CHRISTOPHER J. BAHNSEN/314-76-8936: Hello again. This is Chris Bâ€™s voice coming out of your dashboard, earphones, stereo, metal plates and any other devices suitable for receiving radio waves. Weâ€™re back with our first guests, two local men who have written a book that claims one of them smuggled cocaine into Texas while working for the CIA. Youâ€™ve all heard of the Cocaine, CIA connection? Is this history, or bunk? Where do you weigh in, my loyal, Two Am listeners? Let me know. Set your speed-dial on 862-8595 and start hitting flash and redial. If youâ€™ve been good, the karma will be with you and youâ€™ll get to ask our guests-or myself-for an opinion on your own pet conspiracy theory.
I like that â€“ pet conspiracy theories, it could be something like pet rocks, but this box would just be empty. Ha, that at least got my producer laughing.
GILBERT: We arenâ€™t conspiracy theorists. Bill doesnâ€™t know anything about UFOâ€™s, the gnomes of Munich, or how many people fired into Kennedyâ€™s head. He has a story, about Iran-Contra, which is true. Iâ€™m the other guest, the ghostwriter. Dave Gilbert.
BAHNSEN: This press release, in my hand, says that the CIA released the crack plague on the black community in Los Angeles. Now, if the government dealing drugs to the brotherâ€™s isnâ€™t a conspiracy theory, then Iâ€™m going to need a new definition for the term.
GILBERT: The agent, she is trying to sell the book and she has her way of doing things, okay? She takes the most vivid parts and plays them up, like anyone trying to sell something to an idiotic market. As far as the coke and blacks, we speculate briefly for a few paragraphs on that matter, and then move straight back to our, â€˜Joe Friday, Just the facts, Maâ€™am,â€™ attitude.
BAHNSEN: So, now youâ€™re saying the CIA didnâ€™t give the blacks crack cocaine, which is the exact opposite of your press release?
GILBERT: We say that the CIA did end up having a small part in unleashing crack, regardless of their intentions. Our Book is the facts, you know? People in the CIA protested the cocaine, too, from the very start. But, they still let the cartels smuggle in god knows how much coke?
BAHNSEN: Well, it still sounds like a conspiracy theory to me. In fact, if my grandpa were here he might say, you have a pig in your lap and youâ€™re telling me itâ€™s a chicken. But whatever you are, letâ€™s move beyond the labels, if possible, and get to the facts of the story â€“ or at least, your spin on the facts.
GILBERT: When I was writing short stories, no one thought I was unbalanced. In fact, people kind of assumed that I knew what I was talking about. Now, itâ€™s like Iâ€™m carrying around signs saying, â€˜The world ended last Tuesday.â€™ Hey, we just wrote a book about a military operation, okay? A history book, of sorts.
BAHNSEN: Hey, Bill, how did you get a gig like working for the CIA? Did you answer an ad asking for a spook, or what?
PERRY: I was going to try to tell my story from the beginning to end, in sequence, like Dave and me planned.
GILBERT: Answer him Bill.
PERRY: A guy came up to me in a bar in Korea and said that heâ€™d heard I was one of the best low-to-the-ground pilots in the Army. I was better than the guys who I went through basics with, on account of I started crop dusting way back when I was a eleven, or twelve. I explained to him about the crop dusting.
BAHNSEN: In the press release, you say that you canâ€™t talk about your other missions - whatâ€™s up with that?
PERRY: A lot of what I know is covered by my Loyalty Oath.
GILBERT: That translates to mean that it would be illegal for Bill to talk about covert activity.
BILL: Yea, but this is different. This book, now, it goes and describes missions that have already been exposed, written about and such. The other missions are still classified. Nobody but them and me knows about emâ€™, and it would probably wind my ass up in jail, at least, if I told the press everything I know. I wonâ€™t. I am still loyal to my country and proud of what I did
BAHNSEN: Wait a minute, then why are you writing about cocaine?
PERRY: I wouldnâ€™t be talking about the cocaine if all this hadnâ€™t already come out in other books. I just figured, if itâ€™s all out there any ways, why shouldnâ€™t a soldier who was there make a little something off it, you know? Plus, and Dave pointed this out to me, all the books were pretty one sided. None of them had anything good to say about what we did, and there was at least some good to it, even if it were only our intentions, you know? Though I gotta say, Dave would only write the book if he had his say, too, and heâ€™s a mushy hearted liberal. What do you expect from a poet?
GILBERT: Bill, you were going to describe the flight into El Salvador?
PERRY: Yeah. Well, when they called me up, all they said was that a battalion of soldiers were trapped in enemy territory and needed guns and supplies.
BAHNSEN: You left home not knowing which war you were going into?
GILBERT: At any one time on this planet, America is fighting, or backing someoneâ€™s fight, just about everywhere, you know? They called Bill up to make this flight after Congress cut off the money for the Contraâ€™s because of their nun-killing death squads. Thatâ€™s the army that the operative was talking about when he called Bill, the Contraâ€™s. The CIA had put this army of Contraâ€™s together, and all of a sudden Congress wanted us to leave them at the mercy of the enemy? Reagan decided to just take the war covert, throw out the press and hide the whole thing behind a flood of disinformation and outright lies. Plausible denial was coined about then. Go on with the story, Bill.
PERRY: They told me that I would be flying out of Texas. I took my twin engine duster down, landed at this strip that was all out by itself in the dessert. They had planes already loaded and ready to go, six cargoes, beat up looking things covered in mud. We flew out in formation, following a Colombian pilot down. He had a guy from MI on his plane with him. The strip . . .
GILBERT: MI is Military Intelligence.
PERRY: Yea, thatâ€™s right. The runway was in a jungle, a strip cut into the trees. When we first got there, we had to circle until they removed this green camouflage netting. You couldnâ€™t see the landing strip until they took that shit off. As they peeled it back, a thin line of brown mud appeared, and thatâ€™s where we put them down. There were soldiers all over, South Americans, and most of them started unloading the planes. I guess they were Contras. It ainâ€™t the kind of situation where you can ask questions, you know? It only took emâ€™ about twenty minutes to unload us. When we were empty, I thought we were ready to fly back, but this spook, or at least I think he was CIA, told me to wait. He got me a beer out of a cooler he had in his humvee. Nice guy. Maybe twenty minutes later, this transport truck pulls up all filled with burlap bags, and the soldiers start putting the bags in the planes. I wouldnâ€™t have known what was in them, more than likely, if a soldier hadnâ€™t dropped one off the truck. The bag broke open, split right in the middle all the way around and a white cloud shot up just covering this guy from head to toe. The others started laughing, then the guy who was all covered in white started acting like he was snorting the stuff off himself - though he wasnâ€™t really. I was laughing, too, even though I couldnâ€™t follow what they were saying. They cleaned up that shit. . . Oh, sorry. I didnâ€™t mean to say that â€˜sâ€™ word. Any way, they cleaned up that coke carefully, too, with a dust vac. When they were done loading the planes, we flew back to the same strip in Texas. I picked up my plane there and came home. When all this was happening, I didnâ€™t know much about the Contraâ€™s were, or whether the coke had been confiscated, or what. It was only years later, after people started writing about John Kerryâ€™s senate investigations into this, that I understood what I had been a part of. For instance, I found out why the CIA called me in -- they were trying to cover, temporarily, for the loss of the Army pilots, which they eventually did, by replacing them with the coke cartelâ€™s pilots. They were already using the Cartels planes and jungle airports, so it was a logical step.
GILBERT: Basically, the CIA made a deal with the Cartels to use their secret airline to fly guns into South America. In exchange, the Company let the cartel fill up the return flights with coke and land at their ranch in Texas, where they didnâ€™t have to bother with little matters like customs, or the DEA.
BAHSEN: Your press release says that better than a dozen pilots were, and I quote, â€˜murdered into silence.â€™ If youâ€™re story is true, then why wonâ€™t the CIA come after you?
GILBERT: Thereâ€™s the proof that you seem to need to know that we arenâ€™t a couple of nuts, okay? We donâ€™t think that the CIA is out to get us, all right?