From: Alan Block. All Is Clouded by Desire. Chapter 4, p. 62-67
Israelis, Guns, and a Melon Farm
Swiss American was hip deep in ever-more crime and corruption in which Herrington and the rest of the usual suspects were involved. It was discovered in January 1990 that Israelis had been running guns through Antigua to Colombia and into the arsenal of a Medellin drug cartel leader—Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha. Israelis were also training his gunmen. When Rodriguez Gacha was killed in a shoot-out, the weapons were found and identified. They were surplus Israeli Defense Force stocks and included about five hundred Galil assault rifles and more than 200,000 rounds of ammunition.60
One of the primary instigators for the covert arms supply was an Israeli, Maurice Sarfati, who owned a "melon" farm on Antigua called Roydan Farms. It had been funded to begin with in 1985 by the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and sat on property that was coveted and eventually taken over by the boys at Swiss American. The loan was for $641,168.93. The following year, OPIC lent Sarfati an additional $567,775.82.61 Sarfati did not repay the loans and was sued by OPIC in 1988.62 OPIC claimed that Sarfati used Roydan funds for his own personal benefit, which included "the execution of checks on Roydan corporate accounts in excess of $100,000" made payable to his wife.63 In response, Sarfati claimed that he was the victim of bad weather—"during December 1986, January, February and March 1987 UNUSUALLY heavy floods destroyed all Roydan's crops . . . and OPIC agreed to reschedule the payments"— and a conspiracy in which OPIC and Swiss American "conspired together to take over the farm of Roydan," because Swiss American wanted to develop the land for a resort project.64 Moreover, Sarfati sought damages from OPIC for, among other issues, having colluded with Swiss American to place "in charge of the project an inexperienced farm manager from Puerto Rico one Shaul Zahavi . . . who had bankrupted a large farm in Puerto Rico for $18 million."65 He added that Rappaport and Zahavi were cronies. Sarfati was a very busy fellow. He had bribed the Antiguan government to allow him to steal scarce public water for his melon project, bribed government official Vere Bird, Jr. to make him the managing director of Antigua and Barbuda Airways International, which was a shell company "set up to handle kickbacks from British Airways," and bribed the minister of agriculture to secure phony promissory notes worth millions. Though the entire process was illegal, and banking officials knew this, Swiss American nevertheless took the notes,66 which then technically became a loan from Swiss American to Sarfati.
As one might expect, the Sarfati deal with Rodriguez-Gacha did not escape the notice of investigatory bodies in the United States. The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) took up the issue in a two-day hearing at the end of February 1991. Senator William V. Roth, Jr., the ranking member of the Republican minority, was particularly interested, for two years earlier he had discovered that "foreign mercenaries, primarily British and Israeli, were training paramilitary forces in Colombia for the drug cartels."67
“In the earlier investigation, the PSI had learned that two groups of British and Israeli mercenaries had worked with the paramilitary forces commanded by Medellin cartel leader Rodriguez Gacha in 1988 and 1989. Led by David Tomkins and Peter MacAleese, the British group's first mission was to assault the headquarters of Colombia's longest-standing guerilla force, the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces, known as FARC. Tomkins had no regular military background, though he was an explosives expert and did spend eight years in prison for safecracking. MacAleese, on the other hand, had extensive military experience and left the British military for disciplinary reasons with the rank of corporal in the SAS, "the British equivalent of the U.S. Special Forces."68 Both had served as mercenaries in the Angolan civil war. In 1989, the British took on another assignment, this time from the leadership of the Cali Cartel. They were to plan and lead an aerial attack on Medellin boss Pablo Escobar. They tried and failed when one of their helicopters, flown by a Colombian pilot, crashed.69
The Israeli part was more complicated and started earlier. The leader was Yair Klein, who had retired from the Israeli military as an officer in 1981. Three years later, in 1984, Klein started a private security firm, Hod Hahanit, which translates to "Spearhead" in English. The majority “of Spearhead employees had either served in the Israeli police or in special anti-terrorist forces in the military. Spearhead's first contract was to supply weapons to Christian Phalangist forces in Lebanon during the seemingly endless civil strife. Its Colombian ventures began in 1987, when Klein traveled there to meet with Lieutenant Colonel Yitzhak "Mariot" Shoshani and Arik Afek. Both men were Israelis with intriguing business interests in Colombia. Shoshani, who had been in Colombia since 1980, represented various Israeli firms including "the Bogota branch of Israx," a subsidiary of an Israeli firm, Clal, that had contracts with Colombia worth more than $250 million for equipment such as radar systems and armored vehicles. Afek was a weapons dealer, flower merchant, and travel agent. He was headquartered in Miami, where he imported Colombian flowers and ran a travel agency, Ultimate Travel, when not brokering arms deals.70 Through Shoshani's efforts, Spearhead was soon in business, providing "training for the drug cartel's paramilitary forces in Colombia's Middle Magdalena region," principally in Puerto Boyaca.71 There were two training courses, each lasting three weeks and each costing $76,000. These were fairly similar, teaching basic military tactics with the added features of lessons in the construction of car bombs and remote-controlled explosives. The first course took place in March 1988 with thirty pupils, followed by the second, in May.
During the latter stages of course two, the Colombian police found out about the training and planned to raid the camp. Perhaps the Colombians were also miffed because a "death squad responsible for a massacre of banana workers in the province of Uraba had been trained by the Israelis at Puerto Boyaca.”72 In any case, the training was cut short and Spearhead beat a hasty retreat back to Israel. The following year it was back, though in a slightly attenuated form—only Klein and two others. This mission was to instruct on bomb detection. However, that spring Colombian newspapers published stories about the British and Israelis training cartel gunmen. In August 1989, one of Spearhead's pupils, Alfred Vaquero, was arrested by the Colombian police and charged with assassinating judges and court personnel. The on-site Colombian venture was over for both the British and Spearhead.
In 1988, Klein had met with several former Israelis, including retired Israeli brigadier general Pinchas Shachar and his partner Passant "Pesakh" Ben-Or, who were living in the greater Miami area. They sold weapons for the Israeli Military Industry (IMI). Ben-Or's rise in the munitions trade was backed by his patron David Marcus Katz, "who controlled much of Israel's arms dealing in Central America" from Mexico City.73 By 1977, Ben-Or had achieved the premier position in the supply of arms to Guatemala. He did so well in the business that he owned a villa outside Ramalah, in Israel, which had a handsome stable for his racehorses and was staffed by Guatemalan servants. He also kept his yacht in Miami not far from his other primary source of business.74
In testimony before the PSI, Geoffrey Robertson, a former counsel to the Antigua Judicial Inquiry Commission, stated, "that amongst their contacts in the Hollywood area of Miami was a man named Maurice Sarfati, an entrepreneur with close and very corrupt contacts with a number of ministers in the Antiguan government.”75 The original idea was to establish a military training school on the grounds of the Antiguan Defense Force, which had only ninety-two men, and there provide training for cartel gunmen. Additionally, the school would import modern Israeli weapons—assault rifles and submachine guns—that would be sold to the cartel's students and taken back to Colombia. It was a weapons laundering operation with some training thrown in. Others involved included Vere Bird, Jr., and the head of the Antiguan Defense Force, Major Clyde Walker. Geoffrey Robertson added that Walker reported directly to Antiguan prime minister Vere Bird, Sr., and to Vere Bird, Jr., "the so-called adviser on national security,”76 although his real post was minister of public works and communications.
The first deal was struck and IMI loaded the weapons and ammunition on board a cargo ship, the Else TH, which sailed from Haifa, Israel, on March 29, 1989. “Within a few days, however, the conspiracy began to fall apart, primarily from the impact of the news stories (mentioned above) that appeared in the Colombian press in early April. In a panic, Klein and Shachar flew to Antigua, joined up with Sarfati and Vere Bird, Jr., and arranged for a Medellin "cartel-owned vessel, the Seapoint, to rendezvous with the Else TH when it was due to arrive in St. John's [Antigua] on the 19th of April." The rendezvous took place, the weapons were off-loaded onto the Seapoint, and ultimately delivered to representatives of Rodriguez Gacha.
Geoffrey Robertson was particularly forthright in his testimony, pointing out that the Judicial Commission, for whom he was counsel, was created under a "creaking 19th century colonial law," and was unduly limited in its abilities. Nevertheless, it did establish "endemic corruption" which has ruined Antigua by concentrating "its little wealth into the hands of a few powerful men and their foreign hangers-on," including Sarfati, whom he characterized as "one of these caterpillars of the commonwealth, siphoning off U.S. aid money and OPIC money for his own enrichment and that of his local political cronies.”77
60. Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S. Israeli Covert Relationship (New York: Harper Perennial, 1992), 270.
61. U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, OPIC Loan to Roydan Limited, Loan No. 541-D1-003, Account History (1985 Loan), and Loan No. 541-D1-003 A (1986 Loan), filed April 19, 1989.
62. U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, Overseas Private Investment Corporation,
Plaintiff, vs. Maurice Sarfati, William R. McGregor, and Haim Polani, Defendants, Civil Action No. 88-0959.
64. Ibid., Pretrial Statement.
65. Ibid., 2-3.
66. Coram, Caribbean Time Bomb, 186-87.
67. U.S. Senate, Committee on Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Hearing: Arms Trafficking, Mercenaries and Drug Cartels (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1991), 3.
68. Ibid., 43.
69. Ibid., 47-48.
70. Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, 265-66.
71. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Hearing: Arms Trafficking, Mercenaries and Drug Cartels, 49.
72. Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, 267-68.
73. Ibid., 220.
74. Ibid, 221.
75. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Hearing: Arms Trafficking, Mercenaries and Drug Cartels, 70.
76. Ibid. 72
77. Ibid. 74
From: Jonathan Marshall et al. The Iran Contra Connection: Secret Teams And Covert Operations In Reagan Era ( 1987) p. 122-124
The Senate Intelligence Committee report says that a Credit Suisse account was used by North, [Albert] Hakim and Richard Secord for Iran arms sales proceeds. It also notes that it had obtained information (of "unknown reliability") about profits being deposited in Credit Fiduciere Services, the Secord/Shackley/Clines Swiss bank, and then funneled to CFS' subsidiary in the Cayman Islands.
On November 26 the Los Angeles Times reported that it had learned a week earlier from an Israeli businessman that Adnan Khashoggi had arranged for the Iranians to put money into a Swiss account run by Ya'acov Nimrodi. A senior Israeli official said that Israeli middlemen "meddled" with a Swiss bank account and that their meddling might be connected with the disappearance of millions of dollars from the account. The missing money might be the money sought by Canadian associates of Roy Furmark. When CIA Director Casey asked Oliver North about the whereabouts of Furmark's friends' money. North said either the Israelis or the Iranians had it.
Another Israeli report spoke of two other bank accounts—one for logistical expenses, to which the Israelis had access. That account also noted that before January 1986 Israelis had had access to an account in which Iran deposited money.
On December 16 the Washington Times reported that, in addition to Adnan Khashoggi, "Swiss bankers identified other 'intermediaries' as Israeli arms merchants who used the names Amon Milchen, Shlomo Cohen, Marcus Kritz and Al Schwimmer.
Kritz is very likely the Mexico-based Israeli arms dealer David Marcus Katz. Al Schwimmer, one of the major Israeli dealers, was involved in the initial phase of the joint U.S.-Israeli arms sales to Iran.
Amon Milchan is an arms dealer and movie producer who has been involved in Israeli arms sales to South Africa. He has admitted laundering some of the more than $100 million spent by the South Africans during the 1970s in an attempt to improve the white government's image abroad. (This scandal later became known as Muldergate.) More recently Milchan purchased in the U.S. on behalf of the Israeli government 810 electronic switches known as krytrons, which can be used to detonate nuclear weapons explosions. Israel and South Africa collaborate on an advanced nuclear weapons program. Shlomo Cohen is the name of the Israeli ambassador to Honduras.
From: Joseph Trento, Prelude to Terror. p. 319-323
In June 1984, U.S. federal agents arrested Nazir Ahmed Vaid, a thirty-three-year-old Pakistani, as he attempted to smuggle out of Houston fifty high-speed electronic switches of a kind used to trigger nuclear bombs. At the time of the arrest, U.S. Customs agents seized several letters directly linking Vaid to S. A. Butt, the director of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission. Butt was already well known to U.S. and European arms control officials as "the key operative in Pakistan's successful attempts in Europe in the 1970s to obtain the technology and resources for the enrichment of uranium and the reprocessing of plutonium."12 Vaid reportedly offered to pay for the switches in gold, later determined to have been supplied by BCCI.13 U.S. federal officials, however, never informed the prosecutors that the letters14 connected Vaid to the Pakistani bomb program. Instead, a very special deal was worked out.
Vaid ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of illegally attempting to export the switches, known as krytrons, without a license. U.S. District Judge James DeAnda sentenced Vaid to five years' probation, the minimum possible sentence. At Vaid's sentencing, both Judge DeAnda and the prosecutor agreed that Vaid was not a foreign agent. DeAnda described him simply as a businessman "trying to expedite what he thought was a business deal." Just three weeks later, Vaid was deported.15 According to reporter Seymour Hersh, Arnold Raphel, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, later revealed that there had been a "fix in" on the Vaid case and that the CIA had arranged for the matter to be handled quietly.16
Because of his conviction and deportation, Vaid was prohibited from returning to the United States. His name appears on a U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database of banned individuals. Nevertheless, according to an ICE spokesman, Vaid has entered the country more than half a dozen times during the past several years. By simply dropping his last name and becoming "Nazir Ahmed," Vaid "fraudulently" obtained multiple visas from the U.S. State Department, according to ICE.17
During his recent visits— some after the September 11, 2001, attacks—Vaid has established, in Texas, a string of companies with foreign affiliations. Three in particular stand out. On July 22, 2002, Vaid, using the name Nazir Ahmed, and his brother, Mohammed Iqbal Vaid, incorporated Najood Trading, Inc., and Idafa Investments, Inc. The sole shareholder in Najood is a company of the same name based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.18 The Emirates are known to have been used as a transshipment point by the Khan network. The Dubai company identifies itself as being engaged in, among other things, "Building Service Materials Trading, Construction Materials Trading, Roofing Materials & Accessories."19 The directors of the Texas company are "Nazir Ahmed" and Ahmed Ali, whose address is the same as that of the Dubai parent company.20
The sole shareholder in Idafa Investments is an Islamic investment firm of the same name based in Mumbai, India.21 The Web site for the parent company identifies it as a broad-based investment advisory and management firm that operates on Quranic22 principles. The founder of the Indian company is listed as Ashraf Abdul-Haq Mohamedy.23 One of the directors of the Texas company is Ashraf Abdulhak [sic] Mohamedy. The others are Mohamed Ashraf Abdulhak Mohamedy, Mohammad [sic] Vaid, and "Nazir Ahmed."24 The Indian company's Web site provides a link to Islamic Quest, an organization "established to present the correct position of Islam to Non-Muslims." The contact person for Islamic Quest is listed as Ashraf Abdulhaq Mohemedy. 25
Mohammed Vaid signed the incorporation papers for both Najood and Idafa on the same day, July 19, 2002, and before the same notary public. On that same day, and before the same notary, "Nazir Ahmed" signed the incorporation papers for yet another company, MEC Enterprises (USA), Inc. (The signature above the printed words "Nazir Ahmed" appears to read simply "Vaid.") The sole shareholder in the company is MEC Engineering Works (Pvt.) Ltd., of Faisalabad, Pakistan.26 MEC Engineering is a metals machining and manufacturing company. Its many "functions," as listed on its Web site, include: "Tanks Vessels & Shells," "Pharmaceutical Machineries & Equipment," "Waste Water Treatment," and "Engineering Pipeline Construction." The owners of MEC Engineering are Abdul Qavi Qureshi and Abdul Majid Qureshi.27 The directors of the Texas subsidiary, MEC Enterprises, are "Nazir Ahmed" and Mohammad Aslam Qureshi of Karachi. 28
As recently revealed,29 Khan's middleman, B. S. A. Tahir, helped establish a subsidiary of a Malaysian metal machining company and used it to manufacture parts for high-speed centrifuges for enriching uranium. The parts were transshipped through Tahir's Dubai-based front companies to end users such as Libya.
The first known U.S. company the Vaids set up following Nazir's deportation was Finatra Communications, Inc. The company was incorporated by a third party, Ameen M. Ali of Houston, in August 1996. The shareholders were Mohammed Vaid, 20 percent, and "Nazir Ahmed," 80 percent. Both listed residential addresses in Houston. In 1999, the Vaids changed the name of the company to Finatra Group of Companies.
Nazir Vaid also operates a branch of Finatra in Pakistan. A 1997 article in Pakistan & Gulf Economist refers to "Nazir Ahmed Vaid" as the chief executive of Finatra's Cybercafe in Karachi, reportedly the first such establishment in Pakistan.30 The parent of the Cybercafe is the Finatra Group of Companies, also based in Karachi. Finatra Group controls several businesses, including a Web-hosting service, an energy-generation company, phone and cell-phone rental agencies, and a prepaid calling card dealer called Finatra Communications Private Limited.31 In 1998, Finatra Communications signed a contract with Pakistan's official phone company, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd., to provide prepaid phone-card service in Pakistan. The service also allows direct international dialing.32 All of these businesses could be useful to an intelligence service or a terrorist organization. In 2004, U.S. Customs was planning to detain Vaid on his next trip to the United States after being warned by a reporter that Vaid was traveling freely between the U.S. and Pakistan. In the fall of 2004, a U.S. Customs agent inexplicably told Vaid's son that there was a detention order out on his father. That incident raises major questions about Vaid's relationship with the United States government—and about security in the Customs Service.
According to an ICE spokesman, Vaid last left the United States on November 1, 2002.33 More than one CIA source said that Nazir Vaid is a CIA "asset." In a telephone interview, Vaid flatly denied working for U.S. or Pakistani Intelligence. He also insists he is not engaged in the trade or shipment of nuclear technology.34
The George W. Bush administration expresses shock at the fact that Pakistan's declared Islamic Bomb program became just that—a pan-Islamic nuclear-weapons supermarket. This is the same Bush administration that, in an eerily familiar move—just two weeks after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001—lifted the sanctions that had been imposed by the Clinton administration on Pakistan because of its nuclear-weapons activities. The Bush change was to win Islamabad's assistance in the new war in Afghanistan— the "war on terrorism." This is also the same administration that— publicly, at least—accepts A. Q. Khan's absurd confession that he is responsible personally—and not as an agent of the Pakistani government—for disseminating nuclear weapons know-how to North Korea, Iran, and Libya.
The fact that the United States had protected the Islamic Bomb program also emerged in the Edwin Wilson case. During the time Wilson was a fugitive, the former CIA front man sent the Reagan White House and the CIA detailed information about the Libyan nuclear program. The memorandum went from Wilson in Libya, through his lawyers, to Ted Shackley and the National Security Adviser. Wilson would later say he was never asked or questioned about what he had learned about the Libyan nuclear program.
12. Seymour Hersh, "Pakistani in U.S. Sought to Ship A-Bomb Trigger," New York Times, February 25,1985.
13. Dan Atkinson and John Willcock, "B C C I Aided Nuclear Project," Guardian [London], July 26,1991. 384 Notes
14. Telephone conversation with Sam Longoria.
15. "Lawyers: U.S. Didn't Probe Clue/' Houston Chronicle, February 26, 1985; Hersh, "Pakistani in U.S."
16. Interview with Hersh, June 1, 2004.
17. Interview with an ICE spokesman, June 2, 2004.
18. Texas Secretary of State Records.
20. Texas Secretary of State Records.
21. Ibid. 22. Interest is not earned on investments.
24. Texas Secretary of State Records.
25. http://www.idafa.com/main/linkdefault.asp?code=2 and http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:x_Yx3Y5852AJ:alusrah.net/dir/org/orgdetail.asp%3FOrgID%3D57+mohamedy+%22m imson+house%22+marg+mumbai&hl=en&ie=UTF-8.
26. Texas Secretary of State Records.
27. http://www.mesteel.com/ cgi-bin/w3-msql/goto_comp.htm?url=ME CEngineering&file=show_comp.htm and http://www.cpp.org.pk/ DBEstablishment/estb_346.shtml.
28. Texas Secretary of State Records.
29. From a series of stories broken by the National Security News Service, 2003-2004 (www.publicedcenter.org).
32. "Pakistan Telecom to Start Pre-Paid Calling Card Service," Asia Pulse, September 3,1998. 33. Telephone interview with an ICE spokesman, June 2, 2004.
34. Interview conducted September 2004.
From: Alan Block. All Is Clouded by Desire. Chapter 4, p. 89-90
THE BRUNEI MONEY: WHO HAD IT--WHERE DID IT GO?
In the nether world of Iran/Contra, Rappaport's name has hardly been mentioned. Lawrence Walsh's final report on the matter barely discusses him. His name only appears in perhaps two paragraphs and a footnote or two in a very small section of chapter 14, entitled "Other Money Matters: Traveler's Checks and Cash Transactions" under the subheading "Third-Country Funding and the Missing Brunei Funds."63 This concerned $10 million allegedly donated by the Sultan of Brunei to the cause. Elliott Abrams, the assistant secretary of state, subbing for his boss George Schultz, made the pitch to a "Bruneian official at a meeting in London" in 1986.
Here's the "official" version: Oliver North gave Abrams a bank account number in the Credit Suisse Bank, Geneva. The account was in the name of Lake Resources, under the control of Richard V. Secord, former CIA officer Thomas G. Clines, and Albert Hakim, who ran Oliver North's "European operation for Nicaraguan resistance," the Contra side.64 Supposedly, however, North's secretary transposed two numbers—the account number was 386.430.22.1, but she wrote 368.4220.127.116.11 Late in 1989, Independent Counsel Walsh learned the money might have gone to a Rappaport account in Credit Suisse. Walsh described Rappaport as "a Swiss businessman with ties to certain individuals involved in the Iran/Contra affair."66
Several months earlier, however, Rappaport's lawyers had pressured Credit Suisse, which then delivered a letter stating that Rappaport was not the recipient of the funds. That would mean, of course, that Rappaport either suspected someone might tell Walsh he had the Brunei money or was insuring that, in case Walsh found reasons to believe that he did, he would be prepared. Walsh did question Rappaport in October 1990, after granting him immunity. Rappaport told him he had absolutely nothing to do with the account and nothing to do with the Brunei money. Walsh was satisfied, but noted the following: "Independent Counsel was unable to determine the recipient of the $10 million Brunei deposit ... Swiss authorities continued to refuse to identify the recipient ... they did report that the money was returned to Brunei."67 Once again, Walsh appears to have been wrong. Through interviews with former key Rappaport personnel— Townsend, Cooper, attorney Kaplan, as well as former budget director Bert Lance and national security consultant Michael Ledeen (an important player in Iran/Contra)—a different story emerges. Except for Kaplan, each of the above definitively stated that Rappaport received the Brunei money. Kaplan did state, however, that Rappaport created a banking channel for the Iran/Contra players. Bert Lance said Rappaport used some of the sultan's money for "pay-offs." Reporter “Robert Parry commented that Rappaport and several of the weapons dealers had a party in Geneva when the $10 million arrived. Townsend added that he helped coach Rappaport in the construction of a factually misleading statement for Independent Counsel Walsh. He also remarked that former air force major general Richard Secord, who had been chief of the Air Force Section of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group in Iran from 1975 to 1978, which specialized in selling weapons to the shah,68 asked him for help in order to get the Brunei money from Rappaport. Reporter William Safire contended "a U.S. official learned from Swiss government authorities that the person in whose account the money for the Contra was 'mistakenly deposited'" was Bruce Rappaport. Safire added: "The lesson in this apparent new connectedness of insidership is never to let an assumption of stupidity overwhelm your suspicion of venality."69 The Credit Suisse account that was supposed to receive the money was Lake Resources Inc., a Panamanian shell company principally owned by Albert Hakim, who was Secord's and Clines's partner in the Iran/Contra ventures.
64. “Message From: NSOLN—CPUA to: NSRCM—CPUA, 02/27/86, 08:54:13. Reply to note of 02/22/86, 17:11—Secret—Note from: Oliver North, Subject: How Are Things? Just returned last night from mtg w/ [Deleted, (b)(1)(s) exemption] in Frankfurt. If nothing else the meeting serves to emphasize the need for direct contact with these people rather than continue the process by which we deal through intermediaries like Gorbanifahr. Because CIA wd not provide a translator for the sessions, we used Albert Hakim, an AMCIT [American Citizen] who runs the European operation for our Nicaraguan resistance support activity.
65. Walsh, Iran/Contra: The Final Report, 197.
68. Theodore Draper, A Very Thin Line: The Iran/Contra Affairs (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), 36.
69. William Safire, "Wrong Bank Account May Have Been Right," Chicago Tribune, Section: Perspective, Zone: C, July 29, 1989, 11.
From Brewton, The Mafia, CIA & George Bush (1992) p. 272-276
Rossmiller, who was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, apparently had a special relationship to the CIA. Joe Kelso, who shows up twice in Oliver North’s White House notebooks and claims to have worked on a contract basis for the CIA, told Washington journalist Paul Muolo that Rossmiller laundered money for the CIA. Kelso, who went to jail for trying to sell missiles to Iraq, worked for Rossmiller once on a project trying to extract gold from water.
A Denver attorney close to Rossmiller, and one of Rossmiller’s associates and neighbors, said that Rossmiller used to brag about working for the CIA. This bragging by Rossmiller was confirmed by a Denver friend of his.
Rossmiller lived several houses down from Dick on Sunset Drive in Englewood, and the two would get together and discuss business often. Another neighbor at the end of the street was William Pauls, who purchased his house from Bill Walters. Walters had purchased the property, torn down the house on it and built another house.
The person Walters bought the property from was the godfather of white-collar crime and con artistry in Colorado, John McCandish King. King moved to Denver in 1963 from Chicago after serving three terms in the Illinois State Legislature. He got into the oil business, made some money, went broke and then started selling oil tax shelters and mutual funds.
In the manner of international con men, King eventually met up with mutual-fund swindler Bernie Cornfeld and attempted to buy Cornfeld’s IOS company. He lost out and IOS was eventually swallowed by Robert Vesco, In the mid-1970s, King did a year in jail for income-tax fraud and quietly retired to his Colorado ranch.
Before that happened, King had gotten close to Richard Nixon, and claimed to have been an adviser to Presidents Johnson, Kennedy and Herbert Hoover, when he ran the Hoover Commission under Truman.9 King also had an account at Castle Bank & Trust in the Caymans, and some of his advisers included former astronauts Wally Schirra and Frank Borman, as well as Richard V. Allen.10 (Allen later served as Ronald Reagan’s first National Security Adviser and resigned under a cloud of scandal, fueled by stories in the Wall Street Journal by Jonathan Kwitny.)
9. Vesco, by Arthur Herzog (New York: Doubleday, 1987).
10. Spooks, by Jim Hougan (New York: William Morrow, 1978).
King is also mentioned in an Iran-Contra document that is an exhibit to the testimony of Richard Secord. It is a 1986 letter to Albert Hakim, Secord’s Contra resupply partner, from Willard Zucker, their attorney who helped set up the corporations and Swiss bank accounts to handle Contra and Iranian money. Zucker stated that he knows King and had told a mutual acquaintance that he would not be investing in one of King’s new oil ventures.
Another person close to Dick said that King had taught Dick all he knew about the use of trust accounts to hide money.
Dick also cultivated Atlantic Richfield’s Robert O. Anderson, Mischer’s land partner. They had several things in common. They both knew and did business with Richard Rossmiller and they both borrowed money from Hill Financial. Dick had Anderson over to his house for dinner, while Anderson invited Dick to his annual Christmas dinner for V. the “world’s most powerful men” at the Claridge Hotel in London. The only woman in attendance, according to a source close to Dick, was then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
There are other indications that Dick moves in large international circles. He owns a farm in Manitoba, from which he sells wheat to the Soviet Union. He holds citizenship in the Dominican Republic. Private detectives have tracked his travel all over the world, from Europe to the Middle East and to the Far East. And he allegedly uses evangelist Billy Graham’s Youth for Christ International to travel widely.
Dick was reportedly instrumental in establishing Youth for Christ International’s headquarters in Singapore, where he travels frequently. In 1990 Dick attended a Youth for Christ meeting in Chicago where he was praised by Graham for heading a $10 million Youth for Christ trust fund. This fund, according to a source close to Dick, is operated out of one of his Isle of Jersey companies.
Dick also has a number of businesses in London. In 1987, Dick and his partner, Pauls, were attempting to buy an office building in London, across the Thames from Parliament, for 5,250,000 pounds, with a 20- year lease to a British government agency. Hill Financial was going to make the loan, and there was correspondence between property consultants in London and A1 Lutz. Federal examiners said the deal apparently fell through. Also in London, Dick and Pauls owned a business called Hoopers Royal Carriage, which refurbished Rolls-Royces. They refurbished a Rolls for the Sultan of Brunei and also for Marvin Davis.
One of the biggest social events of the year in Denver was Marvin Davis’s Carousel Ball, which has now moved to Los Angeles. The event was to raise money for the treatment and research into juvenile diabetes, which afflicts one of Davis’s daughters^ One year, Dick and Pauls took Hill Financial’s A1 Lutz to the Carousel Ball.
A source close to Dick said that Dick actively pursued Davis. This included his purchase of a house at Davis’s reportedly favorite country club, the Vintage near Palm Springs, and the Rolls refurbishing. Then, in 1986, Davis’s Denver real estate firm, Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Company, entered into three joint ventures in the Denver area with a British company called European Ferries.
European Ferries owned the largest private drive-on car ferry company in Europe, and in 1979 had formed a joint venture with Noramco Holdings, a John Dick company in the Isle of Jersey, to buy into the Denver Tech Center. In January 1986, the giant London-based conglomerate Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, known as P&O, purchased the holdings of Dick and Paul in European Ferries for $50.7 million. Dick and Pauls stayed on the board of European Ferries, and four months later Marvin Davis’s company bought half of European Ferries’ interests in three major Denver developments.
In the early 1980s, Dick persuaded his European Ferries’ partners to begin buying real estate in other parts of the United States. For one reason or another, they decided to concentrate on Atlanta and Houston. Dick sent Ray Near to Houston in 1981 to look for properties. By March 1981 they were already buying land in Houston with their new partner, Houston developer Ned Holmes. In 1984, Holmes merged his real estate development company with European Ferries to form Parkway Investments, which bought eight pieces of property, totaling more than 1,000 acres, in the Houston area.
Holmes is a noted Houston developer with a good, clean reputation. He grew up in the city, the son of a wealthy businessman who served on Houston City Council. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Texas. After two years at Morgan Guaranty Trust in New York, he returned to Houston in 1971 and started his investment and real estate development business.
In 1987, Parkway Investments was taken over by P&O in its purchase of European Ferries. Holmes stayed on as president of the company, and said in an interview in 1990 that he deals with P&O’s people in London. Also in 1987, Holmes was appointed to the Port of Houston Authority Commission, which governs the Port of Houston, the third largest in the country, and, coincidentally or not, where P&O does quite a bit of business. Holmes has said there is no conflict of interest in this because he has no involvement with P&O’s maritime business.
Then, in 1988, Holmes was named chairman of the Port Authority Commission. This appointment is a joint decision of the Houston City Council and Harris County Commissioners Court. Holmes is politically connected to both entities, being a big fundraiser for former Mayor Kathy Whitmire and County Judge Jon Lindsay. In fact, Holmes was the head of the 1986 appreciation dinner for Lindsay in which Robert Corson contributed $10,000.
Holmes replaced Archie Bennett as chairman of the Port Authority commission. Bennett, as noted in an earlier chapter, was a good friend of Walter Mischer. Bennett sold his hotel company to Southmark and moved to Dallas, where he filed for bankruptcy.
In 1991, the Port of Houston got into a legal battle with a couple of Houston developers over the sale of a large tract of land on the Houston Ship Channel. The lawsuits were settled when the Port got back a $250,000 down payment. But the Port ended up paying its attorneys $450,000 to handle the case. One of the outside attorneys hired by the Port was Tom Alexander, Walter Mischer’s personal attorney and friend. The land the Port backed out of buying was later purchased by a group led by Mischer’s close friend Kenneth Schnitzer.
In 1990, Holmes was a member of a group of local investors who were vying to win a $1 billion contract to build a rail-transit system for Houston. His partners included Leo Linbeck, a construction contractor and UT Kappa Sigma brother with Carroll Kelly, Kenneth Schnitzer and Walter Mischer, Jr,
In the summer of 1992 a controversy arose over the Port of Houston’s dealing with Schnitzer. It appeared as if a closed-door agreement had been cut between Schnitzer and the Port Authority, led by Schnitzer’s former mass transit partner, Ned Holmes. The Port Authority agreed to buy 500 acres from Schnitzer for $12 million and lease him a terminal on the Port. In apparent exchange, Schnitzer agreed to drop his bidding war with the Port over another terminal.
One Port commissioner, the president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 24, questioned the deal and got the Texas Attorney General to investigate. Schnitzer denied any deal had been cut and said the ILA was mad because of his decision to use non-union stevedores at his leased terminal.11
11 Houston Post, July 30, 1992.