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November 27, 1996 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-27

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 27, 1996

NATION/WORLD

Ex-guerrillas deny CIA drug connection

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Former
Nicaraguan contra leader Eden Pastora
told the Senate intelligence committee
yesterday that he accepted money and
gifts from a friendly countryman with-
Wit knowing the man was a cocaine
dealer in the United States.
But Pastora and the onetime leader of
the main anti-Sandinista contra group,
Adolfo Calero, repeatedly denied dur-
ing a sometimes tumultuous hearing
that the CIA had supported or con-
doned drug trafficking to finance the
war against the leftist government in
Managua.
Calero testified that he had met
another Nicaraguan, Norwin Meneses,
two or three times but "I had no idea he
was engaged in drug trafficking." He
also said that Meneses had given "not
*one cent" to the contra cause.
Meneses and Oscar Danilo Blandon
were described in a series of articles last
August in the San Jose Mercury News
as being financiers of the CIA-run con-
tfa army who were said to have raised
niillions in the 1980s through drug sales
in South-Central Los Angeles.
Yesterday, both contra leaders denied

they knew of any connection between
the CIA and Blandon and Meneses.
The hearing was repeatedly inter-
rupted by hecklers, some of whom
shouted "Coverup!" and called for the
panel to hear witnesses who supported
the main allegations of the Mercury
News series. AtC
one point, com-
mittee Chair 1 have
Arlen Specter
(R-Pa.) asked kfowseU5
Rep. Maxine
Waters (D- anything
Calif.) many of so t
whose African
American con-
stituents were in_
the hearing Ex-Nicaragua
room, to join the
committee's questioning.
Pastora said he was unaware that
Blandon trafficked in cocaine until he
was "arrested in San Diego" in 1986. "I
did not know before," Pastora said.
Once known as guerrilla leader
"Commander Zero," Pastora said that
before he knew Blandon was a drug
dealer, he had twice accepted $3,000
from him "toward the armed strug-

gle." Then, Pastora said, when he was
"in critical financial straits," Blandon
gave him two used pickup trucks and
free rental of a house in Costa Rica.
He said he met Meneses briefly and
only twice, once in 1979 before the
anti-Sandinistas were formed and again
in 1987 or 1988,
after his activi-
10 ties as a contra

lo

of the

leader ended.
Pastora said
he had "no
notion" that
Meneses ever
supported the

were involved in drug trafficking, as
CIA officials charged publicly in 1984
when they cut off aid to the popular
contra leaders. He accused the CIA of
"trying to compromise us either direct-
ly or indirectly with drug traffickers."
Calero said he knew Blandon's par-
ents as "nice people" in Nicaragua but
did not know of Oscar Blandon until
this year when he read newspapers sto-
ries about him.
He said he met Meneses twice in the
mid-1980s as contra fund-raising din-
ners in San Francisco. Calero said he
was sure that Meneses provided "not
one cent" to the contra cause and "had
no idea that he was engaged in drug
traffic."
Specter said the committee yesterday
in closed session had questioned
Blandon, now a paid confidential infor-
mant of the Drug Enforcement
Administration. Blandon repeated what
he has told a federal grand jury, that he
sold his first drugs at the suggestion of
Meneses in the early 1980s to raise
funds for the contras but later found out
the CIA was financing the rebel organi-
zation. Thereafter, Blandon sold drugs
for his own profit, Specter said.

N A NA rEPORTa
Astronauts delay Thanksgiving meal
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Columbia's astronauts already can taste that
Thanksgiving dinner, but they'll have to wait until Friday before they get to eat the
"room-temperature, stabilized" turkey.
The five shuttle crew members won't have time tomorrow to linger over a holi-
day meal. Tomorrow night, Thomas Jones and Tamara Jernigan will float outsid
for a six-hour spacewalk to test station-building tools.
"We'll be hitting the deck running that morning," Jones told NASA
Administrator Daniel Goldin, who called yesterday to congratulate the astronauts
on their satellite work.
"When we get back inside, believe me, we'll be hungry for that Thanksgiving
turkey;' Jones said. "We've got some off-the-shelf, kind of supermarket, room-
temperature, stabilized turkey dinners that we'll be digging into right after I get that
helmet off."
"You didn't make it sound too appetizing'" Goldin said, laughing.
Replied Jones: "One has to make due with the resources at hand, sir."
Also on board: cranberry sauce and pumpkin-colored cakes.
After a week of releasing and retrieving satellites, the crew focused on scienO
experiments yesterday and prepared for the two upcoming spacewalks. The second
excursion by Jones and Jernigan is due to begin Saturday night.

,

- Eden Pastora contras and did
not know he
in contra leader dealt in drugs.
Pastora said
he had gotten the promise of two heli-
copters from Cuban residents in Miami,
but only after the aircraft were received
"discovered (the donors) were drug
traffickers."
Asked about any CIA complicity in
drug trafficking, Pastora said: "I have
no knowledge of anything of the
sort."
Pastora denied any of his top aides

};?:;;

_0

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Attorney: Simpson
will testify again
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -
Bringing to a close the most dramatic
stage in the civil case yet, O.J. Simpson
stepped down from the witness stand
yesterday without any effort by his
lawyer to undo the damage from two
days of accusations from the other side.
Defense attorney Robert Baker had
been expected to throw Simpson a
round of sympathetic questions. But in
a surprise move criticized by some
experts, Baker said he will call
Simpson back to the stand during the
defense portion of the wrongful-death
lawsuit next month.
As a result, the jurors headed home
for a six-day Thanksgiving holiday car-
rying a final image of Simpson denying
yet again that he stabbed to death
Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald
Goldman. The trial resumes Tuesday.
Telling his story for the first time in
front of a jury, Simpson was battered
for two days with evidence, insinua-
tions and accusations, from blood in his

Bronco and mansion to a lie-detector
that allegedly showed him being
"extremely deceptive."
New drug to help
Alzheimer's patient,
WASHINGTON - Alzheimer's
patients are getting a second drug that
fights the memory-robbing symptoms
of the fatal brain disease-- and may be
taken by many more patients because it
causes fewer side effects.
The drug Aricept, created by Japan's
Eisai Co., won Food and Drug
Administration approval late Monday.
Pfizer Inc., which will sell the d
here, said it will be on pharmacT
shelves in several weeks.
Aricept "provides another choice"
for patients who cannot take Cognex,
the only other Alzheimer's medication
sold, said Dr. Zhaven Khachaturian of
the Alzheimer's Association's Reagan
Research Institute.
"In terms of being radically different,
no it's not;' he said. "But it has less nui-
sance."

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Netanyahu touts
plan to expand
Jewish settlements
ELI, West Bank - Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu flew deep into the
interior of the West Bank yesterday
with a defiant declaration of intent to
expand Jewish settlement here. In talks
with settlers, he rejected "the logic of
an apartheid peace" in which Israel
would have to curb its policy of further
populating the occupied territories with
Jewish families.
In what residents called the first visit
by an Israeli prime minister to Eli, an
isolated Jewish pocket in the northern
West Bank's densest Palestinian corri-
dor, Netanyahu took note of growing
Arab and international pressure to curb
Israeli expansion in the land captured
from Jordan in 1967. It is on that land
that Yasser Arafat's Palestinian
Authority seeks to exercise the limited
self-rule powers granted under his
peace accord with Israel - and eventu-
ally to set up a Palestinian state.

- . Y. 5

Critics of the Jewish settlements, par-
ticularly Palestinians and their friends in
Arab countries, have charged that the set-
tlements make more difficult, if ML
impossible, a long-term peace settleme
by closing off space to Palestinian ruli.
Protesters unfazed
by rainy weather
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia - One
day after a massive demonstration shut
down this capital, the ranks of protest-
ers denouncing the regime of Serbi
President Slobodan Milosevic we?;
thinned yesterday, hidden under a sea of
umbrellas. But the mood in Belgrade's
main Terazije Square appeared angrier.
"No court has the right to take my
vote;' said one protester, Petar Markovic,
as he stood in the driving, cold rain.
Serbia's Supreme Court rejected an
appeal last night by the opposition coali-
tion Zajedno to reinstate its landslide vic-
tories in Nov. 17 municipal elections.
- Compiledfrom Daily wire reports.

W

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