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Jose Basulto Leon
Brothers to the Rescue ~ Hermanos al Rescate
and why phoning Cuba is so expensive!

The  2008 presidential candidates were still attempting to indict the Castro brothers for the 1996 shootdown of Brothers to the Rescue planes who were operating against Cuba (see Candidates target Castros for indictment, Miami Herald, 12/10/07).

The page below gives some background on the whole debacle and on its prime instigator, Jose Basulto, head of the Brothers to the Rescue, whose private air force planes were shot down by Cuba in early 1996. This act led to the passage of the Helms Burton bill, which has been called a declaration of war on Cuba, and, in 1999, to the levying of a $70 million judgment against Cuba by the families of the downed pilots.  The fine was upheld by a federal judge and is levied against the payments made by US phone companies to Cuba for phone service, thereby making communications between the US and Cuba more difficult.

This page contains the following:

1. Backgrounder from Lisa Pease and Peter Dale Scott, Real History Archives, 2/28/96
2. Results of a search in a bibliographic/personnel database focusing on covert operators, NameBase. '96
3. Article on Felix Rodriguez, long time associate of Jose Basulto,"interogator" of Che Guevara and head of a Contra resupply operation with a substantial cocaine smuggling component.
4. Extract from "The Family That Preys Together," by Jack Colhoun, Covert Action Quarterly, an article on the Bush family fortune written in 1992. It gives some context to Basulto’s involvement with International Medical Centers (IMC) a large scale Cuban American Medicare fraud, and mentions the allegation by Health and Human Services fraud inspector Weinstein that Basulto arranged for the treatment of Contra casualties with Medicare funds.
5. From a post by James Daugherty
6. Update: "Exiles: U.S. should charge Castro in 1996 shootdown" May 11, 1999. Covers indictment of Cuban spy on murder charges relating to the shootdown. Classic provocation.
7. Phones restored after Judge King ruling overturned, 4/11/00
8. Havana To Tax Us-Cuba Phone Calls In Reprisal For Freeze On Cuban Funds, 10/23/00
9. Viewpoint: HAVANA HANGS UP ON MIAMI TERRORISTS, 10/24/00
10. Telephone communications between Cuba and the United States to be suspended, 12/8/00

See also "Felix Rodriguez: Coca Contra Airport Manager," the story of Che's Miami CIA killer in his role as CocaContra guru.top

1. Backgrounder from Peter Dale Scott

Date: 28 FEB 1996 06:35:24 GMT
From: Lisa Pease lpease@netcom.com
Newgroups: misc.activism.progressive

Subject: Massive US Government Hypocrisy on Cuba

Neither the Government nor the corporate press are giving you the truth about the planes the Cubans downed, and what their leader really represents. Here is some background on Brothers to the Rescue founder, Jose Basulto Leon.

JOSE BASULTO LEON: BACKGROUND BY PETER DALE SCOTT
[http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/]

Jose Basulto Leon has had a lifetime of aggravating U.S.-Cuban relations, dating back to his participation in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs Operation. In August 1962 Jose Basulto Leon helped organize a raid on a de luxe Cuban hotel by members of the Cuban exile group DRE (Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil). The DRE opened fire on the hotel from offshore; despite their intentions, no civilians were killed.

(In their book, The Fish Is Red, p. 132, Warren Hinckle and William Turner wrote that "the raid had been carefully planned and approved" by the CIA.)

At least two members of this group (Carlos "Batea" Hernandez and John Koch Gene) were arrested a year later in Louisiana, when the FBI raided an illegal DRE dynamite cache on Lake Pontchartrain. The FBI heard that a Basulto had also been present at the DRE arms cache, but Jose Basulto denied that he had been present. (Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics, 305).

Felix Rodriguez told the Kerry Committee that he met Contra leaders Enrique Bermudez and Adolfo Calero in Miami at Jose Basulto’s home (Kerry Hearings, 340-41). He later wrote in his book Shadow Warrior that he and Basulto "have been like brothers" since their training together in Guatemala for the Bay of Pigs. He added that Basulto had "been to contra camps in Central America, helping to dispense humanitarian aid" (p. 109).

Basulto and Felix Rodriguez together appear to have been part of a plan for treating wounded Contras in Miami, worked out under the direction of Oliver North. A note in North’s diary reads "22-Jan-85 Medical Support System for wounded FDN [Contras] in Miami—HMO in Miami as oked to help all WIA [wounded in action]... Felix Rodriguez." This HMO was International Medical Centers (IMC), whose head (Cuban-American Miguel Recarey) fled the U.S. after being indicted in what Mother Jones called "the largest HMO Medicare fraud in U.S. history." Jose Basulto told the Wall Street Journal in 1987 that he had attended meetings at IMC with Felix Rodriguez and Adolfo Calero. A former agent of the Department of Health and Human Services told Stephen Pizzo of Mother Jones that Recarey used part of the $30 million a month he received to treat Medicare patients "to set up field hospitals for the contras" (Mother Jones, Sept./Oct. 1992, 31-33).

Most contra aid came from one of three sources: the CIA, Oliver North’s illicit operation, or drug-trafficking. The New York Times reported on January 20, 1987, that the DEA in Guatemala "had compiled convincing evidence" that the contra supply operation at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador, where Felix Rodriguez was in charge, "was smuggling cocaine and marijuana." Celerino Castillo, the DEA Agent who compiled this evidence, later wrote that "Hundreds of flights each week [through Ilopango] delivered cocaine to the buyers and returned with money headed for...Panama....From Panama, the money was wired to a Costa Rican bank account held by the Contras" (Celerino Castillo, Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War [Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic Press, 1994], 138-39).

Adolfo Calero’s brother Mario became part owner of a drug-trafficking airline, Hondu Carib, with one of the pilots flying for the Contras (Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 57-58; cf. Celerino Castillo, 175).

Jose Basulto Leon has admitted his role in dropping leaflets over Havana in January 1996 (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/25/96). This imitated the October 1959 leafleting raid of the late Frank Sturgis alias Fiorini, who helped set up the Lake Pontchartrain training camp where Basulto was suspected by the FBI of being present (Scott, Deep Politics, 88-89).

The United States Government has claimed that the two planes accompanying Basulto’s were shot down while over international waters. One has to be wary of this claim. The U.S. Government also claimed that the U.S. destroyer Maddox was on "a routine patrol in international waters," when attacked by North Vietnam in the first Tonkin Gulf Incident of 1964. A Congressional investigation subsequently revealed that the Maddox had frequently violated the North Vietnamese twelve-mile limit. There were similar U.S. claims in response to the North Korean capture in 1968 of the spyship Pueblo; and these too dissolved when examined more closely (Peter Dale Scott, War Conspiracy, 52-53, 132-35).
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Lisa Pease

If you can’t get the truth about the past, how can you expect to get the truth about the present?"

Jerry Brown, We The People talk show 1/11/96top

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Check out the Real History Archives: http://www.webcom.com/~lpease

2. Results from a search in NameBase

http://ursula.blythe.org/NameBase/bookindx.html

telnet ursula.blythe.org / login: namebase

Rodriguez, Felix I. and Weisman, John. Shadow Warrior: The CIA Hero of a Hundred Unknown Battles. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. 283 pages.

In this autobiography, Rodriguez details his relationship with the CIA and the anti-Castro resistance. After escaping Cuba in 1959 he joined the CIA-backed Brigade 2506. Rodriguez missed the Bay of Pigs, having been with a special squad trained to infiltrate into Cuba. In 1967 the CIA recruited him to head a team to hunt down leftist guerrilla Che Guevara in Bolivia. When Che was captured it was Rodriguez who interrogated him. After his execution he took Che’s Rolex watch as a souvenir (he still wears it today). The book includes a photo of Che with Rodriguez the day he was captured. In 1971 Rodriguez helped train Provincial Reconnaissance Units for Operation Phoenix in Vietnam. During the 1980’s he trained soldiers in El Salvador, and became involved with the Nicaraguan contras, Don Gregg, and vice-president George Bush.   -- Wendell Minnick


BASULTO, JOSE

          Cuba 1961-62

Covert Action Information Bulletin #41/92 (55)

Mother Jones 10/92 (32)

Resource Center. GroupWatch PIGS/89 (1)

Rodriguez,F. Weisman,J. Shadow Warrior. 1989 (54 108-11)

Scott,P.D. Deep Politics. 1993 (305)

Washington Post 10/26/86 (A41)

Wyden,P. Bay of Pigs. 1979 (35-8 75 248)


RODRIGUEZ, FELIX ISMAEL

           Cuba 1961-63 Bolivia 1967 Ecuador 1968 Vietnam 1970-72

Argentina 1972-73 El Salvador 1983-87 Nicaragua 1986

Assn. National Security Alumni. Unclassified 3/92 (6)

Assn. National Security Alumni. Unclassified 5/94 (17-8)

Bainerman,J. The Crimes of a President. 1992 (20-5 83)

Castillo,C. Harmon,D. Powderburns. 1994 (171 173-4)

Chernyavsky,V. The CIA in the Dock. 1983 (51-3)

Christic Institute. Sheehan Affidavit. 1/31/87 (33 43) Christic Institute. Sheehan Affidavit. 3/25/88

Cockburn,A.& L. Dangerous Liaison. 1991 (225 256-7)

Cockburn,L. Out of Control. 1987 (98 155-7 223-9) Colby,G. Dennett,C. Thy Will Be Done. 1995 (523-4 534-5 567)

Corn,D. Blond Ghost. 1994 (215-6 255 322 360 363 386 396)

Covert Action Information Bulletin #27/87 (65-6)

Covert Action Information Bulletin #27/87 (65)

DeForest,O. Chanoff,D. Slow Burn. 1991 (131 135)

Emerson,S. Secret Warriors. 1988 (124-8)

Garwood,D. Under Cover. 1985 (124)

Hinckle,W. Turner,W. The Fish is Red. 1981 (312)

Livingstone,N. The Cult of Counterterrorism. 1990 (377)

Lobster Magazine (Britain) #16/88 (21)

Loftus,J. Aarons,M. The Secret War Against the Jews. 1994 (411)

Marshall,J... The Iran-Contra Connection. 1987 (16 28 34 37 43-6 130 143 196)

Minnick,W. Spies and Provocateurs. 1992 (192)

National Reporter F/86 (34)

New Federalist 4/25/94 (10-1)

New Federalist 10/24/94 (5 8)

Newsweek 11/3/86 (33-4)

Parry,R. Fooling America. 1992 (44 54 101 277-8)

Penthouse 12/87 (166-7)

Persico,J. Casey. 1991 (480)

Prados,J. Keepers of the Keys. 1991 (525)

Progressive 5/87 (19-23)

Reed,T. Cummings,J. Compromised. 1994

Resource Center. GroupWatch PIGS/89 (1)

Rodriguez,F. Weisman,J. Shadow Warrior. 1989

Scott,P.D. Marshall,J. Cocaine Politics. 1991 (31 35 49 262) Sklar,H. Washington’s War on Nicaragua. 1988 (101 254 271-4 294 325 343-6)

Tarasov,K. Zubenko,V. The CIA in Latin America. 1984 (164-5 167-8)

Terrell,J. Disposable Patriot. 1992 (371)

Toobin,J. Opening Arguments. 1992 (244-5)

Trento,S. The Power House. 1992 (251 254 264 308-9)

Valentine,D. The Phoenix Program. 1990 (370 394) Vankin,J. Conspiracies, Cover-ups, and Crimes. 1991 (164 199-200)

Village Voice 6/23/87 (31)

Walsh,L. Final Iran-Contra Report. Volume III. 12/3/93 (72-3 77 82-4 289-90 597-8)

Washington Post 10/13/86 (A26)

Washington Post 10/16/86 (A1 24)

Washington Post 10/26/86 (A40 41)

Washington Post 11/1/86 (A18)

Washington Post 12/16/86 (A14)

Washington Post 1/18/87 (A16)

Washington Post 2/26/87 (A18)

Washington Post 11/26/91 (A8)top

3. Article on Felix Rodriguez’s Contra operation.

As Lisa Pease observed:

"Felix Rodriguez told the Kerry Committee that he met Contra leaders Enrique Bermudez and Adolfo Calero in Miami at Jose Basulto’s home (Kerry Hearings, 340-41). He later wrote in his book Shadow Warrior that he and Basulto "have been like brothers" since their training together in Guatemala for the Bay of Pigs. He added that Basulto had "been to contra camps in Central America, helping to dispense humanitarian aid" (p. 109). "

This article fleshes out a bit of who Basulto’s pal Felix Rodriguez is and what he was doing with the Contras, the "Founding Fathers" of Nicaragua:

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Conspiracy Nation—Vol. 2 Num. 53

======================================

("Quid coniuratio est?")

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OLLIE NORTH AND DRUGS

By Dennis Bernstein and Howard Levine

>From *The Texas Observer*

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

If Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh had wanted to know the extent of former Colonel Oliver North’s involvement in the smuggling of drugs from Central America to the United States, Walsh might have made at least one phone call to Celerino ‘Cele’ Castillo in San Antonio.

Between 1985 to 1991, Castillo was the Drug Enforcement Administration’s main agent in El Salvador, where, he says, he uncovered "and reported" a huge drug and gun smuggling operation that was run out of the Ilopango military airport by the ‘North Network’ and the CIA.

North, now the Republican nominee for the U. S. Senate in Virginia, prevailed at the nominating convention last weekend by positioning himself far to the right of his rival, former Reagan budget director James Miller III, promising that if elected he will work to "clean up the mess" in Washington, and cultivating the support of the same fundamentalist Christian Republicans who responded to the direct-mail campaign to finance the North defense committee.

But Castillo, the first government official with first-hand knowledge of North’s drug dealing to speak publicly about it, says North belongs in prison, not in the U.S. Senate. "We saw several packages of narcotics, we saw several boxes of U.S. currency, going from Ilopango to Panama," Castillo said.

According to Castillo, the entire program was run out of Ilopango’s Hangars 4 and 5. "Hangar 4 was owned and operated by the CIA and the other hangar was run by Felix Rodriguez, or ‘Max Gomez,’ of the Contra operation [directed by North]. Basically they were running cocaine from South America to the U.S. via Salvador. That was how the Contras were able to get financial help. By going to sleep with the enemy down there. North’s people and the CIA were at the two hangars overseeing the operations at all times," Castillo said.

CIA spokesman David French said Castillo’s allegations are "not something that we would comment on."

Cele Castillo joined the DEA in 1979, after a tour with the First Cavalry in Vietnam, where he earned a bronze star, and a six-year stint as a police officer in Edinburg. His first DEA assignment was in New York, working undercover investigating organized crime. After that, because of his Vietnam experience, he was transferred to Lima, Peru, where he conducted air strikes against jungle cocaine labs and clandestine airstrips. In 1985, he was transferred to Guatemala, where he oversaw DEA operations in Belize, Honduras and El Salvador. Castillo posed as a member of one of the drug cartels, he said, and almost immediately became aware of the drug smuggling operations at Ilopango’s hangars 4 and 5. "We took several surveillance pictures...and they were running narcotics and weapons out of Ilopango, with the knowledge of the U.S. embassy."

Though Castillo had been reporting his findings all along, to no avail, a December 1988 report prepared by the Congressional Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations (the Kerry Committee) confirmed Castillo’s allegations and concluded: "There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of the individual Contras, Contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the Contras, and the Contra supporters throughout the region."

The committee, chaired by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, also found that on March 16, 1987, a plane owned by known drug smugglers was seized by U.S. customs officers after dumping what appeared to be a load of drugs off the Florida coast: "Law enforcement personnel also found an address book aboard the plane, containing among other references the telephone numbers of some Contra officials and the Virginia telephone number of Robert Owen, Oliver North’s courier," the committee reported. And on July 28, 1988, DEA agents testifying before Kerry’s committee said it was North’s idea in 1985 to give the Contras $1.5 million in drug money being used by DEA informant Barry Seal in a sting operation aimed at the drug cartels.

If that wasn’t enough to compel investigators to pursue North himself as a drug dealer, Castillo provided them with what should have been the clincher. In a February 14, 1989, memo to Robert Stia, the country attache in Guatemala, Castillo laid out in minute detail the structure of the Ilopango operation and identified more than two dozen known drug smugglers who frequented Hangars 4 and 5.

Huge quantities of drugs and guns were being smuggled through Ilopango by mercenary pilots hired by North, Castillo wrote. "Now, all these contract pilots were documented [in DEA files] traffickers, Class I cocaine violators that were being hired by the CIA and the Contras," the memo stated. "And the U.S. embassy in El Salvador was giving visas to these people even though they were documented in our computers as being narcotics traffickers."

Among those Castillo identified was Carlos Alberto Amador, "a Nicaraguan pilot mentioned in six (6) DEA files....The DEA was advised by a source at the U.S. embassy in San Salvador that personnel from the CIA had allegedly obtained a U.S. visa for Amador." Amador, Castillo discovered, kept four planes at Ilopango, and a frequent companion of his was was Jorge Zarcovick who "is mentioned in twelve (12) DEA files," and "was arrested in the U.S. for smuggling large quantities of cocaine."

Walter ‘Wally’ Grasheim was another smuggler tagged by Castillo. "He is mentioned in seven (7) DEA files," Castillo wrote. "He is documented as a cocaine and arms smuggler from South America to the U.S. via Ilopango airport. He utilized hangars 4 and 5. Grasheim is also known to carry DEA, FBI, and CIA credentials to smuggle cocaine." "Wally Grasheim," Castillo said, "was an American working hand-in-hand with Colonel Oliver North." Grasheim lost his life while accompanying CIA contract arms smuggler Eugene Hasenfus, whose plane was shot down during a clandestine flight over Nicaragua in 1986.

When the DEA raided Grasheim’s house in El Salvador, agents found explosives, weapons, radio equipment and license plates, Castillo said, adding that much of the weaponry and other material was traced back to the U.S. embassy in El Salvador. Castillo said that when he tried to gather more information on the munitions, he was told by the Pentagon to drop the investigation.

It would not be the last time Castillo was told to back off. Nor was it the last time he ignored such an order and kept on digging. Much of Castillo’s information came from a DEA informant who had worked at the Ilopango airport, doing flight plans and keeping flight logs. The informant, who used the pseudonym ‘Hugo Martinez,’ was in an ideal position to witness and document North’s drug deals. Martinez passed the information he gathered on to Castillo. In an interview, Martinez confirmed Castillo’s story about widespread drug and arms dealing by the CIA and the North network at Hangars 4 and 5.

Castillo said additional information obtained after he was transferred from El Salvador to San Francisco confirmed what he had learned in El Salvador. While tracking drug smuggling into Miami, Texas and San Francisco in 1991, Castillo arrested the wife of Carlos Cabezas. In an attempt to make a deal for his wife, who had attempted sell Castillo five kilos of cocaine, Cabezas, a Nicaraguan, told Castillo that he was one of the pilots who had worked for North, smuggling vast quantities of cocaine into the United States from Ilopango. Cabezas described in detail the operations at Ilopango and identified many of the traffickers who worked there. The information he provided matched Castillo’s own findings.

Beginning in 1986, Castillo tried to report what he had discovered, launch a full-scale investigation, and shut down the smuggling operation. On several occasions, he met with Edwin Corr, the then-U.S. embassador to El Salvador, to tell him about the operation. "His words to me were that it was a covert White House operation run by Colonel Oliver North and for us to stay away from the operation. My feeling was the fact that Corr did not agree with what was going on at Ilopango but his hands were tied. He was only following orders from the White House to give all the assistance he could to Oliver North and his covert operation." Corr, now a professor at the University of Oklahoma, would only say, "I deny Cele’s allegations that I told him to back off *on the basis of White House pressure.*"

Castillo even managed to give the information he had gathered directly to George Bush. On January 14, 1986, Castillo met the then-Vice-President at a cocktail party at the ambassador’s house in Guatemala City. After describing his job to Bush, Castillo detailed North’s operation. Without missing a beat, Castillo said, Bush "shook my hand and he walked away." [CN—"This scourge must stop!"]

Even though Castillo couldn’t get anyone to act on his Ilopango information, in July 1987, attache Robert Stia recommended him for a bonus and a promotion. "Castillo is an extremely talented agent," Stia wrote, "...a tireless worker, exceeding all requirements of overtime and work hours. His administration of cases is outstanding."

Nevertheless, as Castillo continued to pursue the North investigation, he fell from favor with his superiors, who suspended him for three days in 1990, and then in 1991 transferred him to San Francisco, where he worked undercover, investigating Hells Angels in Oakland. In June 1992, after further conflicts, Castillo resigned from the DEA.

Before resigning, though, in 1991, he tried to give the government one last chance to use the information he had gathered on North. He secretly met with FBI agent Mike Foster, who was assigned to Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. "Foster said it would be a great story, like a grand slam, if they could put it together. He asked the DEA for the reports, who told him there were no such reports. Yet when I showed him the copies of the reports that I had, he was shocked. I never heard from him again."

On May 4, 1989, North was convicted on the relatively minor offenses of illegally accepting gratuities (his famous security fence), interfering with a Congressional investigation and obstruction of justice. But even those convictions were overturned when an appeals court ruled that they were based on testimony North gave under a grant of Congressional immunity.

Although they talked about drugs, neither Walsh nor the Iran- Contra committee ever seriously investigated the drug-dealing charges. North, who did not return phone calls made to his campaign headquarters in Virginia, has consistently denied having been involved in drug smuggling.

Another former DEA agent, Michael Levine, said he has pored over North’s diaries and found "hundreds" of references to drugs that "have never been investigated." For example, Levine said, on July 9, 1984, North wrote: "RDEA, Miami. Pilot went, talked to [Federico] Vaughn, wanted aircraft to go to Bolivia to pick up paste, want aircraft to pick up 1500 kilos."

"My god," said Levine, author of The Big White Lie, "when I was serving as a DEA agent, you gave me a page from someone in the Pentagon with notes like that, I would’ve been on his back investigating everything he did from the minute his eyes opened, every diary notebook, every phone would have been tapped, every trip he made."

But both Levine and Castillo said the investigation never happened. (DEA officials have not returned repeated phone calls.) In an interview, the FBI’s Foster said, "Of course I can’t confirm or deny that [his interview with Castillo]. I am aware of Mr. Castillo and his position on Central America," Foster said. "In the course of the Iran-Contra investigation, it’s no secret that I was involved in that and was the FBI investigator in that, but I am prohibited from commenting." Foster said he is very skeptical about the drug claims generally. "There are individuals that have a loose relationship with the government and those people are not all choirboys and they have been doing all kinds of weird things. But I think you would be hard pressed to show a concerted government backing or involvement in [drug trafficking]."

It is just that kind of attitude, Castillo said, that led officials to ignore North’s operation, allowed him to evade prosecution for drug dealing, and now has him poised to move into the United States Senate.

"There was nothing covert going on in El Salvador regarding the Ollie North operation and narcotics trafficking," Castillo said. "What we’re talking about is very large quantities of cocaine and millions of dollars."

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The Texas Observer, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. For a free sample hardcopy of this article call 512-477-0746. [CN— I’m not sure of the exact title of the article; I received it under the *subject* heading, "Ollie North and Drugs".]

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt.

Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem.

-- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9

Brian Francis Redman bigxc@prairienet.org "The Big C"

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"Justice" = "Just us" = "History is written by the assassins."
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4. Extract from Covert Action Quarterly article

Extract from "The Family That Preys Together," by Jack Colhoun in Covert Action Quarterly, an article detailing the Bush family fortunes. Issue 41, Summer 1992.

"Jeb [Bush] had another Contra connection in his involvement with Miguel Recarey, Jr., a right-wing Cuban who headed the International Medical Centers (IMC) in Miami. In 1985 and 1986, Recarey and his associates gave more than $25,000 in contributions to political action committees controlled by then Vice President Bush. In 1986, Recarey hired Jeb, a real estate developer, to find a new headquarters for IMC. Jeb was paid a $75,000 fee, even though he never located a new building.

In September 1984, two months after IMC's $2,000 contribution to the Dade County Republican Party, which was headed by Jeb, the vice president's son contacted several top HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) officials on behalf of IMC. "Contrary to rumors, [Recarey] was a good community citizen and a good supporter of the Republican Party," one official of the HHC remembered Jeb telling him in late 1984. Jeb successfully sought an HHS waiver of a rule so that IMC could receive more than 50 percent of its income from Medicare. (30)

Leon Weinstein, an HHS Medicare fraud inspector, worked on an audit of IMC in 1986; he has charged that IMC used Medicare funds to treat wounded Contras at its hospital. *31 The transaction was arranged by IMC official José Basulto, a right-wing Cuban trained by the CIA, who arranged for Contras to receive treatment in Miami. Basulto was praised for his commitment by Felix Rodriguez: "He has been active for a decade in supporting the Nicaraguan freedom fighters ever since the Sandinistas took power, and is constantly organizing Contra support among Miami's Cuban community. He has even been to Contra camps in Central America, helping to dispense humanitarian aid."

At the same time as Recarey was providing medical assistance to the Contras, he was embezzling Medicare funds. IMC, one of the largest health maintenance organizations in the United States, received $30 million a month for its Medicare patients, clearing $1 billion in federal monies from 1981 to 1987. While he headed IMC, Recarey's personal wealth jumped from $1 million to $100 million, U.S. investigators believe.

"IMC is the classic case of embezzlement of government funds," according to Robert Teich, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Office on Labor Racketeering in Miami. Reich described IMC's skimming Medicare funds as a "bust-out" where money was "drained out the back door." A Florida state investigator concluded in a 1982 report that some federal funds IMC received "are being put in banks outside the country."

Recarey's links to the Mafia also raised eyebrows in Washington. "As far back as the 1960s, he had ties with reputed racketeers who had operated out of pre-Castro Cuba and who later forged an anti-Castro alliance with the CIA," the Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal added that the late Santos Trafficante, Jr., the Mafia boss of Florida, "helped out when Recarey needed business financing." Trafficante, a major drug trafficker, joined a failed CIA effort to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.

Recarey's access to Republican circles was probably one reason he was able to rip-off U.S. tax dollars for so long. He hired former Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger, the public relations firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, which was close to the Reagan White House, and attorney John Sears, a former Reagan campaign manager, to look out for his interests in Washington. Recarey fled the United States in 1987 to avoid a federal indictment for racketeering and defrauding the U.S. government. The Bush administration has made no effort to extradite him from Venezuela where he is currently living."

 

5. From a post by James Daugherty (jhdaugh@a-albionic.com

[Daugherty recounts that his curiosity was aroused and he did some research on-line:]

Jose Basulto, founder of Brothers to the Rescue, from Peter
Wyden's book BAY OF PIGS: THE UNTOLD STORY, p. 245:

"In Santiago de Cuba, Jose Basulto, the CIA's man in Oriente province [near Guantanamo], had worked at a leisurely pace. . . H had been regularly in touch with the CIA, whose operators sent him dates when he was to transmit. . . Once the CIA inquired about an iron smelter that had been out of commission for years. He was asked for -- and supplied -- details about gun emplacements at the entrace to the harbor and the fuel supply and types of planes at the airport.

And from "our" very own namebase:

  Cuba,  61  Jose Basulto, cia's contact person in oriente, cuba in 1961, used fake driver's license in name of enersto martinez. Wyden, p. (1979).

  Bay of Pigs the Untold Story 256

George bush’s second eldest son, john ellis or jeb, also linked to clandestine schemes in support of contras. Jeb acted as Reagan Adm’s unofficial link with Contras and Nicaraguan exiles in Miami. Jeb helped right-wing Guatemalan politician Dr. Mario Castejon get in contact with Oliver North re various projects. Castejon proposal re medical aid project for contras. Castejon proposal to TGS International Limited in Virginia.
Whaley said he sent report to TGS so it would be quietly forwarded to CIA. TGS International owned by Ted Shackley. Jeb involved with Miguel Recarey, Jr, a right-wing Cuban who headed International Medical Centers (IMC) in Miami.

   HHS Medicare fraud inspector charged IMC used medicare funds to treat wounded contras at its hospital. Transaction arranged by IMC  official Jose Basulto, a right-wing cuban trained by CIA. Recarey embezzling Medicare funds. Recarey has links to mafia - info re Santos Trafficante.   Recarey fled US  in 87 to avoid federal indictment. Jeb Bush also linked to Leonel Martinez, Miami-based cuban-american drug trafficker who linked to Eden Pastora. Details re Martinez’s deals. Ties to BCCI, etc. Covert Action Information Bulletin (now Covert Action Quarterly) summer 92 54-58top

6. Update May 11, 1999: Exiles: U.S. should charge Castro in 1996 shootdown

Exiles: U.S. should charge Castro in 1996 shootdown
07:45 p.m May 11, 1999 Eastern
By Jim Loney

MIAMI, May 11 (Reuters) - A Cuban exile group said on Tuesday that Cuban President Fidel Castro should be charged by the United States in the 1996 killings of four Miami-based exiles whose planes where shot down by a Cuban warplane.
U.S. prosecutors, who on Friday unsealed the first criminal indictment connected to the attack, will indict additional conspirators by fall, Ralph Fernandez, a lawyer representing the exile group Brothers to the Rescue, said at a news conference.

``There is no doubt ... that this case should read United States of America versus Fidel Castro et al,'' Fernandez said, with ``et al'' referring to other Cuban government officials.

U.S. prosecutors would not discuss that possibility. ``We cannot talk about it or even confirm there's an investigation,'' said Alicia Valle, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami.

In the indictment unsealed on Friday, Gerardo Hernandez, the alleged leader of a Cuba spy ring, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the Feb. 24, 1996, shooting down of two unarmed civilian planes belonging to Brothers to the Rescue, which searches for Cuban refugees at sea.

It was the first criminal count filed in the incident, which provoked international condemnation of Castro's Communist government and further chilled U.S.-Cuba relations.

Hernandez was one of 10 people indicted in December on charges of spying for Cuba in the United States. The new indictment, superseding the one in December, added four new defendants to the original spying charges and added the conspiracy to commit murder charge against Hernandez, the alleged chief of the spy ring known as ``the Wasp Network.''
The indictment alleges he conspired with the Cuban military in a plan known as ``Operation Scorpion'' to provoke a violent confrontation with Brothers to the Rescue.

A Cuban MiG fighter attacked two of the Brothers' planes flying over international waters in the Florida Straits. All four fliers in the group's planes -- three of whom were U.S. citizens - - were killed.

Fernandez, who has funnelled information from Brothers to the Rescue to U.S. investigators, said he expected the next round of indictments in the shooting down of the plane to include people in Cuba, possibly government officials.  ``It should be a long hot summer in Havana and by fall there should be some ongoing development that will invite more people to this very sad party,'' he said.top

The circus continues...

7. AFTER 14 MONTHS, USA AND CUBA RESUME DIRECT TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONS Havana, April 11, 2000 (Radio Havana)

AFTER 14 MONTHS, USA AND CUBA RESUME DIRECT TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONS Havana, April 11, 2000 (RHC)--

The Italian-Cuban Telephone Company ETECSA has announced the reestablishment of direct communications between the United States and Cuba, after receiving the back payments of five U.S. companies. The debts had been confiscated by Federal Judge Lawrence King in order to compensate the family members of four pilots, whose aircraft were shot down for violating Cuban territorial airspace in February 1996. In light of Judge King's ruling and after the expiration of the deadline given by ETECSA to the U.S. companies for the payment of services, direct telephone communications between the United States and Cuba were cut off on February 25th, 1999 -- an action which was fully supported by Cuban authorities. Local sources reported that ETECSA appealed the ruling before the Atlanta 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on August 11, 1999, that judicial body issued a ruling against the embargo of payment. ETECSA then demanded from the U.S. companies the immediate payment of the debt as well as the accumulated interests, which have now been satisfactorily paid. Given that payment, ETECSA has decided to gradually reestablish lines which had been deactivated.

[THe 11th Circuit is the same court that ruled on the Elían case]

8. Havana To Tax Us-Cuba Phone Calls In Reprisal For Freeze On Cuban Funds, 10/23/00, Radio Havana

Havana, October 23 (RHC) -- The government of Cuba has announced that it will slap taxes on U.S.-Cuba phone calls in reprisal for Washington's freezing of Cuban funds. The text of legislation passed by Cuba's Council of State and reproduced in the official news daily Granma states that Cuba will apply a tax equivalent to 10 percent of the basic rate per minute on calls between the U.S. and Cuba, including those carried out through third countries. The legislation, says the newspaper, will be in effect until Washington returns all the Cuban funds illegitmately frozen in the United States. The document recalled that the U.S. Congress recently authorized the freezing of funds belonging to the Cuban telecommunications firm ETECSA to comensate the family members of the terrorist organization Brothers to the Rescue whose aircraft were shot down after having repeatedly violated Cuban airspace during a period of several years. Cuba pointed out that on numerous occasions Cuban authorities informed U.S. authorities of these violations and of the possible consequences. The text of the legislation also states that in the face of any attempt by U.S. authorities to impede, freeze or confiscate the income deriving from this tax, Cuba reserves the right to adopt the pertinent measures -- including totally cutting off direct and indirect telephone communications between Cuba and the United States. The funds this new tax will generate will be earmarked to the purchase of medical equipment, medicines and raw material to produce medicines, above and beyond Cuba's annual spending in foreign currency for the medical attention of the Cuban population.top

9. Viewpoint: HAVANA HANGS UP ON MIAMI TERRORISTS, 10/24/00, Radio Havana Cuba

During these days when we hear so much about the so-called "easing" of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, we have been pointing out that Washington's economic war has actually been taken to new heights with the recent passage of legislation in the U.S. Congress. The legislation in question deals with an alleged lifting of the blockade on food and medicine -- thus, on paper, allowing the sale of agricultural and pharmaceutical products to the island. But the inability to secure public or private financing for these purchases (the legislation makes it illegal to offer loans or credits) makes it impossible for Havana to buy anything from the United States. In addition -- and perhaps even more importantly -- the conditions placed on this legislation are an insult to Cuba's dignity and sovereignty. Among the amendments attached to recent legislation in the House of Representatives is a directive that takes Cuba's frozen funds and hands them over to terrorist groups in Miami. Millions of dollars -- frozen in U.S. banks -- were earmarked for long-distance calls between the United States and Cuba. This money will now be given to the families of terrorist pilots whose planes were shot down after violating Cuba's territorial airspace in February 1996. One thing is clear: if we want to address the issue of compensation for damages, then we must look at the case of Washington's aggressions against the Cuban people. Over the past 40 years, the U.S. has waged an economic war against the island -- a war also characterized by military and paramilitary attacks. Not one family member of the more than 3000 killed by Washington's genocidal war have been given one cent. And you can add to these victims some 11 million Cubans who are also the victims of U.S. anti-Cuba policies. Despite warnings by Havana that the stealing of Cuban funds is a violation of international law, Washington has decided to go ahead with its manuever. Cuba affirms that this congressional action -- soon to become law with the signing of the bill by the U.S. president -- is completely unjustifiable. As announced on Monday, the newly passed Decree 213 -- approved by the Cuban Council of State -- provides for the application of a special ten percent tax on phone calls between Cuba and the United States. This is seen as a completely necessary and understandable move -- to protect the island's interests from these arbitrary measures. Decree 213 also warns that if the United States government continues to support this congressional measure and funds earmarked for the island's telephone company are not paid, communications between Cuba and the U.S. could be seriously affected. As U.S. authorities should know, if you don't pay your bill, your service may be discontinued.top

Telephone communications between Cuba and the United States to be suspended, 12/8/00

December 8, 2000
Granma

The Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers has decided to order the total suspension of direct telephone communications between Cuba and the United States. An official note published by Granma daily reports that the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) will suspend service starting on December 15.

The note recalls that Decree-Law 213, which went into effect on October 25, stipulated that companies offering telephone calls between Cuba and the United States must pay a special tax. When the time arrived for the reconciliation of October’s telephone accounts, the U.S. companies that provide direct telephone calls to Cuba informed ETECSA that they were unable to pay that tax starting on the specified date, because they lack U.S. government authorization, adds the note.

http://www.granma.cu/ingles/di1/51teleco-i.htmltop

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