June 20, 2005
Intrigue behind arrest of Pakistani arms dealer in Mexico
By Nancy Conroy
Convicted Pakistani arms dealer Arif Durrani was
captured in Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico, by a special team of agents sent from Mexico City, on June 12. And while Mexican government officials initially gave out little information on why he was detained, once
the decision was reached to deport Durrani (on immigration charges), according to the Associated Press a statement was made:
“Durrani faces an arrest warrant in the U.S. for trafficking in anti-aircraft missiles.”
Durrani, who following his arrest was taken to Mexico
City, was put on a June 15 flight that made a stop in Los Angeles, California. Upon
landing in the U.S., Durrani was taken into custody by federal officials for illegally exporting military aircraft parts,
according to a 1999 indictment unsealed the following day.
Yet there are other possible scenarios that could
clarify the arrest: Durrani was still trafficking in illicit arms; he was organizing a Mexico-based terrorist plot against
the U.S.; or he was about to go public with allegations regarding the Iran-Contra affair.
Durrani is definitely a shady character, an international
arms dealer from Pakistan who once served prison time for selling arms to Iran in the Iran-Contra scandal. As well, his mere presence in Rosarito Beach, located just south of the U.S.-Mexico border from San Diego,
During his residency in Rosarito Beach, Durrani could
have been shipping contraband across the border, or even organizing a terrorist plot.
But if he was a national security threat, why did
U.S. authorities allow him to openly live in Rosarito Beach for over one year? Following
Durrani’s release from prison and deportation from the U.S., he ultimately moved to Rosarito Beach where he operated
openly. And without doubt U.S. authorities knew where he was.
In fact, Durrani well may have been in Mexico with
the tacit agreement of the U.S. government.
Professor Alan Block at Pennsylvania State University
states, “there was a deal made with the U.S. immigration authorities that permitted him to live in Baja California. I am absolutely certain that they knew he was there.”
As well, Durrani was once seen in Rosarito Beach
driving a Mercedes with U.S. government license plates, which he said belonged to a friend.
Could the U.S. authorities have allowed a known arms trafficker to operate freely along the border for over one year?
Another possibility is that U.S. officials did not
consider him a threat because Durrani had worked for them.
Durrani has long maintained that he worked for the
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and that he sold arms to Iran per instructions that came from Oliver North when the latter
was with the National Security Council. Durrani’s legal defense is that
he was North’s “fall guy” in the Iran-Contra affair.
Professor Block has reported that Durrani met with
Oliver North in London in 1986, when North urged him to hurriedly close the arms deal.
And while all of Durrani’s legal appeals have been denied, questions remain about whether he was set up by North? If any of Durrani’s claims were true, then the official version of the Iran-Contra
affair, as set forth by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, would be cast in doubt.
Moreover, the question of what Ronald Reagan knew,
and when, is a critical component of the Iran-Contra scandal.
An interview with Durrani, that took place last December
in Baja California, suggests the possibility that Iran-Contra could be the real motivation behind his sudden capture. Durrani told the Gringo Gazette North that he was negotiating with a major
U.S. news organization to conduct an interview that would expose previously unknown information about Oliver North, Ronald
Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair.
He said that an Israeli courier had traveled to Mexico
to personally deliver a briefcase full of documents, information that Durrani intended to show to the U.S. media. He also said that he was loyal to President Reagan, and that the briefcase contained information that he
would not release while Reagan was alive. Since Reagan had passed away, Durrani
said it was now appropriate to expose the information.
However he declined to elaborate on what the documents
If any of the previous claims Durrani made in his
legal cases are true, then the mysterious “briefcase from Israel” could contain information that might implicate
Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair. If Durrani was about to go public with
that information, one might speculate that he was arrested to suppress it.
So now, if the briefcase and its documents really
exist where are they at present?
Conroy, Publisher of northern Baja California’s biweekly Gringo Gazette North, is also a columnist with MexiData.info. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.