This is a respond to John WEISMAN, guest editorial on SOLDIER OF FORTUNE MAGAZINE, Dated: October 2004. The editorial was critical on Senator John Kerry 1988 investigation on Felix RODRIGUEZ'S drug trafficking organization.
On September 6, 2004, I email SOF with the request for a rebuttal on WEISMAN'S story. On September 7, & 8, I did receive some instructions in submitting my story but was forewarned that my story might not be published. SOF also strongly suggested that I should reflect on my accusations before making them. I was further warned that Mr. Robert BROWN, editor/publisher of the magazine was well aware of my emails and stated that he does not respond well to such accusations. I guess WIESMAN'S bias and misleading accusations did not have to be accountable to Mr. BROWN.
I would like to set the record straight, with facts, as to Felix RODRIGUEZ involvement in terrorism and drug trafficking. First and foremost, FELIX is in no way, shape, or form, an American PATRIOT. If any thing, he is considered, the bastard child of our intelligence community, along with his friend Luis POSADA Carriles. As you read the following, you will see for the first time ever, from a former drug agent's point of view, how FELIX was involved in a continuing criminal enterprise and got away with it.
In WEISMAN'S story, he initiates his story by trashing Sen. John Kerry for doing his job (Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations) in investigating FELIX. But most important, WEISMAN deliberately or not, ignored some significant facts narco-terrorist surrounding FELIX.
From 1985-1991, I was posted in Central America as one of a handful of DEA agents. After receiving drug intelligence from the FBI and the DEA, I was able to initiate several drug cases on members of FELIX'S organization. The illegal operations were conducted out of HANGER 4 at Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador, with the approval of FELIX'S boss, Lt. Col. Oliver NORTH. Some of the intelligence was filtered to Sen. John Kerry but most was not because they had remained as open cases. For example the Washington DC, DEA office initiated case file: GFGD-91-9139 on Oliver NORTH. NORTH was documented as smuggling weapons into the Philippines with known drug traffickers.
On the issue of Che, WEISMAN writes that FELIX was instrumental in the capture of Che Guevara, insinuating that FELIX was on the ground or was a major contributor to the capture. SOF went as far as printing a picture of FELIX standing next to Che. FELIX is wearing clean web gear and what looks like a clean shirt, as compare to Che. The capture was made by Bolivian troops; some members of the U. S. backed Second Ranger Battalion. A few months prior, FELIX and his other CIA companion (Dr. GONZALES) had allegedly tortured captured members of Che's little army. After flying in after the capture of Che, FELIX proceeded to interrogated Che, and of course Che did not disclosed anything. FELIX allegedly stole Che's Rolex watch. According to Fidel Castro, he had given a Rolex to every Cuban member of Che's small army. Che allegedly had two Rolex watches with him. The other one belonged to a fallen member of Che's army. FELIX then claims that orders, to assassinate Che, had come down from the Bolivians. After the assassination they amputated Che's hands for proper identification for the CIA. (Que macho! How brave) WEISMAN claimed that the Bolivians refuse to transport Che to Panama for interrogation. When I read that part, I started to laugh. In my six years, in Latin America, I had never heard of a third world country tell the CIA what to do. By the way FELIX, there is no Statue of Limitation for MURDER.
On a final word on Che. Che was a unique individual, his incapability to step away from suffering, to step over the homeless or the sick, or to ignore the submission of native populations makes him more of a champion than a rebel; a champion of social justice rather than a rebel against the status quo. While his politics may be questioned, his dedication and passion cannot. Che lived and died for his beliefs in a way that few others have matched. Che is still alive, his message as relevant as ever. He remains his own "new man," a vigilant warrior in the battle for what he saw as a better world.
FELIX is a Cuban refugee who joined the CIA in 1960. FELIX'S family had to flee Castro's 1959 revolution. FELIX became involved with the Bay of Pigs fiasco invasion of Cuba. Of course, FELIX was not on the grounds with the troops. In 1960, FELIX, Luis POSADA Carriles, (please keep this name in mind), Rafael "Chi Chi" QUINTERO and others were allegedly trained as assassins and drug-traffickers. At the CIA's Miami Station, FELIX and company were trained under CIA Miami Station Chief Theodore G. SHACKLEY for Operation MONGOOSE. This operation was focusing on the assassination on Fidel Castro.
On June 1970, "OPERATION EAGLE", a federal strike force in 10 major cities around the country derailed one of the biggest hard-drug networks of all time. The organization was responsible for distributing 30 percent of all heroin sales and up to 80 percent of all cocaine in the Unites States. Approximately 70% of those arrested had once belonged to the Bay of Pigs invasion force. According to the New York Times, a Cuban exiles terrorist network known as "Operation 40" orchestrated this drug trafficking organization. Some members of this operation were identified as FELIX, Luis POSADA, Chi Chi QUINTERO and others.
FELIX then immediately followed SHACKLEY to Southeast Asia in 1970. SHACKLEY and CIA officer Donald GREGG (also please keep this name in mind) directed FELIX'S activities during the Indochina war. During that time, SHACKLEY and company directed the implementation of the Civilian Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS) program, better known as OPERATION PHOENIX, a genocidal crime against humanity which killed tens of thousands of Vietnamese civilians because they were suspected of working for the Vietcong. On the other hand, WEISMAN states that FELIX pioneered, developed, and refined a revolutionary counterinsurgency technique... WEISMAN cut through the chase! It was known of Operation PHOENIX.
SHACKLEY funded opium-growing MEO tribesmen in murder, and used the drug proceeds in turn to fund his hit squads. He formed the Military Assistance Group-Special Operations Group (MAG-SOG) political murder unit; Gen. John K. SINGLAUB was a commander of MAG-SOG. By 1971, the SHACKLEY'S group had killed approximately 100,000 civilians in Southeast Asia. DEA SA Michael Levine conducted undercover operations during that time in Southeast Asia. I myself was also in Vietnam during that time.
In August 1982, then Vice-President George BUSH hired Donald P. GREGG as his principal adviser on national security affairs. On March 17, 1983, FELIX met BUSH'S aide GREGG, officially and secretly, at the White House. GREGG then recommended FELIX'S plan to National Security Council adviser Robert McFARLANE. It was a plan for EL SALVADOR where military attacks would be conducted on a target area of Central American nations including NICARAGUA. The plan was written a year prior that grew out of two experiences: "-Anti Vietcong operations run under my direction in III Corps Vietnam from 1970-1972. And that these operations were based on…a small elite force…produced very favorable results." It would be a version of the PHOENIX program.
The following are excerpts from the typed transcript of the GREGG'S hearings nomination for U.S. Ambassador to Korea.
GREGG: …he FELIX brought me in '83 the plan, which I have already discussed with Senator Cranston…
Sen. Cranston: Let me quote again from the New York Times, George BUSH quoted October 13, '86. BUSH said, "To the best of my knowledge, this man, FELIX RODRIGUEZ, is not working for the United States Government."
On Nov. 1, 1984, the FBI arrested FELIX partner, Gerard LATCHINIAN. LATCHINIAN was convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine into the United States. The dope was intended to finance the overthrow and murder of the President of HONDURAS. A year previous to the arrest, FELIX had filed the annual registration with Florida's secretary of state on behalf of LATCHINIAN and Rodriguez's enterprise, GIRO AVIATION CORP.
John Kerry's subcommittee not only battered the REAGAN administration for its support of the so call anticommunist movement but was also instrumental in defeating BUSH Sr. relection. Approximately a week prior to the election, the IRAN-CONTRA investigation came back and bit BUSH in the ass. However, most important, FELIX'S misdeeds made a great contribution to the defeat.
On the allegation of the $10 MILLION of drug money that was offered to FELIX, for the support of the CONTRAS, I happened to agree with WEISMAN. Mr. Ramon MILIAN - Rodriguez, another Cuban exile, did fail a polygraph examination. However, what WEISMAN failed to mention was that during the drug trafficking trial of Manuel NORIEGA, several years later, the government's star witnesses, former co-founder of the MEDELLIN cartel and transportation boss Carlos LEHDER, confirmed, under oath, that the cartel had given the CONTRAS $10 million, just as MILIAN had testified. LEHDER said he arranged for the donation himself. I guess that is why polygraph examinations are not admissible in court.
Of course, when everything fails, blame it on the Cubans. According to WEISMAN'S story, FELIX stated, "Senator, you should know there is a disinformation apparatus within the Soviet and Cuban intelligence services, it is in the best interests of the Soviet and the Cubans that the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters do not prevail." I have heard Oliver NORTH use the same excuse.
And, last but not least, on August 18, 1985, FELIX allegedly assisted Luis POSADA Carriles escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being held for his participating in the terrorist bombing of a Cuban airline. Seventy-two (72) civilians perished in that terrorist act. POSADA then used forged documents falsely identifying him as a Venezuela named "Ramon MEDINA." POSADA then flew to El Salvador where he lived with FELIX for a few days and assisted FELIX on the Contra operations at hanger 4 at Ilopango.
Sen. Kerry: Do you recall the downing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 in which 72 people lost their lives as a result; do you remember that?
Sen. Kerry: A terrorist bomb. And a Cuban-American named Luis POSADA was arrested In Venezuela in connection with that. He then escaped in 1985 with assistance from FELIX…
Gregg: It is.
Sen. Kerry: Okay and he brought him to Central America to help the Contras under pseudonym of Ramon MEDINA, Correct.
Gregg: Now, I know that; yes.
Sen. Kerry…Is it appropriate for a Felix RODRIGUEZ to help a man indicted in a terrorist bombing to escape from prison, and then appropriate for him to take him to become involved in supply operation, which we are supporting?
Gregg: I cannot justify that sir…
Luis POSADA was a veteran CIA agent with a history of involvement with drug traffickers, mobster, and terrorists. In 2002, he was once again arrested in Panama in an endeavor to assassinate Fidel Castro. In August of this year, the former president of Panama, as she left office, pardons POSADA. POSADA ended up in Honduras with a fictitious U.S. passport. Never mind that there are still warrants for his arrest for escaping from Venezuela. Blowback is our government's terminology of those trained by the US government who use their expertise later to embarrass our interest. FELIX and POSADA should take responsibility for why we had 9-11. The United States have been one of the worst human rights violator in the World. I don't have to give you a history on our events.
"Top Secret" and later declassified, interview of Walter L. GRASHEIM (CIA operative): "GRASHEIM came up with the idea to prepare a military raid on an airport in Nicaragua, using Tamarindo as a staging base. GRASHEIM told General Gorman this and then right after, RODRIGUEZ came to see GRASHEIM without warning and asked to talk about the idea…RODRIGUEZ told GRASHEIM that he was talking to the White House and NSC but he didn't tell him any specifics…RODRIGUEZ did tell GRASHEIM that he talked to (then) Vice President George BUSH."
Most of the above criminal activities to over throw the Nicaraguan government were prohibited under several Boland Amendments in the 1980s. I can continue on and on with documenting government documents, seizure, arrest of individuals, and testimonies of others that came out of FELIX"S narco-terrorist organizations. All my allegations are well documented in newspapers, books, and declassified government documents that I was able to obtain, before President George W. BUSH reclassified them as "Top Secret". Furthermore, you will be able to find several reports from different government bipartisan investigations, especially a "REPORT OF INVESTIGATION" from The Office of Inspector General Investigations. It is subtitle as "Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras In Cocaine Trafficking to the United States" (96-0143-IG) Volume I: The California Story dated: January 29, 1998.
Now, you may question as to why FELIX was never arrested for these allegations. The answer, is simple, he is well protected because as they say, "he knows where the bodies are buried." However, the FBI, DEA and CIA files don't lie. Case file numbers and footnotes are available upon request. Furthermore, FELIX knows that at the end of the day, if he had been arrested, there would have been a probability that he would had been pardon, as his friends were, when they had been arrested on the Iran-Contra investigation.
WEISMAN, you just opened a new can of worms, just a few months before the presidential election. I thank you in advance. And as for FELIX, you must feel "muy macho" in having a photograph of Che's amputated hands hanging in your home.
Celerino "Cele" Castillo III,
Vietnam Combative Veteran
Author of Powderburns, Cocaine, Contras & The Drug War