The Global Rollback Network from Chiang Kai-shek
to Oliver North
from the book
Right-wing Power in U.S. Foreign Policy
by Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould
published by South End Press, 1989
The revelations of Contragate focused the public on a covert
network carrying out foreign policy operations. Yet little attention
has been placed on the historical context of Contragate. In fact,
the prosecution of a secret foreign policy by a mixture of governmental
and quasi-private operatives is not a new development. Contragate
is simply another chapter in a forty-year pursuit of global rollback
by a committed cadre of U.S. covert operatives in conjunction
with a growing, domestic and international right-wing network.
This network, activated in the early postwar rollback activities
of Eastern Europe and the Far East, has gradually developed a
strong constituent interest in maintaining and fortifying an active
program of global counterrevolution.
Whereas some authors have described the international right
wing network, thus far this institution has not received a generally
accepted name. Global rollback network is an accurate description
because the network is global in scope and its political goal
is likewise global. We will call it Rollnet for short. Rollnet
refers to the cadres-the most dedicated members-of the much larger
political movement, the international right wing.
It is important to think of Rollnet as an international institution
separate from, though interlinked with, the government of the
United States. Rollnet cadres, such as those central to Contragate,
circulated in and out of the official U.S. government. Those cadres-most
prominently Oliver North-who had gained influential U.S. governmental
positions were in effect using these positions to further their
Rollnet cause; the Constitution and laws of the United States
were secondary considerations. They equated the goals of the United
States with the goals of Rollnet.
Covert Cronyism: Who are the Actors?
The CIA and "ex"-CIA Old Boys Network
CIA and supposedly ex-CIA operatives, the world's specialists
in covert action, constitute the heart of the global rollback
network. Perhaps the best known of these people (publicized during
the Contragate hearings) are the groupings of operatives involving
retired Maj. Gen. Richard Secord, Theodore Shackley and Thomas
Clines,' and the overlapping entourage surrounding retired Gen.
John Singlaub. In the work of these operatives, it is difficult
to distinguish what is governmental activity, what is private,
and what is a public-private meld. Similarly, it is difficult
to determine whether a particular person in a particular operation
is on the CIA payroll or not. In their private functions some
individuals in these groupings appear sometimes to have conflicting
motives: the rollback of unwanted governments and the accumulation
of personal profit. ... the past and present activities of these
individuals and their contacts reads like a review course of major
U.S. covert operations.
The book The Iran-Contra Connection provides an important
analysis to explain the centrality of ex-ClA operatives in Rollnet.
The explanation is called "the disposal problem": what
to do with troops no longer needed. In the late 1970s, 820 positions
were eliminated from the CIA's clandestine services, producing
a group of unemployed covert war specialists. Such an elite corps
would not simply fade into the suburban United States; their way
of life was anti-communism, secrecy, and, on occasion, shady financial
deals involving arms and/or drugs. Some of these ex-CIA operatives
worked for the election of Ronald Reagan; after his victory they
insinuated themselves back into newly revived covert operations,
whether in governmental, private, or mixed roles.
The Military-Industrial Complex
The military-industrial complex includes both the Pentagon
and the corporations who develop and manufacture weapons under
Pentagon contract. Whereas some military officers act as professional
soldiers without an overriding political agenda, others-like their
CIA counterparts-are committed right-wing cadres whose governmental
and private political activities are difficult to keep separate.
Individuals and corporations representing the military contractors
have also acted as key members of Rollnet. General Electric, one
of the top ten Pentagon contractors, played an important role
in starting Ronald Reagan's political career. David Packard (of
Hewlett-Packard) has raised funds for three major right-wing think
tanks: the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution,
and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Three interlocking organizations speaking for the military-industrial
complex have been the American Security Council, the Coalition
for Peace Through Strength, and the Committee on the Present Danger.
Generals John Singlaub and Daniel Graham, with lengthy covert
careers in both the military and the CIA, have been co-chairmen
of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength.
The American Security Council (ASC), established in 1955,
has been led by a number of high-ranking military officers and
prime defense contractors; three retired chairs of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff were at one time co-chairs of its national strategy committee.
The ASC has spent millions to ``educate voters" on the need
for a stronger military. Its president, John Fisher, has stated
the need for clear military superiority. ASC has actively supported
Third World rollback in Nicaragua and Angola. The two men most
responsible for the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars),
Gen. Daniel Graham and physicist Edward Teller, have both worked
with the American Security Council.'
Right-wing Foreign Governments
Critically important support for Rollnet has always come from
certain governments that for one reason or another have a stake
in rollback. A major rollback government, not surprisingly, has
been Taiwan, which has always wanted to roll back the Chinese
Revolution and has actively assisted right-wing operations in
other countries. South Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and
Israel have also acted as rollback regimes. Of course, these governments
often act in their own direct national interest, for example Taiwan
vis-a-vis the Chinese mainland. But at other times they seem to
provide assistance as part of more complicated deals such as Saudi
Arabia sending money to U.S.-backed insurgencies in Nicaragua,
Angola, and Afghanistan in return for receiving sophisticated
U.S. weapons. Sometimes these governments have acted through ostensibly
private organizations; for example Chiang Kai-shek and South Korean
intelligence agents created and operated through the Asian People's
Anti-Communist League (APACL).
In an example of rollback regime behavior, South Africa illegally
provided $450,000 in campaign contributions to defeat-liberal
Sens. John Tunney and Dick Clark in the 1970s; Clark was author
of the amendment prohibiting U.S. aid to the South African-backed
Angolan contrast South Africa also donated to conservative Senator
Hayakawa who sat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee
on Africa and contributed $40,000 to a research institute headed
by Gen. Daniel Graham.
The case of Israel is complex because it is a major arms exporter
for economic reasons, selling arms to many nations and groups
throughout the world. However, U.S. intelligence officials have
claimed that Israel has secrecy provided several million dollars
of aid to the Nicaraguan contras as a political action in support
Eastern European Emigres and Fascists
Among the first covert operations attempted by the reformulated
U.S. military/intelligence network in the postwar period were
chose against the USSR and its satellite Eastern European states.
Recruited into these operations were a host of people who ranged
from social democrats, disaffected with Stalin's incorporation
of Eastern Europe, to native fascists who actively collaborated
with the Nazis during the war. In addition, German Nazi leaders
were recruited into Western intelligence circles.
Some groups in the Eastern European fascist network joined
together to form an anti-Soviet front known as the Anti-Bolshevik
Nations (ABN). Members of this organization aided U.S. military
actions and propaganda efforts such as Radio Free Europe and Radio
Liberty against the Soviet Bloc. In general, they have taken the
most extreme rollback position against the USSR and Eastern Europe.
The Knights of Malta is a European organization which played
a role facilitating Hitler's assumption of power in Germany. Former
CIA Director William Casey belonged to the Knights of Malta as
did James Angleton, at one time chief of the Counterintelligence
Division of the CIA. The Knights of Malta also had links with
the fascist P-2 Masonic Lodge, members of which were responsible
for many terrorist actions in Italy during the 1970s.
The World Anti-Communist League
The World Anti-Communist League (WACL) was formed with the
merger of the Anti-Bolshevik Nations (ABN) and the Asian People's
Anti-Communist League (APACL) in 1966. In addition to ABN and
APACL, WACL embraces disparate national right-wing formations
* Latin American right-wing nationalist and/or fascist parties,
some of which have at times been in power, some of which have
sponsored death squads and/or narcotics-related activities. (Examples
are the Guatemalan National Liberation Movement (MLN) and the
El Salvadoran Arena Party.) Organized within the regional WACL
chapter, the Latin American Anti-Communist Confederation (CAL),
these groups have provided much of the Latin American support
for the Nicaraguan contras.
* Members of the U.S. Right, represented over the years within
the U.S. affiliate U.S. Council for World Freedom (USCWF). The
membership has had strong representation by notables from the
military/intelligence community including Singlaub and Graham,
who have been USCWF's top two officers, with Singlaub having served
as WACL's Chairman in 1984.
* Representatives of right-wing governments in power including
Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, Chile, and Saudi Arabia.
Roger Pearson, a known neo-Nazi and WACL's world chairman
in 1978, was removed as head of the U.S. WACL chapter because
his views were too extreme even for WACL. Pearson was editor of
the Journal of International Relations in the 1970s; the journal's
publisher was John Fisher, president of the American Security
Council; the associate editors were Gen. Robert Richardson (also
of ASC) and ex-CIA counterintelligence chief and Knight of Malta
The "Moonie Empire"
The Unification Church headed by Reverend Sun Myung Moon is
closely interrelated with WACL. The Moon organization has known
ties to the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCLA), itself
an offshoot of U.S. intelligence agencies. Moon served the interests
of the Japanese Right and its U.S. military allies when he set
up campus study groups called Collegiate Association for the Research
of Principles (CARP); by the early 1960s, these were used by school
authorities to counter the strong anti-militarist radical student
movement. These Japanese groups prefigured the Moonie CARP movement
set up on U.S. campuses to promote right-wing causes among students.
In addition to its close relationship with the right-wing South
Korean government, the Moonie Empire has received $4.5 million
from the government of South Africa.
A notable Rollnet-related organization in the Moonie Empire
is the Unification Church's political arm, Confederation of Associations
for the Unity of the Societies of America (CAUSA). This organization
has worked in close coordination with the U.S. Right to support
Reagan policy in El Salvador and Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, it was
part of Singlaub's private contra supply network. The Moonies
have also promoted their right-wing views with such publications
as the Washington Times and the weekly glossy Insight, offered
free to business executives and other elite opinion makers.
CAUSA USA's president has been retired Air Force Gen. E. David
Woellner, who also held high positions in the American Security
Council and the Coalition for Peace Through Strength. CAUSA has
also worked closely with the Council for Inter-American Security,
the organization sponsoring the Santa Fe Committee whose influential
1980 report recommended a global rollback policy.
Rollback Intellectuals and Government Officials
A respectable veneer for Rollnet has been supplied by a number
of U.S. intellectuals/In fact, the ExSET theory can be viewed
as the intellectual justification for Rollnet's activities. During
the Reagan administration, some of these people became important
government officials. One key link of Rollnet with intellectuals
is the ClA. Leading neoconservative Irving Kristol was publisher
of a 1950s journal Encounter which was financed by the ClA. Former
ClA deputy director Ray Cline has more recently served as a foreign
policy "analyst" at the conservative Center for Strategic
and International Studies. Cline helped initiate APACL during
his ClA days in Taiwan and also assisted in organizing the U.S.
WACL chapter while also serving as a representative of the related
Moonie CAUSA organization.
The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) has provided important
links between rollback-oriented intellectuals such as Eugene Rostow,
Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Norman Podhoretz, and military-industrial
figures including David Packard, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, and ex-Chair
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Lyman Lemnitzer. Thirty-three
CPD members received appointments in the Reagan administration;
among them were John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy and Richard
Perle, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security
Policy, both of whom had performed consulting work for large military
contractors. Foremost ExSET theorist Richard Pipes was a Reagan
National Security Council advisor, and Fred Ikle, formerly from
the Air Force's Rand Corporation think tank, became Under Secretary
of Defense for Policy. Clare Booth Luce, former China Lobby mainstay,
was also on the CPD and became a member of Reagan's Foreign Intelligence
Right-wing think tanks have also had Rollnet links. Professor
Stefan Possony has worked at the Hoover Institution and has also
been active in WACL and the American Security Council. The ubiquitous
Gen. Daniel Graham has been associated with the Heritage Foundation.
The Nicaraguan contras also have their supporting group of intellectuals,
called Prodemca (Friends of the Democratic Center in Central America),
including such prestigious people as Jeane Kirkpatrick, right-wing
patron William Simon, and Ben Wattenberg of the influential Coalition
for a Democratic Majority.
Anti Castro Cubans and other Assorted Contras
The word contra means counterrevolutionary. Every social revolution
creates a group of individuals or economic groups that have lost
their power, wealth, or economic stability. These groups are fertile
soil for the recruitment of professional contras who hope to regain
their previous positions in society vie armed insurgency. The
leaders of these groups are often military or police officers
supportive of the dictator deposed by the revolution. If their
insurgency fails, they often become permanent exiles, available
for other counterrevolutionary causes around the world. Along
with ClA and ex-CIA operatives, contra leaders are key Rollnet
While the Nationalist Chinese contras have played a major
Rollnet role, the grouping most significant in modern U.S. politics
has been the Cuban contras or anti-Castro Cubans. Following the
failed Bay of Pigs rollback attempt, some Cuban exiles have been
willing ClA mercenaries, signing up for ClA actions in the Congo,
Bolivia, Vietnam, and Central America. At the same time, a number
of Cuban contras have been convicted of drug smuggling and accused
of bombings and other terrorist acts.
As with ClA operatives, failed contra insurgents constitute
a major disposal problem. With the spate of contra operations
of the 1980s, this problem is likely to increase. In particular,
if the Nicaraguan contras fail in their rollback efforts, they
could become the next generation of unemployed Rollnet mercenaries.
As the Iran-Contra Connection puts it, " The $100 million
in U.S. aid now flowing to the contras is a mere down payment
for violence yet to come."
Organized Crime and Drug Smugglers
Covert action networks have had working relationships with
organized crime from the time of World War II, when U.S. military
intelligence arranged to release Mafia kingpins Lucky Luciano
and Vito Genovese from prison in return for their cooperation
in facilitating Allied landings in Italy. This U.S. government-initiated
bailout of the drug-dealing Mafia allowed the European heroin
trade to revive at a time when it was in disarray and heroin could
possibly have been eliminated as a major social problem in the
With the onset of the Cold War, the covert intelligence community
worked with criminal elements in a mutually beneficial way, based
on the rationale that such tactical alliances were necessary in
the global crusade against communism. In addition, the high profitability
of drug trafficking has proved useful for generating cash flows
for secret operations. According to one theory, ClA-related trafficking
in drugs in Southeast Asia was used as a self-financing device
to pay for services and persons whose hire would not have been
approved by Washington. The Afghan resistance has partially financed
its war by selling opium; Afghanistan and bordering areas of Pakistan
are the world's leading source of illicit heroin exports to the
United States and Europe. Drug smuggling has also had an intimate
relation with gun running; in both Southeast Asia and Central
America, pilots have ferried weapons into battle zones and brought
drugs back out. The dose relationship between narcotics dealing
and contra armies in such places as Latin America and Afghanistan
has led one observer to call the armies narco-contras.
Banks and Airlines
Since Rollnet is like a government unto itself, it requires
an infrastructure and large funding sources. Some shady banks
and CIA-related airlines have been key parts of Rollnet's infrastructure.
The Castle Bank & Trust and the Mercantile Bank and Trust
were created by Paul Helliwell, former OSS chief in China and
operator of the CIA-controlled Sea Supply Corporation which was
involved in gun and drug trading in Thailand. The Castle Bank
was one of the CIA's conduits to finance Cuban rollback operations
and held the accounts of several organized crime figures. The
Nugan Hand Bank in Australia had close ties to the ClA and was
probably used to launder drug profits from Laos and Thailand.
Funds through the Nugan Hand Bank were alleged to have been channeled
to the CIA-backed rebels in Angola.
CIA-run airlines have been used to transport personnel, ship
arms, and traffic drugs. The ClA supplied the rollback-oriented
Nationalist Chinese army in Burma via Civil Air Transport, later
changed into Air America. Air America crews supplied the pro-U.S.
Montagnard tribes in Vietnam and Hmong tribes in Laos; the CIA
airline also flew opium out of northeastern Laos. Southern Air
Transport was a CIA company that became "privately"
owned in 1973; it was used to transport arms to the Nicaraguan
contras and to deliver U.S. arms to Iran in 1985-86. The FBI received
at least one report that cocaine had been loaded onto Southern
Air Transport planes in Colombia. CBS News journalist Leslie Cockburn,
in her recent book Out of Control, convincingly documented extensive
drugs-for-guns trafficking utilizing current and "ex"-CIA
proprietaries within the contra supply network.
International Arms Merchants
As the diversion of profits from Iranian arms sales to the
contras demonstrated, international arms sales are an excellent
method for financing Rollnet's activities. The other purpose of
the arms trade for Rollnet, of course, is to obtain arms for Rollnet
insurgent fighters. One clever method used to supply the Nicaraguan
contras was reported to be the transfer of weapons to them after
each major U.S. military exercise in Honduras. Clearly an international
movement can accrue enormous power and wealth based on arms transactions
and-with the addition of Saudi Arabia to the right-wing club-from
oil. Arms, drugs, airlines, banks, and governments work together
in the implementation and financing of Rollnet operations.
The U.S. New Right and Religious Right
A network of 1970s-vintage right-wing organizations generally
associated with the New Right are connected with or part of the
global rollback network. Howard Phillips, who has been chairman
of the Conservative Caucus, and Andy Messing, former Caucus executive
director, have been on the advisory board of the U.S. WACL affiliate,
and General Singlaub has been active in Conservative Caucus activities.
Fred Schlafly, the husband of Phyllis Schlafly who spearheaded
the New Right and-ERA campaign, has been on the board of directors
of the U.S. WACL chapter. The Unification Church has raised $500,000
for the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC).
The Conservative Digest, formerly published by Richard Viguerie,
is a major supporter of Rollnet causes.
Accuracy in Media (AIM), right-wing critic of the New York
Times, CBS and other "liberal establishment media,"
was co-founded by Bernard Yoh who served under the CIA's Gen.
Edward Lansdale in Vietnam and advised Spanish dictator Francisco
Franco and right-wing regimes in South Korea and the Philippines;
a number of ClA and military figures have been on AlM's advisory
board. AIM chairman Reed Irvine has had a regular column in the
Moonie-run Washington Times.
An important umbrella organization of the religious Right,
the National Religious Broadcasters (which has included Jerry
Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Jimmy Swaggert on its board of directors)
has worked with the Moonies and WACL. The Council for National
Policy provides a link between the Christian Right and other right-wing
groups; CNP recently had on its board General Singlaub, Oliver
North, Pat Robertson, and General Graham. Oliver North arranged
for the Florida-based Gospel Crusade to assist in supplying the
Nicaraguan contrast Rightwing evangelist and presidential candidate
Pat Robertson has also helped raise funds for the contras.
Right-wing Funding Sources
The global rollback network did not just happen; it needed
money. Right-wing businesses saw the usefulness of Rollnet for
their economic interests and provided much of the funds to create
and sustain the network through a small number of ultraconservative
foundations. Richard Mellon Scaife has contributed over $100 million
in recent years, with beneficiaries including CPD, Center for
Strategic and International Studies, Heritage Foundation, Accuracy
in Media, and the American Security Council. The Smith Richardson
Foundation, the Coors Foundation, the Olin Foundation, and the
Pew Freedom Trust have financed many of the same groups. Texas
millionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt donated funds to WACL." The
ClA operations naturally have received their funding from the
U.S. taxpayers, and contra groups are funded by the U.S. government,
other rollback regimes, and private sources. Drug trafficking
and arms sales are other key sources of Rollnet money.
Clearly, Rollnet is a highly complex institution with multiple
interrelated parts. Who runs it' Is it ultimately a ClA creation?
Or is it controlled by certain right-wing individuals or corporations,
possibly within the military-industrial complex, who have succeeded
in pressuring the U.S. government to let them use the ClA for
their own purposes? The latter is probably closer to the truth.
In any case, each part of the network has particular interests
in global rollback. These interests might be the regaining of
personal power lost in a revolution or the earning of profits
by a military contractor thriving on the Cold War.
Rollnet and U.S. Foreign Policy: : 1945-1980
Rollnet's Origins: U.S. Covert Operations
The global rollback network derives in part from the expanded
use of covert operations to support U.S foreign policy objectives
after World War II. With the onset of the Cold War, the Soviet
Union and its "satellites" became a central target for
these operations. U.S. capability for covert action grew directly
out of the experiences of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
and related military agencies that ran "special operations"
to anti-fascist resistance groups during World War II. Subsequent
to the signing by President Truman of the 1947 National Security
Act, covert operations derived a strict line (albeit changing
over the years) of authorization from the president and top leadership
represented in the National Security Council.
With technological developments causing more intelligence
to be collected by machines rather than spies, the ClA was reorganized
to devote more of its activities to covert action. Starting in
the late 1940s, skilled operatives from the ranks of the old OSS
were recruited into the ClA's Office of Policy Coordination (OPC)
and subsequently into the Deputy Directorate of Plans (DDP), coordinating
with special operatives in the military services to conduct covert
and overt operations throughout the world. Such old-time covert
warriors include John Singlaub, Thomas Clines, Paul Helliwell,
Richard Stilwell, and Ray Cline, all of whom worked in the OSS
operation in the Burmese-China theater during World War II, and
who over the next forty years would be involved in operations
ranging from Cuba to Southeast Asia to Central America. Reagan's
CIA Director William Casey was a member of the OSS "band
of brothers," the "club that didn't meet," the
old-timers who were "the dedicated secretive operatives who
did the dirty work."
These early days established the basis for personal and political
relationships that would form a major nexus of power within the
covert community. Although tremendous battles would continue to
be waged among U.S. foreign policymakers over issues such as containment
versus rollback Of a nuclear-armed USSR, the covert warriors were
primed for an aggressive global mission. As expressed in President
Eisenhower's 1955 directive NSC-5412/2, the general guidelines
for covert operations aimed to:
" Create and exploit troublesome problems for International
Communism, impair relations between the USSR and Communist China
and between them and their satellites, complicate control within
the USSR, Communist China and their satellites...Counter any threat
of a party or individuals directly or indirectly responsive to
communist control to achieve dominant power in a free world country..
In areas dominated or threatened by International Communism, develop
underground resistance and facilitate covert and guerrilla operations..."
The ideology expressed in these guidelines, differing little
from the precepts of the modern Reagan Doctrine, would increasingly
constitute the worldview of covert activists. The total commitment
against "international communism" would inevitably generate
its own set of policy objectives and political alliances that
would impact greatly on the international and the domestic U.S.
Western European Restraint, Eastern European Frustration
As the Cold War took hold, the traditional conservative establishment
was predominantly Atlanticist, preoccupied with restraining Soviet
power in Europe. Within Western Europe, particularly France and
Italy where communist parties active in the anti-Nazi resistance
commanded widespread popular support, containment involved numerous
covert activities on behalf of pro-Western political parties and
labor unions. In 1948, the CIA worked with the Corsican underworld
to provide the shock troops to defeat communist-led strikes in
Marseilles. Consequently, the Corsicans gained a foothold enabling
them to set up heroin processing labs in southern France that
would provide the bulk of street heroin to the United States.
In the same year, covert relationships were worked out with
the Mafia in Italy to counteract the strength of the Italian Communist
Party, which threatened a victory at the polls. This continuation
of previous understandings reached with Luciano guaranteed the
Mafia the powerful position it has maintained within Italian politics
to this day.
The ClA conducted numerous operations against the Western
European communist parties, including financing a family of anti-socialist
intellectual journals sponsored by the Congress for Cultural Freedom.
The combination of covert activities and Marshall Plan economic
aid was highly successful in keeping Western Europe in the U.S.
camp. Eastern Europe was another matter. While the basic policy
was to contain the Soviets within the limits agreed to at the
1945 Yalta Conference it was considered fair game to take cautious
advantage of any Soviet weaknesses in Eastern Europe. Direct military
rollback under the nose of the Soviets was far too dangerous,
especially after the USSR became a nuclear power. Thus most covert
activities against the Eastern Bloc were centered on intelligence
collection and psychological warfare. Chapter One summarized the
failed Albanian venture; of note is that Rollnet figure E. Howard
Hunt of Watergate fame served as chief of covert operations for
the Balkans during this operation. After Albania, practical recognition
of the dangers of fighting the Soviets constrained the United
States from giving direct military aid to rebellious Hungarians,
East Germans, and Poles.
East European emigres and Nazis were particularly useful as
sources of intelligence. After the war, Gen. Reinhard Gehlen,
head of Nazi counterintelligence on the Eastern front, transferred
his extensive files and network of anti-Soviet spies and collaborators
to the U.S. intelligence services. The U.S. government actively
aided and abetted the escape of numerous Eastern European fascists
after World War II, sometimes in conjunction with the efforts
of right-wing Vatican elements, allowing such Nazis as Klaus Barbie
to flee to South America. These activities were carried out in
conjunction with the Anti-Bolshevik Nations (ABN) and were justified
as serving the anti-Soviet cause.
With the merger of ABN and the Asian People's Anti-Communist
League (APACL) in 1966 to form the World Anti-Communist League
(WACL), a major actor in the global rollback network was born.
ABN provided links to those Nazis who had escaped to South America,
many of whom subsequently attained positions of influence within
various Latin American military dictatorships such as Gen. Alfredo
Stroessner's Paraguay. Klaus Barbie was allegedly in a cocaine
smuggling ring in Bolivia while serving as a close advisor to
its right-wing government. Though organized rollback attempts
in their own countries were impossible, the frustrated Eastern
European fascists committed numerous terrorist murders, a TWA
hijacking in 1976, and a Yugoslav airline bombing in 1972 that
killed twenty-seven people. A failed movement, they became a disposal
problem, and some fought as mercenaries on other continents while
others became cadres of WACL.
Rollnet's Crucible: Far Eastern Rollback
In Chapter One we reviewed the rise of a new interventionist
Right, attuned to the potential of U.S. expansion into the Pacific
Rim and bankrolled by a Sunbelt-based military-industrial complex
providing the technological muscle for Pacific air and naval power.
The traditional elite Atlanticists, as represented in the Council
on Foreign Relations (CFR), recognized Chiang Kai-shek's lack
of any political base in China and preferred to adopt a wait-and-see
attitude toward the 1949 Chinese Revolution. The Asia-first economic
interests lost their bid for direct military confrontation with
China during the Korean War, but successfully pressured for a
covert policy to roll back China in the 1950s. While the rollback
attempts were never serious enough to gain victory, the organization
of Far Eastern covert operations laid the groundwork for the next
forty years of Rollnet actions, both within the United States
and internationally. The major domestic movement growing out of
the China issue became known as the China Lobby.
The China Lobby
Allied with those traders and missionaries oriented to satisfying
the economic and spiritual needs of a mass Asian market, the China
Lobby sprang forth to reclaim a China "lost" by traditionally
conservative, equally anti-communist Atlanticists. The conservative
elites could barely protect their own State Department from the
ravages of a McCarthyism that was ultimately nurtured by the very
anti-communist climate the elites had created to sell their European
Truman Doctrine. With no nuclear threat from China, the traditional
elites signed on" to rollback in the Far East as long as
war with Russia could be prevented.
The China Lobby in its most populist expression took on a
strong bipartisanship exemplified by the activities of the Committee
of One Million, organized by Marvin Liebman. While controlled
by the right wing, the Committee was backed by a notable number
of Atlanticist cold warriors. The Committee of One Million launched
numerous campaigns persuading the majority of Congress to oppose
diplomatic and trade relations with communist China and to prevent
Chinese admission to the UN.
Most important for the development of Rollnet domestically
were the movers behind the China Lobby. The politico-economic
base for the China Lobby was the classical triad of frontier expansionism:
the entrepreneur, the soldier, and the missionary. In the case
of China, this involved Protestant church people (in particular
Henry Luce, publisher of Time and Life, born in China of missionary
parents), shipping and aviation interests (including Gen. Claire
Chennault and Sen. William Knowland from Oakland, California,
a major poet), import-export traders, and the Navy and Air Force,
who wanted to maintain the Pacific as the American lake it had
become following the defeat of Japan. But transcending these narrow
considerations, the China issue was one that could rally reactionary
opposition to the Atlanticist conservative elite.
The major political figure benefiting from the China Lobby's
intense criticism of the Truman administration was Sen. Joseph
McCarthy who used the China issue to purge anti-rollback elements
from the State Department. but for long-range right-wing organization
building, more important was conservative fundraiser and Committee
of One Million organizer Marvin Liebman, who conducted his campaigns
in close contact with the Taiwanese government. Liebman, who prefigured
Richard Viguerie as the predominant right-wing fundraiser of his
time, in turn coordinated his activities with the numerous other
right-wing groups he worked with, providing them with more clout
and more organizational capabilities. Some groups benefiting from
their association with China Lobby leaders have been Young Americans
for Freedom, the American Security Council, Accuracy in Media,
the Moonie Empire, and the Committee on the Present Danger. WACL
was closely related with the China Lobby; Marvin Liebman was general
secretary of WACL's first steering committee and Liebman's successor
at the Committee of One Million organized the first U.S. chapter
Change Kai-shek APACL and the Moonies
Domestically the China Lobby was an important precursor of
the modern rollback Right, but far more important were the international
linkages developed between the CIA and the first major contra
army, the Nationalist Chinese.
After being routed from the Chinese mainland, Chiang Kai-shek
and his troops (described by U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Stilwell as
"a Gestapo") had established themselves on Taiwan by
a massacre of perhaps 20,000 Taiwanese. From 1950 to 1970, Chiang
and his Nationalist Chinese played major roles in the U.S.-directed
covert warfare programs in East Asia. Wherever the CIA went, they
were able to make use of the natural networks of Chinese businessmen
all over the Pacific. According to Asia scholar Franz Schurmann,
the Chinese supplied the CIA with saboteurs, commandos, agents,
smugglers, spies, and "businessmen" to help out in the
complex world of East Asian transactions.
Close cooperation between U.S. covert intelligence agencies
and the Taiwanese government continued in this period. This included
the establishment of the Political Warfare Cadres Academy, allegedly
with the help of Ray Cline, who was Taiwan CIA Station Chief from
1958- 62. This school provided warfare training to thousands of
Third World military figures. Prominent graduates include El Salvador's
Roberto d'Aubuisson, widely viewed as the mastermind of his country's
death squads; Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Monterrosa, a Salvadoran
military commander whose troops massacred an estimated one thousand
civilians at Mozote in December 1981; Amilcar Santamaria a rightist
Honduran political figure; and numerous other intelligence officers
in the armies of Latin American dictators.
Concurrently, the United States collaborated with Chiang Kai-shek
and South Korean intelligence in founding the Asian People's Anti-Communist
League (APACL) in 1954. Ex-Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe
also helped set up APACL. This organization had the purpose of
uniting conservatives from all over the Asian continent to battle
communism. Possibly arranged through Taiwanese ClA station chief
Ray Cline, U.S. funds seem to have helped start APACL. APACL also
drew sustenance from the coffers of the Japanese Right. Ryoichi
Sasakawa and Yoshio Kodama were prominent members of the wartime
fascist Tojo clique who had been convicted of war crimes. In a
manner analogous to the rehabilitation of German Nazi war criminals
to serve the interests of the West, these individuals were freed
in 1948 and helped to bankroll APACL.
Intertwined with APACL was the Unification Church of right-wing
Korean Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Moon received major financing
from Sasakawa (who has called himself the world's wealthiest fascist)
and Kodama. The Korean ClA (whose precursor may have been set
up in part by General Singlaub, CIA deputy chief in South Korea
in the 1950s), organized by South Korean dictator Park Chung Hee
to support his 1961 military coup, adopted the Unification Church
as its political arm. Park, as head of one of the world's chief
rollback governments, was also a major actor in APACL. In both
Korea and Japan, the Moonies and APACL were closely interrelated.
Two important rollback activities in Asia were the Nationalist
Chinese attempt to overthrow the Chinese government and the multiple
coups in Laos to prevent neutralist governments from gaining power.
These two related operations, spanning the 1950 to 1970 period,
were the true moments of birth for Rollnet; individuals joined
in covert warfare in Asia then spread out as rollback operatives
throughout the world.
Arms and Drugs in Burma
The Burma-based Nationalist Chinese operations directed against
communist China in the 1950s were supplied by the CIA airline
Civil Air Transport (CAT), with some pilots drawn from the ranks
of ex-Nazis recruited by the United States. CAT was originally
organized by Gen. Claire Chennault in consultation with Colonel
Richard Stilwell, the ClA's Office of Policy Coordination chief
for the Far East. Also used in these activities was the ClA-run
Sea Supply Corporation, which brought arms to the Chinese contrast
Sea Supply was run by Paul Helliwell who, as chief of the OSS
mission in China during World War II, had used opium brides to
pay off local informants, initiating intelligence-related involvement
with drug traffic. Continuing this tradition, Nationalist Chinese
trafficked in Burmese opium, using CAT planes delivering arms
to ship the opium out, to ultimately reach the world market. These
GIDO (guns in, drugs out) operations persisted in Laos and later
in Vietnam and Central America.
During this period the China Lobby was taking out full-page
ads asserting (without evidence) that communist China was behind
the heroin trade. But the truth about the Burmese operation leaked,
causing a scandal leading to Stilwell's dismissal and the cessation
of direct CIA support for the Chinese contrast However, APACL,
probably using the same CAT planes, took over the supply operation.
Arms and Drugs in Laos
The Chinese contras were driven from Burma into Laos in 1961,
and the CIA, after changing the name of CAT to Air America, took
over a revived arms/drug trade. The political objectives of the
Laotian operation were several: the organizing of the Hmong (who
inhabited parts of China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma)
into/ a pro U.S. force in Southeast Asia, the prevention of a
neutralist Laotian government, the development of a capacity to
disrupt the supply lines of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that ran along
the Laotian-Vietnamese border, and the securing of a base from
which to launch paramilitary raids against North Vietnam. Rollnet
cadres Ted Shackley, Thomas Clines, Richard Stilwell, John Singlaub,
Richard Secord, and Felix Rodriguez worked together in the Laotian
As usual, politics is never pure. Franz Schurmann explains
" One need not believe that the CIA had some grand design
for flooding the world with dope to believe that it got entrapped
in the dope business. The [the Hmong] raised opium as their main
cash crop, then one would have to put aside one s puritanical
beliefs about opium in order to gain their support for more important
causes. If Chinese businessmen in Bangkok and Hong Kong helped
to process and smuggle the opium to various parts of the world,
it was exceedingly deplorable. But, since they formed an invaluable
intelligence network...that too had to be overlooked. If Air America
was supposed to help the anticommunist covert war in Laos, who
could prevent its Asian and American operatives from making some
money on the side ?"
Arms and Drugs in Vietnam
As regular U.S. forces became progressively involved in the
Vietnam conflict in the later 1960s, many of the personnel associated
with the secret war in Laos shifted over to Vietnam. Some members
of the U.S. intelligence team in Vietnam were Ted Shackley as
head of the ClA station, John Singlaub, Richard Secord, Oliver
North, Felix Rodriguez, Edward Lansdale, Harry Aderholt, and William
Colby, who directed the Pheonix assassination program that resulted
in the deaths of 20,000 to 40,000 Vietnamese.
Besides Burma and Laos, a third Southeast Asian GIDO operation
involved the pro-U.S. Montagnards in South Vietnam, whose loyalty
was to some extent bought by Air America assistance in bringing
the Montagnards' opium crop to the world market. Mafioso Santos
Trafficante, fresh from his covert work against Cuba was also
a key organizer of this drug network. The multiple purposes of
the drug smuggling were to gain the favor of opium growers, to
generate funds for the secret operations themselves, and to gain
personal profit. The networks created by GIDO operations formed
the basis of Rollnet: U.S. military and intelligence personnel,
contra armies, airlines, banks, arms, and drug dealers.
The drug trade run though Air America blossomed. As well as
supplying the habits of the addicts that at one point comprised
over 5 percent of the U.S. armed forces, heroin from the "Golden
Triangle" came home to hook tens of thousands of U.S. citizens.
Most of the drugs came through Florida via anti-Castro Cuban networks
working with the Trafficante organization with Trafficante himself
visiting Southeast Asia to coordinate setting up of regional heroin
factories to supplement the Corsican networks that heretofore
had provided the only source of street heroin.
With the fall of the Saigon regime in 1975, the covert assets
that had been carefully nurtured over the years were removed for
future use. Under the direction of Assistant Secretary of Defense
Erich von Marbod and the CIA apparatus headed by Shackley, millions
of dollars worth of arms and profits from the heroin trade were
transferred out of Vietnam, Money was deposited in secret accounts
around the world. Of special note was the use of the Nugan Hand
Bank in Australia, which would provide a secret source of funding
over the next few years for U.S. covert operations, including
the destabilization of the Australian Labor Party and possibly
the South Africa-backed Savimbi insurgency in Angola.
Nugan Hand's connection with the entire Rollnet web is underscored
by the people intimately involved with its activities. Individuals
associated with the bank included Theodore Shackley, Thomas Clines,
and Edwin Wilson, later convicted of selling arms to Libya. The
president of the bank, which stole the savings of low-level military
personnel, was retired Rear Adm. "Buddy" Yates, who
had been the chief of staff for planning for U.S. forces in Asia
and the Pacific. The head of the bank's Hawaiian operations was
retired Gen. Edwin Black, who had been the commander of U.S. troops
in Thailand as well as assistant army chief of staff in the Pacific.
Former CIA Director William Colby served as a lawyer for Nugan
Hand. The bank reportedly laundered money for Suharto of Indonesia,
provided services for Marcos of the Philippines, and assisted
the Shah in shifting money out of Iran.
Southeast Asia, then, was the cradle of the global rollback
network. Close behind in importance was Latin America, in particular
the operations involving Cuba.
The Latin American Death Squad Network
Eight major rollback operations have been mounted in Latin
America since World War II: Guatemala in 1954, Cuba in 1961 (failed),
Brazil in 1964, Dominican Republic in 1965, Chile in 1973, Jamaica
in 1980, Grenada in 1983, and Nicaragua in 1981-present. In addition,
large counterinsurgency campaigns have been conducted in Guatemala,
El Salvador, Argentina, Uruguay, and elsewhere. In most of these
nations, various elements of the global rollback network have
been in evidence.
The overthrow of the Arbenz government in 1954 involved a
full-scale psychological warfare campaign organized by Guatemala
CIA station chief E. Howard Hunt. Bombing raids were carried out
by Civil Air Transport planes flown by Nationalist Chinese pilots.
Following the coup, U.S.-picked Colonel Castillo Armas took over
the government. The Guatemalan episode saw the cooperation of
neighboring allied dictatorships that prefigured the later campaigns
against Cuba and Nicaragua. Somoza's Nicaragua was used for training
the insurgents and they staged their invasion from Honduras. Howard
Hunt built upon this relationship to organize the Interamerican
Council for the Defense of the Continent (CIADC), the first Latin
American affiliate of APACL, in Mexico City in 1954.
Castillo Armas' personal secretary was Mado Sandoval Alarcon,
the future "godfather" of the Guatemalan death squads.
By the late 1950s, Sandoval had become leader of the right-wing
party the National Liberation Movement (MLN), which in the 1960s
initiated the death squads to eliminate any serious opposition
to military rule. By 1970, it was difficult to distinguish the
death squads from the Guatemalan military. One observer explained:
"People ask if the death squads are controlled by the Army.
They are the Army."
Sandoval has reportedly worked for the ClA, and the CIA was
involved in the creation of the Guatemalan death squads. Sandoval
also had dose ties with Taiwan and arranged for fifty to seventy
Guatemalan officers to receive training at the Political Warfare
Cadres Academy there. Sandoval was also head of the Guatemalan
chapter of WACL and helped create a death squad apparatus in El
Salvador and Honduras. During the Carter administration, aid to
Guatemala was cut off as a result of the unfettered death squad
activities; in 1979, Generals Singlaub and Graham headed an American
Security Council delegation to Guatemala with the aim of re-establishing
U.S. aid. By 1980, aid to Guatemala had become an interest of
the U.S. New Right. Leaders from the Heritage Foundation, Moral
Majority, Young Americans for Freedom, and the Conservative Caucus
visited Guatemala. Ronald Reagan is reported to have received
an estimated $10 million in campaign contributions from rightist
Guatemalans, and Sandoval "mixed with the Reagan inner circle
during inauguration week."
Rollnet cadres involved in planning the overthrow of Fidel
Castro included Ted Shackley and Thomas Clines, who ran the ClA
office overseeing the Bay of Pigs invasion and the subsequent
secret war against Castro. Central European ex-Nazis helped train
the Cubans for the Bay of Pigs." Paul Helliwell's Sea Supply
Corporation and Castle Bank were used in the financing of the
It was during the anti-Castro operations, organized by the
ClA's largest station in the world, that numerous right-wing Cubans
received training that would provide an indispensable reserve
for U.S. covert activities in years to come. Cuban contra veterans
have seen action in the Congo, South America, Southeast Asia,
Southern Africa, the Middle East, not to mention the Watergate
complex in Washington, D.C. With the winding-down of the ClA station
in 1%5, many of these Cubans were set loose, and some used their
talents in the netherworld of crime, drugs and right-wing politics."
A number of anti-Castro Cubans had been criminal elements, running
prostitution and gambling rackets for the Mafia under the pre-Castro
Batista regime; this involvement persisted in the United States.
According to the book The Fish is Red, a great deal of evidence
implicates a coalition of Cuban contras and the Mafia in the events
surrounding President John Kennedy's assassination. In the attempts
to assassinate Castro, the ClA worked directly with organized
crime figures Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, and Santos Trafficante,
Mafia boss of Southern Florida. While these activities were intermittently
prosecuted by U.S. authorities, in the main the Cubans continued
to support the larger aims of U.S. policy in the hemisphere and
elsewhere. The Cuban contras were a disposal problem, but a useful
disposal problem indeed.
It is useful to review the careers of two active members of
the Bay of Pigs graduating class. Cuban contra Felix Rodriguez
worked under Shackley and Clines in Southeast Asia, setting up
the secret army in Laos. He also served in the Congo in 1965 to
help mercenaries supporting pro-U.S. Mobutu against an insurrection.
Afterwards he spearheaded CIA efforts to track down Che Guevara
in Bolivia, and was at Guevara's interrogation before his murder.
(Rodriguez reportedly wears Guevara's watch today.) Rodriguez
went back to Vietnam as a counterinsurgency expert, working under
Shackley after the latter became CIA station chief for South Vietnam.
In 1981, he served in the ClA-supported Nicaraguan contra training
camp run by the Argentinians in Honduras, and at the time of Contragate
was in charge of logistics at the Salvadoran Ilopongo airbase
supplying the contras.
The second Contragate figure, Luis Posada, supposedly took
part in a CIA-inspired assassination attempt against Castro in
1971. He has been identified as a member of Operation 40, an elite
force recruited by the ClA which had to be closed down after one
of its planes crashed with several kilos of cocaine and heroin
aboard. Posada's dose friend and Operation 40 member Eugenio Martinez
was arrested as one of the Watergate burglars and later pardoned
by President Reagan. In 1976, Posada attended the founding meeting
of the Congress of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU),
a Cuban terrorist alliance supported by the Chilean and Argentine
dictatorships. CORU was financed by gun-running and narcotics
trafficking. One of the organizations working in CORU was the
Cuban terrorist group Alpha 66, which was closely connected with
WACL. Posada and fellow Cuban Orlando Bosch were indicted in Venezuela
for the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane, killing seventy-three
people. After getting out of prison, Posada ended up at Ilopongo
with Felix Rodriguez to help supply the Nicaraguan contrast
Two assassinations following the Chilean coup of 1973 demonstrate
the international workings of Rollnet. The Pinochet dictatorship
that took over after the coup initiated Operation Condor to coordinate
the security forces of Latin American right-wing governments,
enabling them to hunt down their enemies. After Condor was dismantled
as an official operation, its work was contracted to private groups
including WACL. This international murder network was responsible
for the 1975 assassination of an anti-Pinochet Chilean, Bernardo
Leighton; the killing was planned by the Chilean government, carried
out by a Cuban contra group, and took place in Italy. The following
year, anti-Pinochet Chilean Orlando Letelier was assassinated
in Washington, D.C. by a mix of Rollnet actors: the crime was
ordered by the Chilean dictatorship and carried out by Cuban contras
assisted by a member of the Mafia-connected Italian fascist group
P-2. One of the chief right-wing groups behind the 1973 Chilean
coup was Patria y Libertad, which apparently gained the contacts
needed to undertake these assassinations under the auspices of
El Salvador has suffered heavily under the influence of Rollnet.
Maj Roberto d'Aubuisson, trained at the Political Warfare Academy
in Taiwan, and his ARENA Party bore a remarkable resemblance to
Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang. Guatemala's Mario Sandoval Alarcon
took d'Aubuisson as his protege, reorganized and assisted the
Salvadoran death squads which are widely believed to be led by
Through WACL, Sandoval recruited fifty Argentine military
advisors, veterans of the Argentine fascist terror campaign of
the late 1970s, to assist in training Salvadoran death squads.
According to former U S. Ambassador to El Salvador Robert
White, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric
" From the first day in office, the Reagan White House
knew - beyond any reasonable doubt - that Roberto d'Aubuisson
planned and ordered the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo
Romero. The administration of President Carter classified ex-Maj.
Roberto d'Aubuisson, accurately, as a terrorist, a murderer, and
a leader of death squads."
In November 1987, Salvadoran President Jose Napolean Duarte
formally accused d'Aubuisson of planning the Romero murder. But
death squads were no obstacle to d'Aubuisson's gaining respectability
in Rollnet circles, not only through WACL, but also via the U.S.
New Right, to which he became something of a hero. Sen. Jesse
Helms and New Right organizer Paul Weyrich have been d'Aubuisson
supporters, as is the American Security Council where d'Aubuisson
has given two speeches.
The El Salvador-Guatemala-Argentina death squad nexus did
be come an image problem for WACL in the early 1980s, in part
due to a Jack Anderson column linking WACL's Latin American affiliate
CAL (Latin American And-Communist Confederation) with death squads
WACL chairman Singlaub wrote to right-wing journalist Reed Irvine,
now head of Accuracy in Media, asking for help in combating the
Jack Anderson "articles which link WACL with the death squad
The period of military terror in Argentina in the late 1970s
is often called the "dirty war." The repression of any
liberal or left-wing dissent led to an estimated 9,000 people
murdered or disappeared. The Argentine government joined Chile,
Guatemala, and El Salvador as a death squad regime. In doing so,
it became a positive example to CAL, WACL's Latin American branch.
Argentine interrogators and torture specialists, coordinated through
CAL, taught their methods to other Latin militaries. The Argentines,
working with the CIA, were also the first to train the Nicaraguan
The Argentine junta also had a connection with European fascism
and the Mafia through the Italian-Argentine Masonic lodge P-2,
which supported the junta. P-2 veteran Stefano delle Chiaie was
involved in the murder of Chilean Orlando Letelier, helped train
death squads in El Salvador, and his associate Klaus Barbie provided
German and Austrian gunmen for death squad operations.
In Latin America, the global rollback network shows its true
face: death squads, tortures, terrorism, repression all coordinated
with European and Asian links. In the 1980s, the Nicaraguan contras
were trained by the death squad organizers of the 1970s to become-as
Chapter Four will show-a celebrated death squad of the 1980s.
Rollnet Reaches Southern Africa
In Southern Africa, U.S. goals have been to keep the region
pro-Western without appearing too closely linked with South Africa,
an international outlaw because of its apartheid policies, but
also the dominant regional power. One mechanism for carrying out
this policy has been to utilize Rollnet in implementing U.S. objectives,
enabling the official U.S. position to appear at least mildly
critical of South Africa.
Besides South Africa, the Belgian Congo was important as a
large nation that gained independence in 1960. Now named Zaire,
this nation fought a post-independence struggle in which the United
States helped eliminate popular leader Patrice Lumurnba. But after
a pro-U.S. government had been installed, insurgency continued,
and the CIA brought in its Bay of Pigs Cuban veterans and South
Africans to put down the rebellion.' By 1965, Zaire was safely
in the hands of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The United States now
had friends at both the northern and southern ends of the Southern
When revolutions erupted in the Portuguese colonies of Angola,
Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau, the United States provided counterinsurgency
assistance to the Portuguese Salazar dictatorship. Cuban Bay of
Pigs veterans flew missions for the Portuguese. At the same time
- playing both sides of the field so as to win whatever the outcome
- the CIA kept insurgent leaders Holden Roberto (Mobutu's son-in-law)
and Jonas Savimbi on retainer.
With the 1974 revolt of progressive officers against the decades-old
Salazar dictatorship, the colonialist war in Africa was effectively
over. The United States authorized about $30 million through the
CIA to unseat the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
(MPLA). Finally, Sen. Dick Clark succeeded in passing an amendment
forbidding covert actions in Angola, thereby forcing the United
States to rely on South Africa to carry on.
South Africa, with tacit collusion of the United States, permitted
terrorist attacks against the leftist government of Mozambique,
and propped up the Savimbi insurgency in Angola, possibly aided
by secret funds flowing from the coffers of the Nugan Hand Bank.
As we noted earlier, South Africa spent considerable sums attempting
to defeat Senator Clark and to reverse U.S. public opinion. The
upshot of these activities was that the newly independent governments
of Southern Africa were the first to suffer the effects of modern
contra-war, presaging the future unleashing of the Reagan Doctrine
on the Third World.
Rollnet Profiteering in the Middle East
Only a few points will be made about the enormously complex
Middle East. First, this region contained three important pro-U.S.
nations: Iran prior to the fall of the Shah in 1979, Saudi Arabia,
and Israel. Even before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the
Shah and the Saudis were aiding the Afghan rebels against the
Second, these three Middle East nations were closely linked
with the U.S. military-industrial complex. Because Israel received
billions of dollars each year in military aid, it bought many
weapons from the United States. Because the Shah's Iran and Saudi
Arabia were rich, oil-producing nations, they could afford billions
in arms purchases. In just one of many arms deals, Rockwell International,
assisted by the CIA, paid large bribes to the Shah's air force
commander (and brother-in-law) to gain approval to sell to Iran
a $500 million electronic spying and communication system of little
value. Admiral Thomas Moorer, on the board of directors of the
American Security Council, was also involved in a major arms transaction
with the Shah, as was Richard Secord, who at that time headed
the Pentagon's military assistance program to Iran.
Third, it was in the money-laden labyrinth of the Middle East
that profit came close to exceeding anticommunism as motivation
for some Rollnet operatives. Ted Shackley, Thomas Clines, Richard
Secord, and Edwin Wilson had formed the private firm EATSCO to
transport arms to Egypt, a deal that allegedly skimmed $8 million
from U.S. government funds. Center for Strategic and International
Studies "intellectual" Michael Ledeen intervened on
behalf of Shackley and Secord in this case. Secord and Oliver
North had also been involved in the $3.5 billion AWACS radar plane
sales to the Saudis, following which Saudi funds were sent to
the Nicaraguan contras.
For most of these operatives/entrepreneurs, patriotism and
profit were designed to overlap. But for Edwin Wilson, this may
not have been the case. Wilson was convicted of supplying Libya's
Qaddafi with advanced explosives, timing devices, and military
training. Regarding Contragate, Wilson has said, "If I wasn't
in jail I'd have headed up this operation."
Poised and Ready
By 1980, the global rollback network was poised and ready
for action. They had a candidate, Ronald Reagan, with many Rollnet
ties. The military-industrial complex wing of Rollnet led by CPD
had scored major victories against the SALT II arms control pact
and in favor of greater military budges. Revolutionary changes
on three continents had spawned resistance movements that tied
into Rollnet. Old time CIA operatives and Cuban exiles felt betrayed,
abandoned, and unemployed by the Carter administration and were
mad. And the actions of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, plus
the taking of hostages in Iran, created the ideal climate for
a resurgence of global rollback.
During this transition period, the global rollback network
was very active both in lobbying for the U.S. government to support
their causes and in modernizing their networks. Less than two
months after Ronald Reagan's inauguration, Rollnet was back in