How to become an American “non-person”

Psst. Don’t tell anyone. Here’s the biggest open secret of the 21st Century:

The drug trade—the raging river of illicit drugs flowing into the U.S.—provides corrupt officials and the elite deviants who run America’s national security state a slush fund bigger than The Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch.

Just don’t tell the truth about it… unless you want to become an American “non-person.” Its not a game for the weak-kneed or faint-hearted. 

Back during the Russian purges of the 1930’s, people who fell from favor were said to be “non-persons,” basically people whose existence –for reasons of ideological or political deviation— were systematically ignored and erased from public memory.

In Russia, such people were officially said to not exist. They were purged from documents, records, and even photographs, like ones showing Stalin with Molotov until  Molotov was “rubbed out”and  airbrushed out of history.

That sort of thing can’t happen here, though, can it?  Hell yeah.

It can.  And does.

Cuts like a knife, slices like a blade

The latest saw-toothed blade slicing through my thin-skinned hide is embedded in a recent book about the cocaine cowboys of the 1980’s.

Called “American Desperado, its being made into a major motion picture starring Mark Wahlberg. 

It’s an "as-told-to" about a guy, Jon Roberts, who claims to have been the de-facto “transportation chief” for the Medellin Cartel during the 1980s, as well as famous drug smuggler Barry Seal’s boss.

Both claims would certainly surprise Seal, except he’s conveniently (at least for the book’s author) dead.

And since the book doesn’t even mention truly significant Miami players on the Medellin squad, such as Carlos Bustamonte,  its claims should probably be taken with a large grain of salt.

An industry technical term, defined

But the book’s true shoddiness shines through when author Evan Wright casually relates—without attribution or credit, as if they were common knowledge—shocking revelations from “Barry & the boys: The CIA, the Mob, and America’s Secret History,” my book about famous American drug smuggler and CIA pilot Barry Seal.

Even worse, it insinuates the revelations came from HBO’s 1991 “piece-of shit” (an industry term) movie “Doublecrossed,” starring (in an ill-considered move which should not be held against him) Dennis Hopper, back in his pre-Betty Ford days when his skin appeared almost completely translucent.

"Barry Seal, subject of the 1991 HBO film Double-crossed, is one of the most storied figures of the early drug smuggling era,” Wright reports.

So far so good. Now here’s the next line:

“In 1955, at age 16, Seal joined the Baton Rouge Civil Air Patrol, a flying club whose members included future Presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. By 1963 Seal had been recruited by the CIA to join Operation 40 as an arms smuggling pilot.”

Wait a minute! That’s not in “Doublecrossed.”

I’m the guy that dug out that nugget of wisdom.

After unearthing a picture of a young Barry Seal wearing a Civil Air Patrol uniform, I discovered that he and Lee Harvey Oswald had both been at a two-week CAP training program at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in 1955. 

The point being, uncovering previously-unknown and very unauthorized intelligence like this cost me, first two years of research in Louisiana. 

And then, because I found out more than (literally) the law allows, I then had to watch helplessly as spurious lawsuits kept "Barry & 'the boys’” from reaching bookstores for almost five years.

That's Operation WD-40 to you, bub

But the real kicker is the next line, another uncredited revelation:

“The group, based in Mexico, included Frank Sturgis, who would later gain infamy as one of the Watergate burglars, and Porter Goss, later a congressman and then director of the CIA from 2004 to 2006.”

That is from the picture on the cover of “Barry & the boys.” It includes Barry Seal and Frank Sturgis, and Felix Rodriguez, famous from Iran Contra and a good friend of  George Bush the First.

Rodriguez, before publication of “Barry & ‘the boys,’” had through a third party threatened me with death if I identified him. Though I’m still here, it was not a threat to take lightly: Rodriguez reportedly has a jar on a bedroom chest of drawers containing the hands of Che Guevara, who he tracked down and helped kill in Bolivia in 1967.

The identification of Porter Goss seated next to Barry Seal was in an exclusive story published on this website on May 7, 2006, when a correspondent wrote me—credit where credit is due—with conclusive evidence proving Goss was in the picture.

Walking into the buzzsaw

All this would be less than earth-shattering, except it’s clearly deliberate.

How I know: the author made a fetish of noting his sources, to the point where many comments about the book at are actually about the footnotes.

One reads,  “This book is actually a history lesson, with the footnotes backing up what Jon has to say. I actually have had more fun reading them than I did reading the book.”

“This book would have been better without all the unnecessary footnotes,” says another. “Maybe the authors thought they were academics,  or that the readers would get a thrill with all the footnotes. But most of them I could have done without.”

Telling the truth in America today often feels like walking into a buzzsaw, which is the title of a very good book about American journalists—Pete Brewton, Robert Parry and Gary Webb come to mind—who were exiled to the American gulag, which is a sort of Siberia of the mind for anyone having the temerity to speak the truth about America’s big dirty secrets.

When you try to investigate or expose anything this country's large institutions want kept under wraps, the buzzsaw rips through you.

In Part Two of "How to become an American Un-person,"  I'll have more to say about this, as well as more about the truth that's being (kindly) fudged in American Desperado.

Evan Wright, a Vassar graduate and the son of a former District Attorney in Cleveland, legendary home of burning rivers, philanthropist-cum- Vegas gangster Moe Dalitz and his vassal, long-time Hollywood Uber-Lord Lew Wasserman, clearly knows which side his bread is buttered on.

It’s the chief reason his book isn’t very good.



Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.

19 Responses

  1. Larry says:

    Re Wright, now YOU get to sue somebody!!  But with actual just cause!

  2. Ken Freeman says:

    Many thanks for all of your hard work, your wonderfully documented books and your perseverance.
    Actually, reading "Barry and the Boys" in '06 became the beginning of an eye-opening epiphany for me as I discovered more and more evidence of how the Republic that was formed by our forefathers has deteriorated into an 'Oligarchy'………….and that our populace may just be the most propagandized and brainswashed of any country in the world.

  3. Antifascist says:

    Welcome to the club, Dan! You can take your seat next to Bill Conroy over at Narco News who's stuff on the "House of Death" and "Fast and Furious" has been "liberally" (pardon the pun), ripped off by CBS and the Wash. Post. Barry and the 'Boys' was a pure, unadulterated pleasure to read; the Lee Harvey Oswald-Barry Seal-David Ferrie revealtions alone were worth the price of admission. If a "picture is worth a thousand words," then the cover shot of kibbitzing Op. 40 gangsters tell us quite a lot, like "Danger, tens of thousands of corpses and mass graves ahead!" Keep sticking them in the eye!

  4. Rfriend says:

    Dan, to help make up for the gross injustice, I can only express my appreciation and thanks for your work which is central to making sense of the mess our country is in. Your revelations are out there, perhaps it will seep into awareness before it is too late. Here's an encouraging story that people are starting to get a clue:
    Best of luck.

  5. thank you thomas… i’ve admired your recent stories, as well as the way you get them out there. if you send me an email at madcownews@gmailcom with a phone# i’ll give you a holler.

  6. p murray says:

    I think this latest plagerism can be viewed in a positive vein. It shows the word is getting out and although they are not giving credit where credit is due, you will prevail. The dye is cast and like Ceasar, you can't bring it back. The facts speak for themselves and will continue to spread.

  7. Fred Nimmo says:

    I think that the man who disappeared from the photograph was Nikolai Yezhov, head of the NKVD, not Molotov who stands on the other side of Stalin.  The same photo occurs in the Wikipedia article on Yezhov.
    Best wishes,

  8. Thanks Fred. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.;)

  9. Interesting says:

    It seems this may be an individual who crosses the same line of questioning as your "Barry and the Boys" escapade does, Sir Hopsicker….

    Someone needs to write a book about her life. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Saw the documentary, "Cocaine Cowboys" on youtube.  It was interesting to see the letters from Strom Thurmond and Reagan, and Jon Roberts saying he was invited to Reagan's inner-circle, simply because of the massive amounts of [cocaine] money.  The race horse stories were interesting as well because of other documented incidences with cocaine/race horses and even Roger Clinton.
    (Changing the subject: becoming a non-entity is the result of blacklisting in Russia.)
    I don't care to read the Desperado book since the authors are apparently dishonest,…..  but didn't Jon Roberts just die of cancer a few months ago? Why did they wait until now to publish the book and make the movie?
    Surely if Hollywood sensationalists get any story we'll NEVER know the truth about any of it.
    You've done a great job with your research, Mr. Hopsicker!  It was a few years ago you'd documented  information regarding CIA retirees/drugs around Punta Gorda, and it put a lot of pieces together in the puzzle of my own life.   I'm still interested in the CIA/Sanibel/Goss retirement area.  Goss is (using his own words,) "just another one of those mysteries," with the  Watergate prostitute/poker story and all the rest. 
    Be sure to take a look at Richard Dial Thorp's organization called "The Company" if you get a chance.  There were earlier organizations but this one seems to have been started up by a few clever, military-trained Viet Nam vets and was pretty massive in size. 
    Your efforts haven't gone unnoticed. As said you've done a great job. Keep on keepin' on!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Recalling your very informative Jackson Stephens post, is this the same Stephens company that's part owner of Halifax media? — same Stephens currently involved with purchasing several Florida and NC newspapers?

  12. johnny walking says:

    nevermind the pretenders, dan.
    you're the dude who exposed the most infamous terrorist ring in the world.
    dan rather couldn't beat that scoop.

  13. Michelle L says:

    Hey thank you very much.  I've been told by my Atlanta attorney, Kenneth Schatten, that I will never get the truth regarding my son's disappearance because there is too much money against me.  I was told basically the same thing by the late Attorney Gatewood Galbraith of Kentucky.  (Gatewood died in his sleep this past January and Mr. Schatten has fallen on some bad luck this past year.)
    I have also been threatened for publishing my blog and was told by my attorney I should take it down.  I refused because my blog has been a protective device and has helped stop some of my harassment and sabotage problems. It was also a way to help deal with the incredible stress.
    If there were a book, a fiction writer may have to create the ending if I'm up against wealthy people who have all of this "paid off."  If anyone is interested in knowing more please feel free to contact me at or feel free to visit my [sometimes redundant] blog.
    One of the most interesting aspects of this is that when I approached authorities with proof that there is fraud, particularly with the autopsy report and about all the legal and criminal tactics used, the same old line kept showing up, "You need to get a lawyer."  Why they persistently believed this was civil and not criminal is a mystery.  Faked death or mistaken body ident is a civil matter? Possible  insurance fraud, interstate stalking and falsification of official documents, etc…..(civil ?)
    Mr. Daniel Hopsicker, you're doing a GREAT job and I'm not surprised someone is trying to steal your thunder. Daniel, please keep up the GREAT work!  Eventually all of this is going to come together.  Some of our trails have already crossed a few times.
    Free speech and the internet is what will ultimately save the planet, expose the coverups, and free many oppressed people.
    Thank you for all that you've done and for generously allowing others a voice.

  14. Thomas S. Bean says:

    Not sure Daniel …if you were referring to me, or another thomas.
    But…all my communications are routinely tampered with.  Caught the surveillance erasing messages off my answering machine using a pin number from the owners manual laying in my closet.
    Also caught the surveillance….erasing messages off of my emails.
    I am a hard guy to talk to…but….I can talk at 605-320-1583 or at
    Doubt your message will get through the COINTELPRO tactics….but, I do have a story to tell….and I always thought "you were the guy" to vet those facts and write this story (hope others see my story of torture….and retaliation…as expedient as I subjectively felt it is?).
    Quite a few "briefly known associates" ended up dead or hospitalized….I must be on to something dangerous…no?

  15. Thomas S. Bean says:

    I highly recommend "Cocaine Cowboys" at
    Quite a few conspiracies formed in Florida involving some good old fashioned "clandestine capitalism".

  16. Thomas S. Bean says:

    Nobody "can beat the scoops" and the colorful breadth and scope….of Daniel's reporting.
    First time I found a copy of "Barry and the Boys"….was at a public library in Nevada (a pretty belligerent independent western state largely ignored north of Vegas).
    The facts speak for themselves.
    Incidentally, GUY BANNISTER (retired FBI spook in New Orleans) was not just tied to Oswald…but also…believe it or not…worked UFO's as one of the first X Files agents?????.
    See, Youtube video:
    I just did a story on the bizarre, right wing Roman Catholic Kansas diocese called the SPXX…in which Father Rizzo got harassed and stalked by these nazis led by Father Ramon Angels.
    See story on TIM MCVEIGH calling this bizarre (Hitler as a saint?) Catholic arch diocese in Kansas:

  17. That photo…….is worth a thousand pages of prose based on painstaking research (digging through Gov records in a basement lined with rat droppings).
    When the subjects were identified….the photo said alot (factual context was a necessity…obviously).
    I wonder if all subjects in that photo…were identified….and, Daniel was on the right track, since he did get a physical threat by a spook.  Telling the truth in a dangerous fascistic police state……is a heroic venture all the way.  That's why….supporting Daniel with money, guns, and lawyers (and a copy of Warren Zevon's records) might be something that all patriots need to think about……….no?

  18. None of the mainstream media pretendors…..ever…ever….equalled Daniel's output in those two very hot years at MadCow (2005-06).
    Scoop after scoop…after scoop.
    Daniel was so far ahead of the game……..he found himself all alone in the wilderness?
    "….when a scoop story falls in the forest, does it make a noise if no one is there to read it….""

  1. June 4, 2012

    […] was only too happy to borrow, without attribution,  as we recounted two weeks ago,  my discovery of Barry Seal’s CIA recruitment while a member of the Louisiana Civil Air […]