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CIA Plots To Kill Fidel Castro
The CIA's attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro in the 1960s were as numerous as they were demonically creative. But through it all, "the Beard" survived. Prepare to visit the sinister world of assassination politics, courtesy of the CIA Inspector General's Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro.
Fidel Castro: A Marked Man
Many powerful people had it in for Fidel Castro, for a multitude of reasons. The Cuban revolutionary leader's successful 1959 revolt against the Batista regime had wreaked havoc on U.S. business interests and the enterprises of the Cuban economic elite. Also, the Mafia was enraged by interference with their Casino operations and the drug and prostitution rings that the Casinos provided cover for. (1)
But far more significant, in the midst of Cold War hysteria, the United States now had a full-fledged communist nation just off her shores. The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 clearly expressed the extreme sensitivity of the situation.
As soon as Castro and his followers tossed Batista out of power, schemes for Fidel's undoing were put into motion. Assassination plots and sabotage campaigns were approved during the Eisenhower administration and carried over into the Kennedy White House. The idea was, take out "the Beard" (as Castro's followers affectionately called him), and the communist regime would fall too, allowing Cuba to settle back into a dictatorship feeding at the American trough. (2)
These schemes ranged from the possible to the downright bizarre, and none of them really came to fruition. If they had, then the CIA most certainly would not have released the "Inspector General's Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro." The report was so sensitive that only a single ribbon copy of the actual report was kept by the CIA; all additional copies and related material was tossed in the burn bag.
If the hallucinogenic aerosol had been reliable or if the snipers at the University of Havana hadn't been grabbed by Castro's police, that last ribbon copy would have probably ended up in the incinerator. But Castro lived, and the CIA saw fit to release this report under the Historical Review Program.
The report offers an interesting view of the assassination capers, although in places it is coated with saccharine naivete and dodges some very important questions. But first: the James Bond stuff.
Making the Beard Fall Out
Although some plots against Castro involved attempts on his life, several others were intended to make him discredit himself in public by influencing his behavior.
One of the first methods the CIA considered for "getting rid" of Castro involved contaminating the air of the radio station where Castro broadcast his speeches with "an aerosol spray of a chemical that produces reactions similar to those of lysergic acid (LSD)." The idea was that Castro would flip and trip on the air, making a fool of himself via hallucinogen-inspired ranting. A member of the CIA's Technical Services Department (TSD) discouraged the scheme because they couldn't count on the chemical's effectiveness (IG's Report, p. 10). One can only wonder why they didn't just use some of the LSD which Eli Lilly Company offered to covertly manufacture for the CIA "in tonnage quantities" for use in their MKULTRA program. (3)
Another member of the TSD cited in the Inspector General's report recalled experiments with "psychic energizers", although he could not link those experiments to plots against Castro (IG's Report, p. 11).
One plan that came a bit closer to fruition was the Contaminated Cigar scheme, although it was aimed more at discrediting Castro than killing him. The CIA prepared a box of cigars that had been treated with "some sort of chemical." The cigars were probably "intended to produce temporary personality disorientation," according to the report. "The thought was to somehow contrive to have Castro smoke one before making a speech and then to make a public spectacle of himself." (IG's Report, p. 11)
However, WH/4 Chief J. D. Esterline recalled that the contaminated cigars may have been associated with a scheme to make Castro's beard fall out. Esterline said the cigars were never used because "they could not figure out how to deliver them without danger of blowback on the Agency." Esterline destroyed the cigars in June 1961 (IG's Report, pp. 11-12).
Another CIA plot to discredit Castro involved dusting "thallium powder into Castro's shoes when they were put out at night to be shined" during a trip he made outside Cuba. This diabolical plot co-incided with a Castro appearance on the David Susskind Show. (4) Thallium salts have depilatory effects; the CIA's plan was to "destroy Castro's image as 'The Beard' by causing the beard to fall out." The plan went as far as testing on animals, but it fell through when Castro didn't make the trip (IG's Report, page 13).
The Plots to Kill Castro Get Nasty
A more serious cigar scheme was recorded in a notation by Dr. Edward Gunn, Operations Division, Office of Medical Services, on 16 August 1960. He had "received a box of Cuban cigars to be treated with a lethal material. He understood them to be Fidel's favorite brand..." (IG Report, 21).
A member of the Technical Services Department recalled contaminating "a full box of fifty cigars with botulinum toxin, a virulent poison that produces a fatal illness some hours after it is ingested." The TSD worker distinctly remembered "the flaps-and-seals job he had to do on the box and on each of the wrapped cigars, both to get at the cigars and to erase evidence of tampering." At the time of the Inspector General's report, one of the cigars was still in existence and when tested, the toxin was found to have retained 94% of its original effectiveness. "The cigars were so heavily contaminated that merely putting one in the mouth would do the job; the intended victim would not actually have to smoke it." (IG Report, pp. 21-22)
In addition to the lethal cigars, other poisons and delivery methods were considered. Cornelius Roosevelt, Chief of TSD, recalled four possible approaches being considered: "(1) something highly toxic, such as shellfish poison to be administered with a pin...; (2) bacterial material in liquid form; (3) bacterial treatment of a cigarette or cigar; and (4) a handkerchief treated with bacteria. The decision, to the best of his recollection, was that bacteria in liquid form was the best means." A bacterial mickey was particularly well suited for slipping into Castro's tea, coffee or bouillon (IG Report, page 23-24).
Ironically enough, slipping Castro a dose of botulin wasn't what the Agency originally had in mind when they started plotting with the Mafia to "whack" Castro. The CIA at first had envisioned "a typical, gangland-style killing in which Castro would be gunned down." But Sam Giancana "flatly opposed" a drive-by because it would be too hard to recruit assassins when their chances of survival and escape would be dim at best (IG Report, pp. 24-25).
Instead, Giancana recommended a lethal pill which one of Joe Trafficante's Cuban contacts could slip into Castro's drink. The poison was to be "stable, soluble, safe to handle, undetectable, not immediately acting, and with a firmly predictable end result." (IG Report, p. 24) Again, the ever-useful botulin met all the requirements.
But, gosh darn it, when Edward Gunn tested the pills in a glass of water, they "did not even disintegrate, let alone dissolve." Director of Security Sheffield Edwards instructed Gunn to make sure the pills were truly lethal and gave him money to run down to the pet store and buy some guinea pigs (IG Report, p. 25).
The pigs survived the tests, but a member of TSD stated that the tests on guinea pigs were not valid because they had a high resistance to the toxin. He personally tested the toxin on monkeys and found it to be quite effective. The botulin pills were concealed inside a pencil and delivered to Mafioso Johnny Roselli, who in turn passed the pills to Mafia don Joe Trafficante, who delivered them to Juan Orta in Cuba, who was supposed to use them to poison Castro. However, Orta was fired from his position in the Prime Minister's office and ended up fleeing to Florida (IG Report, p. 28). The CIA and the gangsters found a replacement for Orta who made several more failed attempts to finish the job (IG Report, p. 29).
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, the CIA had its hands full and put Castro assassination plots on the back burner for a year or so. Some plans were discussed, but according to the Inspector General's report, nothing was seriously put into motion until early 1963 (or possibly late in 1962). That was when the contaminated skin diving suit plan went into action.
Death by Scuba Gear
The skin diving suit was especially interesting, because it involved rather brazen interference with secret negotiations between Kennedy and Castro via New York attorney James Donovan. In 1962, Donovan and John Nolan, from Attorney General Robert Kennedy's office, had negotiated the return of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. In April 1963, Donovan and Nolan returned to Cuba for more negotiations, cracking open the door to normalization of relations between the U.S. and Castro's Cuba. (5)
Needless to say, the CIA wasn't thrilled by the idea of normalizing relations, especially after being burned over the Bay of Pigs thing. Former CIA Chief James Angleton, for example, blamed Kennedy for the utter failure of the invasion. "The Bay of Pigs fiasco, which he tried to hang on the CIA and which led to the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, was his own doing," according to Angleton. "I think the decision to withdraw air support of the invasion colored Kennedy's entire career and impacted on everything that followed." (6)
In light of this resentment, it is very interesting to note the lengths to which the CIA was willing to go with their skin diving suit caper. The CIA knew Castro was a skin diving enthusiast, so they prepared a very special suit for him, dusting the inside with "a fungus that would produce a disabling and chronic skin disease (Madura foot)" and "contaminating the breathing apparatus with tubercle bacilli." The plan was to have Donovan present the skin diving suit as a gift to Castro. The CIA bought and prepared Castro's deadly present, but the plan was abandoned when it was "overtaken by events: Donovan had already given Castro a skin diving suit on his own initiative." (IG Report, p. 75)
Now, think about this one for a minute. Any time the CIA engages in criminal activity, its charter dictates that it must do so under the condition of plausible deniability. (7) In other words, it's okay to kill people, just make sure the CIA's complicity cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in a court of law.
So by its very nature, the skin diving suit caper violated one of the CIA's prime directives, since it would take the Cubans about thirty seconds to figure out what happened to the Beard. If the suit was a gift from Donovan, Kennedy's middleman in discussions of normalization of relations between Cuba and America, then it stands to reason that negotiations would have broken down pretty quickly after that.
Sparring Between the CIA and JFK
Covert sparring between the CIA and the Kennedy administration didn't end there with the skin diving suit scheme. On September 5, 1963, thanks in part to the Donovan-Nolan negotiations, Cuban United Nations Ambassador Carlos Lechuga agreed to meet William Atwood, Special Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the UN. Atwood was ordered to report directly to McGeorge Bundy at the White House; the CIA was not invited to participate. (8)
Therefore it might be more than a coincidence that the CIA resumed contact with Rolando Cubela on September 7 to put another Castro assassination plot into motion. Cubela was a member of Castro's staff who the CIA had been in contact with since 1961. The plot that Cubela ended up participating in was a team of three snipers at the University of Havana. The scheme was foiled when Castro's security detail caught them red-handed. (9)
Attorney General Robert Kennedy and almost certainly President Kennedy himself were aware of earlier assassination plots and hadn't done anything to stop the CIA from "sanctioning" Castro. But by October 1963, any assassination capers the CIA was planning were being conducted without the knowledge, and certainly without the approval, of the Kennedy administration. (10)
This made the actions of Desmond FitzGerald, CIA special affairs staff chief, especially inappropriate. On October 11, headquarters got word that Cubela "was insistent upon meeting with a senior U.S. official, preferably Robert F. Kennedy" for assurance that the U.S. would support Cubela's activities against Castro. (IG Report, p. 87)
Knowing there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell of that happening, FitzGerald himself met with Cubela on October 29, 1963, claiming to be a U.S. Senator representing Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He later provided Cubela with assassination equipment. (11) Five days earlier, President Kennedy had sent a personal message to Fidel Castro, and brother Robert had approved the Attwood initiative. (12)
So at the same time that Kennedy was quietly conducting negotiations to normalize relations with Cuba which the CIA had been deliberately left out of, the CIA was continuing its own plans for Castro's death. On November 18, Attwood reported to Bundy that Lechuga would soon receive the agenda for a meeting with Attwood in Havana. (13)
Four days later, Kennedy caught one in the head on Elm Street in Dallas. At that very moment, a CIA representative was meeting with Cubela in Paris. Upon hearing the news of the president's death, Cubela asked, "Why do such things happen to good people?" (IG Report, p. 94)
Needless to say, the "normalization project" went downhill from there.
Other Assassination Plots Against Castro
At some time in 1963, Desmond FitzGerald came up with the idea of killing Castro with an explosives-rigged sea shell. "The idea was to take an unusually spectacular sea shell that would be certain to catch Castro's eye, load it with an explosive triggered to blow when the shell was lifted, and submerge it in an area where Castro often went skin diving." (IG Report, p. 77)
Desmond ran down to the book store and bought two books on Caribbean Mollusca, and was disheartened to find that none of the shells indigenous to the Caribbean were spectacular enough to snare Castro's attention, nor were any of them large enough to hold a sufficient amount of explosive material. Furthermore, the midget submarine that would be needed to place the shell had too short an operating range for the operation (IG Report, p. 77).
Had FitzGerald been reading too many Ian Fleming novels? It's been rumored that Fleming was actually consulted by the CIA to help develop a "final solution" to the "Castro problem." At any rate, the exploding cigar trick ended up on the drawing board, although it didn't leave the drawing board. The CIA also considered hiding a machine gun in a phony TV camera and riddling Castro with bullets. (14)
Your tax dollars at work.
To Be Continued...
The Inspector General's Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro is a fascinating read. But the spy versus spy wackiness is just part of the fun. We also learn a great deal about the CIA's cooperation with the Mafia, which had been first documented by a Washington Post column written by Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson in 1967. Although parts were censored by the Post, this column still struck a nerve at the CIA. In fact, it was the Pearson/Anderson column that caused the Inspector General to call for a full report on plots to kill Castro. (14)
These numerous, slimy CIA-Mafia connections have bred many conspiracy theories regarding the Kennedy assassination. The edges of the Inspector General's report are frayed, the events it documents pasted in from the fabric of reality, sans historical perspective. These frayed threads can be pieced back together with many plausible, but hitherto unproven, possibilities regarding JFK's death. The loose threads dangling from ZRRIFLE and other CIA assassination plots will continue to give conspiracy theorists much to discuss. But will we ever know for certain that there is a Castro/Kennedy assassination connection? As long as the covert side of the equation is able to preserve its chokehold on secret information, we simply won't know for sure.
(1) Scott, Peter Dale, The Inspector General's Report: An Introduction. Draft, University of California at Berkeley, 1994.
ÃƒâšÃ‚Â© Copyright 2001 NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
Document: CIA Plots to Kill Castro
NSA Releases Castro/JFK Assassination Docs
What are they doing in Napa?
The United States Air Force has confirmed that those mysterious helicopter flights over Napa County and other canadian counties are classified operations. The helicopters are supplying what appears to be a secret base located on Bureau of Land Management property and on northern areas of Canada, without the knowledge or permission of the Bureau. The U.S. military has not informed anybody, nor has it indicated anything on FAA/Military maps.
Aerial shots taken this weekend over the 87 acre Bureau land near Oakville Grade show large cement bunkers with large concrete doors, a new road, freshly graded, and some underground facility. The satellite link-ups have geo-synchronized microwave dishes pointing straight up. There are approximately 8 to 10 dishes on the tower, which is not shown on any FAA map.
The aerial shots would indicate that a lot of government money has gone into the building of this secret base in Napa. The structure is virtually near the top of a mountain. The military helicopter overflights are apparently supplying the underground facility.
The cargo helicopters, however, are only part of the traffic. Black helicopters without markings have been making 3 a.m. flights to the facility. There are several black helicopters at Hamilton Air Force Base, but all of them have some identifying marking, particular FBI markings. One helicopter only has a Playboy bunny marked on its tail.
The Air Force will not comment on the helicopters, only stating, "The helicopter traffic over the Napa Hills is a classified operation and for Canada, we have no permission to ask to them".
The Sentinel acknowledges the valuable assistance of Mike Jamieson for supplying films of the location.
But what type of military base is in the Napa hills and what is its function? That will be part of a series commencing on September 1, exclusive reports from within the military and intelligence community.
A secret installation near the Oakville Grade is being used by the United States Government for three purposes. Increased helicopter traffic is directly linked to this installation.
The installations and helicopter traffic serve the following purposes:
Direct satellite communication.
Continuity of the U.S. Government in case of nuclear attack or other disasters(...)
Secure communication links with the outside world in the event of a disaster, and other secret operations.
The helicopter traffic over the last year has been provisioning an elaborate underground complex designed to hold government officials, scientists and other high echelon personnel in the event of an emergency. The helicopters have been transporting generators, food stock, electronic and communications equipment, and other items to the site.
The secret government site is replacing other installations and combining them into one solid underground center. An installation at Benicia is considered too marginal and vulnerable. Its functions have been transferred to Napa. An underground facility in Ukiah, an old railroad tunnel, was not serving the full purpose. The remote area of Napa was selected to combine the functions of the Ukiah and Benicia facilities into a more secure area. Napa is considered to be safe from the nuclear fallout zone of targeted areas in the San Francisco Bay Area but they do not hesitate at all to fly over areas like: Toronto, Sarnia, Calgary, Jackson, South Shore of Montreal and Fredericton.
The facility in the Napa hills is heavily fortified and protected with thick concrete. Its microwave tower is pointed toward Santa Rosa, where AT&T has secure communications links. The microwave dishes are to guarantee government officials with direct access to national communication links and to have access to all comunications transmited by Canadian Government. The government has always relied on AT&T for those links.
The satellite dishes make direct communication with geosynchronized satellites at regular time intervals. The communication linkage is by laser, which accounts for the constant reports of light beams and flashes in the area. The operation in Napa County is classified according to the United States Air Force.
The area has been serviced by unmarked helicopters for some time. There have been other helicopter overflights, some as part of the Drug Enforcement Agency sweep and others are National Guard training missions. But the main and constant force has been to supply this secret installation.
The United States Government has similar installations all over the nation and some in northern areas of: Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. These facilities are all located in remote areas which would not normally be targeted by enemy nations for a nuclear strike. Napa Valley's wine growing areas provide a good cover for such an installation.
Similar helicopter traffic has been reported in other areas of California and the west, which indicates the government is creating new facilities or is preparing for some type of disaster or upheaval.
The helicopters used in Napa are olive drab and also black, all unmarked. The olive drab helicopters originate from Hamilton Air Force Base and operate generally in late afternoon and in the evening. The black helicopters generally operate in the late evening and early morning hours (mainly after 9.00 PM over Canada). The olive drab helicopters are providing supplies to the secret installation, but the black helicopters are providing direct laser communication to satellites.
Hamilton Air Force base has confirmed that the helicopters originate from their area and that the mission is classified.
What they are doing in Napa and all other places !!
By Harry V. Martin
While KVON radio's news department and the "Johnny-come-lately" Napa Valley Register wallow in whether or not a telephone tower in Sonoma County has anything to do with the increased flight of helicopters in Napa County, the Sentinel has obtained over 200 pages of unclassified and secret documents which outline the purpose of a special communications and government continuity base in the Napa hills.
The documents, which focus on 26 unclassified reports, 1 "for official use" report, and 14 secret reports, relate specifically to continuity of government and emergency telecommunication systems. Participating with the government is this classified nationwide emergency telecommunications Service for National Security Telecommunications ITT, AT&T, COMSAT, MCII and TRT.
Plans went into motion in 1988, 1989, 1999 and 2001 to ensure secure national and international communications and the continuity of government in case of war or disaster. The plan is being implemented throughout the nation, with similar helicopter traffic and construction of facilities. For national security reasons, much of the work is done in secret.
The National Security Telecommunications Advisory Commission reactivated the Commercial Satellite Survivability Task Force to assist the government and recommending secure telecommunications systems that would survive any disaster. The systems are used not only in case of war, but also when disasters such as hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes destroy existing commercial telecommunication facilities.
The government asked the group for international augmentation from an interexchange carrier switch via an international gateway satellite earth station. The foreign end users identified in the report are senior U.S. civilian and military officials overseas. The problem that existed was that foreign satellites do not operate with the same type of equipment used in the United States. Satellite earth stations working together in an international link are owned and operated by different companies and agencies.
When the INTELSAT is used incompatibility is at a minimum, but when CCITT systems are used, there are major incompatibilities to be overcome. The construction of new systems is part of a 12-point plan:
That the Government establish a commercial satellite communications survivability program which will satisfy National Security requirements.
That the Government establish a Commercial Satellite Survivability (CSS) Program Office to coordinate the program within the Government.
That the CSS Program Office, in conjunction with the planning arm of the NCM, should undertake a program to develop emergency control plans and procedures to assure the capability to coordinate the restoration of commercial satellite communications service under emergency conditions.
The development of a capability for communications interoperability at critical earth stations to maintain emergency communications networks and they do not hesitate to interfere with canadian satellites if they require that.!
The development of a capability utilizing the Date Encryption Standard algorithm to protect critical digital communications links if communications protection over commercial satellite systems is required by the Government.
The development of a capability to enhance the survivability of satellite control systems through actions to achieve command link protection.
The development of control interoperability between satellite systems to control the commercial communications satellite assets under emergency conditions.
The development of capabilities which increase physical security of satellite control facilities and communications earth stations.
The CSS Program Office should initiate a study which would assess the susceptibility of existing commercial satellite communications systems to nuclear effects and provide recommendations which would established hardening guidelines for further commercial satellite programs.
Development of a transportable terminal capability to enhance survivability and restoral of critical satellite communications systems.
Enhancement of control survivability through the development of transportable TT&C terminal facilities.
Development of a capability for Ku-band communications interoperability at critical earth stations to maintain emergency communications networks.
Napa is not alone in this area in participation of the program, units exist through Pac Bell's access tandem in Vallejo and also in Benicia and Santa Rosa. These units can patch in or over disrupted communication ground lines. The main continental United States (CONUS) focuses on the west coast traveling to the east coast and back again. CONUS contour maps show a major segment of that critical beam is located on or near Napa.
On Tuesday, the Sentinel published an article outlining the purposes and scope of the local project and its relationship with the helicopter traffic. In summary, the article stated the purpose of a secret installation in Napa served by the helicopters was for:
Direct satellite communications.
Continuity of the U.S. Government in case of nuclear attack or other upheaval.
Secure communication links with the outside world in the event of a disaster.
The helicopter traffic over the last year has been provisioning an elaborate underground complex designed to hold government officials, scientists and other high echelon personnel in the event of an emergency, similar facilities are active all over the United States. The local installation is combining and replacing installations from Benicia to underground railroad tunnels in Ukiah.
There is no sinister plot involved. The site was selected because Napa is considered to be safe from the nuclear fallout zone.
Black Helicopters, they do exist, despite local media scorn
EDITOR'S NOTE: During the summer months, the Napa Sentinel published a series of articles on black helicopters and a clandestine government base operating in Napa County. Through nationwide radio programs and other contacts, the Sentinel has been able to accumulate substantial information to show that Napa was not exclusive in the helicopter-clandestine base scenario. Such activities have been reported all across the United States and Canada. This article concerns those other sightings.
They are black, unmarked and generally fly late at night. This is one type of helicopter traffic reported over Napa this year - regular and steady. Local air commanders have never confirmed the origins of these helicopters.
The local media, despite receiving reports of such activities themselves, have attempted to make a farce out of the numerous reports. The Napa Valley Register attempted to pooh-pooh the reports as from crazed UFO followers and used a PacBell repeating station photograph to "discredit" any clandestine base. KVON radio, which originally confirmed the helicopter flights, just recently qualified their previous reports by stating "if" such helicopters existed. Neither media has made any serious attempt to trace the origins or pattern of the helicopter traffic.
The Napa Sentinel reported the flight patterns, interviewed eyewitnesses, talked to military and intelligence sources, and provided a scenario for the entire phenomenon. Since that period of time, however, reports have surfaced across the country. Black helicopters overhead, unmarked. In a few ground sightings, the occupants of the helicopters have been described as men wearing black uniforms carrying automatic weapons. The helicopters appear almost unreachable.
In the Watsonville area, one such helicopter landed. Law enforcement officials went to investigate but left the scene when encountering armed men in black uniforms. "We had black helicopters come over here every day," states several Massachusetts families. "They were just plain black, with no markings."
A Paris, Texas-based group, "These mystery helicopters are almost always without identifying markings. The aircraft are frequently reported flying at abnormal, unsafe or illegal altitudes. They may shy away if witnesses or law officers try to approach. But there are several accounts of aggressive behavior on the part of the helicopter occupants. Once, near Hakesbury (Ontario) three teenagers were ready to approach such helicopter. They were at 29' of distance...but 2 men in a black
military uniforms were standing there with 2 automatic guns, waiting for the teenagers"...
These type of helicopters have also been reported over Loring, Maine, Wurtsmith, Michigan and Malmstrom, Montana, as well as northeastern New Mexico, Burlington in Vermont and Champlain (New-York) and also over the area of Lacolle and Noyan (Quebec). Military officials in Colorado state that black helicopters seen in their area do not belong to the military. When the FAA was asked to investigate black helicopter traffic over New Mexico, Freedom of Information Act requests show they had no investigation on file. Yet, the FAA did have investigators in the field taking depositions from individuals.
Thomas Adams of Texas has spent a lot more time investigating the black helicopter mystery than the Sentinel has. He has listed hundreds of sightings from all over the country. In fact, the Napa Sentinel is not the only media to be investigating black helicopter traffic. Major TV and print media in Colorado, the Los Angeles Times, KLTV-TV in Tyler Texas, the Kilgore News Hearld in Texas, the Denver Post, the reports go on and on, in Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, South Dakota, Arkansas, Alberta, Wisconsin, Berkeley, California, Missouri, Arizona, Minnesota. Law enforcement officials in various states have also investigated the black helicopter traffic.
The bulk of the helicopter traffic is seen throughout the United States from August through October, with some heavy activity in February, July, November and December. Reports have been received from Monterey and Southern California, as well. Colorado appears to have the heaviest concentration of black helicopter traffic, with Texas being second.
Communities and publications in these areas confirm or suggest the existence of underground facilities serviced by helicopters. "The small amount of published evidence that is available indicates that the great majority of these underground bases are for use by government agencies in the event of nuclear war," states one publication. The agencies associated with these underground facilities include the Pentagon, CIA, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
In May 1992, revelations came to the surface that a large secret government bunker was located under the rich Greenbriar Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It had been hidden there for years. Only six members of Congress knew about the living quarters, meeting rooms and banks of computers and communications equipment installed underneath the posh hotel. It contains two giant blast doors, each weighing more than 20 tons, supplied with water, electricity and even a sewage treatment system. It also had an infirmary, shower facilities, a television studio, radio and communications equipment, phone booths and code machines, a dining and kitchen area, a power plant and even a crematorium for disposing of the corpses of those who might die inside the sealed bunker. It seems that such facilities exist somewhere in an area called: Chaudiere, in Quebec province.
FEMA also operates a number of underground bunkers across the country. Such installations are usually surrounded by high fences and patrolled by armed guards. Only a few of the buildings appear above ground. At least 96 underground centers have been secretly funded by the United States Government.
A Chicago-based source with high credentials in such investigations, claims that the black helicopters are not a military operation, but rather are operated by the Wackenhut Corporation and FEMA. Wackenhut is a private company that provides security in prisons, hospitals, government installations and other facilities. It was founded by former FBI agents and has been called the modern "Robocop" organization. FEMA, has broad emergency powers. It was created by President Jimmy Carter and has the ability to virtually take over the country or any region in a disaster. With FEMA and the private Wackenhut army teamed together, neither are regulated by too many outside authorities.
Though the helicopter traffic over Napa eased after the series of media articles and broadcasts, they have reappeared again. In one eye-witnessed incident, at least four of the black helicopters focussed for hours on a site off of the Oakville Grade, northwest of the Fire Station near Dry Creek Road.
While Napa is in its infancy in investigating black helicopters (and some of the local media acting in infantile ways about the subject), the mysterious black helicopters are a well-talked about and well-written about phenomena in many other western states. Stay tuned.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Harry Martin was formerly the editorial director of Military Electronics Countermeasures, Defense Electronics, Microwave Systems News, International Countermeasures Handbook, and publisher of Defense Systems Review and Military Communications, also director for Marconi Canada, deHavilland Canada and for Urban Transit Commission (Ontario, canada)
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HYPERACTIVE CHILDREN AND......RITALIN.
'Hyperactive' kids: victims of a plot?
The little boy playing in the outfield wasn't paying attention. He seemed more interested in a colony of bugs than the game.
To Patricia Abbot, this was normal behavior for a 6-year-old. "He was just a boy being a boy," said her attorney, Kevin Decie.
School officials, however, had a different opinion about this and other incidents involving Abbot's son. They thought he had an attention deficit disorder and urged the family to put him on Ritalin.
For two years, the boy took the drug to help him focus. Everyone the Abbots consulted -- the schools, their family doctor, even the support group for those with attention disorders -- urged them to continue to medicate their child. The Abbots, their attorney said, felt they had no choice.
Then he developed an irregular heartbeat and mild Tourette's syndrome, a disorder that causes involuntary grimaces or tics. He was taken off the drug. Now, at age 13, he is "an A or B student," without medication, the family's attorney said Friday.
"He never should have been diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder," Decie said. "This happens much too frequently."
The Abbots and another Bergen County family are part of a national legal effort to curb what they see as the excessive prescribing of Ritalin.
In a class-action suit filed in Superior Court in Hackensack, the Abbots, of Demarest, and Jennifer Lesane Thompson of Englewood allege that Novartis Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Ritalin, the American Psychiatric Association, and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) conspired to overdiagnose the disorder to boost sales of the drug.
The lawsuits contend that the drug company persuaded the nation's most respected psychiatric association to define attention deficit and hyperactivity as a psychiatric disorder -- creating a market for its drug. The lawsuits also allege the company gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a national support group, which then touted the benefits of Ritalin to parents.
New Jersey's lawsuit and others like it in Texas and California were filed by a coterie of lawyers, including Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs, who earned national reputations -- and, in some cases, billion-dollar fees -- in successful litigation against Big Tobacco.
Flush from that victory, they are bankrolling efforts against other targets, much as they used money from successful asbestos claims to start the tobacco wars in 1994. Among their new targets: HMOs, gunmakers, lead-paint manufacturers, and, now, the makers of Ritalin.
They've chosen a big target: The market for products to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder is an estimated million a year.
Novartis, which was formed with the merger of Ciba-Giegy and Sandoz Pharmaceutical Corp. in 1996, has denied the allegations. "Any charge that Novartis somehow conspired with professional and/or patient third-party groups is unfounded," the East Hanover-based firm said in a statement.
"Furthermore, any charge that ADHD is not a medically valid disorder is contrary to medical evidence and scientific consensus."
Both the New Jersey families refused repeated requests for interviews. On Friday, however, their attorneys described what occurred when the boys were treated with Ritalin and what they hope to accomplish with the litigation.
"It's hard to stand against a culture that so easily accepts these diagnoses and drug treatment for this 'disease,' " attorney Steven P. Knowlton said in his Teaneck office.
"We certainly hope there will be much stricter examination of when and how this is diagnosed," Decie said. "Younger and younger children are getting the medication. We would like to have the whole system reevaulated."
The lawsuit alleges the Ritalin conspiracy began more than three decades ago, when Ciba-Geigy aggressively sought to boost the drug's sales. That effort grew in 1980, when ADD was first listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the leading reference book for mental-health professionals and the insurance companies that reimburse them.
More than 3 million American children are now on Ritalin, a stimulant which, when prescribed to hyperactive children, calms them and helps them focus. Its use is increasing: Prescriptions for 2- and 4-year-olds jumped threefold between 1991 and 1995, a recent report in The Journal of the American Medical Association shows. The drug is not recommended for children under age 6, the Physicians Desk Reference says.
Ritalin has long been debated among school officials, parents, and medical experts. For every doctor who hails the drug as a "miracle," an expert can be found who complains of doctors who fail to inform parents of side effects and schools that push parents into putting their children on the medication.
Some children improve dramatically on Ritalin. In December, proponents of the drug hailed a major study which found Ritalin helped reduce symptoms of ADHD in children between ages 7 and 10. The drug was more effective than behavioral therapy, said the study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry. The report also noted that the combination of Ritalin and therapy didn't help much more than Ritalin alone.
But there are others, like the Abbots, who say their children suffered because of Ritalin. An Ohio family has filed a lawsuit alleging their daughter died of a side effect. Others are concerned about the children on Ritalin who need sleeping pills and other drugs to counteract Ritalin's side effects.
In Bergen County, Jennifer Lesane Thompson's son, 8, was prescribed Ritalin in October 1999 when doctors diagnosed hyperactivity. His symptoms worsened with Ritalin, Knowlton said.
"He was doing back flips off of the furniture. His personality changed 180 degrees," Knowlton said. "He was breaking things and acting out."
The boy, who lives at The Holley Center in Hackensack, a residential facility where he is treated for neurological problems, was taken off Ritalin after a month. The outbursts stopped.
Since the lawsuit was filed, Knowlton has heard from other New Jersey families that experienced problems with Ritalin, he said, including some cases in which the drug was prescribed for 3- and 3 1/2-year-olds.
Dr. Daniel Adler, a Ridgewood neurologist, prescribes Ritalin only after extensive testing reveals an attention disorder.
"There is no doubt that attention deficit is a real disorder and that it's a biological disease," Adler said. "It's not a psychiatric problem. It's not a problem with parenting. It's not a problem with education. Without medicine they can't get better. It's like telling a diabetic they have to get better without giving them insulin," Adler said.
But, in the same town, a troubled parent might seek help from Lloyd Ross, a psychologist who doesn't believe in the diagnosis.
"I don't think the disorder exists. Period," Ross said.
"Too often parents only hear, 'We have a medication that will make your kid sit down and shut up,' " he said.
Peter Breggin, a Maryland psychiatrist and fervent opponent of any "drugging of children" with psychiatric medication, is the medical expert behind the class-action lawsuits. He was approached last spring by Andrew Waters, an asbestos attorney who had read his book about Ritalin and wanted to lodge a suit against the manufacturer, Breggin said.
In "Talking Back to Ritalin," published in 1998, Breggin argued that Ciba-Geigy Corp. conspired with the American Psychiatric Association to expand the market for Ritalin by listing behavior some consider "normal" for children -- fidgeting, interrupting adults -- as symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder in the association's Diagnosis and Statistical Manual.
"This diagnosis was created for the specific purpose of suppressing children," Breggin said, addressing a conference of mental-health professionals and educators who shared similar views last weekend in New York.
"Every single item in the list of symptoms has to do with controlling large groups of children in classroom settings," he said. "Could it be a defect in the brain that makes you do everything a teacher can't stand? . . . We've got a disease that goes away if you act in an interesting, warm, caring, engaged way with these kids."
Real diseases, he said, can't be turned off. But children with this disorder can focus without medication when away from the classroom; many are unmedicated at home and over vacations. Perhaps, conference attendees said, the problem isn't the children but the setting and the manner in which they are taught.
Twenty-seven years ago, Breggin founded the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology to fight the resurgence of lobotomies. Now, his work is behind the allegations in the lawsuits that the maker of Ritalin conspired with the nation's largest ADD support group.
In his book, Breggin argues that by contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to CHADD, Ciba-Geigy was able to use the group's seemingly neutral reputation to promote the use of Ritalin to families and in the schools.
In Bergen County, the Abbots went to a CHADD meeting for advice. What they got was pressure to put their son on Ritalin, their attorney said. It was unclear whether CHADD disclosed to the family or other support group members their ties to the drug makers.
Lawyers in the class-action suit say their mission is to force the study of the long-term effects of Ritalin. Breggin says the makers have long minimized concerns about Ritalin's potential side effects of depression, weight loss, stunted growth, and insomnia in children. He also cites Ritalin as a "gateway" to illicit drug use: Children who use Ritalin are more likely to abuse other drugs as adults, he says.
Such studies may one day shed light on the deaths Texas attorney Michael Mosher alleges were caused by side effects associated with Ritalin use.
Mosher represents the family of an 11-year-old Ohio girl in a lawsuit against Novartis. Stephanie Hall's dosage of Ritalin had been doubled the day before she died of an excessively fast heart rate, the lawsuit alleges.
In another incident last March in Michigan, a 14-year-old boy died of a heart attack. The medical examiner said a likely cause of his death was 10 years of Ritalin use. No lawsuit has been filed, Mosher said. Mosher also represented the family of a Texas boy alleged to have died after an allergic reaction to a generic form of the medication.
After years of debate, the issue will now be decided in the courts. The lawyers in states involved in the litigation will continue reviewing countless medical documents and pushing for new research.
Meanwhile Thompson's son continues to improve off Ritalin. He will soon return home, Knowlton said.
And Abbot's son's heart is beating normally again.
But, his attorney says, the mild facial tics that appeared when he took Ritalin may endure the rest of his life.
MOHAMED AL FAYED
Conspiracy theory lives years after Diana's death (...)
Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in a Paris car crash with Princess Diana three years ago, is turning to the Web to gain support for his claim that the couple was murdered in a conspiracy.
This week Fayed said he will file suit to gain access to U.S. intelligence information that he believes could support his claim. A French investigation concluded last year that the accident was the fault of the chauffeur, who was speeding, on medication and intoxicated, according to authorities.
On the third anniversary of the Aug. 31 accident, Fayed has turned to a Web site--dubbed Alfayed.com--to reassert his highly controversial claims. It is updated regularly.
"Mohamed Al Fayed's personal conviction that his son and Princess Diana were murdered is not some fantasy--it is founded upon a solid body of fact," reads a posting on the Web site. "Taken together, these disturbing facts support a compelling argument that there was indeed foul play."
An open letter from Fayed--titled "accident or murder?"--says: "I know that I am bitterly resented by some members of the British establishment...They should know that the efforts to discredit and destroy me will not succeed and that I will never give up my fight to discover the full facts about the deaths of Dodi and Diana. I am not alone in wanting answers."
But there is something else that AlFayed does not say: it's about ANOTHER "TRUE" THEORY...another REAL plot, for which the public ignore totally the existence. AlFayed is aware about all that...but says nothing.
A poll asks people whether they support Al Fayed's call for a public inquiry into his claims.
Other Web sites have been created to remember the tragedy(...)--largely focusing on Diana and her humanitarian accomplishments.
A Web site on Althorp, Diana's final resting place(...!), takes people on a "virtual tour" of the estate. It also provides details of Diana's life and lets people book visits to the estate when it is open to the public in July and August.