Some sources say that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been involved in several drug trafficking operations.
Some of these reports claim that congressional evidence indicates that the CIA worked with groups which it knew were involved in drug trafficking, so that these groups would provide them with useful intelligence and material support, in exchange for allowing their criminal activities to continue, and impeding or preventing their arrest, indictment, and imprisonment by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Released on April 13, 1989, the Kerry Committee report concluded that members of the U.S. State Department "who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking... and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers."
In 1996 Gary Webb wrote a series of articles published in the San Jose Mercury News, which investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. which was then distributed as crack cocaine into Los Angeles and funneled profits to the Contras. The CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by the Contra personnel and directly aided drug dealers to raise money for the Contras.
Although he heavily implied CIA involvement, Webb never claimed to have made a direct link between the CIA and the Contras. Moreover, Webb's articles were heavily attacked by many media outlets who questions the validity of his claims, although the unusual response led some to question if the CIA was involved.
Webb turned the articles into a book called, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion." On December 10, 2004, Webb committed suicide, dying of two gunshot wounds to the head.
In 1996, CIA Director John M. Deutch went to Los Angeles to attempt to refute the allegations raised by the Webb articles, and was famously confronted by former Los Angeles Police Department officer Michael Ruppert, who testified that he had witnessed it occurring. The CIA has been accused of moneylaundering the iran-contra drug funds via the BCCI, the former U.S. Commissioner of Customs William von Raab said that when customs agents raided the bank in 1988, they found numerous CIA accounts. The CIA also worked with BCCI in arming and financing the Afghan mujahideen during the Afghan War against the Soviet Union, using BCCI to launder proceeds from trafficking heroin grown in the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands, boosting the flow of narcotics to European and U.S. markets.
In 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S.—which, in exchange, allowed him to continue his drug-trafficking activities—which they had known about since the 1960s. When the DEA tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.
The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America. However, when CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA's activities in Latin America, and the CIA's connections with Noriega became a public relations "liability" for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of allowing his drug operations to proceed unchecked. Operation Just Cause, whose ostensible purpose was to capture Noriega, pushed the former Panamanian leader into the Papal Nuncio where he surrendered to U.S. authorities.
His trial took place in Miami, where he was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Noriega's prison sentence was reduced from 30 years to 17 years for good behavior.
After serving 17 years in detention and imprisonment, his prison sentence ended on September 9, 2007. He was held under U.S. custody before being extradited to French custody where he was sentenced to 7 years for laundering money from Colombian drug cartels.
George HW Bush's Puppet and CIA Agent Manuel Noriega Extradited to France
Miami, Florida (CNN) -- Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was put on a plane to France on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Mena Arkansas Cocaine imported from Noriega to Clinton for George HW Bush) signed extradition orders.
Clinton signed a surrender warrant, the last step making Noriega's extradition possible, State Department spokesman Charles Luoma-Overstreet said.
France has been seeking to prosecute Noriega for allegedly using its banking system to launder drug money.
Noriega's extradition came after he spent 20 years in a U.S. federal penitentiary in Miami, Florida. Noriega was convicted in 1992 of cocaine trafficking, racketeering and money laundering. His sentence ended 2½ years ago, and his next destination has been the subject of a court battle. With U.S. marshals by his side and wearing handcuffs, Noriega shuffled his feet as he was escorted to the commercial Air France flight at Miami International Airport.
The move came as a shock to the Miami attorneys who have defended Noriega for more than 20 years. "I would have hoped, if an order was signed, that the State Department would have the courtesy to respond to his lawyers and tell them an order was signed," said Frank Rubino, Noriega's criminal defense attorney. "I'm in total shock they did this without the common courtesy of a phone call," he added. Noriega and his attorneys had argued that the United States was violating the Geneva Conventions by not sending him back to Panama, where he was seized by U.S. troops after the United States invaded Panama in 1989.
U.S. federal courts repeatedly ruled against him. His last shot had been an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in January declined to hear his case. U.S. forces removed the ex-dictator from office during Operation Nifty Package, the 1989 invasion of Panama.
Noriega had fled his offices and tried to seek sanctuary in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City. U.S. troops set up large speakers around the compound, blaring music at all hours, a psychological ploy to rattle the general.
He surrendered January 3, 1990, and was quickly escorted to the United States for civilian trial.
After his drug conviction, Noriega was given POW status. His federal sentence, originally for 30 years, ended in September 2007 after time off for good behavior. In Panama, Noriega is wanted for the murder of a political rival. Panama has requested his extradition, but the U.S. is honoring France's request instead. France has convicted Noriega in absentia of money laundering but has promised him a new trial.
While in U.S. custody, Noriega dealt with prostate cancer and had a stroke. Last month, in an exclusive interview with CNN, Noriega's grandson Jean-Manuel Beauchamp said that he had grown to admire his grandfather. He was only 4 months old when the U.S. invaded Panama. "When I was a kid, I didn't grow up knowing he was in prison.
I thought he was in school," Beauchamp said. "I've spent quality time with him but not private time," he said, alluding to prison security and the monitoring of conversations. "He's the smartest man I know. He's so friendly, outgoing, knowledgeable. He's always looking to teach or give advice.
The U.S. government has portrayed Noriega as the ultimate crooked cop, a man who was paid millions by the Medellin drug cartel in Colombia to protect cocaine and money shipments. Panamanians remember him as a cruel dictator.