Bush Fundraiser Linked to CIA Drug Plane
A MadCowMorningNews investigation has uncovered links between the ownership of the drug-running Gulfstream (Cocaine Two) and the other American-registered plane busted carrying a multi-ton load of cocaine in Mexico recently, the DC9 (Cocaine One) airliner caught with 5.5 tons of cocaine in Mexico 18 months ago.
Recently-released FAA records from the Gulfstream II business jet that went down in Mexico a month ago with four tons of cocaine reveal that before it was “parked” in the name of a New York real estate developer with ties to the Russian Mob, the plane was owned by a secretive Midwestern media baron and Republican fund-raiser, who had a business partner who, incredibly, owned the other American drug plane, the DC9, recently busted in Mexico.
Stephen Adams was in business with Miami attorney Michael Farkas, who founded SkyWay Aircraft, which owned the DC9 busted in Mexico 18 months ago with 5.5 tons of cocaine aboard.
Moreover at the same time the Bush Ranger extraordinaire Stephen Adams owned the Gulfstream (N987SA) in 1999 and 2000, he was personally buying over $1 million of billboard ads for George W. Bush for his 2000 Presidential election bid.
Meet the New Boss (Same as the old boss.)
According to SEC filings, Stephen Adams and Michael Farkas jointly controlled Holiday RV Superstores, Inc., which was used by arms merchant and CIA-fixer Adnan Khashoggi in a complicated securities fraud which stole as much as $300 million from investors and taxpayers.
Khashoggi, under indictment for felony fraud in the case and currently a fugitive from justice, is himself involved in the DC9 scandal through his lieutenant Ramy El-Batrawi, also a Farkas business partner, and the former owner of one of the two twin DC9's used for god only knows what.
The links between recent owners of the two drug planes, discovered during an examination of FAA registration records, suggest a continuing criminal conspiracy to engage in massive drug trafficking, involving Republican fund-raisers Adams and Senator Mel Martinez, Saudi arms dealer Khashoggi, prominent oligarchs in the Russian Mob, dirty San Diego defense contractor Titan Corp., as well as elements of American military and civilian intelligence.
The politically-explosive implications of the scandal may explain why American officials have been reluctant to move against, or even name, the true owners of the planes and basically "turned a blind eye" to the American involvement exposed by the drug trafficking seizures.
"Like hiding the salami, only easier"
Our interest in the FAA records of the Gulfstream had been quickened by the suspicion that the plane’s several recent ownership changes had been nothing more than sham transactions, a sophisticated game of “hide the pea” designed to conceal the aircraft’s true owners.
The registration had rapidly passed through the hands of two Brazilians operating a dummy front company called Donna Blue Aircraft ( or, for aficionado’s of the ‘boys’ seemingly endless cleverness in naming front companies, d/b/a for short ).
The Brazilians then supposedly “flipped” the plane, just two weeks before it crashed, to Greg Smith and Clyde O’Connor, the pair of hapless pilots, based at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, being fitted for “I’m The Patsy!” t-shirts.
Neither of the two pilots, we had soon learned, has the financial wherewithal to have paid the $2 million in cash claimed by the Brazilian men. But apparently they didn't need it. Their bill of sale states they bought the Gulfstream for the princely sum of $100. The usual statement, the one we've seen in virtually every other FAA bill of sale, states $100, OVA, meaning Or Other Valuable Consideration. Not this one, though.
Either the boys got the real plane cheap, or no one thought they'd ever be filing the paperwork. Either way, the New York Post was writing when it reported that the crashed jet had an "air of mystery."
Who owned the plane? Its "complicated."
Smith claimed to an aviation executive at the airport that he had nothing to do with the transaction.
And neither of the federal agencies with apparent jurisdiction—the DEA and FAA—has so far offered any answers about how the American-registered red-white-and-blue Gulfstream business jet, whose recent owners are politically very well-connected, could have wound up carrying so much Colombian coke.
Would a $500 million bank heist receive a similar cold shoulder?
And like the story of the American-registered DC9 caught in Mexico carrying 5.5 tons of pure cocaine, the recent Gulfstream crash with 4 tons was almost completely ignored in the American mainstream media.
And the few media sources who did report the big Mexican bust ended up scratching their heads and using words like “complex” and increasingly complicated” to describe the “thorny” issue of who owned the plane.
“The complex sale of the Gulfstream II jet and its end in the Mexican jungle highlight the increasingly complicated illicit drug trade,” read the McClatchy Newspapers’ account on September 29, 2007.
On the other hand, the two McClatchy reporters virtually glow with a passionate certainty about whose cocaine had been on the plane. It belonged to Mexico's most notorious drug trafficker, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
Guzman, a man with a $5 million bounty on his head in Mexico, is presumably sitting in for Pedro Escobar, who is too dead to be blamed with any believability.
"Where have you gone, Pablo Escobar?"
But all accounts agree that the plane’s journey began in Rio Negro, Colombia, which is the international airport for Colombia’s famous city of Medellin.
Medellin today is controlled by Colombia’s current President Alvaro Uribe, long suspected of “involvement” in the drug trade in the same way that New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady is suspected of “involvement” in the NFL.
And speaking of Escobar, a recently declassified 1991 American intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency on Colombia's biggest drug traffickers says that President Alvaro Uribe, today a staunch ally in Washington's war against drug trafficking, was at that time a close associate of Escobar, Colombia's most powerful drug lord, as well as an ally of other cocaine traffickers then engulfing his country.
Making the list with Escobar and Uribe were familiar names like former Panamanian president Manuel Noriega, currently jailed in Miami on drug-trafficking charges, and… Saudi arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi.
Thus it should come as no surprise that more cynical observers view with suspicion the fact that the ownership of the American-registered plane has apparently become a bit of a sticky wicket.
Yet another mystery for the ages.
And it will likely remain one, unless the scandal grows to the point where the public demands answers, or some unexpected event occurs, like the Mafia’s Appalachin Conference in upstate New York in 1956, where a conclave of Mob bosses was underway when it was discovered and penetrated—not by the FBI’s J Edgar Hoover, who denied the Mafia even existed—but by an alert New York State Trooper.
American academics like Dr. Alfred McCoy have led the way in pointing out the hypocritical attitude nurtured by U.S. officials. Peter Moskos, for example, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and a former police officer, says it is hard to fathom how perhaps billions of dollars could be handled by the drug cartels without high-level players on U.S. soil.
"There has to be someone on this side making the big bucks off it — it is not the low-level drug dealer on the corner," Moskos said.
Still, no one has had the temerity to point towards the power circles around current President George W Bush as a likely place to look for an American Tony Montana, the Miami drug baron portrayed by Al Pacino in the classic movie Scarface.
But help may be coming from an unlikely source.
Repeat after me: "There is no American Mr. Big. "
The bemusement of leaders and newspapers in Latin America about the hypocrisy foisted on Americans by their feckless press has taken on an increasingly sharp tone.
When the U.S. government talks about cocaine cartels operating in Mexico or Colombia, officials tick off the names of the foreign drug lords, their preferred smuggling routes, and sometimes even the tattoos they sport.
But when it comes to what is going on in the United States — the world's biggest consumer of illegal drugs — U.S. federal agents and police deny that an American Mr. Big even exists.
"Where is the Pablo Escobar of Texas," Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos, who was once kidnapped by Escobar, said on a recent visit to Houston. "I would love to know."
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox shared Santos' concern. "That is the question I always ask myself," Fox said recently during a speaking tour of the U.S. “Who permits the drugs to cross the border, and who transports the drugs to the markets of this great nation?"
We don't know either, but we have our suspicions.
The recently-busted drug running Gulfstream has been linked to CIA renditions.
The DC9 flew painted with a bogus but official-looking Seal, as if it were from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security, without protest from the Coast Guard’s major air facility in the Caribbean Basin, which was located just a few hundred yards away.
Thus both planes had a drug trafficking edge: the Gulfstream from being known to have flown CIA renditions and the DC9 from being painted to impersonate a plane from U.S. Homeland Security.
From our earlier series on the seized DC9:
“The DC9 airliner dubbed “Cocaine One” actually “belongs” to an older and much larger organization than SkyWay, composed of individuals whose association with one another pre-date both SkyWay’s 2002 inception and 2005 demise.”
Alas, the revelation is not new, as shown by a newspaper quote from 1989 about the Iran Contra Scandal…
“It was reported in Senate hearings in 1988 that many pilots used by U.S. government officials to transport arms to the contras were also known drug smugglers. Drug pilots George Morales and Gary Betzner testified to landing planeloads of arms for the contras in Costa Rica and then returning to the United States with planeloads of drugs.
“Both of these men also testified to landing at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in Florida and at Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador with U.S. protection – even during the period that they were also smuggling drugs.”
Nothing new under the sun…
It is apparent that the ‘boys” are still using the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. And perhaps, instead of using weapons flights to provide protection, they may now be using the transfer of prisoners to the American naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba to cover their trips to Colombia.
Ignition. Rendition. Perdition.
Ever wonder where all the money goes?
Other than the odd million here or there, that is, for billboards for George W. Bush.