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Johnson as saying, “That’s just the Texas way.” This explanation only makes the president angrier. “I never said to anybody that I called her honey because that was ‘the Texas way,”‘ he protests. “I don’t believe that’s `the Texas way.’ I think I would call people ‘honey’ becauseifI felt they were ‘honey.’ “And I might very well have said that to Mrs. Kennedy, although I never felt that way about her and never believed it. I have held her kind of up on a pedestal and been very reserved with her, as her letters will indicate. Very proper. Very appropriate. Very dignified. Very reserved…” At this point Johnson had been president “I THINK THEY’RE GOING TO WRITE HISTORY AS THEY WANT IT WRITTEN, AND AS THEY CAN BUY IT WRITTEN,” HE SAYS OF HIS POLITICAL ENEMIES, SPECIFICALLY BOBBY KENNEDY. for two years. His voice is deeper, calmer, more mature andyesmore reserved, not only with Mrs. Kennedy. He is a president with one foot in Asian quicksand and just beginning to realize it, and he decides not to speak out publicly to defend himself because, in the final analysis, the matter is trivial compared to other issues such as bombing strikes and troop deployments. Instead he becomes philosophical, showing the best side of LBJ, the president who might have beenthe preSident who, sometimes, was. “I think they’re going to write history as they want it written, and as they can buy it written,” he says of his political enemies, specifically Bobby Kennedy, who Johnson believed was responsible Manchester’s book, “and I think the best way we can write it is to refrain from getting into an argument or a fight or a knock-down, and go on and do our job every day as best we can.” Lucius Lomax does not record his telephone conversations. He doesn’t have a telephone. “Contras,” from page 17 running in Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica. “If you want to move arms or munitions in Latin America, the established networks are owned by the drug cartels. It has lent itself to the purposes of terrorists, of saboteurs, of spies, of \\insurgents and subversions.” Equally rich in detail is the whole saga of Barry Seal, the DEA and CIA asset finally killed by a Colombian hit team in Baton Rouge in 1986. Seal shuttled guns for drugs, which were landed in Mena, Arkansas. After his death, the writer Roger Morris was able to inspect Seal’s files, which contained abundant evidence of his work with U.S. agencies. In cooperation with Sally Denton, Morris wrote a long article on Seal and Mena, which was scheduled for publication in the Outlook section of the Washington Post on January 29, 1995. Three days before publication, the article was pulled without explanation by Robert Kaiser, at that time managing editor of the Post. Buried in the files of the Los Angeles Police Department was yet more evidence of the links between the CIA, the contras and the crack trade. Search warrants issued for drug raids in 1986 show that former police officer Ronald Listerat that time a private security consultant suspected of being part of a major crack ring possessed cocaine, AK-47s, Uzis, Nicaraguan Contra training films, and field manuals. Lister later told investigators that “he had dealings in South America and worked with the CIA.” The Washington Post also managed to ignore news stories about DEA knowledge of the drug smuggling. A DEA agent, Celerino Castillo, who now lives in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, came forward in September to tell how he came across much evidence of drug smuggling by contra rebels on CIAfunded arms flights while he was stationed in El Salvador in the mid-1980s. “When I sent my reports to my superiors, listing the dates and aircraft numbers of the drug flights,” Castillo told the Economist, “I was told they had been approved by the White House.” Meanwhile, three former DEA agents who had worked in Latin America in the 1980s have just filed suit against the CIA, claiming that their phones . have been tapped by the Agency and that they have been subject to continual harassment because of their knowledge of the CIA’s direct role in drug smuggling. On October 21, The New York Times filled an entire page with two articles by Tim Golden, taking essentially the same approach as the Post. Rather than going back to Parry and Bargers’ articles, Leslie Cockburn’s book, or the Kerry Report, Golden got his final word on the story from the favorite African-American source of the thumb-sucking crowd, Alvin Pouissant, a professor from Harvard University Medical School. Pouissant, routinely wheeled out for pop psychology in these situations, predictably described the black reaction to the Mercury News’ stories as a case of paranoia. Of course, this is nothing new for the Times. In 1987, reporter Keith Scheinder weighed in with a three-part series dismissing allegations of contra drug trafficking. A month later Scheinder explained to In These Times why he took that approach. “I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story it had better be based on the most solid evidence we can amass.” In other words, the story would have to approved by the Agency. The more one looks at the story, the more ludicrous efforts like those of Suro, Pincus, and Golden become. Consider General Manuel Noriega, notorious as a career CIA asset and as a career drug smuggler. It takes a powerful effort of willful blindness when studying the relationship of the CIA to drugs to ignore Noriega, while earnestly concentrating on the exact amount of cocaine that Danilo Blandon might have sold to Los Angeles dealers. This article originally appeared in CounterPunch, a bi-weekly newsletter on power and evil in Washington, DC., edited by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn Subscriptions to CounterPunch are $40 and may be obtained by writing to P.O Box 18675, Washington, DC 20036. Jeffrey St. Clair has written for Counterpunch, City Pages, and many other publications. DECEMBER 6, 1996 ,o4,0111. 4011.00t THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25 =.1.04.91110.4111W.00m.441.01 ,regalg4.1.4.6eamfted10%.*41.**