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Michael J. Hand


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There is not a great deal on the web on Michael J. Hand. He has not been seen since disappearing from Australia after the death of his partner, Frank Nugan. It is believed that the CIA arranged for him to start a new life in the US. Anyone know anything about him?

Michael Jon Hand, the son of a civil servant, was born in the Bronx on 8th December, 1941. According to Jonathan Kwitny in his book The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA: "Hand passed every class he took, and was noted for exceptional character, courtesy, cooperation, and appearance. His IQ registered an also exceptional 131."

In 1959 his mother died after falling or jumping from a third-floor window. Soon afterwards he attended a one-year course at the New York State Ranger School. This was followed by a year managing a sports school in Los Angeles.

In May 1963 Hand joined the US Army and started his training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During the Vietnam War he won the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). According to the DSC citation he almost single-handedly held off a fourteen-hour Vietcong attack on the Special Forces compound at Dong Xaoi.

In 1966 he left the army to work "directly for the U.S, Government". Friends of Michael Hand have suggested that he was employed on undercover missions for the Central Intelligence Agency in Vietnam and Laos. One reported that he "helped train the mountain people - Montagnards - and worked closely with the Air America crews that supplied them". According to Jonathan Kwitny Hand worked under William Colby during the Vietnam War.

Michael Hand moved to Australia in September, 1967. At first Hand went to work selling development lots along the Australian coast. The company, Ocean Shores Development, was run by lawyer Fred Miller, a senior executive for the shipping empire owned by Sir Peter Abeles, the longtime business partner, Rupert Murdoch. One of the largest investors in this scheme was the singer Pat Boone. The registered directors included Boone of Beverly Hills, California and Patricia Swan of Sydney, Australia. Swan was Frank Nugan's secretary.

It was while working for Miller that Hand made contact with Bernie Houghton who had also moved to Australia in 1967. Houghton had established the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant in Sydney. He claimed that he met Hand in the autumn of 1967. However, in one interview he admitted he had been told about Hand in 1964: "I had heard of Mike Hand's great combat exploits and courage, which was well-known in Vietnam."

Regular visitors to the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar included two Central Intelligence Agency station chiefs in Australia (Milton Corley Wonus and John Denley Walker). Lieutenant Colonel Bobby Boyd, a Texan who was a former U.S. embassy military attaché in Latin America, also went to work for Houghton.

In 1969 Hand formed his own company called Australian and Pacific Holdings. His two partners were Clive Wilfred Lucas and John J. Foley. The plan was to develop an island off Australia's barrier reef. Hand and Lucas visited Vietnam where they raised $16,000 from members of the U.S. Army. On 16th January, 1970, the directors of Australian and Pacific Holdings decided to lend the $16,000 to Frank Nugan.

In May 1970 a list of Australian and Pacific's shareholders was filed with the government. Of the thirty-seven listed shareholders, four had the address c/o Air America whereas another had the address c/o Continental Air Service. Later both Air America and Continental Air Service exposed as a CIA front. Five shareholders were reachable through the U.S. Agency for International Development. This agency posed as a cover for CIA covert operatives such as David Sanchez Morales.

In the early 1970s Hand spent a lot of time travelling. A former CIA colleague, Douglas Sapper, claimed "Michael showed up in Laos a lot. I saw him in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) from time to time." Sapper also saw Hand with Houghton in Vietnam. Bernie Houghton later told the police that he was with Hand buying surplus U.S. war material for resale.

Houghton clearly had important contacts in Australia. When he applied for a new Australian visa in 1972, he gave the immigration officers the name of Leo Carter, director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) in New South Wales, to support his application. Carter also arranged for him to get permission for unlimited re-entries to Australia in the future.

Allan Parks claims that Houghton was active in the drug trade in the 1970s. "There's no doubt about it, he'd fly anything. The Golden Triangle, that's where he got his opium from. There was one flight, he flew in slot machines. He did some deals over in India."

There is no doubt that Michael Hand and Frank Nugan were involved in promoting anti-socialist political causes. As Jonathan Kwitny points out in The Crimes of the Patriots: “By associating with the more hard-hat attitudes of the right wing of Labour, Nugan and Hand may have done more to help their cause than they could by sticking to the more right-wing parties. Certainly it is a standard ploy of the CIA to work less with the most openly anti-communist parties than with the anti-communist wing of the party on the borderline.”

In 1973 Michael Hand and Frank Nugan, an Australian lawyer, established the Nugan Hand Bank. Another key figure in this venture was Bernie Houghton, who was closely connected to CIA officials, Ted Shackley and Thomas G. Clines.

Nugan ran operations in Sydney whereas Hand established a branch in Hong Kong. This enabled Australian depositors to access a money-laundering facility for illegal transfers of Australian money to Hong Kong. According to Alfred W. McCoy, the "Hand-Houghton partnership led the bank's international division into new fields - drug finance, arms trading, and support work for CIA covert operations." Hand told friends "it was his ambition that Nugan Hand became banker for the CIA."

In 1974 the Nugan Hand Bank got involved in helping the CIA to take part in covert arms deals with contacts within Angola. It was at this time that Edwin Wilson became involved with the bank. Two CIA agents based in Indonesia, James Hawes and Robert Moore, called on Wilson at his World Marine offices to discuss "an African arms deal". Later, Bernie Houghton arrived from Sydney to place an order for 10 million rounds of ammunition and 3,000 weapons including machine guns. The following year Houghton asked Wilson to arrange for World Marine to purchase a high-technology spy ship. This ship was then sold to Iran.

By 1976 the Nugan-Hand Bank appeared to have become a CIA-fronted company. This is reflected in the type of people recruited to hold senior positions in the bank. For example, Rear-Admiral Earl P. Yates, the former Chief of Staff for Policy and Plans of the U.S. Pacific Command and a counter-insurgency specialist, became president of the company. Other appointments included William Colby, retired director of the CIA, General Leroy J. Manor, the former chief of staff of the U.S. Pacific Command and deputy director for counterinsurgency and special activities, General Edwin F. Black, former commander of U.S. forces in Thailand, Walter J. McDonald, retired CIA deputy director for economic research, Dale C. Holmgren, former chairman of the CIA's Civil Air Transport and Guy J. Pauker, senior Republican foreign policy adviser.

One of those that Earl P. Yates brought in to help the Nugan Hand Bank was Mitchell WerBell. Yates later told the Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking he recruited WerBell as a consultant because he "had extensive experience in Central America".

On 27th November 1979 Michael Hand wrote to Ted Shackley. It concerned a meeting the two men had recently attended in Washington: "The opportunity of meeting you again on different terms was very enjoyable and I sincerely trust that something worthwhile businesswise may surface and be profitable for both of us."

Former CIA agent, Kevin P. Mulcahy later told the National Times newspaper "about the Agency's use of Nugan Hand for shifting money for various covert operations around the globe."

The investigative journalist, Jonathan Kwitny, became convinced that the Nugan Hand Bank had replaced the Castle Bank and Trust Company in Nassau, as the CIA's covert banker. The bank, run by Paul Helliwell, was forced to close after the Internal Revenue Service discovered that he Castle Bank was laundering CIA funds and drug profits.

On 7th January 1980, Robert Wilson (House of Representatives Armed Services Committee) and Richard Ichord (chairman of the Research and Development Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee) had dinner with Bernie Houghton at the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant in Sydney.

On 27th January, 1980, Frank Nugan was found shot dead in his Mercedes Benz. With his body was a Bible that included a piece of paper. On it were written the names "Bob Wilson" and "Bill Colby". Robert Wilson was a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and William Colby was a former director of the CIA.

Bernie Houghton was in Switzerland at the time and he immediately rang his branch office in Saudi Arabia and ordered the staff to leave the country. Houghton also visited Edwin Wilson's office in Geneva and left a briefcase with bank documents for safekeeping. Soon afterwards, a witness saw Thomas G. Clines going through the briefcase at Wilson's office and remove papers that referred to him and General Richard Secord.

Two days after Nugan died, Michael Hand held a meeting of Nugan Hand Bank directors. He warned them that unless they did as they were told they could "finish up with concrete shoes" and would be "liable to find their wives being delivered to them in pieces".

Michael Hand, Patricia Swan, Bernie Houghton and his lawyer, Mike Moloney, spent the next few days removing files from Nugan's office. They also began paying back selected clients. One estimate is that over $1.3 million was paid out in this way.

Frank Nugan's inquest took place in April, 1980. Testimony from Michael Hand revealed that Nugan Hand was insolvent, owing at least $50 million. Hand then promptly fled Australia under a false identity on a flight to Fiji in June 1980. Bernie Houghton also disappeared at this time and it is believed both men eventually reached the United States.

According to one witness, Thomas G. Clines helped Bernie Houghton escape. Michael Hand also left the country accompanied by James Oswald Spencer, a man who served with Ted Shackley in Laos. The two men traveled to America via Fiji and Vancouver. One report published in November, 1980, suggested that Michael Hand was living in South America. It claimed that he had managed to escape with the help of "former CIA employees".

An investigation by the Australia/New South Wales Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking discovered that the clients of the Nugan Hand Bank included several people who had criminal convictions relating to drug offences including Murray Stewart Riley, Donald William McKenzie, James Lewis Williams, Malcolm Craig Lord, Charles Robertson Beveridge, Barry Graeme Chittem, Murray Don Newman, Bruce Alan Smithers, James Sweetman, James Blacker, Colin Courtney, Stephen Demos, John Brooking and John Ceruto. According to the records the bank was making $100,000 a year from tax advice. In reality, it was receiving it for money laundering.

One right-wing organization called Accuracy in Media defended the Nugan-Hand Bank claiming it was really an honest but hard-luck banking organization that had been maligned by an anti-military press.

The Australian government asked the Royal Commissioner D. G. Stewart to investigate the Nugan-Hand Bank scandal. The Stewart Royal Commission was published in June, 1985. It stated that the "Nugan Hand Ltd. was at all times insolvent... and flouted the provisions of the legislation as it then stood in that large volumes of currency were moved in and out of Australia".

Stewart went on to blame the dead Frank Nugan and the missing Michael Hand for the illegal activities of the bank. Rear-Admiral Earl P. Yates, William Colby, General Leroy J. Manor, General Edwin F. Black, Walter J. McDonald, Dale C. Holmgren, Guy J. Pauker and Bernie Houghton were considered blameless. Despite the evidence, Hand and Patricia Swan, Nugan's secretary, were accused of being the only ones "responsible for the shredding of documents".

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhandM.htm

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  • 4 years later...

To give the appearance of normalcy, Hand rented a flat at 35 Union Street Pyrmont but was actually staying at the Sebel Town House or Bernie Houghton's Elizabeth Bay penthouse. He used the name Alan Winter to leave the country. The real Winter was a normal guy, wife two kids, who worked as a butcher in Bexley. An associate of Hand approached Winter claiming he worked for an insurance company and secured his parent's birthdates, their marriage date and mother's maiden name. At the time, this is all one needed to request a birth certificate. This item plus two photographs would secure a passport. Hand donned a false beard to match Winter and without any problems, got a passport under the name Alan Winter. 48 hours later, Hand left the country. He travelled to Vancouver, then to Ohio (where he connected with the family of an Australian business associate) and then onto New York. Hand's aging father, who he was close to, was in a nursing home there. From here, Hand was guided by his Manhattan handler and disappeared into the murky world of intelligence. About a year after Frank Nugan's death, a Sydney business man claimed to have seen Nugan in a Atlanta bistro. He asked Nugan what he was doing here and got a one word reply, "reaping". Rumors abounded that Nugan was not the one killed in Lithgow but an Italian drug dealer. It was Nugan's brother (a man with somewhat of a shady background) who identified the body. FWIW. JK

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Hand was guided by his Manhattan handler and disappeared into the murky world of intelligence. JK

Hi Mr. Kelly,

First off, I just want to say that I very much enjoy reading your posts. They are filled with great insight.

I was wondering if you could share who the Manhattan connection to this is? I seem to remember reading about a man by the name of John Martin who was supposedly from NYC and associated with Intel-types. Is this the man you were referring to?

Thanks,

Zach

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Hand was guided by his Manhattan handler and disappeared into the murky world of intelligence. JK

Hi Mr. Kelly,

First off, I just want to say that I very much enjoy reading your posts. They are filled with great insight.

I was wondering if you could share who the Manhattan connection to this is? I seem to remember reading about a man by the name of John Martin who was supposedly from NYC and associated with Intel-types. Is this the man you were referring to?

Thanks,

Zach

Excellent, Zach, you are right on the money. John Martin is an alias of course. He was also a sponsor of Robert Emmett Johnson. I very much enjoy your posts. Keep up the great work. JK

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Hand was guided by his Manhattan handler and disappeared into the murky world of intelligence.

I was wondering if you could share who the Manhattan connection to this is? I seem to remember reading about a man by the name of John Martin who was supposedly from NYC and associated with Intel-types. Is this the man you were referring to?

Excellent, Zach, you are right on the money. John Martin is an alias of course. He was also a sponsor of Robert Emmett Johnson. I very much enjoy your posts. Keep up the great work. JK

Thanks Mr. Kelly!

Here is an forum topic that I think deserves some more attention here:

Clendenin J. Ryan - Baltimore millionaire and CIA funder

While Clendenin Ryan is likely not "John Martin," I think he has plenty of connections to Col. Ulius Amoss, The INFORM intelligence network, and ultimately Robert Emmett Johnson which in turn, will lead to "John Martin's" true identity.

Zach

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  • 4 months later...

"John Martin" was indeed Robert Emmett Johnson's sponsor but he died of a "heart attack" in 1974. He was allegedly murdered by Soviet Intel agents. "Martin" was not the man who helped Michael Hand escape; nevertheless, it is likely whoever did help Hand, came from "Martin's" extensive network of operatives.

Here is a great article from the Sydney Morning Herald of Aug. 21, 1981 that expands on John's story: How Michael Hand Left Australia

Zach

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"John Martin" was indeed Robert Emmett Johnson's sponsor but he died of a "heart attack" in 1974. He was allegedly murdered by Soviet Intel agents. "Martin" was not the man who helped Michael Hand escape; nevertheless, it is likely whoever did help Hand, came from "Martin's" extensive network of operatives.

Here is a great article from the Sydney Morning Herald of Aug. 21, 1981 that expands on John's story: How Michael Hand Left Australia

Zach

This book details a lot of what happened and how it also involves some of those who are connected to what happened at Dealey Plaza - ie. Thomas Clines, Shackley, Helms, et al.

The Crimes of Patriots -- A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA, by Jonathan Kwitny

THE CRIMES OF PATRIOTS -- A TRUE TALE OF DOPE, DIRTY MONEY, AND THE CIA

by Jonathan Kwitny © 1987 by Jonathan Kwitny

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Guest Tom Scully

Marquis Who's Who, LLC, Marquis Who's Who, LLC - 1975

19898 QUASHA, WILLIAM HOWARD, lawyer; b. NYC- May 19. 1912: s. Morris and Rose (Maniloff)

Biographical encyclopaedia of American Jews, 1935

books.google.comLeo M. Glassman - 1935 - 606 pages - Snippet viewHome: 168 W. 86 St. Office: 148 Lafayette St., NYC QUASHA, MORRIS: Lawyer; b. Aug. 6, 1889 in Kamenitz-Podolsk, Russia, s. of Abraham and Ida (Weisman). After completing his education at NYU Law Sch.

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&tbo=1&q=kwitney+%22*with+their+manila+lawyer%22&btnG=#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&tbo=1&tbm=bks&source=hp&q=%22The+Psychological+Corporation%22+quasha&pbx=1&oq=%22The+Psychological+Corporation%22+quasha&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=9119l12911l7l13949l7l7l0l0l0l0l548l1585l0.4.2.5-1l7l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=72cc0a6d01481932&biw=1280&bih=783

Techniques of guidance

books.google.com Arthur Edwin Traxler, Robert Davidson North - 1966 - 377 pages - Snippet view

Minnesota Paper Form Board Test, Revised, by Donald G. Paterson, Richard M. Elliott, L. Dewey Anderson, Herbert A. Toops, and Edna Heidbreder; revision by Rensis Likert and William H. Quasha. New York: The Psychological Corporation, ...

More editions Add to My Library▼

Evaluating classroom instruction: a sourcebook of instruments

books.google.com Gary D. Borich, Susan K. Madden - 1977 - 496 pages - Snippet view

Likert, R. and WH Quasha, Revised Minnesota paper form board test. New York: The Psychological Corporation, 1941. Likert, R., and WH Quasha, Manual. The Revised Minnesota Paper Form Board Test. New York: The Psychological Corporation,

"Diana Vinade Ronan Is Married To Alan Grant Quasha, Lawyer

- New York Times - May 22, 1977

....Mr. (William H.) Quasha, chancellor of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines and a licensed lay leader, is also licensed to administer the chalice...."

Ronan defends $550,000 Rockefeller gift

Pay-Per-View - The Sun - Oct 11, 1974

William J. Ronan said yesterday he saw nothing "immoral or illegal" in his accepting a $550000 gift from Nelson A. Rockefeller, the vice president- designate .

MARGARET KUHN WED IN BEDFORD; Married in Parents' Home to...

$3.95 - New York Times - Aug 5, 1956

Tiie bridegroom is a son of Mr., and Mrs. Godfrey S. Rockefeller of Greenwich, Conn. ... The couple will make their home in Dallas, Tex., where the bridegroom is with the helicop fer division of the Bell Aircraft Corporation. The New York Times Mr . and Mrs. Godfrey Rockefeller after their marriage yesterday.

Miss Marion Rockefeller Is Bride of Robert G. Stone Jr. of...

Pay-Per-View - Daily Boston Globe - May 30, 1948

... of Dedharn Alexander Watson Alfred Pettit and Heath Steele of Boston the bride s brothers Godfrey and Peter Rockefeller of Greenwich and Henry Sherrill.

https://www.google.com/search?q=family+of+secrets+stone+reynolds&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a

Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible ... - Google Books Result

books.google.com/books?isbn=1608190064...Russ Baker - 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 592 pages

Both Russell Reynolds and Jonathan Bush had been lead fundraisers for Poppy ... Stone's grandfather Galen L. Stone had cofounded the investment firm Hayden

VIRGINIA D. CARTER ENGAGED tO MARRY; Her Troth to RS Reynold...

$3.95 - New York Times - Feb 11, 1929

The announcement was made last night at a dinner given by Frank A. Vanderlip Jr. at the home of his parents, 912 Fifth Avenue. Miss Carter is the daughter...

74 Debutantes Introduced to Society At 33d Christmas...

$3.95 - New York Times - Dec 21, 1968

... the Union Club by Mr. and Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip Jr. for Mr. Vanderlip's goddaughter, Miss Jill Quasha, and his niece, Miss Narcissa Cox Vanderlip 2d,...

MISS AR PETSGHEK WED IN CATHEDRal; Bride of Lieut. Commdr....

$3.95 - New York Times - Jul 3, 1943

Lieut Ernest L. Byfield Jr., iUSA, of Chicago, was best man for! the bridegroom, who is the son ofl Commdr. William G. FitzGerald, USN, retired, .

Muffie Stone Plans Bridal in May

$3.95 - New York Times - Dec 15, 1974

Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Stone Jr. of Greenwich, Conn., have announced the engagement of their daughter, Helen R. Stone, to Desmond G. FitzGerald of New York, .

Second Largest Hotel Opens May 1 In Toronto .

Financial Post - Feb 23, 1957

United States members of the board of directors are Patrick Hoy; Eugene Barrett, Roger Bloch and Ernest Byfield of Chicago.

Wedding Bells for Robert McNamara (washingtonpost.com)

Washington Post - Sep 8, 2004

McNamara will wed his Italian-born sweetheart, Diana Masieri Byfield, ... decades to Ernest Byfield, a former OSS officer and public relations executive. .

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&tbo=1&q=kwitney+%22*with+their+manila+lawyer%22&btnG=#pq=kwitney+%22*with+their+manila+lawyer%22&hl=en&ds=bo&cp=43&gs_id=1t&xhr=t&q=kwitney+%22Gregory+says+Quasha+%22arranged+for*%22&tok=y6EAxuo5zOKaXnpu3cm-rg&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&tbo=1&tbm=bks&source=hp&pbx=1&oq=kwitney+%22Gregory+says+Quasha+%22arranged+for*%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=72cc0a6d01481932&biw=1280&bih=781

The crimes of patriots: a true tale of dope, dirty money, and the CIA

books.google.comJonathan Kwitny - 1988 - 424 pages - Snippet view

Wilfred Gregory, the Nugan Hand salesman who was administering the Manila office with General Manor, says that Manor's departure was inspired by a conversation with their Manila lawyer, William Quasha. Gregory says Quasha "arranged for Manor to leave the country. He told me to go, too. He said, 'You could wind up in jail.' " The three-star general, according to Gregory, left overnight. General Manor praises Gregory as "a real refined .

The name Rockefeller runs through all of the above, with a sprinkling of Bell Helicopter, General Dynamics, and the Bushes.

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"John Martin" was indeed Robert Emmett Johnson's sponsor but he died of a "heart attack" in 1974. He was allegedly murdered by Soviet Intel agents. "Martin" was not the man who helped Michael Hand escape; nevertheless, it is likely whoever did help Hand, came from "Martin's" extensive network of operatives.

Here is a great article from the Sydney Morning Herald of Aug. 21, 1981 that expands on John's story: How Michael Hand Left Australia

Zach

This book details a lot of what happened and how it also involves some of those who are connected to what happened at Dealey Plaza - ie. Thomas Clines, Shackley, Helms, et al.

The Crimes of Patriots -- A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA, by Jonathan Kwitny

THE CRIMES OF PATRIOTS -- A TRUE TALE OF DOPE, DIRTY MONEY, AND THE CIA

by Jonathan Kwitny © 1987 by Jonathan Kwitny

This is a great book and well-worth reading. I loved the title of the chapter, "Everybody Left Alive Is Innocent".

Unfortunately, Jonathan Kwitny, did not live a long-life.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkwitny.htm

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  • 4 months later...
Guest Tom Scully

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/08/world/north-s-aides-linked-to-australia-study.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

NORTH'S AIDES LINKED TO AUSTRALIA STUDY

By KEITH SCHNEIDER, Special to the New York Times

Published: March 08, 1987

MichaelHandPic_NorthsAidesLinkedtoAustraliaStudy.jpg

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhandM.htm

JFKnuganF2.jpg

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/30/opinion/l-link-to-iran-arms-deal-and-nugan-bank-denied-200487.html

Link to Iran Arms Deal and Nugan Bank Denied

Published: March 30, 1987

To the Editor:

Your report that former military and intelligence officers who helped Lieut Col. Oliver L. North ship weapons to Iran and Central America were closely connected with Michael J. Hand, Australian financier and co-founder of a financial concern that collapsed in 1980 (news story, March 8), inaccurately describes my activities and does so in a manner that serves to destroy the public's confidence in the Central Intelligence Agency.

To begin with, the Tower Commission report does not link me to Colonel North's operation. Ample data in the public record, including the commission report, show I had nothing to do with the sale of weapons to Iran in exchange for hostage releases other than to pass on to the State Department a message received in a chance meeting in 1984 with Manucher Ghorbanifar that American hostages in Lebanon were alive and perhaps could be ransomed for money. This hardly makes me a ''North aide'' or a participant in the Iran-contra activities.

My knowledge of Michael J. Hand is confined to 1966-67 in Laos when I was employed by the C.I.A. I met Mr. Hand again in Washington in 1979 after he left the Army and I had retired. I have not been involved in any military or intelligence-related activities with him since 1967, as the 1983 Australian study of the Commonwealth-New South Wales Joint Task Force on Drug Trafficking, which you refer to, indicates (page 736).

I was in no way involved in establishing the Nugan Hand Bank. I never made or caused to be made any deposit into or withdrawal from that bank. No money over which I exercised any control was ever deposited in this bank. Incidentally, the photograph you identify as being of Michael Hand is not of the Michael Hand I knew in Laos or met in Washington in 1979. THEODORE G. SHACKLEY Arlington, Va., March 13, 1987

Edited by Tom Scully
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Guest Tom Scully

http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn12182004.html

December 18 / 19, 2004

From Kobe Bryant to Uncle Sam

Why They Hated Gary Webb

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

...........................

So why did the top-tier press savage Webb, and parrot the CIA's denials. It comes back to this matter of Uncle Sam's true face. Another New York Times reporter, Keith Schneider was asked by In These Times back in 1987 why he had devoted a three-part series in the New York Times to attacks on the Contra hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry. Schneider said such a story could "shatter the Republic. I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass." Kerry did uncover mountains of evidence. So did Webb. But neither of them got the only thing that would have satisfied Schneider, Pincus and all the other critics: a signed confession of CIA complicity by the DCI himself. Short of that, I'm afraid we're left with "innuendo", "conspiracy mongering" and "old stories". We're also left with the memory of some great work by a very fine journalist who deserved a lot better than he got from the profession he loved.

Footnote: a version of this column ran in the print edition of The Nation that went to press last Wednesday. In fact the oddest of all reviews of Whiteout was one in The Nation, a multi-page screed by a woman who I seem to remember was on some payroll of George Soros. She flayed us for giving aid and comfort to the war on drugs and not addressing the truly important question, Why do people take drugs. As I said at the time, to get high, stupid!

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/30/opinion/l-link-to-iran-arms-deal-and-nugan-bank-denied-200487.html

....I was in no way involved in establishing the Nugan Hand Bank. I never made or caused to be made any deposit into or withdrawal from that bank. No money over which I exercised any control was ever deposited in this bank. Incidentally, the photograph you identify as being of Michael Hand is not of the Michael Hand I knew in Laos or met in Washington in 1979.

THEODORE G. SHACKLEY Arlington, Va., March 13, 1987

So, it turns out that Shackley was correct, the New York Times published the wrong photo, describing Frank Nugan as Michael Hand. The Times photo of Michael J. Hand published in November, 1982, has a distorted appearance. Innocent mistake, coincidental, despite no correction in the corrected article linked above and displayed again below, or are these signs of co-operation from the NY Times?

It is a crime for C.I.A. to propagandize inside the United States, but it seems it does not even have to break a law. The news media itself is packed with "journalists and editors" willing to print all the news that fits, with amazingly little, official prodding.

http://www.nytimes.com/1987/03/08/world/north-s-aides-linked-to-australia-study.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

NORTH'S AIDES LINKED TO AUSTRALIA STUDY

By KEITH SCHNEIDER, Special to the New York Times

Published: March 08, 1987 - Washington, March 7

Correction Appended

MichaelHandPic_NorthsAidesLinkedtoAustraliaStudy.jpg

Correction: August 9, 1987, Sunday, Late City Final Edition and March 22, 1987, Sunday, Late City Final Edition A Washington dispatch on March 8 about the failed Nugan Hand Bank in Australia and the relationship of some of its principal officers to a former Central Intelligence Agency official, Theodore G. Shackley, quoted his lawyer's response incorrectly. The lawyer did not decline to comment; he said Mr. Shackley had no involvement with the bank.

The photo mislabeling is ignored in the correction, even though Shackley had called attention to it. The NY Times got around that "problem" by stating that the correction was based on a nonsensical explanation, and not on details in Shackley's own letter to the editor, displayed in my last post.

Uh oh! On edit, I found this, and I am just shocked! Aren't you?

http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/crack8.html

CIA, Contras & Cocaine: Big Media Celebrates

By Robert Parry

On Nov. 27, 1991, a Washington Post editorial began: "What is one to make of the riveting assertion, made by a convicted Colombian drug kingpin at Manuel Noriega's Florida drug trial, that the Medellin cartel gave $10 million to the Nicaraguan contras? Carlos Lehder is a key prosecution witness; the U.S. government cannot lightly assail his credibility."

Lehder's testimony also did not stand alone. It matched testimony from other cartel-connected figures, including money launderer Ramon Milian Rodriguez, that the cartel had funnelled millions of dollars to the CIA-backed contra rebels in the 1980s. The cartel apparently was trying to ingratiate itself to President Reagan who had hailed the contras as "freedom fighters" and the "moral equals of our Founding Fathers."

The alleged cartel pay-offs, in turn, were part of a larger body of evidence that the contras and their supporters had protected drug flights, employed known drug traffickers for supply operations and smuggled cocaine directly into the United States to raise money. In Iran-contra testimony, U.S. officials had acknowledged that the contras were implicated in this drug trafficking, as were many who worked with them: the Cuban-Americans, the Panamanian Defense Forces and the Honduran military.

By mid-1984, Oliver North's courier Robert Owen warned North at the National Security Council that the "Cubans [working with the contras are] involved in drugs." Another North aide, Col. Robert Earl, acknowledged to Iran-contra investigators that the CIA was worried because around the pro-contra Cuban-Americans, "there was a lot of corruption and greed and drugs and it was a real mess."

CIA Central American task force chief Alan Fiers testified that "with respect to [Costa Rican-based drug trafficking by] the Resistance [the administration's name for the contras], it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people."

In Honduras, the situation was no better. One pro-contra general, Jose Bueso-Rosa, had even planned to finance the assassination of the country's civilian president with a cocaine shipment. After Bueso-Rosa was caught, North intervened to gain the general more lenient treatment because of his past help for the contras -- and out of fear Bueso-Rosa might divulge some secrets.

[For more details on the contra-drug evidence, see the "Drug, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy" report by the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations, Dec. 1988, or Cocaine Politics by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall.]

Testimony and documents -- disclosed during the Iran-contra scandal -- also made clear that senior Reagan administration officials sought to avoid embarrassing public disclosures that could undercut the contra cause. Indeed, one of the administration's greatest public-relations victories in the 1980s might have been steering the big media away from the contra-drug story.

So that November 1991 editorial in the Washington Post was an unusual acknowledgement of the problem. The editorial even went on to quote favorably from Sen. John Kerry's drug investigation which concluded, in 1989, that:

"Individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter."

The Post editorial then offered a gentle criticism of the performance of the mainstream media, presumably including the Post. "The Kerry hearings didn't get the attention they deserved at the time," the editorial acknowledged. "The Noriega trial brings this sordid aspect of the Nicaraguan engagement to fresh public attention."

No Hand-wringing

But the Post and the rest of the mainstream press went no further. There were no critical internal reviews of why the big newspapers had pooh-poohed one of the biggest stories of the decade. There was no hand-wringing about how the media had failed to protect the public from government-connected cocaine smugglers. There was no renewed investigation of the evidence which might have implicated figures at the highest levels of Washington power, including possibly close aides to the sitting president, George Bush.

Still, that failure of the big newspapers, briefly recognized by the Post a half decade ago, is relevant again today as some of those same papers revel in a self-criticism published by the San Jose Mercury News for its 1996 series linking contra cocaine trafficking to the origins of the nation's crack epidemic. Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos admitted that the series "fell short of my standards" in the reporting and editing of a complex story that contained many "gray areas."

Among the weaknesses of the series, Ceppos said were instances where the paper included "only one interpretation of complicated, sometimes conflicting pieces of evidence," such as assertions by Nicaraguan drug dealer Oscar Danilo Blandon about when he stopped sharing profits with the contras and the total amount of his assistance. "We made our best estimate of how much money was involved, but we failed to label it as an estimate, and instead it appeared as fact," Ceppos said.

In essentially distancing himself from investigative reporter Gary Webb, Ceppos stated that the series "strongly implied CIA knowledge" that a contra-connected cocaine ring was instrumental in launching the "crack" epidemic in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. "I feel that we did not have proof that top CIA officials knew of the relationship," Ceppos said.

(There is no doubt, however, that senior CIA officials knew of the broader contra-drug problem. As early as 1985, a CIA National Intelligence Estimate cited a contra faction in Costa Rica using cocaine profits to buy a helicopter. [AP, Dec. 20, 1985])

While noting these shortcomings in Webb's stories, Ceppos still maintained that "our series solidly documented disturbing information: A drug ring associated with the contras sold large quantities of cocaine in inner-city Los Angeles in the 1980s at the time of the crack explosion there. Some of the drug profits from those sales went to the contras." [ Mercury News, May 11, 1997]

Mocking Webb

Though nuanced, Ceppos's correction created an opening for the Washington Post and New York Times to resume a decade-long assault on the contra-drug story, the 1991 Post editorial notwithstanding. Both papers splashed stories about Ceppos's column on page one, highly unusual treatment for a media self-criticism. [WP, NYT, May 13, 1997] The Post story was written by media critic Howard Kurtz, who had used his column last fall to ridicule Gary Webb. At one point in mocking Webb, Kurtz chortled: "Oliver Stone, check your voice mail." [WP, Oct. 28, 1996]

Switching into his objective reporter hat for the front-page news story, Kurtz continued piling on. Kurtz quoted Rem Reider, editor of the conservative-leaning American Journalism Review, who called Ceppos's column a "significant, major correction" and referred to the original series as "another dark day for journalism."

The Post and Times -- and the Los Angeles Times -- all hailed Ceppos for so publicly undercutting his reporter. "I give him high marks for openness and candor, which is something newspapers don't have a very good record of doing," Los Angeles Times bureau chief Doyle McManus said in Washington. "We tend to bury our corrections in small type on page 2." [WP, May 13, 1997]

In an editorial entitled "The Mercury News Comes Clean," the New York Times said Ceppos's "candor and self-criticism set a high standard for cases in which journalists make egregious errors. ... Mr. Ceppos suggested that editors got too close to the story while it was being written and lost the ability to detect flaws that might have been obvious had they maintained a more skeptical distance." [NYT, May 14, 1997]

In truth, however, these major newspapers have taken almost no steps themselves to ameliorate their decade-long underplaying of the contra-cocaine story, nor to correct outright inaccuracies in their frequent debunkings of other people's work.

Though that 1991 Post editorial found fault with the media's inattention to "this sordid aspect" of the contra operation, the newspaper never explained why its reporter, Michael Isikoff, wrote a 700-word kiss-off of Kerry's contra-drug report when it was issued in 1989. The story, buried on page A20, presented little of the evidence that Kerry had marshalled, focusing instead of alleged weak-nesses in the investigation. [WP, April 14, 1989]

But the Post was not alone in mishandling the contra cocaine story. On Feb. 24, 1987, the New York Times published a story by Keith Schneider, quoting "law enforcement officials" as stating that the contra-drug allegations "have come from a small group of convicted drug traffickers in South Florida who never mentioned contras or the White House until the Iran-contra affair broke in November" 1986.

The Times article failed to note that the contra-drug allegations were first disclosed in an Associated Press dispatch (that I co-wrote with Brian Barger) on Dec. 20, 1985, nearly a year before the Iran-contra story broke. By April 1986, federal investigators in Miami were examining allegations of contra gun-running and drug-trafficking, as were Kerry's investigators. The Times even ran a pick-up of an AP story about that investigation on April 11, 1986.

'Shatter a Republic'

Despite the Times' clear errors, there was no public coming-clean on how Schneider and his editors could have bungled such an obvious fact as when the contra-drug charges had surfaced. The story also fit into a pattern of Schneider's biased work on the topic. He seemed to see his job less as reporting the numerous cocaine-trafficking allegations than as protecting the contras' image and defending the U.S. government officials who nurtured them.

"This story can shatter a republic," Schneider explained to In These Times. "I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we can amass." [iTT, Aug. 5, 1987]

How Schneider approached that task was revealed in a Senate deposition taken from FBI informant Wanda Palacio. She had been regarded as a credible source until she began alleging that she had witnessed planes owned by Southern Air Transport, a CIA-connected airline, flying cocaine from Colombia to Miami.

Palacio identified Wallace Sawyer, one of Oliver North's contra flyboys, as a pilot who flew a cocaine-laden SAT plane out of Barranquilla, Colombia, in early October 1985. Amazingly, Palacio's spotting of Sawyer in Barranquilla was corroborated after Sawyer died in a plane crash in Nicaragua on Oct. 5, 1986, and his recovered flight logs showed him piloting SAT planes to and from Barranquilla on three dates in early October 1985.

But when Schneider and a Cuban-American associate interviewed Palacio in Miami for the New York Times, she complained about their bullying tactics which seemed designed to break her down, rather than draw out her story. The Cuban man "was talking to me kind of nasty," Palacio told Senate investigators. "I got up and left, and this man got all pissed off, Keith Schneider." [For more details, see Lost History: Contras, Cocaine & Other Crimes, p. 104-5]

Having run off -- or run down -- witnesses to contra-drug trafficking, Schneider was able to conclude that except for a few convicted drug smugglers from Miami, the contra-drug "charges have not been verified by any other people and have been vigorously denied by several government agencies." [NYT, July 16, 1987]

In another blast at the contra-drug charges four days later, Schneider wrote "investigators, including reporters from major news outlets, have tried without success to find proof of ... allegations that military supplies may have been paid for with profits from drug smuggling." [NYT, July 20, 1987] This story, too, conflicted with the public record. As noted earlier, the original AP contra-drug story cited a CIA report establishing that drug profits were used to buy contra military equipment.

Belated Admissions

Ironically, it was not until Webb's series in 1996 that the major newspapers acknowledged, in a back-handed way, that their dismissal of the contra-drug allegations in the 1980s had been wrong. "Even CIA personnel testified to Congress they knew that those covert operations involved drug traffickers," wrote the Post's Walter Pincus as part of a package of several stories seeking to debunk Webb. [WP, Oct. 4, 1996] The Los Angeles Times, which published its own anti-Webb series, also noted that "the allegation that some elements of the CIA-sponsored contra army cooperated with drug traffickers has been well-documented for years." [LAT, Oct. 22, 1996]

But by effectively blacking out the issue of contra-drug trafficking in the 1980s -- as the cocaine was flowing into the United States -- the big newspapers made the administration's task of covering up those crimes much easier. Kerry's chief investigator Jack Blum complained about running into "an absolute stonewall" when seeking relevant information from the administration. [Testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Oct. 23, 1996] The Washington news media had helped the Reagan administration build that "stonewall" and maintain it.

There is also the question of the big media's hypocrisy. While L.A. Times bureau chief McManus praised the Mercury-News internal critique of Webb's series, his paper showed no similar self-criticism over a 1984 front-page story that he wrote about U.S. charges that the Nicaragua's Sandinista government was involved in drug trafficking. That story turned out to be essentially a propaganda hoax, but was never retracted and continues to be cited by conservative publications to this day.

In a joint DEA-CIA "sting" operation in 1984, drug pilot Barry Seal flew a load of cocaine into Nicaragua. Sandinista military forces shot down the plane, but Seal then flew in a second plane to pick up the drug load. Seal snapped grainy photographs that purportedly showed Nicaraguan soldiers and Colombian drug smugglers transferring sacks of cocaine to the second plane.

Though the DEA's investigation was still at an early stage, the Reagan administration leaked the Sandinista allegations to the conservative Washington Times, right before a congressional vote on CIA military aid to the contras. When formal charges were filed in July 1984, only one Sandinista official was named, Federico Vaughan, a shadowy figure about whom little was known. But the New York Times carried a statement from unidentified "senior administration officials" claiming that U.S. surveillance had implicated top Sandinista officials, including Interior Minister Tomas Borge and Defense Minister Humberto Ortega. [NYT, July 19, 1984] Picking up the theme in one televised speech, President Reagan accused Nicaragua's rulers of "exporting drugs to poison our youth."

A Curious Case

But the Sandinista drug story had plenty of what Ceppos might have called "gray areas." When I questioned Drug Enforcement Administration officials at the time, they acknowledged that they had no evidence against any Nicaraguan official other than Vaughan and knew of not a single cocaine shipment that had come out of Nicaragua since the Sandinstas seized power in 1979 -- except for the Seal load. And that cocaine had been flown into and out of Nicaragua by the U.S. government.

The main reasons for this lack of cocaine smuggling through Nicaragua should have been obvious: there were embargoes on U.S.-Nicaraguan trade and the CIA maintained tight surveillance of air and sea traffic out of the country. Those two realities made Nicaragua an unappealing transit site to Colombian drug traffickers, who preferred countries that traded heavily with the United States. But the mainstream press showed almost no skepticism about the illogical charges brought by the Reagan administration -- or the scant evidence.

In 1988, the State Department acknowledged that it had "no evidence" of Sandinista drug connections, since the Seal case. [international Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 1988, p. 144] Then, on July 28, 1988, a House Judiciary subcommittee held hearings at which DEA officials complained that their investigation had been compromised to sway the outcome of the contra-aid vote.

Even more troubling, Rep. William Hughes, D-N.J., the subcommittee chairman, stated that when his investigators called Vaughan's number in Nicaragua, the phone was answered at a house which had been rented by a U.S. embassy official. The phone number had been controlled by the U.S. embassy or some other Western embassy since 1981, the subcommittee discovered. It was never clear for whom Vaughan was really working -- whether for the Sandinistas or U.S. intelligence.

Though the Judiciary subcommittee hearing might have seemed newsworthy -- raising serious questions about a major Reagan administration propaganda claim -- the testimony received little notice. The Los Angeles Times ran only a brief wire-service pick-up. [LAT, July 29, 1988] The day after the Hughes' hearings, the New York Times and the Washington Post ran nothing at all.

Never Saying 'Sorry'

Not surprisingly, the Washington media's sloppy reporting on the contra-drug issue was evident, too, in the staunchly pro-contra Washington Times. Last summer, editor-at-large Arnaud deBorchgrave slammed Webb for allegedly not realizing that the contras were awash in CIA money in the early 1980s -- and thus had no motive for dealing drugs.

"Maybe Mr. Webb is too young to remember that the CIA had no need for illicit contra funds in those days," deBorchgrave wrote. "It was all legal. Congress had voted $100 million in military assistance to the contras." [WT, Sept. 24, 1996]

But it was deBorchgrave who was wrong. Congress did not approve $100 million for the contras until the fall of 1986. Webb was writing about cocaine shipments in the first half of the decade, when the contras were always scrambling for money. Indeed, the contras' financial crisis was the motive for North's decision in early 1986 to divert money from arms sale to Iran to the contras, the reckless act that gave the name to the scandal, Iran-contra.

Despite this history of clearly erroneous reporting by the Washington news media, there has been no known case of any major news organizations engaging in an internal review of these inaccurate stories or publicly apologizing. None of the reporters who gummed up important facts in defense of the contras is known to have faced discipline or public repudiation. For those reporters who have gone with the establishment flow, there has been only easy work, no headaches and never a demand to say "I'm sorry."

All the mainstream press criticism, it seems, has gone the other way. It's been concentrated on the few reporters who dared to go against the grain and sought to expose a serious crime of state. These reporters had the audacity to examine the substantial evidence that the U.S. government in the 1980s failed to protect the American people from criminal acts by the contras and their drug-connected friends, crimes that the big newspapers have done their best to protect, too.

Gary Webb was just the latest journalist to take on that challenge -- and the latest casualty. ~

So, it is even worse than what was known about Schneider's and the NY Times' loyalties and priorities. Schneider and the NY Times, over a five year period from 1982 to 1987, prevented all of their readers from being able to recognize Michael J. Hand, native New Yorker, if he happened to be walking down the street. Hand's father, Oscar, apparently passed away in Flushing, Queens, NY in 1990.: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JKYF-3ZW

First Name: Oscar

Middle Name:

Last Name: Hand

Name Suffix:

Birth Date: 27 November 1905

Social Security Number: 131-16-2346

Place of Issuance: New York

Last Residence: Queens, New York

Zip Code of Last Residence: 11354

Death Date: 15 June 1990

Estimated Age at Death: 85

Edited by Tom Scully
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Great stuff Tom,

More than $4 million in drug money went through Nugan Hand between 1974-1980 making them the paymasters of the CIA around the world. Here are a couple nice videos; the first one has been posted before here at the Forum, but I think it is appropriate to re-post it here.

Nugan Hand CBS Report

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VGgjM-SVOU

Partying At The Nugan Hand Bank And The Misadventures In The Pacific

Fascinating stuff for sure.

Zach

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Great stuff Tom,

More than $4 million in drug money went through Nugan Hand between 1974-1980 making them the paymasters of the CIA around the world. Here are a couple nice videos; the first one has been posted before here at the Forum, but I think it is appropriate to re-post it here.

Nugan Hand CBS Report

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VGgjM-SVOU

Partying At The Nugan Hand Bank And The Misadventures In The Pacific

Fascinating stuff for sure.

Zach

From the In Case You Were Wondering Department.

The Warren Commission mentioned a Jodene Brans Hands as being a traveler to Mexico in roughly the same time frame

as Lee Oswald. Of course Oswald in Mexico is a slightly more than convoluted affair, but at any rate, being aware

of the Michael Hand/Nugan Hand connection, I tried to see if there was a genealogical connection.

Below was what I discovered.

backdrop

The story begins with Michael Jon Hand. In May 1963 Hand joined the US Army and started his training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In Vietnam he won the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). According to the DSC citation he almost single-handedly held off a fourteen-hour Vietcong attack on the Special Forces compound at Dong Xaoi.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=7369

HAND, FRANK (?) B.

Sources: Interim Report on Assassinations, p. 141; Vanity Fair, Dec. 1994, "Ghosts of November," A & R Summers, p. 129

Mary's Comments: A senior CIA officer. "Told a colleague that the Agency placed a 'control agent' -- not deMohrenschildt -- close to Oswald and his wife to monitor their activities.

Texas Death Index, 1964-1998 for Jodene Hands

Name: Jodene Hands

Title:

Gender: Female

Marital Status:

Death Date: 07 Sep 1996

Death County: Tarrant

Death Place: Tarrant, Texas, United States

more

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) - September 10, 1996

RIVER OAKS - Jodene Brans Hands, a homemaker, died Saturday in River Oaks.

Graveside service was 12:30 p.m. Monday in Greenwood Memorial Park.

Mrs. Jodene Hands was born in Dallas.

She was preceded in death by a daughter, Raydene Hands, in 1980.

Survivors: Husband, Raymond E. Hands of River Oaks; daughter, Linda Reed of Fort Worth; sister, Shirley Henderson of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and grandchildren, Megan and Sierra Reed. Greenwood Funeral Home

3100 White Settlement Road, 336-0584

Mystery solved

HANDS, ERNESTINE WHITE (NEE WHITE)

Sources: CD 205, pp. 760, 764

Mary's Comments: On 9/26/63, went to Mexico with her sister Jodene Hands and Jodene's father-in-law, Harvey M. Campbell, Sr. Did not see LHO.

Edited by Robert Howard
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