The first anniversary of the April 10 2006 seizure in Mexico’s Yucatan of a American-registered DC9 caught carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine passed virtually unnoticed last week. It shouldn’t have…
Porter Goss resigned less than a month later, the same day the FBI executed a search warrant at the house of the No. 3 official in the Central Intelligence Agency, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, soon to go on trial for corruption with accomplice Brent Wilkes.
Not since the downing of a C-130 military cargo plane over Nicaragua in 1986 with Eugene Hasenfus onboard—kicking off the Iran Contra Scandal—has an aviation incident been remotely as important or as fraught with significance.
And not since the massive cocaine smuggling through Mena, Arkansas has the CIA’s hand been so flagrantly caught in the cookie jar.
Shocking details come as no surprise
In a series of stories beginning today, and continuing over the next ten days, the MadCowMorningNews will report the results of a year-long investigation into the secret history of this operation.
Some of the highlights include:
- SkyWay Aircraft of St Petersburg, FL., the company which owned the DC9 airliner stuffed to the top of the overhead bins with cocaine, was a CIA front.
- SkyWay’s genesis can be traced to In-Q-Tel Inc., a secretive, Arlington, Va., investment group owned, operated, and financed out of the black box budget of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- SkyWay was part of a network of companies, three of which—L-3 Communications, Net Command Tech Inc, and Triton Network Systems Inc.— were cited by Elliot Spitzer, then the Attorney General of New York State, for being used by Wall Street brokers in “pump and dump” schemes which cost unwary investors tens of millions of dollars.
- The suspicious involvement of L-3 Communications subsidiary Titan Corp of San Diego, the biggest donor to Southern California Congressmen convicted or being investigated by fired San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam.
- The Israeli connection to SkyWay, including the involvement of an Israeli tele-com firm, Tadiran, accused of being involved in worldwide espionage, and which owned the headquarters of SkyWay in Clearwater, Florida.
- The involvement of Gulf Arab financiers, including an overseas bank, Banque Francaise de l'Orient, long associated with the Saudi bin Laden family.
- Evidence of Republican party involvement in the network, which included the free use of one of the smuggling aircraft by the current head of fund-raising for the national Republican party, U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, who "traveled to nighttime rallies in luxury," the St. Petersburg Times reported, “on a DC-9 owned by Skyway Global, a Clearwater security company whose owners are Martinez supporters.”
Still more shocking details
Over the next ten days, we’ll present evidence for each of these heady claims, and attempt to find the answer to what is still a major mystery:
Why haven’t U.S. authorities arrested the owners of an American-registered plane busted with 5.5 tons of cocaine?
The story began here:
The drug trafficking operation was flying an airliner carrying 128 suitcases…but no passengers. There was no attempt to camouflage their activity.
Mexican soldiers unloaded the American-registered DC9, whose cargo consisted of 128 identical black suitcases stuffed with cocaine, onto the hot asphalt runway in Cuidad del Carmen, an out of the way airport nestled in the middle of the Yucatan jungle.
In what may have been someone’s idea of a joke, each suitcase bore a stamp on its side, with the single word “Privado.”
The DC9 sported a distinctive Seal on its fuselage: blue-and-white with gold trim surrounding an eagle clutching twin olive branches, making it virtually indistinguishable from official U.S. Government planes belonging to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
Even veteran plane-spotters were fooled.
This was perhaps not much of a stretch: SkyWay’s Chairman, Glenn Kovar, boasted of long-standing ties to the CIA. And today he and his son are operating another front company called “Homeland Security Tracking Enforcement.”
Walking on water in Tampa
Although owned by SkyWay, the airliner was registered to Royal Sons Inc., a company controlled by an aircraft broker from Tampa, FL. named Frederic Geffon.
Geffon partnered with SkyWay in the company’s three planes, two DC9’s and a Cessna, then illegally appropriated them when SkyWay went bankrupt in 2005, to the annoyance of SkyWay’s Federal Bankruptcy Trustee, who filed suit to get the planes returned.
“Geffon was under court order to not let the planes leave the St Petersburg-Clearwater Airport,” stated a source close to the Bankruptcy proceedings. “The Airport Tower had even been ordered not to let the plane take off."
"Geffon was in direct violation of the court order when that DC9 took off for Venezuela,” the source stated last week.
Yet Frederic Geffon has suffered no legal sanction at all, either for violating the court order, or for owning a plane busted with a plane filled with a box-car's worth of cocaine, evidence that, legally speaking, Frederic Geffon walks on water.
It depends on your definition of "is"
When news of the plane's seizure reached Tampa, there was a mad scramble to get out of the way. Even though the FAA's website stated that the airliner was registered to Frederic Geffon, he denied it, claiming he'd already sold it.
Geffon’s claim then received a big boost, one week after the seizure, from an FAA spokesman, who stated the FAA had received a copy of a letter from Royal Sons, dated April 7, asking that the plane be exported to Venezuela.
This pronouncement was enough to quiet immediate suspicion… The heat was off Geffon, at least for a while.
But the spokesman hadn’t said the FAA received the documents on April 7, just that the letter had been dated April 7.
So we requested the plane's registration documents from the FAA, where they are mandated by law to be freely available.
Come in here, boy, have a cigar
After stonewalling for more than two months later, the FAA released the plane’s records. They showed that Frederic Geffon didn't request transfer of ownership and file export documents to the FAA until the day after the plane was busted.
The FAA stamp shows they were “received,” on April 11th. And since they were faxed, not mailed, they clearly didn't get lost in the mail.
In the eyes of law enforcement, this would seem, would it not, to be a clear case of: “Close, but no cigar.”
But Tampa, FL is Cigar City, where deals are still made in smoky backrooms.
Law enforcement officials in the U.S. and Mexico are today apparently no closer to “identifying” the owner of the plane than they were a year ago.
That terror flight school again
Nor has anyone been held accountable higher up than the airliner’s unfortunate co-pilot, a Venezuelan paid just $500 for the flight, which must have seemed small recompense when he was left holding the bag by the pilot who hired him, who somehow managed to "slip away."
Geffon’s Royal Sons Inc has one other distinction that needs to be mentioned: The firm occasionally listed its address as 224 E Airport Ave at the tiny Venice, FL airport, in a hangar belonging to terror flight school Huffman Aviation.
For the past three years the MadCowMorningNews has been pointing out—to anyone who'll listen— that the owner of Huffman Aviation, Wally Hilliard, during the same month Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi arrived to attend his flight school, had his jet confiscated by DEA agents on a runway at the Orlando Executive Airport, where they found 43 pounds of heroin onboard.
Although over 60 percent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan–a country then being run by Mohamed Atta’s boss--Atta's arrival and the discovery of a huge amount of heroin happening at the same time… is just a coincidence. Because otherwise Wally Hilliard might today be in prison, and of course, he's not.
And neither is Frederic Geffon.
"Get the picture? Yes, we see!"
Six months ago we received an email alleging that Dusty Foggo and Barry Seal had more than a nodding acquaintance in Honduras during the go-go ‘80’s.
Honduras was known at the time as “The Trampoline,” because drug flights from Colombia would refuel there, then “bounce” back into the sky to fly to the States.
And Barry Seal, of course, was a long-time CIA pilot, as well as what the U.S. Government, back in the 1980's called "the biggest drug smuggler in American history."
But as we are seeing, time marches on, and by now he has no doubt lost that distinction.
Of course, we already knew that Porter Goss knew Barry Seal. Here’s a picture of the two of them together, taken in 1963 in Mexico City. With them in the photo are two other famous names in America’s secret history: Felix Rodriguez, and Frank Sturgis.
But Seal and Foggo was just a rumor. We needed confirmation.
Think "Snakes on a plane" in a bar
Then we read "Dusty Abroad" in the Washington Babylon column by Ken Silverstein in Harpers magazine online. It contained new information on Foggo’s years in Honduras in the early 1980s, when, according to the article, “the Agency was using the country as a base both to support the Nicaraguan contras and for a variety of other covert programs in Central America.”
The article, concerned with Foggo’s involvement in “a brisk hooker trade,” revealed that while Foggo was based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he had been a regular at the Maya Hotel and casino.
Well bust my britches, or some equivalent, we said to ourselves, when we read this. Because we knew that Barry Seal had hung out there too.
While researching “Barry & ‘the boys’” five years ago, we met a steely-eyed former NSA operative in Central and South America named Russ Akin. “I first met Barry Seal in the lobby of the Hotel Maya in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, back in the late ‘70’s,” he told us.
“Barry was good friends with the owners of the hotel, which was the center of intrigue in Central America back then. And just by looking at each other, we both knew what the other was doing, although neither of us stated it openly to the other when we met, or for a long time afterwards.”
So Seal and Foggo were in the same place, at the same time. It’s not definitive, and its not confirmation that they knew each other.
But there were so many intriguing similarities… Both Seal and Foggo made a habit of doing favors for politicians. Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards had enough of a personal friendship with Barry Seal to borrow $10,000 from him at the tables in Vegas, on an occasion when Lady Luck had not been kind to “the Guv.”
Foggo’s largesse will presumably be explored during his upcoming trial… Though we suspect it will be in a more, shall we say, truncated form than if Carol Lam were still running the prosecution.
Top Republican fundraiser
The boys from SkyWay Aircraft also knew whose favor to curry…
U.S. Senator Mel Martinez visited SkyWay just before it went bankrupt, and pronounced the firm’s non-existent technology to be "awesome."
Martinez was running for the Senate, and the boys returned the favor: Martinez flew a SkyWay drug smuggling plane--presumably vacuumed out first--in his barnstorming finish in his successful 2004 campaign… for free.
"Martinez traversed the state, including a trip to a nighttime rally with several hundred people in downtown Delray Beach in luxury, on a DC-9 owned by Skyway Global, a Clearwater security company whose owners are Martinez supporters,” reported the Nov 2 2004 St. Petersburg Times.
A story in yesterday's Miami Herald labeled Martinez "the national Republican Party's new top fundraiser."
Well, no wonder.
Baptist poseur Asa Hutchinson
One reason we found the idea that Foggo and Seal might have known each other so intriguing is that it would fit with what we know about the nature of covert ops.
A US Customs Agent who spent twenty-five years watching the merry-go-round in Florida and Louisiana explained it to us one time. He said, "You know, there aren't all that many 'players' out there. You can count 'em, pretty much, on one hand."
“After a while they get to know each other on a first-name basis. No different than people that own stationary stores going to the Holiday Gift Show every year. Its just good business.”
When Barry Seal was bringing cocaine back from Honduras in a CIA military cargo plane to Mena, Arkansas, the U.S. Attorney there was craven Southern Baptist manqué Asa Hutchinson.
Whether Dusty Foggo and Barry Seal knew each other or not, it’s a safe bet that when Porter Goss mysteriously “plucked him (Foggo) from obscurity” in the words of the New York Times, and named Foggo to be the CIA’s executive director, it wasn’t because Foggo sings too loud in church.
SkyWay Aircraft was never a real business. It was set up to make money, but not through selling a product. The company didn’t have one, and its owners were recently cited for criminal intent for pretending they had one.
Even the SEC, an agency not known for much except taking long lunches, is investigating. Who knows? Maybe Chris Cox is getting worried.
THURS: Mena, SkyWay, & the Israeli connection.