As I mentioned in the two previous posts, I’m revisiting research I did over a decade ago thanks to the ‘blockbuster movie’ with Tom Cruise (American Made) about the story of a small airport in western Arkansas that was implicated in the transport of weapons and drugs during the Iran-Contra hearings. We already got another Hollywood version of the story in a made-for-TV movie starring Dennis Hopper, but it’s such a good one I guess they couldn’t resist to rehash it once again.
Mena was only one of several locales in the region involved, but it was the one that got the most press, by far. Here in a town of only 5,000, in a ‘dry county’ (alcohol prohibition), in the lovely Ouachita mountains, a tiny speck on the map, was a cornerstone piece of a conspiracy spanning now seven Washington administrations.
Instead of results, we get a banana republic. Instead of the truth, we get Hollywood films. Instead of accountability, the perpetrators and traitors get promotions. Instead of safer streets and communities, we get drugs and weapons through tiny Bible belt towns. Nothing has changed.
And like any good conspiracy, the web of truth and lies is as twisted as any Gordian knot. The agendas and accusations fly as high and fast as old Barry’s Fat Lady, his infamous airplane shot down in Nicaragua and traced back to the then named, Rich Mountain Aviation, Mena, AR.
“The cost of living an exciting life is high.” Barry Seal
Indeed it is, for Seal as well because, spoiler alert, he gets killed, they say by Medillin cartel hit men. I do not know which of whose versions of what really happened and I doubt few others do either. That’s how conspiracies are designed to work, like a maze full of traps of misinformation, to keep folks speculating for generations to come. So they can keep selling box office hits to keep the scoffers and the coffers pumping. As long as nothing really changes.
Most likely, the major figure in this case, Terry Reed, ex-CIA agent and whistleblower, was being factual when he wrote in his confessional tome Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA that: “Believing Mena to be a major drug-smuggling mecca because of Seal’s cover as a trafficker, a state police investigator would later testify that stake out operations at the Mena airport by a joint task force included even agents from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Nothing had been accomplished, because they did not realize that the CIA used Seal as a diversion to distract them from what was really happening at Nella, just under their noses 12 miles away. And, by the time the stakeout even began, the training operations at Nella had already been shut down and some of those involved at Nella were being groomed for bigger and better opportunities in Mexico. (198)”
What happens each time a new exciting, glamorous high crimes story is rehashed, it shifts the “Overton Window.” From Wikipedia: “The Overton window is an approach to identifying which ideas define the domain of acceptability within a democracy’s possible governmental policies. Proponents of policies outside the window seek to persuade or educate the public in order to move and/or expand the window. Proponents of current policies, or similar ones, within the window seek to convince people that policies outside it should be deemed unacceptable.”
Instead of outrage, we’re used to it now. Drugs for weapons, weapons for drugs, no biggie. Yes, we all know the government is involved, old news. The War on Drugs? You mean where street users are thrown to the wolves of the prison industrial complex? Yes, yes, we know already.
Recently I was thumbing through the comments section of a YouTube clip on Mena which quipped, this old story is like ‘conspiracy light’ compared to what’s going on today.
I unfortunately agree. But I think I’ll keep posting on it a bit longer anyway. Maybe it will help one more person to see what we are really dealing with here in our government and how the world really is run by tribal warfare and mafia-style conspiracies while the mass of men continue sleeping. or playing along.
Some links and references of interest in further research for anyone interested. Unfortunately, I suspect due to censorship, much of my original material seems to be not available online.
Johnson, Haynes, Sleepwalking Through History, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1991. History of the Reagan years traces the relationships of William Casey, Manuel Noriega and the Medellin cocaine cartel.
Levine, Michael, The Big White Lie, New York, Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1993 DEA undercover investigator learns that the biggest deterrent to stopping the drug epidemic is the CIA.
McCoy, Alfred, The Politics of Heroine, Brooklyn NY Lawrence Hill Books, 1991 Excellent history about CIA complicity in the global drug trade, from the French Connection, to Southeast Asia and onward into the Afghanistan and Latin America.
A fantastic comprehensive overview, long, but well worth it.