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BOB LADY & JOHN ROBERTS: From Iran-Contra to Iraq
Por Clayton Hallmark - Monday, Sep. 05, 2005 at 5:40 PM
Robert (Bob) Seldon Lady, a CIA man wanted by European police, may be hiding in a home in Honduras, Central America. We have learned that it probably is in the town of Valle de Angeles. (See http://www.qrz.com/hr1bl and map below.) SOMEWHERE IN THIS UNDER-REPORTED MESS -- an illegal kidnapping by the CIA in Italy -- may lie the ANSWER TO CINDY SHEEHAN'S QUESTION about the US war cause -- and even IRAN-CONTRA, and possibly Supreme Court nominee JOHN ROBERTS' ROLE IN IRAN-CONTRA
bob_lady---cia_locations.gif, image/gif, 604x419
The kidnapping by Bob Lady's gang of a Muslim cleric MADE HEADLINES IN ITALY in June and July and caused a US-Italian incident. The CIA, who had "renditioned" the militant Muslim off the streets of Milan, were charged, put under arrest warrants in Europe -- but the prosecutor, Armando Spataro, despite early claims that he would extradite, has made no moves to do so! The story will be an election issue in Italy next May. It could be an issue in the confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts if Mr. Lady, under pressure, talks about his own role in Iran-Contra.
John Roberts helped set up the Contra-funding organization Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO). The actual transfers of arms and training, however, took place in Honduras. I think there is evidence that Mr. Lady was a key link in turning NHAO money into arms and training for Contras in Honduras. Someone had to do it -- actually turn over the guns and do the training. The Bush administration and John Roberts do not want this discussion of Iran-Contra and NHAO
We have learned that the alleged lead renditioner in the Italian case, Robert Seldon Lady, has a family home in Valle de Angeles http://www.qrz.com/hr1bl , Honduras, and another in Punta Gorda, Florida. He has even been making phone calls from Honduras. We provide details -- with links -- that the mainsteam media won't touch, plus a TIME LINE OF US BLACK OPS LINKING IRAN-CONTRA of the 1980s all the way to THE IRAQ WAR.
Lady and the 18 others have not been arrested, either because of political pressure on prosecutor Spataro or because of his US sympathies. He is known to be close to US reporters and has a special fondness for Chicago.
MAP OF HONDURAS
The map shows locations believed related to Bob Lady.
IS THIS PHOTO A GOOD LIKENESS OF BOB LADY?
The Italian prosecutor's office claimed that they had to get the dark, smudged photocopies of the 19 CIAs, obtained from hotels the agents used, digitally enhanced before distributing them. We are waiting, Mr. Spataro....
How long will the Italian judges, Parliament, press, and people tolerate prosecutor Spataro's inaction? Has the Italian Government no pride, or is it just that the US is the Boss of the World now?
MR. SPATARO: If you want Mr. Lady and the 18 others, show us their photos. Is Lady's anything like the one shown here? Also, you had a mole in your Italian prosecutor's office or police agency who tipped off the CIA agents and caused them to flee prosecution. You still have a leak, and you will not be able to catch the fugitives as long as you do.
Mr. Lady's father, Mr. Bill Lady, also shown here, goes back 50 years in Honduras. WANT MORE DETAILS?
"BILL" IS BILL LADY. THE PHOTO SHOWS HIS QSL (HAM RADIO) CARD.
THE US EXPORTS ITS TORTURE WORK --
ITALY PROVIDES THE RAW MATERIALS (PEOPLE)
CIA kidnapping is called "rendition," involves torture, and is a diabolical practice. It is supposed to be illegal everywhere, but Italy apparently is going to allow it.
What about all of the protests in the Italian press and Parliament about the CIA violating Italian sovereignty? I believe that Mr. Spataro's actions so far are window-dressing for the Italian and US media.
THE ITALIANS CALL IT "IMAM RAPITO."
That means "kidnapped Muslim cleric." It was the main story in the Italian media when Spataro got arrest warrants issued in June. Nineteen CIA agents, American citizens, had snatched Abu Omar, a Muslim cleric, off the streets of Milan and transported him through US Air Force bases in Italy and Germany to Egypt, where government interrogation techniques include torture. This is torture by proxy, except that Robert Seldon Lady, the leader of the kidnappers, stayed in Egypt for two weeks to watch, court documents show.
June 23, 2005 -- An Italian court issued arrest warrants for 13 alleged CIA renditioners, including Mr. Robert (Bob) Seldon Lady. This was widely reported in te Italian press, notably by Guido Olimpio, who named names as we do here. You probably didn't even see it in the US media, which even omitted all names except Lady's.
July 8, 2005 -- A series of transit bombings in London displaced the Imam Rapito story from the front pages and news broadcasts of Europe and the world.
July 21, 2005 -- A second series of London bombings unfortunately hurt this story again and preempted the next act....
July 25, 2005 -- An Italian appeals court issued arrest warrants for six more Americans in the CIA, for providing support to the kidnap-torture. The prosecutor (not the warrant) also named a US Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Joseph L. Romano, for aiding the rendition in his position at the Aviano Air Base in Italy.
PROSECUTOR ARMANDO SPATARO PROMISED EXTRADITIONS, BUT THERE IS NO REPORT THAT HE HAS SOUGHT ANY.
So fate has conspired to keep this story mostly out of the media and the prosecution is dormant. It is a story that could yet make the history books.
DETAILS ON BOB LADY, ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING ABU OMAR AND "RENDITIONING" HIM TO EGYPT
BIRTH, 1951: Robert Seldon Lady was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the capital, of an Arkansas-born father from Florida, Billy Seldon Lady, and a mother from Honduras, Maria Lady. The mainstream media just says he's from Honduras.
EARLY LIFE: Bob Lady probably grew up in Honduras. His father had homes there at various locations for over 50 years up to his death in 2004, as well as homes in Florida.
NYPD: In the 1970s Bob Lady served the NYPD as an agent provocateur, infiltrating leftist groups, according to Italian reporter Guido Olimpio (whom Michael Ledeen calls "a very smart reporter."
CIA: Bob Lady joined the CIA in about 1983 or 1984 in Honduras (at about age 31). He apparently worked in Honduras, as a CIA agent, aiding the Nicaraguan rebels, or Contras. Besides a house in Tegucigalpa, his father owned a farm that his father described as being "60 miles east of there [Tegucigalpa], both at the same altitude of about 3,200 feet." The infamous El Aguacate air base in Honduras -- where people were "disappeared" as they are from the streets of Milan, Italy -- has been described as being 80 miles east of Tegucigalpa.
Bob Lady was still attached to a US embassy in Central America, in Panama, in the second half of 2000. His son graduated from high school in Panama in 2000. Lady also had a home near Abita Springs, LA (near New Orleans), at this time.
The CIA transferred Lady to the Milan, Italy, US consulate around the end of 2000, as the CIA's chief of station.
Bob Lady allegedly led the kidnapping of cleric Abu Omar in February 2003. The kidnapping was to take him to a place, Egypt, where he could be questioned under torture. By the time, all the world knew that war in Iraq was imminent.
Lady retired from the CIA about the end of 2003. He retired with his wife Martha to a villa near Asti in northern Italy's wine country.
FUGITIVE: In April 2004, Italian police began an intensified investigation into the disappearance of Abu Omar.
2005, about the first of the year: Someone, possibly a police mole, tipped off the CIA that the police were closing in. The CIA moved Lady and the rest out of Italy.
ARREST WARRANTS: About 6 months after the tipoff and flight to avoid prosecution, the first 13 arrrest warrants came, on June 23, 2005, when police went to Lady's villa in Asti to arrest him but left with only documents and hard drives (hard drives that could be important to history).
The next month, on July 25, prosecutor Spataro obtained, from an appeals court, arrest warrants for the other 6 kidnappers.
TIME LINE: ROBERT SELDON LADY & BILL LADY:
FROM IRAN-CONTRA TO THE IRAQ WAR
***1981-1985: In its first term, the Regan administration ramped up military and intelligence activities in Honduras and other Latin American countries led by right-wing military regimes.
John Negroponte, now the US's first Director of National Intelligence, was ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985. He supported and carried out a US-sponsored policy of violations to human rights and international law.
***1981-1986: John Roberts worked as a White House lawyer. As part of the current confirmation process, Democratic senators want to see a memo that John Roberts wrote with the heading "re: establishment of NHAO" -- referring to the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office. The office was a way the administration could get funds to the Contras for nonmilitary purposes, but once there the money was used for all sorts of things, including of course military purposes. Someone had to receive the NHAO money and actually turn the guns over to the Contras and perform their training. I believe I can show that Bob Lady was uniquely in a position to do that in Honduras. He now may have reason to tell us, after all those years.
***1983-4: Bob Lady joined the CIA in Honduras. He had been born there, and his father, Mr. Bill (Billy) Lady, had been a well known gold prospector there for many years.
Bill Lady was a man of many talents, with many assets that would have been useful to his CIA son. He had a home in Tegucigalpa. He also had a farm he said was 60 miles east of Tegucigalpa, which would place it near the El Aguacate Air Force Base, built by the US to support the Contras. This would have been convenient for son Bob, if Bob was arming and training the Contras.
***1983-4: The US built (John Negroponte supervised) the El Aguacate Air Base (see map) in the Olancho Department (state) in eastern Honduras, bordering Nicaragua. (Refer to the map.) Here the US trained Nicaraguan Contras, or rebels. The base was used as a secret detention and torture center.
The infamous Battalion 316, trained by the CIA and the Argentine military, kidnapped, tortured, and killed hundreds of people. The CIA trainers included a CIA agent known as "Mr. Bill" and "Mr. Mike." By some accounts, he had a TDY, or temporary duty, assignment to the CIA, which would mean he worked for them temporarily or sporadically. (Incidentally, there is no indication that Mr. Mike was Mike Ledeen. Ledeen is a desk jockey who figures in this story.)
***NOVEMBER 1984: Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms dealer, offered the CIA his help in getting US hostage William Buckley out of Iran. He arranged five missile shipments to Iran, as an inducement.
Dealing on the American end was Michael Ledeen, now Karl Rove's foreign policy advisor, and Lt. Col. Oliver North, operating out of the Reagan White House.
Colonel North later testified to Congress that Ghorbanifar gave him the idea to divert profits from the Iranian arms deals to the Contras, who were mounting an insurrection in Nicaragua, a country on Honduras' eastern border. The US hoped for the Contras to set up another right-wing military regime in Nicaragua that would be controlled by the US. The aid to Iran and the Contras was done secretly and illegally, of course, with the participation of the CIA. The NHAO office that John Roberts wrote memos of legal advice on provided some of the funds. Lady was at the other end of the chain, doing the hands-on work of arms transfer and training, I believe.
Ghorbanifar apparently knew the real nature of US-Contra relations well, and probably knew CIA players in Honduras, such as Lady.
***1984: Also this year, Harold Rhode (more on him later) began collaborating with Ledeen and Ghorbanifar in providing arms to Iran and the Nicaraguan Contras. This band reunited almost 20 years later for the Iraq fix.
***1986: A Lebanese magazine -- it seems it's never the US MAINSTREAM media on something this important -- blew the whistle on the arms trade, which supposedly ended it (you never know).
***1994: FBI turncoat Aldrich Ames supposedly outed to Russia the CIA spies in Latin America. Bob Lady's father, Bill, still had a home (and possibly still a farm) in Honduras. As the next item shows, Bob Lady probably continued working for the CIA in Latin America despite Ames.
***2000: Bob Lady's son Robert graduated from high school in Panama. Bob Lady was still attached to the US embassy in Panama. He was a spy, not a diplomat. He maintained dual residencies -- Latin America and Abita Springs, LA -- for several years.
***LATE 2000: The CIA transferred Lady to the US consulate in Milan, Italy. He was under State Department cover, just as he apparently was in Panama. Officially he was listed as a PMO, or Political-Military Officer. Actually, he was the CIA's chief-of-station for Milan.
***JANUARY 1-2, 2001: In Rome, a burglar broke into the embassy of Niger, a Saharan nation where uranium is mined, and stole some letterheads and seals used for official documents.
***JANUARY 20, 2001: The George W. Bush administration officially took power in the US.
***LATE 2001: An Italian spy -- sometimes official, sometimes unofficial -- Rocco Martino, got a call from Italian intelligence (SISMI) who told him that a "lady" at the Niger embassy in Rome had documents that might be of interest to him. The "lady" probably was no lady, but a Lady, Robert Seldon Lady; and the documents were forgeries made with the stolen letterheads and official seals.
***DECEMBER 2001: There was a meeting in Rome attended by Italian intelligence, "American" neoconservatives, an "Iranian" soldier of fortune, and an "American" official now under indictment. In this barrel of snakes there were lots of agendas, but the Americans wanted an excuse for war with Iraq. The reason for the quotes here is that it is hard to tell the national allegiance of these people.
Attendee 1: Manucher Ghorbanifar is an Iranian expatriate whose level of lying is disdained by even the CIA. He had offered, to Michael Ledeen (Karl Rove's foreign policy advisor), Iran's help in providing intelligence for the "war on terror" power play. He claimed to represent the Iranian government this time. Ghorbanifar is the spy's equivalent of a soldier of fortune: his services go to the highest bidder.
Attendee 2: Michael Ledeen, a leading agitator for war on Iraq and Iran, organized the meeting. He is under FBI investigation for procuring the phony Niger-uranium documents that Bush and Blair used to shill the Iraq war.
Attendee 3: Harold Rhode, a member of Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans and a protege of Ledeen, also attended
Rhode and Ledeen go back to 1984, according to Ledeen's own acknowledgments in a recent book. In fact, the first three attendees all worked together on the Iran-Contra arms deals, as did Bob Lady. http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/entity.jsp?id=1521846767-1759
Attendee 4: Larry Franklin was an "American" analyst in the Pentagon. He presently is being prosecuted for giving classified information to an Israeli front group, AIPAC, the American-Israeli Political Action Committee.
Attendee 5: Nocolo Pollari was and is the head of Italy's equivalent of the CIA, the SISMI. He is a personal friend of Ledeen, and both are bridge (card game) masters.
Pollari, Italy's spy chief, almost certainly knew Bob Lady professionally since Lady was the CIA's chief of station in Milan. US-Italian intelligence cooperation was very close from 9/11 until Lady's kidnapping of Abu Omar.
In Iran-Contra, two decades ago -- Bob Lady probably worked with Ledeen; his protege, Rhode; and Ghorbanifar. Ghorbanifar arranged money transfers from Iran to pay for the missiles, etc. Ledeen (and probably Rhode), working in Latin America, received the money (indirectly) and spent it on equipping and training the Contras. The NHAO that John Roberts set the legal groundwork for helped to transfer the money. And Lady was in a good position to personally hand over weapons and train the Contras from a base at El Aguacate, near his father's farm.
Attendee 6: Italy's Minister of Defense, Antonio Martino, is spymaster Pollari's boss. He and Franklin are the only two whom it is at all likely Lady might not have known.
As a result of the meeting, the White House and No. 10 Downing Street obtained forged documents falsely showing that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from the Saharan nation of Niger. They are obvious forgeries http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/14/sprj.irq.documents/ and include a reference to Iraq and Iran planning a war against the West. This tale/tail is so foolish it is hard to know what donkey to pin it on. (We do know which donkeys used the forgeries to destroy Iraq.) Ghorbanifar and Ledeen wanted Iran as well as Iraq to look bad, to justify wars. Someone else, possibly a national intelligence agency or a foreign government, may have wanted the Bush administration to look bad, which it did by biting on such an obviously false lure.
***SPRING 2002: The CIA allegedly sent a former US ambassador, Joseph Wilson (later known to Karl Rove as Mr. Valerie Plame), who was familiar with Niger, to that country to check out the documents' claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium there. Wilson reported that the claim was false.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2002: Tony Blair brought the claim of the forged documents to public attention anyway.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2003: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." So crowed George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 28, which will live in infamy. On February 5, 2003, Colin Powell cited the forged evidence in a United Nations presentation unrivaled for buffoonery since Nikita Khrushchev's shoe-banging speech.
MARCH 19, 2003: US air and naval forces began bombarding Iraq in a "Shock and Awe" campaign that has since killed over 100,000 people, Katrina-ized a nation, and cut Iraq's petroleum production in half, precipitating a crude-oil supply-demand imbalance and sky-high gas.
Bush and Blair got their Iraq war, apparently with Bob Lady's help. Later, Bush recanted on prewar intelligence claims, and the Downing Street Memos showed that the British knew all along that the Bush administration was fixing the intelligence to start a war.
EVIDENCE ABOUT BOB LADY IN IRAN-CONTRA
Iran-Contra is still largely under wraps. A lot of the evidence linking Bob Lady to this 1980s scandal is circumstantial. That he was born in Honduras and attached to the US embassy in Panama as recently as 2000 is a matter of record.
Most of the cirumstantial evidence concerns resources of his father, Mr. Bill Lady, whose full name was Billy Seldon Lady. There is no public record, and no accusation here, that this Mr. Lady ever worked for or with the CIA. However, he had surprisingly many expertises and resources that would be useful to his son, Mr. Bob Lady, or any CIA operative.
Mr. Bill Lady died in 2004 in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley (August 2004). There is no obituary to be found for him. There is no news story naming him as a hurricane victim.
It is unclear how Mr. Lady made a living, although he was a gold prospector in Honduras and had a small farm there for many years. He also had a home in Punta Gorda, FL, at the time of his death. He lived modestly, except for his somewhat expensive hobbies, and seemed (from what I have learned) like a "good guy."
Mr. Lady was born in Arkansas and moved to Florida as a young man. He was in Honduras by 1954, when Bob, his second child, was born in Tegucigalpa.
Mr. Lady obtained a ham (amateur) radio license by decree of President Acuerdo in 1959. http://www.qrz.com/HR1BL
Bill Lady became a miner, farmer, horticulturist, cruise sailor, photographer, and "network control" radio station operator in the Intercontinental Traffic Net, or Intercon. He was very competent or expert in all of these.
LADY FAMILY FARM NEAR "EL AGUACATE" AIR BASE IN HONDURAS
The years Bob Lady's father had this farm in Honduras are unclear, but in communications about 1996, he said that he had a farm in Belize (British Honduras) many years before and then a small farm in Honduras. He said his farm in Honduras was in a small valley at 3200 ft elevation and that "practically anything" would grow well there. He also referred to his former home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and the farm 60 miles east of there, both at 3200 ft.
This could be just 20 miles from the Contra-training base at El Aguacate -- or even less -- depending on whether miles are measured by road or by straight line. (See map.) El Aguacate is a few miles north of Catacamas, near the eastern (Nicaraguan) border in a remote area of jungle. The base was built in 1983-4 under the supervision of John Negroponte, now the head of all US intelligence. August 2001 excavations at the base discovered the first of the corpses of the 185 people, including two Americans, who were tortured and killed there.
Honduras' infamous Battalion 316, trained by the CIA and the Argentine military, kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, including those at Aguacate. (The most complete reports on this are by the Baltimore Sun reporters Gary Cohn, now with the LA Times, and Ginger Thompson, now with the New York Times.) The CIA trainers included a CIA agent known as "Mr. Mike" and "Mr. Bill." By some accounts, he had a TDY, or temporary duty, assignment to the CIA, which would mean he worked for them temporarily or sporadically.
Bob Lady was well positioned spend the money provided by the NHAO, for which John Roberts had provided legal advice.
INTERCONTINENTAL TRAFFIC NET (Intercon), Interconnet.org
Ham radio, including Intercon, operates at high frequencies (HF), which can propagate to anywhere in the world under certain conditions. Among other things, Intercon provides communication services for military members to call family for free. In this "phone patch" situation, you use your HF rig to talk to me from any distance -- maybe thousands of miles -- on my HF rig. Then I patch your signals into a box, a phone patch that connects to my phone after I ring up your local (typically) party. Your called party here talks over their phone and you both talk for free. The HF link replaces the long-distance carrier and its tolls. If there is a ham at each end, then neither calling or called party needs their own rig.
Bill Lady was an important part of this network in at least the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to David Lane of Port St. Lucie, FL. Since he kept homes near the capital city and at Valle de Angeles, just 15 miles away, he didn't live remote (except when on his farm near El Aguacate or on his boat) and didn't really need a ham radio. Also, participating in Intercon as a network controller wasn't something he needed in any case.
Naturally, the HF radio waves can be intercepted, so the calls over Intercon and similar services normally are not private. They also are not traceable -- important to people like Bob Lady, who is in deep trouble right now OVER TRACED CELL-PHONE CALLS. However, the voice signals can be encrypted, though this normally is not done for the normal uses of Intercon. Intercon says that its purpose "is for handling traffic from maritime mobiles, both pleasure and commercial [ships], and overseas deployed service personnel. We also assist missionaries and persons working abroad."
Intercon is a *network* of hams, so it can provide service to many areas worldwide. At any given time during the net's operation, one station serves as the Net Control Station (NCS), routing calls much like a switchboard operator. Bill Lady was "at the mike" as an NCS operator for many years.
(You can pick up Intercon from 7 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to 12 noon EDT on a frequency of 14.313 MHz in the 20-meter ham band. Other services coordinate with Intercon to provide 24-hour service on this frequency. These services probably have proved invaluable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.)
Mr. Bill Lady's son Bob also reputedly has an aptitude for electronics, especially electronic surveillance. He may be the one who reprogramed some chips in cell phones used in carrying out the Imam Rapito abduction. Whoever did, they failed to replace the chips used to identify the phones, and the Italian police later were able to retrace practically every movement of the gang. It would have been better to use encrypted HF radio rather than a public network. In an act in the Dumb Crook category, someone actually reused one of the cell phones later at the US embassy in Rome. It could be that Lady thought he had the approval of Italian authorites to carry out the Imam Rapito.
Encrypted radio would be better for him, and he almost certainly knows this. So it is a mystery why he has persisted in using a cell phone and land line to make traceable calls to his wife since he has been on the lam.
Bill Lady was involved in cruise sailing, which basically is exploring the world's coastlines and oceans while cruising under sail.
Mr. Lady was known to have visited the Bay Islands off the north coast of Honduras (see map), for example. He really got around in his sailing craft.
The children of his son, the spy Bob Lady, also have been active in sailing. Presumably Bob himself would have found boat transportation and the Intercon radio net useful in his work, black operations, which necessarily involve clandestine traveling and communication. Not only clandestine -- but more important -- unofficial and hard for anyone to investigate later.
BILL LADY, GOLD PROSPECTOR
Bill Lady was a miner, or gold prospector, in Honduras for up to 50 years. As such, he knew the Honduran terrain and geology intimately. He traveled, sometimes by sail boat, to remote areas such as Hog Island of the north coast (see map). He may innocently have shared this knowledge with his son Bob.
As in most work he did, Billy Lady was renowned for his mining work. M.M. Veiga wrote, in Introducing New Technologies for Abatement of Global Mercury Pollution in Latin America, "All information was told by Mr. William Lady, a retired gold miner, living in Florida. He produced gold and conducted many geochemical programs in the 1950s and 1960s. Mr. Lady is an important part of the mining history of Honduras. His email: firstname.lastname@example.org."
He got around a lot. He had an exceptional interest in airports, apparently, as he once remarked on the presence of a certain kind of bushes behind an airport hangar in Central America.
Billy Lady was a somewhat shadowy figure (just try and trace him) and he had numerous expertises that he could have passed on to his CIA son. Bob Lady is a possible link between the dots in more than one story -- including Iran-Contra and Fixed Intelligence for the Iraq War -- based on circumstantial evidence like this. He left a trail of paper and digital evidence in the Imam Rapito caper just before the Iraq war and has become "The Fugitive" of the CIA because of that.
Anything beyond the above is pure speculation. I am not saying or insinuating that Robert Lady or any member of his family was involved in drugs or any illegal activity, beyond the allegations of the Italian prosecutors about Robert Lady.
Bob Lady's family has Arkansas and Honduras roots and he had a home in Louisiana up to about 2001. Honduras is a transshipment point for smuggling drugs into the United States. The CIA has imported drugs into the US to finance black operations. One of the most notorious drug smugglers in the Iran-Contra era, Adler "Barry" Seal, used a remote airport in Arkansas, the Mena Interregional Airport, in his operations.
The CIA used drug money to help equip the Contra insurgents.
Mr. Seal smuggled drugs into Louisiana. He used the Mena, Arkansas, airport not for smuggling but simply as a hangar, according to his closest associate. When a C-123 smuggling plane formerly used by Seal that he called "Fat Lady" was shot down by the Nicaraquan government after he had sold it, it was found that Seal had obtained Fat Lady by trading in another plane, which in turn he had gotten by trading in a boat and a Bell helicopter belonging to "a guy in Honduras." He may have known Lady. Of course, there were lots of people in Honduras involved in the drug trade in the years the CIA used Honduras and Mena in support of the Contras. I mention the Mena speculation only for completeness.
One account of Mena and Seal in Arkansas, an interview with someone who claims to have been Seal's closest associate, is at http://emporium.turnpike.net/P/ProRev/bottoms.htm . Here are some quotes from it:
"All of the drugs were brought to Louisiana. We used Mena only as a repair, modification, storage, diversion, and hideout facility for our aircraft."
"Early on, we used the Gold Button Ranch in Northern Belize as a refueling point."
"We never had any dealings with the CIA except for the CIA installing a camera in Seal's C-123 during the DEA Nicaraguan [drug] sting. The CIA connection stories are false." [Author Note: I said the Lady-Mena connection was speculative.]
"I only have personal knowledge of the Seal operation."
[About the Fat Lady plane.] "A few months later, Doan [whom Seal had sold the Fat Lady back to] sold the airplane to Southern Air Transport via SAT check for $450,000. Several months later it was shot down in Nicaragua. I have no personal knowledge as to the mission of the aircraft nor did Seal after we sold it." [Southern Air Transport was used by the CIA.]
"It [drug smuggling] was very easy to get into if you became exposed even a little to the arena. XX Airlines, military aircraft, shipping industry, sailboats, tugboats, freighters, canoes...etc."
"There were fairly small time drug operations at Mena before us, and Welch [Louisiana state investigator] has indicated that things picked up after we left but has not elaborated on it."
"From about late 1982 till 1986 we owned Mena airport...." [This coincides with the Iran-Contra time frame.]
"We maintained two-way HF encrypted communications the whole trip."
Likeness of Bob Lady
Por Clayton Hallmark - Monday, Sep. 05, 2005 at 5:40 PM
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Billy Lady QSL Card
Por Clayton Hallmark - Monday, Sep. 05, 2005 at 5:40 PM
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