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Singlaub, WACL, and LaRouche

March 1, 2010

Excerpt from The Iran-Contra Connection:

In the light of WACL’s subsequent importance to the Reagan policy of supporting the contras, it is significant that the approaches of Cline and Singlaub to WACL began before the 1980 election. Singlaub and Cline were the logical team to consolidate the Reagan-WACL alliance, since their acquaintance with WACL’s members and drug-financed intrigues went back to the 1950s, if not earlier. Singlaub had first met Cline, along with four future backers of CIA-Cuban operations (Howard Hunt, Paul Helliwell, Lucien Conein and Mitch WerBell) in a small OSS mission at Kunming in China, at the very center of the World War II KMT drug traffic. According to the Wall Street Journal, OSS payments at this base were frequently made with five-pound shipments of opium. The sixth and most mysterious of these men, Mitch WerBell, would himself be indicted on drug smuggling charges in 1976, two years before he began an extended and little-noticed relationship with John Singlaub and Lyndon LaRouche.

The other five men from the OSS Kunming mission went on into the CIA, and in the 1950s served in or supported CIA covert operations in Asia. Helliwell, from his law office in Miami, organized the arms supply to General Li Mi’s drug-growing KMT troops in Burma, as he would later organize support for the CIA’s Cuban sabotage teams in Miami. Lucien Conein went on to be the CIA’s liaison with the Corsican gangsters of Saigon; and, according to Alfred McCoy, “did not pass on” to Washington the information he learned about the large shipments of drugs these Corsicans were making to Europe, while they gave the 1965 Saigon government “a fixed percentage of the profits.” Howard Hunt was in 1954 assigned to a black propaganda psychological warfare operation based in Tokyo.

More directly impinging on what became WACL were the activities of Cline as CIA station chief in Taiwan (1958-62), and Singlaub as deputy CIA station chief in South Korea (1950-52). Cline is said to have helped Taiwan found its Political Warfare Cadres Academy at Peitou, which has through its training program developed a conspiratorial Latin American fraternity of thousands of military and security officers, including Roberto d’Aubuisson. In this way the Kuomintang created in Latin America “carbon copies of what they had created in Taiwan: a politicized military whose first loyalty was to the party, then to the military, and finally to the nation.”

All of this was in fulfillment of recommendations drafted in 1959 by General Richard Stilwell for a special Presidential Committee under General William Draper reporting to President Eisenhower: that the U.S. help develop “higher level military schools” with political-economic curricula in the Third World, to encourage local armies to become “internal motors” for “socio-political transformation.”

Former U.S. intelligence officers have also suggested that the funding of APACL, and of the initial preparatory meetings in 1958 for WACL, came from U.S. Embassy Counterpart funds in Taiwan to which Cline had access. As CIA deputy chief in South Korea during the Korean War, Singlaub is also said to have had a hand in developing what eventually became the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, the other chief partner in setting up APACL.

In 1954, when APACL was founded in Taiwan, its first Latin American affiliate was founded in Mexico City by Howard Hunt. Hunt did so in his capacity as political and propaganda chief of the CIA operation in Guatemala; but his creation (the Interamerican Council for the Defense of the Continent, or CIADC) would survive to be involved in other CIA-backed coups as well, notably the Brazil coup in 1964. The CIADC soon became a vehicle for the international plotting of two of Hunt’s young Guatemalan proteges: Lionel Sisniega Otero, who in 1954 was employed on clandestine radio operations by Hunt’s assistant David Phillips, and Sisniega’s mentor, the future “Godfather,” Mario Sandoval Alarcon.

By accident or by design, the simultaneous creation of APACL and CIADC in 1954 also had the effect of creating a conspiratorial China Lobby for Taiwan overseas, at precisely the time that the activities of the old conspiratorial China Lobby in Washington were being exposed and neutralized. When the first provisional steering committee for a combined WACL was announced from Mexico City in 1958, its General Secretary was veteran China Lobbyist Marvin Liebman, who earlier had organized Washington’s “Committee of One Million” in support of Taiwan. Lee Edwards, Liebman’s successor at the Committee of One Million, organized the first U.S. Chapter of WACL, with officers from the leadership of the American Security Council.

From the China Lobby bribes of the early 1950s to the contra raids of the 1980s, there have been continuing reports linking Taiwan’s and WACL’s activities to profits from the international narcotics traffic. The situation was aggravated by the evolution of the 1950s China Lobby into the 1960s Cuban exile-Somoza Lobby, particularly when ex-CIA CORU Cubans like Orlando Bosch, dropped from the CIA for their terrorist and/or drug trafficking activities, were simply picked up by Somoza.

It made sense that Somoza, when his long-time backers were abandoning him in 1979, should have tried to hire Shackley’s associate Tom Clines to work for him, along with Bosch. Shackley and Clines, by coincidence or not, personified the CIA-mafia connection that successive CIA Directors found impossible to eliminate. When Richard Helms closed down anti-Castro operations in Miami, dispersed its U.S. and Cuban personnel, and sent Shackley and Clines to manage the covert war in Laos, the two men were moving from a local drug-linked operation to a more distant one. Significantly, the Florida mob went with them. Two years after they were transferred to Laos in July 1966, Santos Trafficante, a key figure in the ClA-mafia assassination plots against Castro, was seen contacting local gangsters in Hong Kong and Saigon.

But the Shackley-Clines links to Latin America increased as their former agents were dispersed there. One of these men was John Martino, an old mafia casino associate of Santos Trafficante in Havana. In 1970, posing as a mafia representative, John Martino became a business associate of President Arana, and the CIA control for Mario Sandoval Alarcon-two of the Guatemalans who attended Reagan’s 1981 inaugural ball.

We see then that the Reagan-WACL alliance was forged by two men, Ray Cline and John Singlaub, whose connections to WACL’s Asian patrons went back three decades or more. One’s first assumption is that, as loyal Americans, they would be more likely to approach WACL on behalf of Reagan than the other way round. Singlaub, in particular, has a reputation of being a “straight arrow,” a “boy scout,” for whom subversive intrigue would be anathema.

There are nonetheless disturbing indications that Singlaub, at least, may have been working for a hidden agenda that went far beyond naive loyalty to a Republican presidential candidate. It is hard to explain his dealings in the same period 1978-82 with his former Kunming OSS colleague Mitch WerBell, and more importantly with WerBell’s employer since 1977, Lyndon LaRouche. About his political activities with the LaRouche movement Singlaub has at the very least been less than candid. What makes this disturbing is that the LaRouche movement was then suspected of looking for a dissident general to lead a military coup.

We have already seen that in May 1978, ten days before his retirement, Singlaub attended a meeting of right-wingers who “didn’t think the country was being run properly and were interested in doing something about it.” The meeting was hosted by Mitch WerBell, who in 1982 would travel to Central America in support of an attempted Guatemalan coup on behalf of WACL leaders Mario Sandoval Alarcon and Lionel Sisniega Otero. WerBell’s career of covert activities in the Caribbean also involved work for Cuban dictator Batista in 1959, Dominican Republic dictator Imbert in 1965, and a coup operation (said by Hinckle and Turner to have had possible Mafia backing) against Haitian dictator Duvalier in 1966.

WerBell, when Singlaub visited him in 1978, had recently evaded separate indictments for arms smuggling and for narcotics trafficking. WerBell was also in touch with “Secret Team” members such as Ted Shackley and Richard Secord, and allegedly was paid once through the drug-linked Nugan Hand Bank when he conducted “operations for U.S. intelligence.” More importantly he was also in touch with Cuban Bay of Pigs veterans suspected of involvement in the CORU assassination of Orlando Letelier.

WerBell, when Singlaub visited him in 1978, was employed as the “personal security adviser” to Lyndon H. LaRouche, then the leader of the so-called National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC), a group which previously had posed as left-wing but in fact harassed anti-nuclear and other left-wing demonstrations with the help of the right-wing [John Birch Societies] domestic intelligence group known since 1979 as Western Goals (backed primarily by WACL donor and Texan millionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt). Singlaub and another leader of his U.S. WACL chapter (Anthony Kubek) joined the advisory board of Western Goals. Though Singlaub left Western Goals in 1984, the organization is controlled today by Carl Spitz Channell, who in 1986 met with Oliver North “five or ten times” about his TV advertising campaigns against political candidates opposed to contra aid.

In 1979 General Singlaub conceded to the New York Times that he had met with two of LaRouche’s party officials at the home of WerBell, but claimed that he had …since rejected the organization. “It was so clear to me after the first three or four contacts that they wanted something from me,” the general said. “They hounded me for months, they flooded me with documents, they showed up at places where I spoke.”

“I think they’re a bunch of kooks of the worst form, General Singlaub went on. “I’ve been telling WerBell that if they’re not Marxists in disguise, they’re the worst group of anti-Semitic Jews [sic!] I’ve encountered. I’m really worried about these guys; they seem to get some people.”

The general was asked if any mention was made in his talks of the possibility of a military coup in the United States-an idea that has recently received currency in the party as a way to put Mr. LaRouche in power. “Well, it didn’t come up in that form, but it was suggested that the military ought to in some way lead the country out of its problems,” General Singlaub replied. ”

Singlaub’s worries about a LaRouchean military solution to America’s problems, although expressed so strongly in this interview, do not appear to have been very profound or long-lived. According to Scott and Jon Lee Anderson, in 1982 Singlaub returned to WerBell’s counterterrorist training camp in Powder Springs, Georgia, to lecture WerBell’s trainees. Many of these were security forces for the organization of Lyndon LaRouche, then the anti-Semitic leader of the so-called U.S. Labor Party, whose security director was WerBell.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lyn Marcus permalink
    March 3, 2010 12:37 pm

    You can find a lot of onfo about the Larouche cult and Werbel etc on a site called

    There is a reserch section which has a lot of what you would be interested in.

    There is another side of the story which is also amazing. Larouche is a very delusional mania who has used the cult to raise over 330 milion dollars over 40 years to persue his delusions. In the era you are mentioning, quite a few con men fed Larouche and his idiot security people one story after another about Larouche’s brilliance. He was fed endless stories of assasination attempts and fed made up documents about him beoing a big time player in he world of spooks.

    The net result was that it is estimated that Larouche handed over nearly 13 million dollars to these various scam artists who knew a sucker when they saw one with access to big cash. Larouche and the cult actually believed that they were immune from being charged with any crimes when they stole millions and evaded taxes. This was part of their defense!

    The cult rasied tens of milliuons of dollars while Larouche paid them 5 bucks a day if they were lucky. Cash was siphoned off under the fog of “security” and went to buy real estate for these con men as well as big weekly cash payments. One joker even convinced Larouche that he could place his name on a NSC “Do not assasinate” list!

    There is a whole story about this waiting to be looked into.

    Here is a clue, Larouche owed money to Werbell and Werbell and his friends knew a mark when they saw Larocuhe and his security staff.

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