Monday, November 18, 2013

NSA links to St Petersburg FL Drug Ring

Skyway Global LLC, the St. Petersburg, FL company that owned the DC-9 airline busted in Mexico carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine, made its headquarters in a 79,000 sq ft building owned by Verint Systems (NASDAQ: VRNT), a foreign tele-communications company with a contract to wiretap the U.S. for the NSA through the communication lines of Verizon, which handles  almost half of all landline and cell phone calls in the U.S.

Verint’s founder and CEO, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, is a former Israeli intelligence officer who is today a fugitive from justice living in Namibia, where he has for several years been fighting extradition to the U.S.

On Verint’s Board of Directors is Lieutenant General Kenneth A. Minihan, former director of the NSA, which has led to speculation that the company today is a joint NSA-Mossad operation.

Verint’s founder and CEO, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, is a former Israeli intelligence officer who is today a fugitive from justice living in Namibia, where he has for several years been fighting extradition to the U.S.

On Verint’s Board of Directors is Lieutenant General Kenneth A. Minihan, former director of the NSA, which has led to speculation that the company today is a joint NSA-Mossad operation.

Joining McClain in the Big House is  Jonathon Curshen, who got twenty years for fraud and money laundering.  Curshen, an American con man from Sarasota Florida,  controlled a company in Costa Rica called Red Sea Management, which (at least on paper) generously provided— in return for 28,000,000 shares of common stock in SkyWay—the 1966 McDonald Douglas DC9 aircraft that shortly thereafter began carrying cargo which came to include 5.6 tons of cocaine worth several hundred million dollars.

SkyWay put out a press release announcing the deal:  "The DuPont Investment Fund 57289, Inc. Satisfies $7 Million Funding Agreement with SkyWay Communications Holding Corp."

"Some guy in Costa Rica"

“They wrote it up in a press release, touting how they’d just received a big investment from the DuPont Foundation," explained a former SkyWay executive. "It turned out to be bogus. It was just some guy (Curshen) at a desk in Costa Rica.”

But what is known about SkyWay may also illustrate just how much we still don’t know about the NSA. 


Musical chairs and the "known unknowns"


It has always struck some observers as odd that a fledgling start-up like SkyWay—with at the time just a few dozen employees—moved in to a huge 79,000 square foot facility in January of 2003, the recently-vacated American headquarters of Tadiran Tele-Communications, which had moved its U.S. operations to New York. 

So I took a closer look at the Israeli telecom company which passed on its U.S. headquarters to a tiny start-up with no prospects and little money. According to a press release, Tadiran Tele-com (TTN) moved its U.S. headquarters to the newly-constructed facility in Clearwater in early 1997. 

When I first learned of Tadiran, the company didn’t set off any alarm bells. 

Now a little probing indicated that the Israeli entity housing itself in Clearwater Florida didn’t call itself “Tadiran” for long. In early 1999, Tadiran’s global surveillance division, housed in Clearwater, was sold to another Israeli telecom, ECI-Telecommunications (Nasdaq: ECTX). 

guatemala-sfSpan 

The Israeli Government’s Clearwater-based Surveillance entity (whatever its name-of-the-moment) was finally sold to Verint Systems Inc. in early February 2004.  

 
One possible explanation for the game of musical chairs is that Tadiran’s name had already become tarnished, after the company was accused of being involved in worldwide espionage.  

In Guatemala, the company became infamous for having installed two intelligence computers which were reportedly used to select death squad victims, as well as pinpoint urban guerrilla safe houses.   

Rigoberta MenchuTadiran also funded an electronics school for the Guatemalan army. At the same time Israel was setting up a factory to manufacture ammunition and replacement parts for Guatemala’s Israeli-made rifles, and advising the Guatemalan military by providing military, counterinsurgency, and intelligence advisers for what human rights groups called a genocidal war which included forced resettlement schemes in the rural highlands against a largely Mayan Indian population. 

N900SAThe DC9 (N900SA) was the first of two drug planes with apparent ties to the U.S. Government caught carrying multi-ton loads of cocaine in Mexico over an 18-month period.  The second, a Gulfstream II business jet (N987SA), was cited by European authorities for flying extraordinary renditions missions for the CIA. 

In 2006, during the same year SkyWay’s drug plane was seized, the Bush Administration chose SkyWay landlord-partner-co-conspirator Verint to install a $3 million telephone and Internet wiretapping center in Mexico, allowing authorities there to eavesdrop on every landline and cell phone call made in the country. 

“In 2006 the Bush Administration entered into a quiet agreement with the Mexican Government to fund and build an enormous $3 million telephone and Internet eavesdropping vendor that would reach into every town and village in the country,” reported James Bamford. 

In fact, a press release suggests the program in Mexico probably began three years earlier. The headline read: “Comverse (which became Verint) Selected by Telefonos de Mexico to Implement a Widespread Expansion of Voicemail Services.” 

Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) is owned by Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim HelĂș, whose own links to the drug trade have been the subject of rumors for years. And with some reason: 

When Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known in Mexico as “Lord of the Skies" for his vast armada of planes, died in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery, he was worth $25 billion, according to the AP. 

If you do the math, that means that Drug Lord Amado Fuentes managed to salt away no more than $10 or $15 billion a decade… And HE was in the cocaine business, where counting your money can be a bigger problem than making it.

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