle East. And where did Theodore Shackley

go? Theodore Shackley was promoted from director of Far East

Operations for the CIA, to the assistant deputy director for

the CIA. Now he was in charge of worldwide covert operations

under George Bush. It was anticipated that Theodore Shackley

would be director of the CIA if, in fact, Ford had won the

presidency and the Republicans remained in office.

But when Carter won, and Stansfield Turner became head

of the Central Intelligence Agency, these people continued

their operation of pilfering funds and sending them to the

secret fund. They established an unauthorized secret,

illegal assassination program in Iran, working with the Shah

and with the SAVAK [the Shah of Iran's much-hated equivalent

of the CIA]. The man who was the director of their

operations in Iran was a man by the name of Edwin P. Wilson.

His assistant was Frank Turpel.

These people carried out the assassination of many

opponents of the Shah of Iran from 1976 to 1978. Now, that

operation generated a peculiar resistance on the part of the

Central Intelligence Agency, which had not authorized it and

was not supervising it. They began to dismiss people from

the CIA who were in covert operations. You recall that

history, with President Carter moving the people out of

"covert ops" and the CIA. They began to put pressure on

Theodore Shackley to get him to stop some of his operations.

But the fact is they did not stop him.

Shackley formed a private company, in which he joined as

partners with Edwin Wilson, Richard Secord, and Eric Von

Marbod. They formed a company originally known as the

International Research and Trade Corporation, which later

became EATSCO (the Egyptian American Transport and Service

Company). This company, through the good offices of Eric Von

Marbod, who had been the Assistant Secretary of Defense,

received all of the contracts to ship all of the weapons to

Egypt consequent to the Camp David accord. And they began to

make hundreds of millions of dollars in that company. When

it was discovered that Edwin P. Wilson was selling C-4

explosives to Qaddafi, Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry

Barcella, insisted upon indicting him. Larry Barcella also

began to investigate Shackley, Clines, Secord, and Von

Marbod. But he was told to stop, and his indictments were

restricted to simply Edwin Wilson and Frank Turpel.

That was a terrible mistake, as it turns out. What

happens is that while they were thinking of indicting him, a

decision was made to tell Shackley to resign -- he and Tom

Clines -- from the CIA. Who was it that made that decision?

The Deputy Director for Operations for the CIA at the time,

Frank Carlucci.

By the beginning of 1979, the U.S. people, the U.S.

Congress, the U.S. President, and the head of the Central

Intelligence Agency had resolved to cut off all military

supplies to Somoza. Ted Shackley and Tom Clines, at the end

of February and early March in 1979, sent Edwin Wilson to

visit Somoza. And they established a contract wherein they

would be selling military hardware to the dictator in total

opposition to the U.S. policy. But after all, these men were

now our private citizens. They had not been indicted. They

were running this company making billions of dollars. And

they had access to all of the end-user certificates to get

the military equipment. They had access to all of the

contractors, and they continued to sell the equipment. Even

when Somoza fled in July of 1979 and went to a place called

North Cay in the Bahamas, Shackley and Clines sent their

people to visit him again and to re-establish the contract --

but now to sell them the military hardware in their new

incarnation as the contras.

This, indeed is the secret team that continued the flow

of weapons. They continued the program of political

assassinations. The contras would target the people who had

to be assassinated. Then they would send the information to

a man who was at the time based in Army intelligence -- a man

by the name of Rafael Chi Chi Quintero -- who at the same

time was the man visiting the contras, taking their orders

for military equipment, and making sure that they were

filled. Then, Quintero would pass the information as to who

should be assassinated on to Tom Clines and Theodore

Shackley, who would then pass the information to a man by the

name of Buckley, who was head of the Central Intelligence

Agency's Anti-Terrorist Program.

This operation continued all the way up until Reagan

became President. When Reagan became President in January of

1981, a series of interesting conversations began to take

place in the White House, chaired by Ed Meese, then chief of

staff, along with Vice President Bush, President Reagan, CIA

Director Bill Casey, and the first National Security Adviser

Richard Allen. By June of 1981, they had resolved they would

take over the secret team, and the supplying of the military

hardware, the weapons and the training.

In a June 1981 National Security Decision Directive,

they decided that they would assign a man by the name of

Victor M. Canastrero from the CIA to head up that operation

that had been run by Chi Chi Quintero. That operation ran,

as we recalled at the beginning of our discussion, throughout

that strange series of falsehoods from the White House about

how they didn't know contras. This went on all the way to

the end of 1983 when, in fact, they were caught mining the

harbors and passing out the assassination manual. Then it

became clear that Congress was going to pass the Boland

Amendment to prohibit their activity.

So what did they do? They sent a young man who was by

now a lieutenant colonel in the National Security Council,

Oliver North, to a contact the secret team to say, "Why don't

you do it some more? You did it from March of '79 until '81.

Why don't you sell the weapons to the contras and give them

what they need?"

They did. However, they needed a cover story. After

all, everyone knew the Agency had been supplying the contras

for years now. If they continued to receive the same amount

of aid, people might suspect the Agency. So what they

decided to do was to have a cover story. They sent Oliver

North to Gray and Company, a public relations firm of spooks

in Washington. A vice president of this company at that

time, we understand, was a man by the name of John Tower.

Further, they sought out a man by the name of Rob Owen from

that company. And he, Rob Owen, set up a thing called "Idea,


Using this "private" company, he began to provide the

inspiration around our country to help these poor contras.

Rob Owen was sent to get a man to head up that operation, a

man by the name of General John K. Singlaub. That operation

raised probably $5 million total, most of which they spent on

their little Lear jets flying around the world. Singlaub had

to give a cover to the massive influx of weapons to the

contras, all being run by this secret team.

When the administration decided that it had to undertake

this famous deal with the Iranians, they figured: who better

than the secret team? After all, "in for a penny, in for a

pound." So these were the people who were sent -- Secord and

the other men -- to Iran to deliver the cake and the Bible

and the missiles. But earlier the administration was not so

distressed by the holding of all the hostages. Why was it

they became terribly distressed only in 1984 when Mr. Buckley

was kidnapped? When Mr. Buckley was kidnapped and tortured,

then they became intensely interested in getting him out.

You recall we were told he was an independent businessman in

Beirut. Then we were told he was the station chief of the

CIA in Beirut. What we were not told is that he had been the

director of the Anti-Terrorist Program for the CIA.

What was it hat he knew that made this man so terribly

dangerous in Iranian hands? And why was it that we sent the

Iranians 40 tractor-trailer loads of TOW missiles after we

knew he was already dead? What do you think it was that he

told them that was worth all that? And why was it that the

Iranians sent a man by the name of Ghorbanifar to establish

contact to see if they could exchange something to get the

weapons? And who did Mr. Ghorbanifar go to? Oliver North?

Poindexter? Bud McFarland? No. He went to Theodore


Ghorbanifar, in November of 1984, met with Theodore

Shackley in Hamburg, and it was decided that this was so

serious, something had to be paid to these people. And who

are the people? Were they the moderates in the Iranian


What will be discovered is that they were the very

people who had tortured Mr. Buckley. These were the people

to whom Mr. Buckley had been delivered from Beirut. He, in

fact, had been taken from Beirut to Teheran, and was tortured

to death in Teheran, all recorded on video tape. What was it

that he told them that made it worth paying all that hush

money? The fact of the matter is, that it was what Buckley

had said about this secret team that had been functioning in

the bowels of our government for 25 years.

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Sources? Attribution? References?

To boldly make such unsubstantiated claims is at the very least irresponsible. Who said this? Who said that?

In other words: WHAT MAKES THIS BELIEVABLE, over and above any information to the contrary?

Is there any PROOF that this is true? Or is this SPECULATION, based upon accepted truth?


Your post makes a lot of claims, but what backs ANY of it up?

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Sources? Attribution? References?

To boldly make such unsubstantiated claims is at the very least irresponsible. Who said this? Who said that?

In other words: WHAT MAKES THIS BELIEVABLE, over and above any information to the contrary?

Is there any PROOF that this is true? Or is this SPECULATION, based upon accepted truth?


Your post makes a lot of claims, but what backs ANY of it up?

Can you be more specific. name one claim that is not believable, in your opinion?

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Lynne, from whom did you appropriate that passage?

This is an important point. This Forum can be sued for publishing copyrighted material without acknowledgement. Always give details of the source and the URL. If you do not do this I will be forced to delete it.

Sorry, it was just a quick google search

I'll try to find the url, and when i read something like "please distribute widely" I didn't think that any copyright was being violated -but I'll look for the url.

Found it, it's a speech by a Harvard law school graduate.

Edited by Lynne Foster
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Here in Australia starting in the mid 1970's, the Nugan Hand bank began operating which included the services of Tom Clines. Information on the failed bank and its connections to CIA types (including Clines) is readily available but its relationship to organized crime is not. A lot of Sydney based gangsters were able to transfer big money out which allowed them to stock up on heroin.

In 1980 Nugan Hand went under and one of the bank's founders Frank Nugan, a lightweight lawyer committed suicide (yeah right). Tom Clines, made his way to Sydney, got ex Green Beret Michael Hand out and back to the United States. Authorities seemed powerless to do anything about it.

There is fertile ground for research if one is prepared to enter the Sydney crime world and seek out some of these old Mob guys, some of which are still operating. Abe Saffron would be a good place to start.



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What many are confusing is official retirement from the CIA and covert actions afterwards. An example being Tom Clines and Edwin Wilson being present at an SOA class on Counterinsurgency in the late summer/early fall of '81. Wilson being the presenter for a large portion and utilizing the actual manual on Assassinations and Torture in Central America and Clines assisting him in the classroom. Clines supposedly being retired from service and Wilson supposedly being on the run from Federal Indictment for selling explosives to Lybia. My source on this, Me.

Also be wary of believing that Hand was retired from SF. Ask Jack McConnell about his activities in El Salvador in '81.

This is very dangerous ground we are treading on here when we start to link the names of Clines, Wilson, Hand, Secord, Conein and Chi Chi to activities of the '80's. Does this link back to the Kennedy assassination of 18 years prior, it would make an interesting jump off point for researchers. These were very dangerous times that dealt with very dangerous people who many are still around.


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