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May-06-2010 01:30printcomments

Minnesota's Governor Gets Tough with the Secretary of the Air Force - Will it Work?

The purpose of this article is to provide a modicum of background information for Governor Pawlenty and his fellow governors.

File photo of a C-130 Hercules aircraft
File photo of a C-130 Hercules aircraft

(MINNEAPOLIS) - Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, sent a letter to nine governors throughout the United States ordering them to transfer aviation assets consisting of C130’s, the most numerous of the ‘heavy lifters’ positioned with all branches of the service to a site specific.

The stated intent is to create a fully equipped squadron of C130’s (all models and variants) in Arkansas.

The modus operandi of Secretary Donley raises serious questions – why did he circumvent the Department of Defense’s Governor’s Council which was set up to deal precisely with such issues? *

Another eyebrow raiser is the location of the new “Squadron” – Arkansas.

Arkansas is home to the “Mena Airport” located in the Ouachita Mountains of that State and 130 miles west of Little Rock, the State Capital.

Mena Airport’s rap sheet for covert, illicit and thinly disguised ‘modification’ services under the aegis of the Central Intelligence Agency is a long and lurid one. **

Recorded testimony in Arkansas and Washington D.C., details a mountain of evidence that C130’s (and other types of cargo aircraft) were flown into Mena, methodically stripped of identification, modified for explicit cargo such as armaments of all types going in to Mexico and South America and bringing cocaine and other drugs back to drop off points in the United States.

A CIA pilot whose testimony to the Kerry Committee is sealed until 2017, described making numerous agency-sanctioned-trips under the cover of darkness to drop drugs at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Santa Ana, California and to pick up repaired weapons delivered from a China Lakes, California retro- facility for transfer back across the southern border and eventuality to various factions operating in Central America.

I was stationed at MCAS El Toro for nineteen months (1957-58) with Marine Air Base Squadron 37.

The aircraft in use at that time was the R5D (civilian designation – DC6).

These were the last of four-engine reciprocal transports. By virtue of a late night assignment, I saw such a ‘drop’ take place in the spring of 1958 – plane lands after mid-night, taxis to the South West quadrant (furthest away from the Tower) and departs by 0300 hours (3:00 AM). Black bags – size of body bags – were off-loaded.

The purpose of this article is to provide a modicum of background information for Governor Pawlenty and his fellow governors can use to ask the question: C130’s to create a new Air Guard Squadron or – filter these aircraft through the CIA ‘cut-out’ and ‘sheep-dip’ operations (CIA slang for moving aircraft off the governments books and the latter, the modification thereof) and create a squadron of drug & arms heavy lifters?

Back to “Trust but Verify” (President Regan regarding dealing with the “Evil Empire” of his era).

That the CIA has been involved in these covert operations (all done under the disingenuous veneer of ‘In-The-Interest-of-National-Security) is legion in detail and the Iran-Contra Operation, aided and abetted by President Regan and his loyal minion, Lt.Col. Ollie North, USMC, stands as one of the most egregious of these efforts.

This prognostication: some of these aircraft may actually end up in an Air Guard operation in Arkansas. It is a good bet however – if ‘the-past-is-protocol’ some of them, upon arrival in Arkansas, will be deemed to be ‘run-out’ (beyond their useful life) and sold for 05 cents on the dollar to a firm of questionable parentage – modified and receive a new set of papers and then sold.

Consider this, the plane (depending upon age) cost $22 million when purchased by the Government. The cost of modification runs between $300,000 and $500.000 depending on the ‘mods’ ordered.

The new selling price: $10,000,000.

Where does the profit go? Follow the scent of money through the many small banks in and around Mena – a haven for money laundering operations – all of which has been documented by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – not to mention the many related agencies at the State level.

Summary: this question . . .if you were the Commander-in-Chief of your State – what would you do?

[Author’s note. Do I have a financial interest in this proposed transaction – yes – as a tax paper. It should be pointed out however I am a candidate for Governor, Independence Party – Minnesota. When I take office, I will be the State’s “Commander-in-Chief”. Hence, this is a practical ‘real time’ issue to address. What would I do? First I would do exactly what the present governor did – bring the issue under the lamp of public scrutiny. Two, ask hard questions as to the nature of this ‘deal’ and three, make sure there was some quid pro quo for the transfer of aviation assets if forced to part with them.

Minnesotans should remember that only four years ago, the CIA ‘ordered’ the Minnesota Air Guard to give up one of the remaining “BlackBirds” of Cold War Fame. The CIA imperiously commandeered this prime air museum asset and – offered nothing in return for it. It now graces the CIA front lawn at Langley, Virginia. Minnesota Air Guardsmen and volunteers put in thousands of hours to dismantle this high flying reconnaissance aircraft in California, transport it to Minnesota and painstakingly re-assembled it. Having had some experience with warbird swaps, I would have insisted Minnesota be put on the list for the next U2. To learn more about John's campaign, visit:]

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T.D. Barnes, President Roadrunners I May 7, 2010 5:22 pm (Pacific time)

Editor to T.D. Barnes, With all due respect, John asked that you send him an email so the cited matters can be addressed, write to John Uldrich at this address:

Thank you,

Tim King

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.