Crook’s Paradise

May 1979 the United States Texas Mike Purdue was a charismatic bodybuilder in his early 30s he was a mercenary or at least that’s what he told everyone he loved to tell stories about his military adventures the jungles of Vietnam the battlefields in southern Africa and Latin America adventures in Rhodesia the bush war Nicaragua Uruguay Operation Condor were any of this stories true maybe who knows they seemed believable perhaps he was a mercenary perhaps he was a scam artist or perhaps a bit of both but whatever Purdue did for a living it paid well anyone who visited his tastefully decorated house in Houston could tell you that even at a young age Mike Purdue was militant and violent as a teenager he formed a youth gang inspired by the Ku Klux Klan that would beat up blacks and break into vacation homes along the Tennessee River Purdue did jail time and subsequently bragged to his brother that he murdered a black inmate by holding his head in a toilet bowl he was never charged and it’s not clear if that story was actually true operation Red Dog chapter two crooks paradise if we allow Vietnam to fall tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii and next week in San Francisco sad lyndon b johnson the 36th President of the United States who had flooded Vietnam with American troops Mike Purdue used similar logic when he talked about his military career and mercenary jobs he fought for America all his wars were in America’s interests so when he stumbled upon a newspaper article saying that the deposed leader of Grenada was seeking arms at foreign mercenaries to take the island back from the Communists he thought he might be just the man for the job I mean how hard could it be to topple granada’s idealistic new regime as the legendary mercenary Colonel Mad Mike or said literally 30 or 40 well-armed ruthless men can overthrow a stable government meanwhile Eric gairy the deposed warlock was staying at a friend’s house in San Diego Kelly he was determined to return to power this cannot last he told a reporter a month after the coup unless Maurice Bishop was stopped the Caribbean will become a nest for communist activities he passed the time discussing his theories on flying saucers Mike Purdue arranged a meeting they didn’t sign a contract or enter any kind of formal agreement but Purdue was good with people and he had a feeling that Gary was interested so Purdue began planning the invasion of Grenada and the restoration of warlock recei getting guns wasn’t going to be difficult this is America after all Purdue had the right connections that he knew where to get the money or at least he had some ideas what he didn’t have was manpower so he turned to a charismatic Louisiana native he met a few years earlier the former imperial wizard of the ku klux klan David Duke that name should be familiar to anyone who follows all tried politics Duke epitomized the tactical move of many white supremacists from robes to suits away from extremist politics and towards greater legitimacy Purdue told Duke he was putting together a force to invade Grenada he spoke convincingly live in Duke with an impression that he had experienced in these types of things the ex Imperial wizard had left the Clare in 78 and he wasn’t interested in foreign adventures but he still had his old contacts she provided Purdue a list of names and phone numbers to get him started one of the numbers belonged to a man named Donald Clark Andrews a businessman a leader and an ideologue of Canada’s militant far-right movement this sentence feels weird to say out loud but back in the late 70s Canadian far-right radicals were a real force Andrews was the first person in the country ever to be cherished with willfully promoting hatred he supposedly plotted to bomb by visiting Israeli soccer team although this was never proven in 1975 he was charged with offenses ranging from plotting arson to possession of weapons and explosives Andrews was just out of prison when Mike Purdue called the house to enlist his support for the invasion of Grenada the Canadian loved the idea and he assigned one of his lieutenants to Purdue our nepali was a canadian of estonian heritage with strong anti-communist beliefs he grew up in Toronto and spoke about having once worked for the US intelligence he wasn’t the only scam artist in the story to make such a claim meanwhile the situation in Grenada was getting more and more complicated Cuba had diplomatically recognized the new revolutionary regime and sent a shipment of arms to help them consolidate power Cuban military advisors had set up a People’s Revolutionary Army training camp in the island interior the level of difficulty was increasing but the island right next to Grenada Dominica was a different matter according to a secret intelligence report dated July 20th 1979 the CIA experts considered the new Dominican prime minister as a young opportunist who has appointed to the Senate the leaders of the country’s three previously peripheral leftist groups politically things were going in the wrong direction from the CIA point of view the entire Caribbean was fucked a new regime dominated by pro Cuban leftists had come to office in the neighbor and Saint Lucia and in the Saint Kitts Navy’s premier Lemoore a former Black Power activist was expected to follow a pro Cuban foreign policy no less than eight former British colonies were becoming independent during a period of economic downturn various left-wing radical groups were well positioned to take advantage of the situation ultimately Perdue didn’t care which Island to invade Grenada Dominica it made no difference but the later seemed more doable Cubans haven’t yet made it to Dominica September 1979 Memphis Tennessee Purdue and police stepped out of the elevator into a luxury penthouse suit to meet JW Kirkpatrick there was a confederate flag on the wall the bar had an impressive stock of booze they had a few drinks with the potential investors in Purdue’s mercenary enterprise they were three of them a lawyer and accountant and a doctor the man talked about how great it would be to open a casino in the Caribbean where do you told them that Grenada was way too difficult too costly too time-consuming and too bloody he said the Communists were already on the ground in full force but there was another island a few hundred miles to the north with enough cash Perdue you could bring a team of mercenaries to Dominica and take it over investors could open banks and casinos and make piles of money Paulie Purdue’s Canadian company I thought the idea of invading Islands was stupid his mission was to set up a business in Dominica that his fellow Canadian Don Andrews could use as a cover for the invasion of Grenada but when it came to invade he banana republics Polly was a realist you couldn’t invade Dominica they were British Venezuelan and French troops nearby the island is sandwiched between Martinique and Guadeloupe the foreign governments would never allow for the coup to happen but the investors saw things differently the next morning Kirkpatrick gave Perdue $10,000 in cash this was supposed to be an investment to be reimbursed as soon as the mercenaries had taken control of Dominica [Music] [Music]

Maurice Vega

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