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Author Topic: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press  (Read 120620 times)

Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #120 on: August 08, 2012, 10:49:28 AM »

Jim,

Am on vacation so I've had a bit of time to really enjoy myself doing some in-depth research late at night :)

Echanis was under contract to SEAL Team 2 at Little Creek.  That's confirmed.  Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) - his attitude and manner of instruction became so disruptive that the program soon went away and so did he.

This is the never-ending thread present in every formal instruction opportunity he developed or was offered to him.  A combination of the "little man" syndrome he grew up with as a child and teenager carried over and exacerbated by events in his life as a young adult male.

Even Joo Bang Lee, according to Henry Lee in his surprising admission in the new forward he authored for the combo book, came to the conclusion Echanis could not function as an instructor in the civilian sector and sent him away. 

Same thing the TKD instructor who wrote the letter to JBL in the first place had offered.  "We can't handle him - maybe you can...please?"

As you've pointed out and has been confirmed he flamed out at 18th ABN Corps for same reason and was indeed left with a handful of students, mostly from the SF community.

The offer he got from "Tacho II" at Bragg was providential for him.  He really had no where else to go.

And when he got there his attitude and other negatives soon created a rift at EEBI.  This rift became so bad that he was, just before the National Palace take-over, escorted off the base and told not to return (La EEBI y Michael Echanis", Monimbo "Nueva Nicaragua", Edicion 569 and 570).  This story, written by Oscar Mendieta, is an extraordinary document.

Mendieta graduated from the Military Academy of Nicaragua, Class of 1973-1977.  He was a primary founder of EEBI and served as an official instructor and gradually was given more responsibilities in other areas as EEBI grew.  He met, knew and worked around Echanis the entire time MDE was at EEBI.

He is the officer who, according to his account, aimed his Browning Hi Power at Echanis at EEBI after Echanis, in a rage over one of his Nicaraguan non-commissioned officers (a Sergeant Cano) being pulled from training to do admin work, confronted a "Captain Rivera" in the office, jerking him to his feet while threatening him.

Mendieta recalls aiming his pistol at Echanis and ordering him to let loose of Rivera.  He described Echanis apparently deciding Mendieta would indeed shoot him and leaving the office.

Mendieta left as well and found Captain Justiniano Perez Salas outside on the street next to the office building.  He told Salas what had just occurred.  Together Salas and Mendieta located Echanis and Salas is described as ordering him to leave the compound.  Echanis did so and that was the end of his relationship with EEBI.

On the day of the National Palace take-over Echanis was persona non grata at EEBI.  He maintained his presence with the 46 man commando unit meant primarily as a bodyguard detail to the Somoza family but no longer was welcome at the EEBI grounds.

Mendieta goes on to describe how during the heavy fighting roughly three weeks later he and Captain Juan Francisco Rivera were at a hospital/morgue checking on EEBI sick, wounded and dead.  He describes the morgue as overflowing with some of the dead too large to fit into the cadaver "caskets".  There were many bodies laid on the floor of the morgue as a result, two of these being Echanis and Chuck Sanders.

He recounts they'd been brought in from the crash site which had been located by an EEBI patrol just after the plane went down.  The area is described as "los Pochotes".  This fits with all other credible information regarding where the plane was at the time. 

Mendieta describes talking with a cargo official having knowledge of what was loaded on the plane prior to takeoff and being told there were fragmentation grenades onboard (these would be the frags placed in jars with their pins pulled as described by a military member of the US Embassy to me).

The cause of the accident was attributed to one of the grenades exploding inside the cabin.

Mendieta offers his recollection that an officer of the commandos informed Comadante Colonel Anastasio Somoza Portocarrero of what had occurred.  Somoza Portocarrero immediately ordered the US Embassy contacted as well as the families of those killed (Sanders/Echanis, there was no one to claim Nuygen).  This was done and the process of sending the bodies back to the States began.

Mendieta states this was the last time he saw Echanis and Sanders ... on the floor at the morgue.

According to the US source I spoke with who identified Echanis' body later on it had been moved to a warehouse at Managua International Airport.  Neither Sanders or Nugyen's bodies were seen at that time for whatever reason.

Note:  They were possibly being cleaned locally before being sent back to Oregon.  I saw this happen myself while in El Salvador.  A Salvo friend of mine, a door gunner, was KIA during a short recon flight in a Huey in Usulutan.  We'd just had lunch together.  When the bird came back, shot to hell, I helped off load his body.  It was taken downtown for cleaning and placement in a casket with clean uniform provided by the Sals, returned to the quartel and flown back to San Salvador.

This is a well written, illustrated article and worth reading or having correctly translated.

In short, Echanis' boorish and arrogant behavior again crossed the lines in Nicaragua and the result was his being banned from the EEBI.  Mendieta goes on to give other details meant to set the record straight from the EEBI's point of view - which is very interesting and makes good sense to those of us who trained/worked with Latin America militaries and their professional officers corps - which the US created/funded/trained/supplied and advised was.

Finally, Chuck Sanders was an SF medic with 5th Group and was, in 1977, still on active duty as shown by his award of the Soldier's Medal.

Jim - does any of this rings bells with what you may have heard back in the day or over the years?

Respect.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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JimH

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #121 on: August 08, 2012, 03:33:23 PM »

Mr Walker,
That is some great first hand accounts of things happening with Mr Echanis,Mr Sanders and their Counter parts in Nicaragua.

Now I have read ,and was told that Mr Brown of SOF had flown down and or sent an air craft down to bring down Mr Echanis Family and to bring Mr Echanis body ,family and others back.
Has Mr O'Neil ever said how the body/bodies were returned to the US ?

I have also heard that Mr Echanis had been in regular contact with State department and Defense department officials,as well as Mr Brown of SOF,and they had warned him to watch himself.
I also heard that there was money going to Nicaragua from the US Government ,but that prior to Mr Echanis death funds were drying up,supplies,medical and weapons were also not coming,and that this also threw up red flags for Mr Echanis and his men to be on guard.

I had heard that Mr Echanis was tough,or that most thought he was very tough,which was more the rule than the exception through many martial arts systems and schools at the time, but some were happy with Mike and what he taught and many of those found  a home with him and that while they had a good few people leave the Courses put together by General Emerson,it was also thought that the people who stayed with Mr Echanis ,mostly SF ,seemed to have developed an allegiance to him,and would as they say "Follow him any where" and many did just that,in and around Bragg.
It was said that General Emerson disliked this crazy group and that was also factored in as a reason to terminate the course.
Many of the other instructors brought in to teach some of the courses by General Emerson supposedly liked Mike and even trained with him,others said he had a good solid practical program.

Mr Echanis was no different than many who knew what they wanted in life,knew what their course was in life ,did what they thought ,doing it their way/the right way,to them, and they would fight anyone who disagreed ,challenged or interferred with what they wanted being done the way they wanted.

Again ,not the type of guy who got along well when stateside,or under control,just the kind you might want next to you when the crap hits the fan. (Break glass in case of war)

Some of what I heard which sort of relates to your posting.
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #122 on: August 08, 2012, 03:40:26 PM »

Interesting side note - A friend of MDE's but more so of Chuck Sanders shared that Echanis, while in Ontario, enjoyed catching rattlesnakes and putting them, alive, in glass jars.  He offered the "grenade in a jar" story made perfect sense to him given the "rattlesnake in a jar" history  :o

Respect.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #123 on: August 08, 2012, 04:01:03 PM »

Jim -

The whole "bigger picture" of what was taking place in NIC during 1977 - 1979 is so exceptionally well documented at this time - and makes for fascinating reading/study - that it puts the "moment in time" where Echanis was in-country into fine perspective.

Agreed.  The martial arts community oozes "We who are about to die salute you" loyalty to this or that art/instructor/master.  No doubt same existed and still exists in the SpecOp community's martial arts world.  I don't think that will ever change ... "my master can beat your master up!"  :)

It is my understanding a number of people, to include his friends in the NIC NG, urged MDE to use caution.  However, he is best described by someone who knew him post wounding and pre NIC as being both "reckless and dangerous".  A bad combination whether stateside or OCONUS.

Interesting question regarding how the bodies were returned.  Don't know the answer. 

MDE had a good, solid H2H program for that time.  Even those at the EEBI who were most critical of him otherwise offered he was very good as a martial artist, specifically Judo/TKD and HWD. 

But the same could be said of Paul Vunak, too, who has always had a great many challenges outside of his otherwise superb martial arts talent and abilities.

Respect.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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JimH

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #124 on: August 08, 2012, 04:12:30 PM »

The grenade in a mason jar was a delayed explosive device method used by Helo crews in Vietnam.
You could drop the readied grenade ,in the jar ,from ANY height and it will not explode until the glass jar breaks,releasing the spoon,letting the grenade explode.
Mr Echanis ,and crew,had them loaded in the aircraft before they took off,I would make a guess as to what they were going to do with them,lol. Something happened to break or crack the jar which allowed the spoon enough room to allow the grenade to explode,which would cause a chain reaction of the other grenade explosions,end of story for those on board.
My opinion.
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #125 on: August 08, 2012, 04:33:47 PM »

Yep.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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noload

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #126 on: August 08, 2012, 04:58:20 PM »

What I'm enjoying about this thread is it's a great start to putting some context around the MDE legend and bringing about a more realistic picture of the guy. Great job guys!
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Hock

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #127 on: August 08, 2012, 05:11:07 PM »

Imagine the poor guy in the beginning of this thread going to write a book on Enchanis....or the myth that was Enchanis.

Hock

JimH

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #128 on: August 08, 2012, 05:17:45 PM »

In my post regarding people who would follow Mr Echanis:
In conversations with Keith Idema,he was a fanatic over Mr Echanis,his skill,his teachings and the whole Echanis Persona.
He claimed that Mr Echanis after a short time in Nicaragua had called him,Keith,and others from the course at Bragg and asked them to come down to Nicaragua.Supposedly a group,including Keith, were set to go down and join Mike and the others when they got word Mike and the others died.

Apparently Keith and others that graduated the course were believers in Mike,his teachings and his anti communist concerns.
Mr Echanis had these guys ready to join him,to train,to fight,ready to perhaps die to help him and the Cause against communism.

Again this was from talking to Keith,Early 1980's ,when he had a Military,Police equipment business  and his Counter Terror group and facility,before he was Paid by some one, to come down to outside of Bragg and open a training facility for Spec Ops,that down the road turned into a paint ball equipment facility  ??

Is the call from Mr Echanis to come to Nicaragua True/False,Right/Wrong,Actual/Factual ??

What is absolutely true is that Keith admired Mr Echanis and was more than willing to answer the call.

Perhaps General Emerson had the right hop,saw the dedication to Mr Echanis,in a very short time,by a small group of trained dedicated followers and had reason to worry,lol.
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noload

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #129 on: August 08, 2012, 05:32:58 PM »

And Echanis was a problem that fixed itself.

If Sanders was active duty at the time what did his team mates think of him hanging with Echanis? Was he on leave while in Nicaragua, stationed down there or down there for some other reason my little civilian mind can't think of?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 05:37:59 PM by noload »
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noload

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #130 on: August 08, 2012, 07:12:38 PM »

Imagine the poor guy in the beginning of this thread going to write a book on Enchanis....or the myth that was Enchanis.

Hock

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend". ;D

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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #131 on: August 08, 2012, 07:40:52 PM »

Good point, Hock :)

Sanders and Echanis were best of friends and co-conspirators in all manner of mischief and crazy antics while growing up in Ontario, Oregon.

Friends of Sanders while he was at the University of Oregon offer he was fearless and an exceptional athlete.  Those that knew both he and MDE during that period confirm Sanders was content to play #2 to Echanis, a trait that occurred again in NIC.

Sanders, according to Randy Wanner, was the more exceptional and aggressive martial artist.  Very big, very accomplished, very calculating and cold where Echanis was a blitzer and reckless.

Respect.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #132 on: August 09, 2012, 05:08:26 PM »

There are several excellent books on NIC during the time period where MDE was down there.  The best, IMHO, is "SOMOZA - and the Legacy of Involvement in Central America" by Bernard Diederlich.

The chapter on the National Palace operation is the best I've read to date.  Also, the author quotes far more from the Echanis-Fenton interviews (3 in roughly one week at the Intercontinental Hotel in Managua) to include Echanis offering if he'd been born a poor Nicaraguan he'd be fighting with the guerrillas.

That statement, along with others equally as provocative, did not go over well with either the Somoza government / National Guard or the U.S. State Department.

Perhaps the clearest and most salient point is this -

Somoza and his crew were on their way out of power.  The Sandinistas were pushing hard and after the National Palace take - over the world's attention was riveted on NIC.  The regional governments wanted Somoza gone and US State was brokering for best deal to see him leave and a government of broad spectrum representation brought into being.

For Echanis and his group of advisers/trainers their days were already numbered in terms of continued employment.  Even if MDE / Sanders had lived the combination of MDE being thrown off the EEBI base and his post persona non grata comments to the international press would have seen him sent home sooner rather than later.

After the aircraft accident the remaining team members bailed from NIC as soon as possible.  EEBI didn't want or need them there and they'd fallen out of favor due to Echanis' less than prudent observations and boasts. 

Even in death the confusion about Echanis and what he was and was not remains blurred.

On his headstone there is an engraved beret featuring the Special Forces Crest despite MDE never having been qualified or served in Special Forces -

And on his footplate his rank is given as PFC - when he was actually a rank higher, SP4, as stated in his BSM w V citation and narrative of 1970.

Such was the confusion and the myth at the time.

Neither Nuygen Van Nuygen's headstone or that of Charles W Sanders offers anything more than their names and date of birth/passing.

Even in death these two remain "Quiet Professionals".

Respect.

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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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whitewolf

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #133 on: August 09, 2012, 10:02:57 PM »

Thought i  would just throw this in. I have been following the posts from the start-I never met Mr Echanis but wish I  did-I come in contact  with a  lot of retired 5th group guys in Clarksville-(outside Ft Campbell)-I
imagine that a   lot of them  could add to his life  story. Every retired and active 5th group guy i meet are "Quiet Professionals"-One friend of  mine
made a 500 Ft jump at  night in a south American combat  zone-my hat is off to  him and all the soldiers that wear the SF insignia.-R/S -WW
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #134 on: August 10, 2012, 09:18:05 AM »

Interesting note, historically -

In 1974 the FSLN conducted similar take-over in Managua but of private residence.  Political prisoners released to the guerrillas + money.  Some of those held hostage were members of Somoza's family as seen again in 1978.

Daniel Ortega was one of those released in '74, as was Tomas Borga in '78.

Clearly the FSLN had found Somoza's weak spot - his family - and the '78 National Palace take-over was repeating success of the '74 operation although far more sophisticated and productive for the FSLN.

History - the bigger picture - where everyone plays the role allotted to him/her.

Respect.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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noload

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #135 on: August 10, 2012, 12:05:11 PM »

Greg,
Do you think Somoza and company would have survived the FSLN if Jimmy Carter had let Israel supply Somoza with weapons, or was the die already cast for the fall?
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #136 on: August 10, 2012, 12:51:07 PM »

IMHO - it is impossible to say.  History does tell us the National Guard was, using the tactics they were and combined Air/Artillery/Ground Forces destroying FSLN strongholds in each of the six major cities and were set to recapture additional.  The "final offensive" which began in earnest on September 9th, the day after MDE's death.

Additional arms/munitions were coming in from GUAT and other sources to replace those Israel was directed by the US to turn back.  That was only one ship.  One ship's worth of bullets isn't going to make a long term difference anywhere.

In the end, by the summer of 79, the OAS had mediated Somoza leaving power with the National Guard remaining in place and a shared government structure standing by in Costa Rica.

If Somoza had thought his situation was defensible I think he would have stayed and fought it out.  Instead, he bartered a deal and in a series of missteps internal to NIC the deal went south (no pun intended) and he was denied asylum in the US and ended up in Paraguay soon to be assassinated.

He is buried in Florida at the Somoza family crypt.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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JimH

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #137 on: August 10, 2012, 09:02:08 PM »

What was the Real connection  between T.Clines,R. Quinteros and the supposed counter subversion program,early 78, Mr Somoza and maybe Mr Echanis ?

Mr Felix I Rodriguez ,(CIA/SAD),should be looked at for his role/assignment by Mr Clines,early 78, in Nicaragua with Somoza and possibly Mr Echanis.
(These guys and their "Friends" were Real Deal Bad People,lol.)

Early 1978 Carter cut Aid and weapons to Somoza, Clines and his "FRIENDS" supplied the Aid ,Weapons  and TRAINING of the National Guard,against Carter Admin Policy banning such aid.

Somoza survived Sept 78,Thanks to Mr Wilson,Mr Clines and Mr Rodriguez.
Wilson funded the shipment of Israeli weapons to Clines,then to Somoza's National Guard,against Carter Admin Policy.

So the CIA ,active and former, were supplying Aid ,weapons and training in early 1978 to Somoza.(when Echanis came on board)
Carter had ALREADY discontinued funding,training and aid.
...
Carter,basically, wanted Somoza out.

Here is a brief chronology of events:
http://www.eleggua.com/Objects/Cox-CokeChrono.html

Excerpts follow:

1976                  George Bush becomes Director of CIA. He inherits Manuel Noriega as a primary contact in Central America. It is reported Noriega was paid upwards of $100,000 a year of American tax dollars to provide info for the CIA. National Security Archives document Noriega's extensive involvement with the CIA, back into the Sixties. His involvement with drug trafficking was frequently overlooked.
1976                  In a Presidential campaign speech, Ronald Reagan declares that the "Panama canal zone is sovereign U.S. territory, just as much as Alaska is, as well as the States carved from the Louisiana purchase. We bought it, we paid for it, and General Torrijos should be told we're going to keep it."

1976                  Bill Clinton elected Attorney General in Arkansas

Jan 28, 1978     President Anastasio Somoza DeBayle evokes emergency powers in an attempt to deal with disturbances protesting the slaying of a prominent newspaper editor who was critical of his regime. The slaying of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Cardenal, Editor of La Prensa, was following by rioting in Managua and a nationwide strike organized by government critics demanding the resignation of Somoza. Relying on the emergency powers, Somoza prohibited radio and TV stations from mentioning the strike and threatened fines against businesses that refused to open. In a speech Somoza states he has no intention of leaving office until his term expired.

Apr 18, 1978    President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian President Omar Torrijos sign treaty which nullifies the treaty of 1903 which gave control of the Panama Canal to the U.S., and establishes the date of December 31, 1999 as the date complete control of the canal will return to Panama.

Aug   , 1978    Leftist guerrillas seeking the overthrow of President Anastasio Somoza Debayle seized Nicaragua's National Palace taking hundreds of government officials as hostages. The raid into the heart of the capitol by the guerrilla force known as the Sandinista National Liberation Front (SNLF) confronts Somoza with the most serious challenge yet. Somoza resolves the crisis by acceding the the guerrillas demands. This was probably a turning point for Somoza's regime. Several groups have been putting pressure on Somoza to resign.

Sept  ,  1978    Somoza is besieged by the SNLF. Fighting has erupted in a half a dozen Nicaraguan cities. The SNLF is gaining momentum and support. Somoza is urged by President Carter to allow outside mediation from other Central American States. There is speculation that the CArter Administration was urging Somoza to resign.

Feb 8, 1979    The United States cuts off military ties with Nicaragua after President Anastasio Somoza Debayle rejects a three-nation proposal that he resign and end the violence occurring in his country.

July 25, 1979  Under pressure from guerrillas at home and the United States abroad, General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns as President of Nicaragua, and flies away into exile. Civil war still ravages his country, while the Sandanista's battle the remnants of the National Guard. His family had ruled Nicaragua since 1933.

Sept    , 1980   Sandinistas suspend elections, take control of media.

Sept 17, 1980    Deposed Nicaraguan President, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, is slain when his car was ambush in the residential section of Ascuncion, Paraguay. A spokesman in Nicaragua said the Sandanistas had "nothing to do directly with the death of Somoza", but expressed "joy at the death of an evil man".

Nov 4, 1980    Ronald Wilson Reagan is elected the 40th President of the United States.



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noload

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #138 on: August 13, 2012, 01:30:52 PM »

Greg,
Were they banking the plane so the wings were almost vertical? From what I can tell given the stock makeup of the plane the four must have been incredibly stupid to even attempt what they allegedly did. It was almost suicide and I'd been surprised if they didn't blow themselves up.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39860650@N02/6872748146/in/pool-aerocommander

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39860650@N02/7631913362/in/pool-aerocommander

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39860650@N02/6945417402/in/pool-aerocommander

« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 01:32:58 PM by noload »
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #139 on: August 13, 2012, 06:06:57 PM »

Yes, I 'd say they were banking (starboard side).  Only way you could hope to clear the fuselage by doing something that incredibly stupid.

However, there is record of a Sandinista light aircraft doing the same kind of thing earlier on - dropping grenades into a suburban area. 

Seems this may have been one of those stupid things both sides did with no concern whatsoever for themselves or anyone on the ground, good guy-bad guy-little kid playing in the street.

It is as likely one of the jar devices broke inside the aircraft and, if the accounts are read closely, they'd gotten "a few" out of the plane before the interior explosion.

It should be remembered both Echanis and Sanders had a long history (in both Ontario and Eugene, Oregon) of concocting and doing absolutely stupid things.  This both prior to each entering the service and after Echanis was medically discharged and would visit Sanders at the U of O prior to Sanders getting the "Jail or Army" option from a court (for the same kind of absurd behavior).

As for Echanis being "hooked up" with/by the Agency - personally I doubt it.  He was unmanagable and far, far to public.  In intelligence work you can either be an Asset or a Dupe - and in MDE's case it is more likely he played the latter role.
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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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noload

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #140 on: August 13, 2012, 06:44:32 PM »

Good grief, these guys were a disaster waiting to happen.
And people followed him why?
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Greg Walker

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #141 on: August 13, 2012, 07:41:55 PM »

Because they got paid to and he was the paymaster at that moment in space and time.

We need but turn to Echanis' own words in his AP interview with Tom Fenton - he states he's only in NIC "for the money".

Not a new story, at all.

Began re-reading my good friend Strozzi Heckler's outstanding book "In Search of the Warrior Spirit" - which is centered on the Trojan Warrior Progam (Special Forces) back in the early 80s in which Strozzi helped develop and instruct.

Of the many good things and thoughts he shares I found this one, in relation to Echanis/Sanders, particularly noteworthy -

"The macho icon that our culture has made out of the Green Beret soldier is in many cases true, it is also true that he may be an individual who has simply acquired the qualities of durability, selflessness and resilience.

"There straightforward qualities [also have] their shadow side. To a man they are your average American, through and through, the flaws and the virtues.  In this ambiguity lies the potential for both the moral hero as well as the insensitive killer."

Both Echanis and Sanders are quoted on more than one occasion regarding their zeal to learn only "killing techniques" and their behavior dating back years reveals a complete disregard for anyone other than themselves.  Sanders is described as once offering when hunting (which he and Echanis did regularly while growing up in Oregon) he aimed to wound, not kill, the animal he was after.

"He (MDE) followed a vegetarian routine and seemed to believe he was immortal.  Where kids back home practiced karate as a sport - perhaps daydreaming about someday smashing a mugger's windpipe -- Mike practiced what he preached.  Chuck never said much.  He was a great one for shaking hands and grinning but his flat gray eyes never smiled.  When he went hunting, he said, he never shot to kill.  He preferred wounding ("Somoza - and the Legacy of US Involvement in Central America, page 187).

Heckler, in "Warrior Spirit", also offers "The mercenary is never a true warrior - and pays the price in measure of heart."

A one-dimensional warrior is just that.  MDE and Sanders were all about domination and power, as was their employer Somoza. 

Again, from Heckler - "If he's [a Special Forces soldier/operator] thought of as having denied his personal needs it's because he's a professional and doesn't expect special acknowledgement.  He's trained to kill but also has a genuine instinct to preserve and protect."

These last two instincts were greatly lacking where MDE and CS were concerned.

Respect.

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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #142 on: August 13, 2012, 08:06:22 PM »

Greg,
Your last post reads as if I were hearing the guy who trained me talk about those very things.
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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #143 on: August 13, 2012, 10:13:25 PM »

I would offer we both got trained by the right people :)

Reference the long held rumor/myth that MDE was on payroll of the OGA -

Not so. 

He was a source of information and volunteered information to the U.S. Embassy/MilGrp which is not surprising nor unusual.  He was, after all, an American and not a Nicaraguan and the best interests of the United States trumped all else.

His information was useful as he was close to the seat of power (the Somoza Family, specifically Tacho II) and could be expected to offer different angles/perspective in many different areas.

He was unpaid and did not request to be paid for sharing what he heard/knew.

Again, MDE was seen as extremely skilled and disciplined in what he taught.  He was also seen as un-managable and hence not a "company man".  He was rogue by nature and viewed that way - so it is fair to make the distinction he was as Asset (knowing what he was doing and for whom) as opposed to a Dupe (unknowing).

MDE's contract with the NIC government at the time was solely a business opportunity / invitation between MDE/his training staff and the Somoza National Guard / Family.  It is historical fact their presence raised great ire with the US Government and a stern rebuke directed at  Echanis by then Secretary of State Cyrus Vance (Echanis himself describes receiving a formal letter from Vance which was less than complimentery).

But US law did not prevent - and has never prevented - Americans working privately as security/military/paramilitary contractors (as is the current term) for foreign governments/powers.  This is the primary reason Soldier of Fortune Magazine, for example and which Echanis pursued as part of his career path post wounding/recovery - was able to create the market and audience it did in the mid-1970s and through the 80's and 90s.

Respect.

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #144 on: August 14, 2012, 07:34:09 PM »

Greg, just got the Somoza book in the mail ($10, 1981 hard cover), and have been browsing around it, thanks for recommending it.
I quickly read the Echanis sections first and really surprised that I had not heard those stories before or in that way. They really don't paint any of the four that were killed in the plane in a good light or as professionals. To me the Echanis plan for storming the building seemed nuts unless him and his commandos were training for roof top insertions and hostage rescue. The MED story is really more interesting than usually presented.

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #145 on: August 14, 2012, 08:14:55 PM »

It's a good read.

Yes, agreed.  The entire "plan" was purely driven by emotion with no thought as to "little picture-big picture" consequences. 

A friend who was down there at the time offered Somoza made the hard but right decision to mediate the situation.  Pastora held the entire Nicaraguan congress and could have easily wounded/killed a huge number of them within a minute or two of an assault effort of any kind.  Internationally Somoza would have been done in '78 as opposed to a year later when he was able to exile peacefully.

And the rooftop plan was absurd even then - and certainly more so by today's exacting standards for such ops. 

What was "spot on" was Echanis' expressed desire to assault after almost immediately arriving at the palace.  All indications I've seen are that the EEBI force did make entry onto the first floor - they were driven back initially - but could have if allowed re-assaulted and essentially gone for broke.  Pastora's team was halved at that point trying to gain/maintain control of the congressional chamber and over 1000 other people throughout the building.

EEBI had greater numbers and far greater firepower/discipline and experience.

Certainly would have been casualties but Pastora's folks were off balance and the timing favored Echanis and the EEBI for that few critical minutes.  By the time Alegrett and Echanis had to go to Somoza personally Pastora's team was in full control.

We'll never know, of course, what might have been.

The same tactic occurred in 1974 when FSLN guerrillas took a private residence in Managua plus hostages, to include relatives / friends of the Somoza family.  He paid the ransom and let the "Gs" go with the money - and released prisoners - to include Daniel Ortega.

Short lesson - if you got to Somoza's family you could likely cut a deal and get away clean.  Pastora learned that from the '74 success and welded the knowledge to his long held desire to take and hold the National Palace as a political statement.

His timing was good, very good, historically.

Extraordinary story on the EEBI and Echanis. Google "La EEBI y Michael Echanis".  It is in Spanish and is two part (Edition 569 and 570).  Written by former EEBI founder/NIC National Guard officer (Class of '77) in "Nueva Nicaragua".  Reading in Spanish is the best, of course, as the online English translation is muddy. 

I checked out some key events mentioned in the story and they ring true - EEBI cadre setting the record straight.  Another interesting piece in the puzzle.

Respect.

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Greg Walker (Retired - 2005)
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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #146 on: August 14, 2012, 08:57:28 PM »

I'll look it up Greg. My wife is a Spanish speaker so I'll ask her for help with the hard parts.

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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #147 on: August 14, 2012, 09:24:27 PM »

Perfect.  I'm interested in your take on what the author shares.  Section on aircraft location and body recovery/transport to temp morgue is opined to be accurate - with bodies moved from temp morgue to warehouse/hanger at Managua International after ID'd by the author and CPT Rivera and Tacho II notified, who in turn had the US Embassy notified.
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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #148 on: August 15, 2012, 06:58:47 AM »

Greg,
I'm looking over the following items returned from the search and comparing them to what's in the book, Somosa. Translations are rough but give a good idea of what the author is saying. I'll be back. :)

Article one:

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.estrelladenicaragua.com/362-EDICION/362-fotohistorica.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLa%2BEEBI%2By%2BMichael%2BEchanis%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DUxI%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26prmd%3Dimvnsob&sa=X&ei=AZErUK34DsqN6QHzpoE4&ved=0CFsQ7gEwBA

« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 07:15:04 AM by noload »
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Re: New Book on Mike Echanis Released by Paladin Press
« Reply #149 on: August 15, 2012, 06:59:47 AM »

Article two:
Quote
Page 1
Mic
Mic
hael Ec
hael Ec
Hanis
Hanis
THE EEBI Y
CONTINUED ...
Operation Rescue
National Palace.
It was planned and executed
by officers of the basic training camp. It was
several weeks if not months,
we had run the
Mike EEBI Echanis. Echanis
or participate, or had nothing to
see in the plan that had been done to attack the Palace. In
participaríamos only official plan, or a soldier,
or a class had been chosen
for it, let alone
Echanis, who was no longer welcome in the basic training camp. Therefore, days
later in 1978 I was surprised to read the newspaper La Prensa an alleged letter from Mike
Echanis revealed to the Press
which he spoke of his plan
attack the Palace. That was a
probably lonely and individual plan. In EEBI and
National Guard one, not
sent alone, there was a boss,
a chain of command and had to follow, obey,
respect, nothing was capricious.
If the top leaders of
Sandinistas are alive today was because of that obedience,
discipline and respect for
orders from higher command.
We obeyed orders
and even attacked the Palace
when it was easy for us.
The basic training camp was practically
at the Palace when the Sandinista command to its input
thereto, the Command were
for the Estate of Tarpon
to practice shooting when
ran into the attack
Sandinista deshabilitaron
a bedpan Israel and the Commander, Colonel Porto Somoza
carter them back. He said the
Commands leader Colonel Somoza Portocarrero by
radio, which was easier to get
who returned to the Palace, I
repeated three times before
access returned.
Mike Echanis was a man of medium height, say
I, white Anglo Saxon
yellow hair / blonde and about a 28 to 29
years of age. There is no doubt
who was an expert in the arts
martial, well able to cope with any situation
combat and his favorite, the
martial arts. He was an energetic, he was above all
Special Forces soldier,
Paratrooper. On several occasions I had to lower orders
operations officer to
EEBI Commands command,
and we had one down
Mike Echanis Jeep, who
wanted to join the convoy, but
Colonel. Somoza Portocarrero
ordered him to get off, so
immediately, was a problem,
always wanted to participate in the
actions but was not allowed.
COL. Somoza Portocarrero was always very careful with them, knew what to
and would not be involved in
what does not competing, avoiding
problems for the GN and General
Somoza Debayle. Echanis was
valiant and impulsive man, had to stop as
say in good Nicaragua.
We knew he had been hired to train the custo-
Day of General Anastasio Somoza
Debayle, by then assistant to the president, apparently
Gen. Somoza did not seem
the idea and having nothing more than
do and to give them occupation
They were sent to basic training camp where he began training with
we the official arts
martial
HAND TO HAND COMBAT, BODY COMBAT CUERPOA.
This was part of
training of every soldier,
Promotion XXXII Nicaragua Military Academy. Class 1973-1977. The graduation day on 4
July 1977.
Monimbó "New Nicaragua"
Issue 570 • Year 23
Page 2
something already known to us.
Mike Echanis participated
officials attending
group of commands, then left that role and I knew
participated in the production of military intelligence in the area
Sapoa Southern Front. My boss
I immediately asked him to provide a soldier Mike
Echanis and to make regulatory proceedings. You
I assigned Sgt. Cano who was under my command. Later we were very busy in the recruiting office and needed more staff, so I asked the
Cptn. Juan Francisco Rivera
more personal. He told me I
bring Sgt. Cano back
the basic training camp, which turned. A
day later, appreciated Mike
Echanis's office EEBI command, made a fierce,
while we work normally. Echanis went to
Captain Rivera, shouting that
why he had taken from the Sgt.
Cano, who had valuable
information and promptly put
grabbed his shirt and lifted him
of your desk chair. Of
I got up immediately
from my desk to see the rapture and my service revolver in hand, I shouted to let go Echanis Captain Rivera,
Echanis who had his back to me, turned around and said
lieutenant, I see you out
without that gun, I was not asked
Captain closer to drop
Rivera, and to leave the office. He was eyeing my
regulation weapon, a 9mm Browning mounted and uninsured
ready to shoot if I
approached, although aware of
the possible consequences.
Echanis is stormed out shouting offensive words in English, I handed my gun regulation Captain Rivera, who
I said calm, not fifteen, not
I commit myself, I kept
to Echanis and found to
Cptn. Justiniano Perez Salas
the way out of the barracks,
I told him what happened and together
escorted to outside Echanis
the basic training camp. I remember Captain
Perez ordering "GET OUT" GET OUT ", and that was
the end of the relationship Micha
Echanis-EEBI. Never again
end of the link Michael
Echanis-EEBI. Never again
facilities would step Echanis
the EEBI. For when he
the National Palace Echanis
was no longer welcome in the
EEBI.
We would not have
EEBI allowed in the mandate or foreign training,
We were very careful, professional, in the same Guard
Were National frowned;
because we demanded our
rights, were competent
and we were able to resolve and confront our own and
it created unrest within the institution. We evaluated internally, something not practiced
National Guard and no
was exempt from being assessed
and penalized if that was the case.
The size was not was simply transferred.
Media
are sometimes fanciful, make
drama to get attention
public and sell the news. A
I think, maybe he said something
and Soldier of Fortune Magazine
published it in his own way, perhaps
Echanis at some point say that, but that in reality, we, the officers and soldiers of the basic training camp, we did not use that slogan, were much less marked in the
heel as we have been stigmatized.
I want to add that it is normal and common marching and running in routine exercises in
which songs are sung,
sometimes marching, sometimes his own compositions to accompany and encourage exercise
the morale of the participants,
standard operating procedure to have all military unit.
The downside is the significance of
malicious inventions.
The story has been written by
Sandinistas, who were and are
been our adversaries, we did not have the opportunity to respond to the
truth. I can assure you that
if a lie is repeated often, it happens to be deemed credible. It is a fable
more smear against us.
I do not think EEBI foreign instructors needed for our training. We were soldiers
were able to become the number one Training School, as
military training in Latin America, for 1978 and
According to data provided by the Southern Command
Army of the United States of America in Panama.
We had the basic training camp with
varied specialties soldiers trained in Command and Staff, Advanced
Infantry, Rangers and Special Forces graduates
U.S. Kaibiles graduates in Guatemala, Lancers, graduates in Colombia
Command Corvos graduates
Chile, Panama and Command graduates Argentina, Parachute Jump and Teachers
graduates in the United States
Chile and El Salvador, these specialties has made us capable
creating a diversified training, a mixture of
specialties made very effective training for our soldiers
the fight, all adjusted to our needs. The basic training camp was
the National Guard unit that put a halt to the military victory of the Sandinistas.
We checked into exile when
and we had no ammunition, no
fuel to continue, we lost a war policy
which we were never prepared. The EEBI was born, raised
and step into exile with his officers,
classes and Nicaraguan soldiers, it was never necessary
presence of Michael Echanis
among us. If it was very good
soldier and specialist in
martial arts.
TAE KWON
DO, DO and JUDO HWA RAN.
Monimbó "New Nicaragua"
Issue 570 • Year 23
Sub. Lieut. Oscar Mendieta., Course
Management of Instruction.
U.S. ARMY SCHOOL. 1978.
THE EEBI Y. ..
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