Excerpt from Al Martin’s book The Conspirators
Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider
by Lt. Cmdr. Al Martin (US Navy, Ret.)
Copyright 2000, Al Martin. All Rights Reserved
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Confidential File: Alexander S. Martin……………………………………………….…3
Chapter 2 The NPO and Operation Sledgehammer……………………………………………. 14
Chapter 3 Oliver North: The Money Laundering Drug Smuggling “Patriot”……. 26
Chapter 4 “Do Nothing” Janet Reno and Iran-Contra Suppression………………..….. 42
Chapter 5 Classified Illegal Operations: Cordoba Harbor and Screw Worm ……..50
Chapter 6 The Don Austin Denver HUD Fraud Case …………………………………..….. 66
Chapter 7 Bush Family Fraud & Iran-Contra Profiteering ……………………………… 72
Chapter 8 Insider Stock Swindles for “The Cause”…………………………………………….89
Chapter 9 Corporate Fraud, Stock Fraud and Other Scams………………………………106
Chapter 10 The Tri-Lateral Investment Group – Bush Family Fraud…………………. 114
Chapter 11 Lawrence Richard Hamil: The US Government’s Con Man…………… 122
Chapter 12 US Government Narcotics Smuggling & Illicit Weapons Sales……… 136
Chapter 13 US Government Sanctioned Drug Trafficking ……………………………….. 141
Chapter 14 The Chinese Connection: US Weapons & High Tech Graft…………….. 156
Chapter 15 More Iran-Contra Stories: Both Humorous & Salient …………………… 171
Chapter 16 Chinese Money for US Weapons …………………………………………………….185
Chapter 17 US Government Narcotics Smuggling (Part 2) ……………………….… 192
Chapter 18 In Hiding Again ……………………………………………………………………………..209
Chapter 19 Corporate Fraud, Government Fraud and More Fraud……………………224
Chapter 20 The Real Story of Operation Watchtower…………………………………………234
Chapter 21 KGB & East German Activities in the US (1985-87)…………………………..240
Chapter 22 The Woman in Red (And Black)…………………………………………………………252
Chapter 23 Bush Family Corporate, Real Estate, and Bank Frauds…………………….260
Chapter 24 Iran-Contra Real Estate Fraud…………………………………………………………..277
Chapter 25 More Chinese-Military Connections…………………………………………………288
Chapter 26 ONI, CZX & Orpheus. ………………………………………………………………… 295
- CONFIDENTIAL FILE: ALEXANDER S. MARTIN
- Born 5-19-54, Oberammergau, West Germany, Federal German Republic.
- Mixed German and American parentage.
- Returned to United States 09-Aug-1957.
- Graduated Masconoma Technical School, 16-May-1972.
- Full ROTC training then available at high school level.
- Graduated with certificates in electronics and communications equipment, as well as a
Level 05 Certificate in Russian Languages.
- Subject joined the United States Navy, 19-May-1972.
- Sent to China Lakes Naval Air Station to complete basic training and for further
training in electronics and communications.
- Subject MOS – 16-Sep-1972.
- At subject’s request, TDY’d 03-Oct-1972 Naval Communication Center, Saigon, South
- Remained in South Vietnam theater until cessation of naval and air hostilities on 27-
- On 04-Sep-1973, subject again, and on request, TDY’d Subic Bay, Pacific Theater of
Operations Naval Command Center.
- Discharged honorably United States Navy 19-May-1976.
- Immediately thereafter joined United States Naval Reserves, Active Status.
- Rremained United States Naval Reserves active status doing two tours.
- Transferred and relisted, inactive service United States Naval Reserves.
- Subject retires United States Naval Reserves 19-May-1988 at the Reserve Officers Rank
of Lt. Commander.
After my discharge from active naval duty service in 1976, I moved to Cuzco, Peru,
and set up a business with a childhood friend, George W. Carver III, son of then CIA
Deputy Director, George W. Carver Jr.
The business dealt in alpaca, llama, and vicuna, but was actually a cover, as a “G” for
the State Department.
My assignment at the time was to gather intelligence on Russian military operations
At the time, Peru was officially pro-Moscow. It was armed by Moscow and had
about 4,000 Russian army advisors in the country.
I remained in the country until September 9, 1977, the coup of Gen. Hector Bermudez
and the installation of civilian President, Fernando Terry. At that time I returned to the
United States, initially settling in Miami.
While in Peru, I became acquainted with numerous CIA field agents and support
personnel, then being run out of CIA’s Lima station. These included Deputy CIA
Station Chief Eugene S. Barlow, more commonly referred to as “Buzz” Barlow, whose
claim to fame had been that he had secretly recruited Vladimiro Montesinos, a
Peruvian army officer, who then in turn developed an intelligence network that
informed on Russian Army and Soviet KGB movements within Peru.
An interesting footnote to this is that eight years later, Montesinos would become a
double agent working for the KGB. He was being run by then Assistant Deputy KGB
Director, Major Yuri Shvets, whose cover was Commercial Trade Attache for the Soviet
Embassy in Washington.
Barlow would play an important role in Iran-Contra, particularly in the post 1983
environment and would finally finish up his career as a senior FBI agent at the Tulsa
Subpoenaed before Congress in 1987, Barlow either refused to answer, or answered “I
don’t know” 117 times when asked about his Iran-Contra role.
In 1978, I met Lawrence Richard Hamil, a Department of Defense shadow player, a
hanger-on as many are, who wait for profitable covert operations.
His father was the well-known Harry J. Hamil, former senior Defense Department
policy analyst of their southern desk before his death of natural causes in 1984.
Hamil and I and others including Frank Snepp, Jack Terrell, Harry Aderholt, Landon
Thorme, Duke Rome, and a host of other players in the shadows of Washington,
became involved in a scheme in 1979 to traffic in American Express credit cards in
Argentina on behalf of the American Express Corporation.
At that time, the United States had placed a short-lived financial embargo on the
country of Argentina in an attempt to pressure the military junta there.
I received twenty dollars for every American Express Card delivered to waiting
customers in Argentina.
You may remember that the scandal was broken by The Washington Post in 1980.
They showed that there was extensive CIA involvement in the operation and that, in
fact, the CIA had actively cooperated with other United States’ financial institutions to
evade the financial embargo placed on Argentina at that time.
Through 1980, I also became involved with Mr. Hamil and others in illicit
transactions to evade the Dominican sugar blockade then extant at that time.
In the late 1970s, I became involved with Lt. Col. Jack Terrell, Brig. Gen. Harry
Aderholt, Lt. Col. Landon Thorme, Lt. Col. Duke Rome.
All would become major Iran-Contra participants three or four years later.
Landon Thorme, for instance, was very close to Jeb Bush.
He acted as a corporate strawman for Jeb Bush in a lot of Bahamian shell corporations
formed around Bush’s principal artifice called IMC (International Medical Corporation)
then directed by the infamous Miguel Recarey, who fled the country in 1985.
In 1984, at the request of Lawrence Richard Hamil, I formed several corporations in
Florida, chiefly among them, Southeast Resources, Inc.
I also established offices in Miami, ostensibly to act as a primary marketer for Hamil’s
series of corporate shells, collectively known as the Gulf Coast Investment Group.
The shells were formed primarily to legitimize the flow of funds between wealthy
individuals and right-wing Republican investors who wished to support Iran-Contra.
Oliver North called it “The Cause. Secord called it “The Enterprise” and by June 1984,
it was just starting to get off the ground.
Obviously it was not legal for these individuals to contribute money to an illicit and
illegal covert operation of state.
Therefore they needed a legitimizing factor which is what Hamil and I provided.
In July 1984, I had a meeting with Richard Secord and Larry Hamil in Miami. There I
was extensively briefed about Iran-Contra operations and was allowed to review
voluminous CIA white papers concerning Operation Black Eagle drafted in 1983.
Very quickly I understood that Iran-Contra (or the euphemism “Iran-Contra”) was a
ruse to ostensibly arm an envisioned 50,000 man guerrilla or “contra” army in
Nicaragua which would act as a bulkwark against the increasingly powerful Sandinista
The Sandinistas by that time had built up an army of 120,000 men and were being
extensively equipped by the Soviets.
From mid-1984 through the end of 1985, Gulf Coast Investment Group’s operations
and its subsidiaries were rapidly expanded to include not only the marketing of
fraudulent limited partnerships, real estate limited partnerships, oil and gas, etc., but
also to include money laundering, securities fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, and
the laundering of proceeds from State-sanctioned narcotics operations.
Since I began to understand the increasing risk of staying in business with Mr. Hamil,
he and I parted ways on February 10, 1985.
Hamil was becoming increasingly a risk at that time. He was conducting operations
that he was never authorized to do, and there became a point when, very simply put,
the Agency would not cover for him any more.
Consequently on May 5, 1985, with my help, Miami Field Office FBI Special Agent
Ross Gaffney took Mr. Hamil into custody at the Bahia Mar Marina in Ft. Lauderdale,
My first direct knowledge of CIA-sponsored narcotics trafficking came during a
March 3, 1985 policy and planning meeting at the FDN, the Nicaraguan Government In
Exile, then located in Miami. It was headed by President Adolfo Calero and financed
by the CIA.
At this meeting, Oliver North, Fred Ikley, Nestor Sanchez and others laid out North’s
plan to increase narcotics operations by establishing new narcotics trafficking out of
Honduras, which would then flow through Swan Island, an island off the coast of
Honduras (controlled by the US Defense Intelligence Agency) and then would inflow
to Cap Haitién, Haiti, and from there into the United States, principally through the
port of New Orleans.
At that time, I saw entire schematics for operation and was advised that Francois
Duvalier and Washington lobbyist Ronald H. Brown (later Commerce Secretary Brown)
had helped Col. North meet with Duvalier and discuss the arrangements.
When these arrangements were completed by April 1983, I was informed, when in
FDN policy and planning session, that Col. Jean Paul, then commanding officer of the
Dessiline Battalion of the Haitian army, would be the new contact man for narcotics
operations in Haiti.
Later on, the largest quantity of cocaine trafficked were through these sea-borne
The Director of Security for those operations out of Swan Island was none other than
Deputy Defense Intelligence Agency Director for Carribean, Central, and South
American Theater Operations — Frederick C. Ikley.
It was estimated by the Hughes Commission in 1988 that in a two year period about
50 tons of cocaine moved through this channel.
Unfortunately for Col. North, by 1986, Colonel Jean Paul of the Haitian army (now
Gen. Jean Paul) wanted an increased share of the revenue compared with what he was
originally being paid — $50,000 per ship that he cleared from the port.
In 1986, Jean Paul began to secretly contact certain leading liberals in Congress,
principally Ron Dellums. He began leaking information to Mr. Dellums, information
which later wound up in Sen. Kerry’s hands.
Three days before he was to be subpoenaed in 1987, Gen. Jean Paul was poisoned to
death with a bowl of pumpkin soup.
It was fed to him by none other than his mistress, Lucille, who later became the wife
of Lt. Gen. Prosper Avríl, Haitian Army Chief of Staff.
In 1987 during the Kerry Commission hearings, when there were demands by the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Christopher Dodd, to investigate the
murder of Jean Paul, within three days of the call for said investigations, Lucille Avríl
Then Robert Bennett, brother of Michelle Bennett, wife of Jean-Claude Duvalier,
attempted to sell information to congressional investigators. Just as quickly he was
found dead in a fire in one of his warehouses in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
To conclude on the topic of CIA narcotic distribution through Haiti — the one
individual I’ve left today in a position to talk is Maj. Michel François, former
commanding officer Haitian police department of Port-Au-Prince.
As you may know, Maj. François was indicted in 1989 for narcotics trafficking, and
was arrested recently in Honduras.
He is quietly being held there on an extended basis prior to extradition to the United
The United States requested his extradition from Honduras through the Department
of Justice extradition section.
At the same time the US State Department, at the insistence of the CIA, has pressured
the Honduran government not to extradite Maj. François.
The likely conclusion to this affair will be that Maj. François will be quietly liquidated
prior to ever being extradited to the United States.
Throughout the remainder of 1985, my operations continued — this time under the
direct authority of Maj. Gen. Richard Vernon Secord.
My relationship with Gen. Secord began to deteriorate in the summer of 1985 due to
my increasing nervousness about my exposure and operations should they ever be
This culminated in a meeting on Thursday, December 19, 1985, in Miami between
Oliver North, Richard Secord, myself and my private investigator, Steven Dinerstein.
At that time, we discussed my being paid the remaining $200,000 that Richard Hamil
owed me with an additional $50,000 to be paid the following week.
We were to establish a meeting in my office where Hamil would appear and would
be paid a certain sum of money, in exchange for which he would give back to Col.
North certain documents that the colonel wanted to retrieve from Hamil after Hamil
was scheduled to be liquidated.
I was to immediately leave the United States and arrive at a safe house then
established by Col. North in St. Martin.
Unfortunately, Hamil discovered the intent of the meeting a day before it was due to
happen and the meeting was scrubbed.
At that time, I was effectively on the outside looking in.
In February 1986, I was informed that I was a co-conspirator and also a target of a bill
of indictment against Lawrence Richard Hamil, proffered in the Miami district,
alleging bank, securities and wire fraud.
On February 16, 1986, I had a meeting with Jeb Bush at his office at 1390 Brickell
Avenue in Miami to discuss the context of my grand jury testimony.
At that time, Mr. Bush informed me that my attorney, Michael Von Zamft, would be
contacted with further instructions.
In fact, my attorney, Michael Von Zamft, was contacted directly by then Attorney
General Ed Meese with instructions for his client — me — to invoke national security
privilege for refusal to answer all questions in said grand jury.
On Friday, March 21, 1986, I did in fact appear before a Miami grand jury and was, in
fact, questioned by the infamous and sinister Assistant United States Attorney William
Richard Scruggs, then chief of political liability control and suppression for the Miami
US Attorney’s office, then headed by US Attorney by Leon Kellner.
In fact, I refused to answer all questions on national security privilege. An in camera,
ex-parte hearing was held before the day judge, Judge Eugene Spellman, which had
been arranged in advance by Attorney General Meese and then Deputy Attorney
General George W. Terwilliger.
In that meeting I dictated ten pages of secret testimony which was sealed by Judge
In ten days, the government then appealed to the Federal 11th Circuit, in Atlanta to
overturn the seal. The seal was dissolved four days later.
AIG Harken Energy Winn Financial Group
There were about 100 such projects in all which were ultimately bailed out by some public guarantee institution.
It wasn’t necessarily the FDIC or the FSLIC, but in some cases, very esoteric public guaranteed funds were used to bail these deals out.
George Jr. naturally specialized in oil since he controlled the Bush family oil portfolio including Harken Energy stock, Tidewater Development stock, and Apache and Zapata stock.
These were all deals where George Sr. had formerly been on the Board of Directors. Now George Jr. was on the Board of Directors, since Sr. as Vice President couldn’t have that capacity.
Harken Energy was a classic fraud. The stock still trades on the AMEX at five or six dollars a share. It’s been pumped up recently because there’s a new fraud going on with those Bahrainian Leases that Richard Secord originally had ten years ago.
The stock will shortly collapse back to two dollars again, as soon as everybody gets out. A lot of Republicans will make money on the deal. ….
I also have a lot of documentation pursuant to George, Sr.’s involvement in fraudulent deals surrounding Zapata and Apache Energy. I have a lot of stuff with him in Harken Energy, also including a lot with George, Jr. in Harken Energy. That’s another possibility. But again, these weren’t large frauds. They were little security frauds, the fraudulent diversion of monies in those bogus Bahrainian leases when they temporarily ensconced Richard Secord to be their Middle Eastern Director for Bahrainian Operations which existed in a file drawer.
What that Bahrainian deal came down to was George Bush, Sr.’s close friend, former Saudi intelligence chief and major IranContra figure, Ghaith Pharaon. That was just a donation to IranContra by the Saudi government. And that’s what the bogus Bahrainian lease deal effectively comes down to. It wasn’t much $38 million, something like that.
Secord received about $3 million for his own pocket. Harry Aderholt was thrown a bone out of the deal. It was no big deal really. I also want to discuss an overview of Bush family fraud, ala IranContra profiteering. …….
The TriLateral Investment Group, Ltd. is also one of the deals (one of the very few deals, perhaps only a few dozen deals in that era by this group of guys) that you could connect Jeb, Neil, George, Jr., Prescott, and Wally Bush.
All five you can put in the TriLateral Investment Group, Ltd. You can put Neil in it visavis TriLateral’s dealings with Neil’s Gulf Stream Realty.
Then you back up a step and put Neil Bush into TriLateral Investment Group’s dealings with the Winn Financial Group of Denver run by the infamous former Ambassador to Switzerland, Phillip Winn. You can put George, Jr. in the deal visavis the TriLateral Group Ltd.’s fraudulent relationship with American Insurance General (AIG) , of which George, Jr. was a part through the same series of fraudulent fidelity guarantee instruments issued on behalf of Harken Energy from American Insurance General.
TriLateral Investment Group then sold bogus oil and gas leases to AIG. This is a direct fraud that George, Jr. profited to the extent of (not a lot) $1.6 or $1.7 million. But it was a clear outandout fraud.
Rolling Stone magazine did a good piece on George Bush, Jr. and three of his oil and gas companies which failed. But the article really didn’t go far enough.
It did not go really into Harken and Tidewater and other public corporations which George, Jr. was involved in and in which securities fraud was committed. He was able to neatly skirt the laws or should we say deflect the shit away from himself through a whole series of contrivances. The way he was able to do this, by the way, was to post these essentially bogus fidelity and guaranty instruments, so the deals wouldn’t be scrutinized until long after they had collapsed.
This was one of George Jr’s specialities and I did this myself, by the way. It was a common tactic in IranContra Securities Fraud. As the expression goes, it was to “back in” fraudulent assets, normally of a real estate nature, to back in fraudulent assets into a public shell. More commonly, they were known by their regulatory names in those days as a Reg D offering, or a Reg 501 or 505, or an S1, S3 or S18 offering. These were the common euphemisms used in the day. This is, of course, Security and Exchange Commission language, or “SEC speak” as we used to call it, for various types of offerings, which govern how large these offerings could be, how many states they could be ‘blueskied’ in (meaning how many states they could be sold in), the total amount of money that could be raised, the market making regulation that was necessary to maintain a market in the shares thereinafter.
Anyway, a very common securities fraud was the use of 144 stock. 144 stock refers to Rule 144, or Restricted Shares (shares that are not free to trade under the twoyear restriction rule). Often a company that would nominally have ten million shares outstanding could issue a hundred million shares of 144 stock that would then be sold at a steep discount to the market price. If you had a stock trading at a dollar, you would issue scads and scads of 144 stock, and you sell it for twenty cents a share. This stock would get bounced out into offshore bank loans, principally through the Union Bank of Switzerland, but also through a whole host of offshore banks through the Caribbean.
The large French bank, Banque Paribas, for instance, was notorious for this because of George, Sr.’s relationship with the bank. What would happen is you would raise an enormous amount of money, but you would also have an enormous amount of restricted stock, out of which at some point, the letter (what is known as the restriction or the letter) would come off that stock, and that stock is going to come bouncing back at some point to the market makers.
Because the scheme was at the banks, this was only meant to be interim financing. We are now talking about cooperative banks who were not meant to be burnt. They were just meant to provide bridge financing. This was very, very true with Union Bank of Switzerland, Royal Trust of Canada, and Imperial of Canada, Banque Z of Curaao, Banco de Populare. These were banks that you did not burn. These banks just acted as facilitator banks. But you have to make them “whole” in the end. Now, if you bury them under a pile of 144 stock, how did you make them “whole” in the end? How you made them “whole” is by pumping up the deal as the letter began to expire on the 144 stock that was out.
You would pump up the shares artificially in the marketplace and begin to bleed the stock back through your market makers at forty or fifty cents on the dollar. You would make money again. You had originally borrowed twenty cents on the dollar. You perhaps would bleed the stock back into the marketplace at forty cents on the dollar by the tactic of what is known as “backdooring” the stock to your market makers and dealers, and issuing certain guarantees to them that they in turn would be made whole. The ultimate bag-holder in these deals, of course, are the people that bought the hype, the people that bought the endless press releases, most of which were all bogus.
In some cases, we would have to make the representation that Company A has a tremendous new product or that it just has a contract with the International Monetary Finance Corporation. And boy, this is just going to be the greatest since sliced bread. Of course, what the prospective hypee didn’t know is that the International Monetary Corporation was in fact a shell that had been formed by the very same people who had perpetrated the original fraud. It is the only way you could keep control of the hype. So you would have one bogus company signing a contract to purchase ten zillion widgets from another bogus company. Not only did the widgets not exist, but both the companies themselves were essentially worthless. In this way, you could pump up the price of the shares and be able to create enough liquidity, enough excitement in the shares to distribute all of the stock, all of this 144 stock that you had bouncing back. Since the problem was obvious, you would vastly expand the flow to the shares in some cases, by a factor of ten.
There were previously, let’s say, 10 million shares authorized, but usually there was 300,000 or 400,000 shares that were actually out. The rest of it was buried in the hands of dealers or constituted restricted stock. So what would happen is towards the end, when the deal would falter, you could always give the deal a second shot by instituting a reverse stock split, which would bring the stock back up to a level where penny stock investors and speculators felt more comfortable, and also back to a level where the shares would then again meet certain regulatory hurdles, thus making it easier to distribute the stock. You took the stock that was originally done and pumped it up to a dollar. In order to maintain it at a dollar and absorb all the stock, you needed a constant flow of hype.
When the shares eventually sank (because the distribution began to back up on the dealers a little bit), you would give the stock a secondary chance by instituting a reverse stock split. That would boost the price of the shares back up to where they were, usually even higher. Of course the spreads would widen out, and as anyone knows in reverse stock split penny deal, the spreads always get very, very wide. But you simply disguise those spreads.
The dealers can very easily disguise those spreads by either not posting Bids and Asks on the pink sheets, or just posting socalled nominal Bids and Asks which would give the appearance to the wouldbe investor that the stock was substantially more liquid than it was. But the reverse stock split was always the last link in the chain of the fraud of the underlying deal. Because the last time you would pump it up would be through this artifice, this device using a reverse stock split. It wouldn’t be long thereafter that simply the deal would fall apart, and you could distribute the stock all the way back down to a penny bid, three cents offered, which we did on a lot of deals.
Once the broker/dealers were out or were “whole” financially as well as your other market makers and specialists, once you had made them whole financially, because you had so severely discounted the stock to them to begin with, then there would always be 30 million or 40 million shares left over. And the Bids and Asks would quickly go to like a penny bid, three cents offered, but with that, you would get a whole new crop of potential investors. You would keep a little bit of hype there. You’d keep a little bit of activity and spread on the sheets. And there’s a whole lot of people that will buy 10,000, 20,000 shares of a two or three cent stock in hopes that it might be a twenty or thirty cent stock. You do open yourself up at a penny making a market of one and three cents you open yourself up to a whole new crop of speculators that will be sellers of a deal at twenty cents, not buyers of a deal at twenty cents.
We use to call these type of penny speculators “green feet.” We used to delineate them by where the stocks traded, on what sheets, in other words. For instance, a pink sheet speculator is someone who bought higher priced penny stocks and shares that traded in the low dollars. Of course, when the stock fell down below the pink sheet regulatory level, it would be kicked down to the green sheets. That’s where you find the one cent, three cent, five cent stocks. When they could no longer be maintained at that level, they would be kicked down to the yellow sheets. That’s where you would sometimes see stocks trading in mils so many mils bid, so many mils offered. As long as there was still somebody willing to buy it, a market could be maintained, particularly since the stock, by this point, did not cost anything to the broker/dealers or those who initiated the fraud. Everybody was out and clean and made their money, and public shareholders were the ultimate bag holders. But you could actually keep these deals floating and alive for a long time before they absolutely fell apart.
Al Martin Iran – Contra Whistle blower
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