May 1, 2001
Down Anything Unless the CIA Says So"
Agent in Peru Celerino Castillo
Narco News 2001
DEA Agent on Peru Cover-Up:
By Michael C. Ruppert
"It's bullshit! I was in Iquitos and I flew on
those shootdown missions. Nobody, I mean nobody, shoots down
anything unless the CIA says so." So says retired DEA Agent
Celerino Castillo, a Bronze Star winner in Vietnam who served
as a DEA Agent in Peru from 1982-4.
Castillo, author of the
book Powderburns (available at www.copvcia.com) was emphatic about the US government's
control of all military operations in the region. "In those
days we flew on helicopters and the Peruvian soldiers would lean
out the window with FN rifles and blast holes from above drug
smugglers' planes. I was on those flights. Yes, the Peruvians
did the shooting but it was always the US who gave the OK."
Asked for a possible explanation
for the shootdown Castillo observed, "I think it all has
to do with Plan Colombia and the coming war. It's going to crank
into high gear very soon. I think that the CIA was sending a
clear message to all non-combatants to clear out of the area
and to get favorable press. It sounds like a bigger shooting
war is going to erupt any minute. Iquitos is at the heart of
everything the CIA is doing right now. They don't want any witnesses."
Castillo, who risked his
DEA career for exposing direct CIA involvement drug smuggling
from the Ilopango airfield in El Salvador during the Contra war,
now works as a substitute teacher in McAllen Texas. He can be
contacted at email@example.com.
Even as the government
line continues to lose credibility, a change in a story by Bill
Reddeker of ABC Network news raises additional questions about
the possible role of the giant military contracting corporation
DynCorp in the shootdown. (Former CIA Director James Woolsey
is a stockholder in the privately held corporation.) As repeatedly
covered in FTW, DynCorp is the largest US government contractor
in the region and has armed civilian personnel flying escort
for Colombian military aircraft on coca eradication missions
in Southern Colombia. These DynCorp operations are taking place
in a region just miles from the location of the Bowers' shootdown.
Last February FTW reported on a gun battle between a DynCorp
helicopter and FARC guerillas after a Colombian military crew
was shot down. But confusion remains as to whether DynCorp personnel
had been contracted by the CIA to fly on the US surveillance
plane which initiated the Bowers tragedy.
A posting on the ABC news
web site (www.abcnews.com) from April 22, 2001 at 6:30 PM
EDT contained the statement, "According to senior administration
officials, the Citation 5 surveillance plane used in the operation
is owned by the Pentagon. Its crew was hired by the CIA from
DynCorp, a private company. And the program is coordinated by
the U.S. embassy in Peru. Dyncorp is involved in many aspects
of Plan Colombia, a controversial, $1.3 billion American program
to cripple drug production in South America."
Yet by April 24 a series
of four stories on the shootdown contained an amended statement
which now reads, "According to senior administration officials,
the Citation-5 surveillance plane, the US aircraft flying with
the Peruvian interceptor, is owned by the Pentagon. The CIA hired
its crew, and the program is coordinated by the U.S. embassy
A search of the ABC News
web site reveals that all references to DynCorp in this case
have been removed. Contacted for comment, ABC Network News spokesman
Jeff Schneider had not provided a response as of press time.
DynCorp officials twice emphatically denied any involvement in
the incident, either by company employees or any of their subcontractors.
Contacted by FTW, the CIA refused to comment.
At press time an April
29 New York Post story and stories by The New York Times identify
Alabama-based Aviation Development Corp. (ADC) as the supplier
of the contract crew. ADC is privately held and may be a CIA
proprietary company. Initial checks into Alabama Secretary of
State filings for the corporation suggest that it may be a CIA
proprietary operation rather than a contracting company.
A crucial question that
remains unanswered is where the CIA contract employees who initiated
the tragedy came from. If they came from DynCorp (or one of its
subcontractors), which has a demonstrable financial interest
in continuing hostilities, another motivating factor needs to
be addressed by the Congress.