[Editors note, 5/22: we have tidied up a bit and added supporting citations since first publishing this article]
The past is prologue. In order to gain some insight into the deep state civil war now underway in Washington D.C., let us revisit a clandestine meeting that took place some 33 years ago, in late March 1986, shortly after Ronald Reagan’s March 16 Oval Office address to the nation regarding the situation in Nicaragua, in which the president presented photographic evidence of Sandinista involvement in drug trafficking. The photo (cued at Youtube, Reagan Library) was taken by none other than Barry Seal, the legendary CIA pilot whose fate was sealed with the leaking of the photographs (courtesy Oliver North) – Seal had been gunned down less than a month previous, on February 19th, purportedly by assassins of the Medellin Cartel; allegedly however they were directed by Oliver North on behalf of the Vice President and his sons (see Barry Seal Murder Blog, now defunct, but preserved at Blacklisted News). Seal’s assassination preceded a change in venue for the continuing support of the Contras. Arkansas up to that point had played the host, as a domestic “banana republic,” for training and weapons supply to the Contra rebels; the corruption that had developed in the state involving its governor, however, had the potential to seriously compromise the operations.
We defer now to an account of the meeting convened to plan for the transfer of operations from its base in Mena, Arkansas to Mexico. Presiding over the meeting would be William Barr, who is now the Attorney General of the United States. At the time, Barr was chief counsel for Southern Air Transport, a CIA proprietary engaged in supplying the Contras. For this meeting, however, he would be acting as the personal representative of William Casey, the Director of Central Intelligence. Here follows excerpts, as recollected by Terry Reed, the contractor who would take up the weapons supply to the Contras from Mexico, where he was soon to relocate. This is from his (and John Cummings) 1994 book, Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA. Chapter 17, “New Covenant” describes the meeting at Camp Robinson outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Present were Felix Rodrigues (code name “Max Gomez”), Oliver North (“John Cathey”), Terry Reed, Akihide Sawahata (of the CIA), William Barr (“Robert Johnson”), and Governor William Jefferson Clinton with his aide Bob Nash. Upon hearing that the ongoing exchange operations with the Contras – arms for currency, including the sort of currency that comes in the form of a white powder – would be moved out of Mena, Arkansas, Governor Clinton raised his objections, and a shouting match ensued…
Barr: “Our deal with you was to help ‘reconstruct the South.’ We didn’t plan on Arkansas becoming more difficult to deal with than most banana republics!… The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business. What we didn’t plan on was you and your token nigger here [Nash] to start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry.”
Clinton: “What do you mean by shrinking the laundry?”…
Barr: “Our deal with you was to have 10% of the profits, not 10% of the gross… No one agreed for you to start loaning our money out to your friends through your ADFA [Arkansas Development and Finance Authority] so that they could buy machinery to build our guns… That’s why we’re pulling the operation out of Arkansas. It’s become a liability for us. We don’t need live liabilities.”
Clinton: “What do ya’ mean, live liabilities?”
Barr: “There’s no such thing as a dead liability. It’s an oxymoron, get it? Oh, or didn’t you Rhodes scholars study things like that?”
Clinton: “What! Are you threatenin’ us? Because if ya’ are…”
The last comment gave Clinton a chill, as Barr was now broaching the subject of the recent assassination of Barry Seal, who had been transporting the contraband in and out of Mena, along with the “green drops” (and occasional ‘snow storms’) to Clinton crony Dan Lasater. Seal became a liability as one who knew much concerning certain VIP involvement in these operations, and had been threatening blackmail regarding the alleged cocaine trafficking of none other than the sons – George W. and Jeb – of the Vice President, George H. W. Bush. While alluding to Seal, a casualty of his own recklessness, Barr scolded the Governor for his reckless disregard of security in hiring uncleared contractors for the manufacture of the weapons, but also for his violation of a time honored principle among drug traffickers, as immortalized in the words of NWA in Dopeman, cued: “Don’t get high on your own supply.” The racist Barr would not have quoted the likes of “Eazy muthafuckin E” Eric Wright (though Eazy would give the likes of Barr a shout out in Eightball, cued: “Hail to the niggas in CIA!” – he had been a street dealer of the Contra coke in Compton, CA, on the receiving end of the pipeline that would eventually be documented in Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance – see NarcoNews). Rather, Barr chided Clinton that he should have taken Nancy Reagan’s advice: “Just say no.” Brother Roger Clinton at the time was facing drug charges, along with his boss, “bond daddy” Dan Lasater; but as Roger himself said of Bill: “he’s got a nose like a vacuum cleaner.” (see What Really Happened).
Having raised the stick, Barr then proffered the carrot, suggesting that Clinton, if he played ball, could have that which he most coveted, the presidency. “Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up… you’re number one on the short list for a shot at the job you’ve always wanted… That’s pretty heady stuff, Bill. So why don’t you help us keep a lid on this and we’ll all be promoted together. You and guys like us are the fathers of the new government. Hell, we’re the new covenant.”
Later in the meeting -after Clinton and Nash had left- Aki Sawahata explained the looming financial crisis in Arkansas coming as a result of the “money habit” created by the “green drops” of dirty money associated with the Contra-support operation. As the “green drops” had subsided, the habit was now being supported by bond underwriting loans from First American Bank and Trust of Washington, which was chaired by the elder D.C. Brahmin Clark Clifford, but secretly owned by the Bank of Credit and Commerce, International (B.C.C.I. – see Chicago Tribune, Aug. 14, 1991). Barr, following his first promotion to Attorney General of the U.S. under G.H.W. Bush, would become instrumental in covering up the B.C.C.I. scandals (see Executive Intelligence Review, Oct. 21, 1994); but as he then observed in March, ’86: “Goddam. Clinton IS presidential material, isn’t he? … And I thought the South lost the war.”
Felix Rodriguez (“Max Gomez”) then proposed a new sugar daddy for the Arkansas addicts: Panama. Ollie North (“Cathey”) then enthusiastically added: “Excellent idea, Maximo… I’ll go with you to meet Noriega’s people…”
And, the rest as they say is history. Barr would become instrumental in cleaning up the mess that would develop around Noriega (see L.A. Times, Oct. 13, 1989). And of course, Clinton would get that job he always wanted within seven years time. Twenty five years after the publication of Compromised, however, Barr again finds himself tasked with cleaning up the same sort of operational recklessness that so irritated him and “The Company” in ’86…