Staff Writer, DB HolmesNews / Government
Former Special Operative John Banks discusses his many years of work with the CIA and British intelligence services, during which he discovered widespread government involvement in drug trafficking to finance covert operations.
Banks recalls working alongside Oliver North during the Reagan administration in the ‘80s on the Iran-Contra Affair, which involved a secret operation to divert money made through selling weapons to Iran to Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua.
“I found they were smuggling cocaine in massive, massive, massive amounts,” he said about that operation, before being recruited by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in New York.
“I worked for them in assisting on catching CIA smuggling, and also I worked for them in Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, where the CIA were actually swapping Stinger Red Eye and other missiles and equipment for heroin, which was coming out of Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of (former Pakistani prime minister) Benazir Bhutto.”
Banks said that in 1989 he met with Zardari in Islamabad for five hours in a conversation he recorded about Zardari’s drug activities, and turned the tapes over to the DEA. “I flew out two days later with the tapes, which were handed over to the DEA in New York, and it seriously opened their eyes,” he said. “It was also the real start of the bringing down of BCCI.”
He details his experience discovering the huge heroin trafficking operation that he says was overseen by the CIA, and also explains why the practice was favored by U.S. intelligence officials.
“If you remember correctly, during the Contra Affair operations, Congress and the Senate stopped funding the Contra operations. The cocaine was making it possible – it was coming into the states – and making it possible to continue those operations.
“There was also the Iran-gate situation where the CIA was supplying Iran with hardware in return for the hostages that were held in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley.”
He called these activities “a very dirty business” that are really no cleaner now than they were in the old days.
Banks also recalls a meeting he had with a senior official of the Afghan Taliban – which was affiliated with Al-qaeda – while he was working as an undercover U.S. intelligence agent during which the Taliban figure spoke of plans for coordinated terrorist attacks in various European and U.S. cities to coincide with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“Our enemies will be there – our two enemies, England and America,” he said the representative told him. “We will blow up the World Cup, Rustenburg Stadium… the explosives will be built into the stadium,” he quotes him as saying. “At the same time we will strike London, and Heathrow Airport, and Los Angeles and Las Vegas and San Diego – with missiles in America.”
“You certainly will gain the world’s attention,” he says he told members of the meeting when asked what he thought of the plans. He said he also told them that he didn’t know what effect such attacks would have on the Afghan war, or how the world would react to them after the fact.
Watch the full interview to also hear Banks explain why he took part in a false retirement from Special Ops to investigate narcotics, and what prompted him to actually say enough was enough with his intelligence work.