The Reagan Crack Journey
The Reagan-Bush Era
Iran Hostage Crisis Subterfuge
’October Surprise’ And ‘Iran-Contra’
“…. the Republican Party [is willing] to go to extraordinary lengths to manipulate the popular vote…. The best-known example was the Watergate break-in of 1972, designed to get illicit access to Democrat plans for a presidential election that Richard Nixon feared he would lose.
At the previous election in 1968, Nixon’s aides were charged with persuading the South Vietnamese to delay their participation in peace talks to deny possible advantage to the Democrats, then in office. But that was only a precursor for 1980. In that year, when Ronald Reagan was the Republican candidate trying to stop the re-election of President Jimmy Carter, a potentially treasonable plot was hatched, which came to be known as the ‘October surprise’.
To stop Carter getting the credit for securing the release of the 52 US embassy hostages seized after the Iranian revolution, members of the Reagan campaign flew to Paris to meet Iranian and Israeli representatives in October, less than a month before the election on 4 November. Several sources, including the New York Times (15 April 1991), confirm that not only did William Casey, the [subsequent] CIA director [from 1981 to 1987], attend those meetings, but so did the vice-presidential candidate George
Bush (father of George W). It was agreed with the Iranians that the hostages would not be released before the election. In return, the Reagan-Bush team promised to supply $40m of military equipment if elected. Military equipment started to flow to Iran from Israel on 21 October, the proffered release of the hostages was withdrawn, and Carter was defeated. The hostages were finally released on 21 January 1981, minutes after Reagan was sworn in as president.
The Iran-Contra affair followed in 1986-87. After the US Congress had passed the Boland Amendment in 1982 forbidding direct military aid to the Contras in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration again ferried arms secretly to Iran (then subject to a US arms embargo), and then used the proceeds to fund weaponry for the Contras. Even when this deal, illegal at both ends, was later exposed, the administration’s web of deceit managed to shield Reagan and Bush from the consequences of their conspiracy.”
Did Dubbya rig the election?
New Statesman, 29 November 2004
|On This REPRODUCTION Article
|Phase I’October Surprise’
|‘Phase III’Trying To Bury Information On Reagan-Bush Era
|The Earlier ‘Nixon’ ModelThe Presidential Election Of 1968
Why Was There An Iranian Hostage Crisis In The First Place?
All Events Trace Back To A Successful Anglo-American Plot To Overthrow The Democratically Elected Government Of Iran In 1953 “There’s nothing like being surrounded by a crowd chanting ‘Death to America’ on the day of the most historic U.S. presidential Inauguration in memory to make an American foreign correspondent feel homesick….Anti-Americanism is a potent political trope here because it is rooted in grievances. Just down the road from the Khomeini shrine is the Behesht-e Zahra martyrs’ cemetery–one of many such scattered plots that contain the remains of more than 200,000 Iranian soldiers who died in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
The widows and mothers who come here on Thursdays–the beginning of the weekend in Iran–to wash graves and pass out sweets and fruit to strangers remember that the rockets, jets and chemical weapons used to kill their sons and husbands were provided to Saddam Hussein by the U.S. and Europe. ‘Every strike against our country has come from the United States,’ says Azam Omrani, 63, whose son Amir died in the war.
From the CIA-led coup in 1953 that reinstalled the Shah to the millions of dollars Washington spends on covert operations and propaganda against their government today, Iranians believe the U.S. has interfered in Iran’s internal affairs. The effect has been to create a siege mentality even among those Iranians who don’t support the government.”
Talking and Listening to Iran
TIME, 12 Februay 2009
“Fifty years ago this week, the CIA and the British SIS orchestrated a coup d’etat that toppled the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh. The prime minister and his nationalist supporters in parliament roused Britain’s ire when they nationalised the oil industry in 1951, which had previously been exclusively controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company [later renamed as BP]. Mossadegh argued that Iran should begin profiting from its vast oil reserves. The British government tried to enlist the Americans in planning a coup… The crushing of Iran’s first democratic government ushered in more than two decades of dictatorship under the Shah…
The author of All the Shah’s Men, New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer, argues that the coup planted the seeds of resentment against the US in the Middle East, ultimately leading to the events of September 11…. The coup and the culture of covert interference it created forever changed how the world viewed the US, especially in poor, oppressive countries. For many Iranians, the coup was a tragedy from which their country has never recovered. Perhaps because Mossadegh represents a future denied, his memory has approached myth.”
The spectre of Operation Ajax
Guardian, 20 August 2003
|For More Information On ‘Operation Ajax’ In 1953
|Election Campaign 1980
The Details Of The Alleged Republican Covert Arms Deal With The Iranians
|The Lee Hamilton
The Investigation By Paul Wilcher
Election Campaign 1980
The Details Of The Alleged Republican Covert Arms Deal With The Iranians
|“Former National Security Council member Gary Sick discussed his recent book October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan. In his book, Mr. Sick explored the theory that the 1980 Reagan/Bush campaign negotiated with the Iranian government to delay the release of 52 American hostages until after Reagan’s 1981 inauguration. He also examined the implications of such an agreement, and its possible effect on the 1992 presidential election.”
To Order Video Of Programme As Broadcast On C-SPAN
“Suspicions about a deal between the Reagan campaign and Iran over the hostages have circulated since the day of President Reagan’s inaugural, when Iran agreed to release the 52 American hostages exactly five minutes after Mr. Reagan took the oath of office. Later, as it became known that arms started to flow to Iran via Israel only a few days after the inauguration, suspicions deepened that a secret arms-for-hostages deal had been concluded.
Five years later, when the Iran-contra affair revealed what seemed to be a similar swap of hostages for arms delivered through Israel, questions were revived about the 1980 election. In a nice, ironic twist, the phrase ‘October surprise,’ which Vice Presidential candidate George Bush had coined to warn of possible political manipulation of the hostages by Jimmy Carter, began to be applied to the suspected secret activities of the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign…
In a Madrid hotel in late July 1980, an important Iranian cleric, Mehdi Karrubi, who is now the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, allegedly met with Mr. Casey [Reagan’s campaign manager and later his Director of the CIA] and a U.S. intelligence officer who was operating outside authority.
The same group met again several weeks later…. From Oct. 15 to Oct. 20, events came to a head in a series of meetings in several hotels in Paris, involving members of the Reagan-Bush campaign and high-level Iranian and Israeli representatives. Accounts of these meetings and the exact number of participants vary considerably among the more than 15 sources who claim direct or indirect knowledge of some aspect of them.
There is, however, widespread agreement on three points: William Casey was a key participant: the Iranian representatives agreed that the hostages would not be released prior to the Presidential election on Nov. 4; in return, Israel would serve as a conduit for arms and spare parts to Iran. At least five of the sources who say they were in Paris in connection with these meetings insist that George Bush was present for at least one meeting. Three of the sources say that they saw him there… Immediately after the Paris meetings, things began to happen. On Oct. 21, Iran publicly shifted its position in the negotiations with the Carter Administration, disclaiming any further interest in receiving military equipment….
Between Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, Israel sent a planeload of F-4 fighter aircraft tires to Iran in contravention of the U.S. boycott and without informing Washington. Cyrus Hashemi, using his own contacts began privately organizing military shipments to Iran. On Oct. 22, the hostages were suddenly dispersed to different locations. And a series of delaying tactics in late October by the Iranian Parliament stymied all attempts by the Carter Administration to act on the hostage question until only hours before Election Day… On Jan. 15, Iran did an about-face, offering a series of startling concessions that reignited the talks and resulted in a final agreement in the last few hours of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency. The hostages were released on Jan. 21, 1981, minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. Almost immediately thereafter, according to Israeli and American former officials, arms began to flow to Iran in substantial quantities…
Moshe Arens, the Israeli Ambassador to Washington in 1982, told The Boston Globe in October 1982 that Israeli’s arms shipments to Iran at this time were coordinated with the U.S. Government `at almost the highest of levels.’ … The allegations of these individuals have many disturbing implications for the U.S. political system. One is the tampering with foreign policy for partisan benefit. That has, of course, happened before and it may well happen again, but it assumes special poignancy in this case since it would have involved tampering with the lives and freedom of 52 Americans.
Another implication is that leaders of the U.S. exposed themselves to the possibility of blackmail by Iran or Israel. Third, the events suggest that the arms-for-hostage deal that in the twilight of the Reagan Presidency became known as the Iran-contra affair, instead of being an aberration, was in fact the re-emergence of a policy that began even before the Reagan-Bush Administration took office.”
Gary Sick – The Election Story of the Decade
New York Times, 15 April 1991
“Ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe says he narrowly survived a possible assassination attempt Sunday night when his upscale home in Montreal was set ablaze in what Canadian authorities are describing as suspected arson. …. Ben-Menashe said he believed the fire was set with ‘a Molotov cocktail’ but he had no clear idea who might have tried to kill him. He did acknowledge that he has a number of enemies around the world resulting from his past as an Israeli intelligence officer and his more recent work as an international consultant often working in global hotspots. Among Ben-Menashe’s enemies are some of his former Israeli superiors who consider him a traitor for exposing sensitive Israeli secrets and powerful Republicans, including former President George H.W. Bush whom Ben-Menashe fingered as involved in national security scandals in the 1980s….
Ben-Menashe, who served in Israeli military intelligence in the 1970s and 1980s, was arrested in the United States in 1989 for his involvement in military sales to Iran. He says the Israeli government then urged him to plead guilty to the U.S. charges, but he refused and began disclosing Israeli secrets to journalists, including me in early 1990 when I was a correspondent for Newsweek magazine. At first, the Israeli government denounced Ben-Menashe as an ‘impostor’ but after I obtained official Israeli letters of reference describing his decade-long work within the External Relations Department of the Israel Defence Forces, Israeli officials changed their story.
They labeled him simply ‘a low-level translator.’ But the letters described Ben-Menashe’s service in ‘key positions’ and said he handled ‘complex and sensitive assignments.’ … Ben-Menashe convinced a New York jury that he indeed had been working on official Israeli business in his transactions with Iran. He was acquitted in fall 1990. Ben-Menashe also continued to give interviews and provide testimony about the secret dealings involving Republicans and the Israeli government….
Perhaps Ben-Menashe’s most controversial claim was that he and other Israeli intelligence officers assisted the Republicans in brokering a deal with Iran’s Islamic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1980 to hold 52 American hostages until after the U.S. election to ensure President Jimmy Carter’s defeat. As a result of this so-called October Surprise caper, the hostages were not released until Jan. 20, 1981, immediately after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as U.S. President, Ben-Menashe said. After leveling his October Surprise accusations in 1990-1991 – and providing investigative journalist Seymour Hersh information about Israel’s nuclear program for his book The Samson Option – Ben-Menashe was essentially a man on the run from both the Israeli government and the U.S. administration of George H.W. Bush.
Ben-Menashe sought refuge in Australia, arriving in spring 1991, still carrying his Israeli passport. After obtaining Ben-Menashe’s Australian immigration records, journalist Marshall Wilson reported that Ben-Menashe requested what amounted to political asylum. Dated May 15, 1991, Ben-Menashe’s 25-page declaration stated: ‘My case is an unprecedented case of political persecution by two governments. It was an attempt by Israel and the United States to cover up their relations with Iran since 1979.’ Ben-Menashe detailed the curious circumstances of his 1989 arrest while on a private visit to the U.S. and added: ‘I was not willing to keep quiet and be discredited by pleading guilty to the bogus charges.
I did not accept my government’s proposal to do so. Any arms sales to Iran that I was involved in was solely in the capacity of being an employee of the Israeli government. Everything I did was authorised by the appropriate authorities in the Israeli and United States governments. Since I did not go along with the program and decided I would truthfully defend myself in court, I was disowned by the Israeli Government and will be prosecuted for breaking the Official Secrets Act if I return. … I will be prosecuted … behind closed doors, ‘for national security reasons,’ and I will never again see the light of day.’
But Ben-Menashe said his case had other implications. ‘As an aftermath of my  trial a new scandal has broken directly involving the President of the United States [George H.W. Bush],’ Ben-Menashe wrote, ‘about the President being involved in an arms-for-hostage release delay deal [with Iran] in 1980. I am a central witness on that issue. Democratic members of the US Congress are going to speak to me about that and other issues involving US sales of unconventional weapon systems to Iraq, all connected to the present [George H.W. Bush] administration of the US,’ Ben-Menashe told Australian immigration.
‘Paradoxically speaking I am now being punished for being acquitted.’ Later in May 1991, Ben-Menashe faced an apparent plan by George H.W. Bush’s administration to divert him from Los Angeles Airport to Israel when he was en route to Washington to testify to Congress about his allegations. If he had been turned over, his fate would likely have been similar to that of technician Mordechai Vanunu, who disclosed Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program and then was kidnapped in Rome and returned to Israel for trial and imprisonment….
Although substantial evidence has emerged to support Ben-Menashe’s claims, Republicans and the Israeli government continued to deny the October Surprise story and U.S. congressional investigations in the early 1990s confronted a stonewall of Republican obstruction….. A Jew who was born in Iran and who emigrated to Israel as a teenager, Ben-Menashe explained how his background proved valuable to Israeli intelligence after the Shah of Iran, a close Israeli ally, was overthrown in 1979. As Israel tried to rebuild some relationship with Iran, Ben-Menashe was able to reconnect with some of his friends from his youth who were rising inside the new revolutionary government.
Ben-Menashe said those contacts led him into a role as an intermediary on military sales to Iran during the U.S.-Iranian hostage crisis in 1980 and placed him near the decision by Prime Minister Menachem Begin to throw in Israel’s lot with Republican Ronald Reagan in his campaign to unseat President Jimmy Carter. Over the next several years, Ben-Menashe remained a key middleman in the arms transactions that were crucial to Iran in its long war with Iraq…. American journalist Craig Unger was told by a senior intelligence official, Moshe Hebroni, that ‘Ben-Menashe served directly under me. …
He had access to very, very sensitive material.’ [Village Voice, July 7, 1992] In the Israeli daily, Davar, reporter Pazit Ravina wrote, ‘in talks with people who worked with Ben-Menashe, the claim that he had access to highly sensitive intelligence information was confirmed again and again.’”
Robert Parry – Arson Seen in Attack on Ex-Israeli Spy
Consortium News, 3 December 2012
“For his part, ex-President Carter appeared more concerned about the danger of being accused of sour grapes than learning anything new about how the Republicans sank his presidency. In 1996, while meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, Carter reportedly raised his hands into a physical stop position when Arafat tried to confess to his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations.
‘There is something I want to tell you,’ Arafat said, addressing Carter at a meeting in Arafat’s bunker in Gaza City. ‘You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election.’ Arafat was apparently prepared to provide additional details and evidence, but Carter raised his hands, indicating that he didn’t want to hear anymore.”
Method to Republican ‘Madness’
Consortium News, 5 May 2012
“A top aide to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has dropped a new clue about the original ‘October Surprise’ mystery of 1980: the name of the Republican operative who sought the Palestine Liberation Organization’s help to block President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 Americans then being held hostage in Iran. Longtime Arafat confidant Bassam Abu Sharif said that in mid-1980, he met in Paris with John Shaheen, a friend to both Ronald Reagan and Reagan’s campaign chief, William J. Casey.
Abu Sharif told me that Shaheen, a former U.S. intelligence officer of Lebanese origin, extended a Republican offer of improved U.S. relations with the PLO if the Arafat-led organization would assist in persuading the Iranians to delay the hostage release until after the November 1980 elections. Shaheen, who died in 1985, has long been a central figure in the so-called ‘October Surprise’ case, allegations that Republicans sabotaged Carter’s hostage negotiations as a way to ensure the 1980 election of Reagan as president and George H.W. Bush as vice president.
Though Abu Sharif and Arafat have previously discussed the Republican overture, they had refused to identify the Republican intermediary until now. The alleged secret deal between the Reagan-Bush campaign and the Iranians popularized the idea of an ‘October Surprise,’ a last-minute event that might alter the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. The phrase was coined by then-vice presidential candidate Bush in the context that Carter’s success in freeing the hostages might be his ‘October Surprise,’ though it later came to refer to the alleged Republican scheming to derail Carter’s hostage talks.
Republican leaders have long denied that any deal with the Iranians was struck, although more than two dozen witnesses – including Iranian officials, European intelligence officers and international arms dealers – have described aspects of the 1980 Republican-Iranian contacts carried out behind President Carter’s back. In 1992-93, a House Task Force conducted a half-hearted investigation of the controversy and judged the allegations of a Republican-Iranian deal to be false. But it was later discovered that the Task Force had concealed evidence that pointed in the opposite direction, including a classified report from the Russian government stating that Bush, Casey and CIA officers had met with Iranians in Europe in 1980 to strike a deal. [For details, see Robert Parry’s new book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]”
Arafat & the Original ‘October Surprise’
Consortium News, 2 November 2004
“It is here that the story of illegal dealings with Khomeini intermediaries by Reagan campaign officials begins. Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post were the first to report that one such meeting took place in Washington, DC. It was held Oct. 2 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel… [after the election that Carter lost] at the Tehran airport, television footage shows Iranian officials guarding the hostages listening on portable radios to inauguration ceremonies. Exactly 15 minutes after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, the hostages were released and put on an airplane to fly home. Clearly, it was a signal. At the time, however, no one except perhaps some newly appointed Reagan officials, and some of their Israeli equivalents, knew what it meant.”
Reprise of the October Surprise: Is the Worst Surprise Still to Come?
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May June 1991
“On April 15, former Carter administration staffer Gary Sick gave added weight to the ‘October Surprise’ theory — the allegations that officials in the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign cut a deal with Iranian revolutionaries to delay the release of the fifty-two hostages until after Reagan’s inauguration — with a 2,000-word op-ed piece in The New York Times…. The day Sick’s piece appeared in the times, listing dates and participants in suspected meetings between campaign staffers and Iranian clerics, none of the network evening newscasts even mentioned the story…
there were a number of newsworthy developments… [including] the State Department considered blocking a visa for former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who came to the U.S. to promote his book My Turn To Speak, in which he asserts that the Reagan campaign cut a deal with the Iranians at the height of the hostage crisis; President Bush made his first public denials of the allegations; and eight of the former hostages voiced suspicions about the circumstances surrounding their release.
But many of these developments, which were reported by the wire services and picked up by alternative papers and even by the Phil Donahue show, were missed altogether by the major media. And a story that could make Deep Throat look shallow has yet to make the cover of Time or Newsweek. When the story does appear, the key questions not only go unanswered, they go unasked.”
WHO WILL UNWRAP THE OCTOBER SURPRISE?
Columbia Journalism Review, Sept/Oct 1991
“On Dec. 17, 1992, former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr sent the [US congressional] task force a detailed letter describing the conflict within the Iranian government over the secret hostage deal with the Republicans. Bani-Sadr said… ‘Passendideh told me that if I do not accept this proposal, they [the Republicans] would make the same offer to my [radical Iranian] rivals. He further said that they [the Republicans] have enormous influence in the CIA.”
Russia’s Prime Minister and October Surprise
Consortium News, 15 May 1999
“Bush is functioning much like a co-president. George is involved in all the national security stuff because of his special background as CIA director.”
White House press secretary James Brady, March 1981
Chapter -XVII- The Attempted Coup D’Etat of March 30, 1981
Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin – ‘George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography’
“A memo from Richard Wirthlin to Casey and Reagan initiated a discussion of how the Carter gang might exploit the advantages of incumbency in order to influence the outcome of the election, perhaps by attempting to stampede the public by some dramatic event at the last minute,such as the freeing of the hostages in Teheran… During the convention, at a July 14 press conference, Casey told reporters of his concern that Carter might spring an ‘October surprise’ in foreign or domestic policy on the eve of the November elections….
Although Casey and Meese had defined a broad range of possibilities for the October surprise, the most prominent of these was certainly the liberation of the American hostages in Iran. A poll showed that if the hostages were to be released during the period between October 18 and October 25, Carter could receive a 10% increase in popular vote on election day. …..
Barbara Honegger, then an official of the Reagan-Bush campaign recalls that on October 24th or 25th, an assistant to Stephan Halper’s ‘October Surprise’ intelligence operation echoed William Casey’s newfound confidence, boasting to the author in the operations center where [Reagan-Bush Iran watcher Michel] Smith worked that the campaign no longer needed to worry about an ‘October surprise’ because ‘Dick [Allen] cut a deal.’ ….
Many sources agree that a conclusive series of meetings between Reagan-Bush and the Khomeini forces took place in Paris during the October 15-20 period, and there is little doubt that William Casey was present for these meetings. According to the account furnished by Richard Brenneke, there was a meeting at the Hotel Raphael in Paris at about noon on October 19, attended by George Bush, William Casey, Don Gregg, Manucher Gorbanifar and two unnamed Iranian officials…..
According to Bani-Sadr, his reports show that the meetings took polace, and were attended by Reagan-Bush representatives, Iranians loyal to Behesthi and Rafsanjani, and arms merchants like Cyrus Hashemi, Manucher Ghorbanifar, and Albert Hakim. Bani-Sadr’s first reports from military officials in Iran specified that ‘Bush had met with a representative of Beheshti.’ Bani-Sadr later elaborated that his sources in Iran ‘inform me that Bush was in the discussions in Paris…
that his name had been on the document. I have it in writing.’. According to Gary Sick’s collation of fifteen sources claiming knowledge of the Paris meeting, the Iranian side agreed not to release the hostages before the November 4 US election, and the Reagan-Bush side promised to deliver spare parts for military equipment through Israel…. Bush has heatedly denied that he was in Paris at this time, and has said that he personally did not negotiate with Khomeini envoys.
But he has generally avoided a blanket denial that the campaign of which he was a principal engaged in surreptitious dealings with the Khomeini mullahs. Bush’s alibi for October 18-October 19, 1980 has always appeared dubious. There is in fact a period of 21 or 22 hours in which his whereabouts cannot be conclusively proven…. During the first week of December, Executive Intelligence Review reported that Henry Kissinger ‘held a series of meetings during the week of November 12 in Paris with representatives of Ayatollah Beheshti, leader of the fundamentlist clergy in Iran.’ ……
According to EIR, ‘it appears that the pattern of cooperation between the Khomeini people and circles nominally in Reagan’s camp began approximately six to eight weeks ago, at the height of President Carter’s efforts to secure an arms-for-hostages deal with Teheran. Carter’s failure to
secure the deal, which a number of observers believe cost him the November 4 election, apparently resulted from an intervention in Teheran by pro-Reagan British circles and the Kissinger faction.’ These revelations from EIR are the first mention in the public record of the scandal which has come over the years to be known as the October surprise. The hostages were not released before the November election, which Reagan won convincingly. That night, according to Roland Perry, Bush said to Reagan, ‘You’re in like a burglar.’ Khomeini kept the hostages emprisoned until January 20, the day of the Reagan-Bush inauguration, and let the hostage plane take off just as Reagan and Bush were taking their oaths of office….
quite apart from questions regarding George Bush’s presence at this or that meeting, there can be no doubt that both the Carter regime and the Reagan-Bush campaign were actively involved in dealings with the Khomeini regime concerning the hostages and concerning the timing of their possible release. In the case of the Reagan-Bush Iran connection, there is reason to believe that federal crimes under the Logan Act and other applicable laws may have taken place. George Bush had now grasped the interim prize that had eluded him since 1968: after more than a dozen years of effort, he had now become the Vice President of the United States.”
Chapter -XVI- Campaign 1980
Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin – ‘George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography’
“In 1996, while meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, Carter reportedly raised his hands into a physical stop position when Arafat tried to confess his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations. ‘There is something I want to tell you,’ Arafat said, addressing Carter at a meeting in Arafat’s bunker in Gaza City in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. ‘You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election.’ Arafat was apparently prepared to provide additional details and evidence, but Carter raised his hands, indicating that he didn’t want to hear anymore….
Just this past year, a 1993 congressional repudiation of the October Surprise allegations crumbled amid admissions that important evidence was hidden from investigators and that internal doubts were suppressed. The collapse of those 1993 findings by a House task force left behind a troubling impression that disgruntled elements of the CIA and Israel’s Likud hardliners may have teamed up with ambitious Republicans to remove a U.S. president from office. ……
As for the CIA Old Boys, legendary CIA officer Miles Copeland told me in 1990 that ‘the CIA within the CIA’ – the inner-most circle of powerful intelligence figures who felt they understood best the strategic needs of the United States – believed Carter and his naïve faith in American democratic ideals represented a grave threat to the nation. ‘Carter really believed in all the principles that we talk about in the West,’ Copeland said, shaking his mane of white hair. ‘As smart as Carter is, he did believe in Mom, apple pie and the corner drug store. And those things that are good in America are good everywhere else. …
‘Carter, I say, was not a stupid man,’ Copeland said, adding that Carter had an even worse flaw: ‘He was a principled man.’…. One joke about Bush’s announcement of his candidacy on May 1, 1979, was that ‘half the audience was wearing raincoats.’ Bill Colby, Bush’s predecessor as CIA director, said Bush ‘had a flood of people from the CIA who joined his supporters. They were retirees devoted to him for what he had done’ in defending the spy agency in 1976 when the CIA came under heavy criticism for spying on Americans, assassination plots and other abuses. Reagan’s foreign policy adviser Richard Allen described the group working on the Bush campaign as a ‘plane load of disgruntled former CIA’ officers who were ‘playing
cops and robbers.’ All told, at least two dozen former CIA officials went to work for Bush. Among them was the CIA’s director of security, Robert Gambino, who joined the Bush campaign immediately after leaving the CIA where he oversaw security investigations of senior Carter officials and thus knew about potentially damaging personal information. Besides the ex-CIA personnel who joined the Bush campaign, other pro-Bush intelligence officers remained inside the CIA while making clear their political preference. ‘The seventh floor of Langley was plastered with ‘Bush for President’ signs,’ said senior CIA analyst George Carver, referring to the floor that housed top CIA officials ….
In the 1990 interview, Copeland told me that ‘the way we saw Washington at that time was that the struggle was really not between the Left and the Right, the liberals and the conservatives, as between the Utopians and the realists, the pragmatists. Carter was a Utopian. He believed, honestly, that you must do the right thing and take your chance on the consequences. He told me that. He literally believed that.’ Copeland’s deep Southern accent spit out the words with a mixture of amazement and disgust ….. In late February 1980, Seyeed Mehdi Kashani, an Iranian emissary, arrived in Israel to discuss Iran’s growing desperation for spare parts for its U.S.-supplied air force, Ben-Menashe wrote.
Kashani, whom Ben-Menashe had known from their school days in Tehran, also revealed that the Copeland initiative was making inroads inside Iran and that approaches from some Republican emissaries had already been received, Ben-Menashe wrote. ‘Kashani said that the secret ex-CIA-Miles-Copeland group was aware that any deal cut with the Iranians would have to include the Israelis because they would have to be used as a third party to sell military equipment to Iran,’ according to Ben-Menashe. I
n March 1980, the following month, the Israelis made their first direct military shipment to Iran, 300 tires for Iran’s F-4 fighter jets, Ben-Menashe wrote. Ben-Menashe’s account of these early Israeli arms shipments was corroborated by Carter’s press secretary Jody Powell and Israeli arms dealer William Northrop. In an interview for a 1991 PBS ‘Frontline’ documentary, Jody Powell told me that ‘there had been a rather tense discussion between President Carter and Prime Minister Begin in the spring of 1980 in which the President made clear that the Israelis had to stop that [arms dealing], and that we knew that they were doing it, and that we would not allow it to continue, at least not allow it to continue privately and without the knowledge of the American people.’ ‘And it stopped,’ Powell said. At least, it stopped temporarily.
Meanwhile, Carter also was learning that Begin was siding with the Republicans. Questioned by congressional investigators in 1992, Carter said he realized by April 1980 that ‘Israel cast their lot with Reagan,’ according to notes I found among the unpublished documents in the files of a House task force that had looked into the October Surprise case. Carter traced the Israeli opposition to his reelection to a ‘lingering concern [among] Jewish leaders that I was too friendly with Arabs.’….
As the Iran crisis dragged on, Copeland and his group of CIA Old Boys forwarded their own plan for freeing the hostages. However, to Copeland’s chagrin, his plan fell on deaf ears inside the Carter administration, which was developing its own rescue operation. So, Copeland told me that he distributed his plan outside the administration, to leading Republicans, giving sharper focus to their contempt for Carter’s bungled Iranian strategy. ‘Officially, the plan went only to people in the government and was top secret and all that,’ Copeland said. ‘But as so often happens in government, one wants support, and when it was not being handled by the Carter administration as though it was top secret, it was handled as though it was nothing. … Yes, I sent copies to everybody who I thought would be a good ally. …
Now I’m not at liberty to say what reaction, if any, ex-President [Richard] Nixon took, but he certainly had a copy of this. We sent one to Henry Kissinger. … So we had these informal relationships where the little closed circle of people who were, a, looking forward to a Republican President within a short while and who were absolutely trustworthy and who understood all these inner workings of the international game board.’ Encircled by a growing legion of enemies, the Carter administration put the finishing touches on its hostage-rescue operation in April. Code-named ‘Eagle Claw,’ the assault involved a force of U.S. helicopters that would swoop down on Tehran, coordinate with some agents on the ground and extract the hostages.
Carter ordered the operation to proceed on April 24, but mechanical problems and the mysterious decision by one of the pilots to turn back forced the operation to be terminated. At a staging area called Desert One, one of the helicopters collided with a refueling plane, causing an explosion that killed eight American crewmen. Their charred bodies were then displayed by the Iranian government, adding to the fury and humiliation of the United States. After the Desert One fiasco, the Iranians dispersed the hostages to a variety of locations, effectively shutting the door on another rescue attempt.
By summer 1980, Copeland told me, the Republicans in his circle considered a second hostage-rescue attempt not only unfeasible, but unnecessary. They were talking confidently about the hostages being freed after a Republican victory in November, the old CIA man said. ‘Nixon, like everybody else, knew that all we had to do was wait until the election came, and they were going to get out,’ Copeland said. ‘That was sort of an open secret among people in the intelligence community, that that would happen. …
The intelligence community certainly had some understanding with somebody in Iran in authority, in a way that they would hardly confide in me.’ Copeland said his CIA friends had been told by contacts in Iran that the mullahs would do nothing to help Carter or his reelection. ‘At that time, we had word back, because you always have informed relations with the devil,’ Copeland said. ‘But we had word that, ‘Don’t worry.’ As long as Carter wouldn’t get credit for getting these people out, as soon as Reagan came in, the Iranians would be happy enough to wash their hands of this and move into a new era of Iranian-American relations, whatever that turned out to be.’ In the interview, Copeland declined to give more details, beyond his assurance that ‘the CIA within the CIA,’ his term for the true protectors of U.S. national security, had an understanding with the Iranians about the hostages. (Copeland died on Jan. 14, 1991.) …. Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr held a similar opinion from his position in Tehran.
In a 1992 letter to the House task force on the October Surprise case, Bani-Sadr wrote that he learned of the Republican back-channel initiative in summer 1980 and received a message from an emissary of Ayatollah Khomeini: The Reagan campaign was in league with pro-Republican elements of the CIA in an effort to undermine Carter and wanted Iran’s help. Bani-Sadr said the emissary ‘told me that if I do not accept this proposal they [the Republicans] would make the same offer to my rivals.’ The emissary added that the Republicans ‘have enormous influence in the CIA,’ Bani-Sadr wrote. ‘Lastly, he told me my refusal of their offer would result in my elimination.’…
One congressional investigator who was involved in the Iran-Contra and the October Surprise inquiries told me years later that his conclusion was that the Republicans were pursuing every avenue possible to reach the Iranian leadership to make sure Carter’s hostage negotiations failed. Former Israeli intelligence officer Ben-Menashe, in his book and in sworn testimony, said the ultimately successful channel was one involving both former and current CIA officers, working with French intelligence for the security of a final meeting in Paris — and with Israelis who were given the task of delivering the payoff in weapons shipments and money to Iran.
The key meeting allegedly occurred on the weekend of Oct. 18-19, 1980, between high-level representatives of the Republican team and the Iranians. Ben-Menashe said he was part of a six-member Israeli support delegation for the meeting at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. In his memoir, Ben-Menashe said he recognized several Americans, including Republican congressional aide Robert McFarlane and CIA officers Robert Gates (who had served on Carter’s NSC staff and was then CIA Director Turner’s executive assistant), Donald Gregg (another CIA designee to Carter’s NSC) and George Cave (the agency’s Iran expert).
Ben-Menashe said Iranian cleric Mehdi Karrubi, then a top foreign policy aide to Ayatollah Khomeini, arrived and walked into a conference room. ‘A few minutes later George Bush, with the wispy-haired William Casey in front of him, stepped out of the elevator. He smiled, said hello to everyone, and, like Karrubi, hurried into the conference room,’ Ben-Menashe wrote. Ben-Menashe said the Paris meetings served to finalize a previously outlined agreement calling for release of the 52 hostages in exchange for $52 million, guarantees of arms sales for Iran, and unfreezing of Iranian monies in U.S. banks. The timing, however, was changed, he said, to coincide with Reagan’s expected Inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.
Though the alleged participants have denied taking part in such a meeting, the alibis cited by the Americans have proved porous…. A French arms dealer, Nicholas Ignatiew, told me in 1990 that he had checked with his government contacts and was told that Republicans did meet with Iranians in Paris in mid-October 1980.A well-connected French investigative reporter Claude Angeli said his sources inside the French secret service confirmed that the service provided ‘cover’ for a meeting between Republicans and Iranians in France on the weekend of October 18-19. German journalist Martin Kilian had received a similar account from a top aide to intelligence chief deMarenches.
As early as 1987, Iran’s ex-President Bani-Sadr had made similar claims about a Paris meeting. Finally, a classified report from the Russian government regarding what its intelligence files showed about the October Surprise issue stated matter-of-factly that Republicans held a series of meetings with Iranians in Europe, including one in Paris in October 1980. ‘William Casey, in 1980, met three times with representatives of the Iranian leadership,’ the Russian report said.
‘The meetings took place in Madrid and Paris.’ At the Paris meeting in October 1980, ‘R[obert] Gates, at that time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration of Jimmy Carter, and former CIA Director George Bush also took part,’ the Russian report said. ‘In Madrid and Paris, the representatives of Ronald Reagan and the Iranian leadership discussed the question of possibly delaying the release of 52 hostages from the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran.’ (The Russian report had been requested by Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, as part of the 1992 task force investigation of the October Surprise case. It arrived on Jan. 11, 1993, just two days before the task force was to release its own report rejecting the October Surprise suspicions….. On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1981, just as Reagan was beginning his inaugural address, word came from Iran that the hostages were freed.
The American people were overjoyed. Privately, some Reagan insiders laughed about their October Surprise success. For instance, Charles Cogan, a high-ranking CIA officer, told the House task force in 1992 that he attended a 1981 meeting at CIA headquarters between Casey and one of David Rockefeller’s top aides, Joseph V. Reed, who had just been appointed to be Ambassador to Morocco. Cogan testified that Reed joked about having blocked Carter’s hostage release…..
In the mid-1980s, many of the same October Surprise actors became figures in the Iran-Contra scandal, another secret arms-for-hostages scheme with Iran that was revealed in late 1986, despite repeated denials from Reagan’s White House. According to official Iran-Contra investigations, the plot to sell U.S. weapons to Iran in 1985-86 for its help in freeing American hostages then held in Lebanon involved Cyrus Hashemi, John Shaheen, Theodore Shackley, William Casey, Donald Gregg, Robert Gates, Robert McFarlane, George Cave, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Yet, even as the cover-up of the Iran-Contra operations crumbled, key figures in Washington battled to keep the even more explosive October Surprise suspicions relegated to the loony bin of conspiracy theories, not to be taken seriously by the American people…. in fall 1991, as Congress was deliberating whether to conduct full investigations of the October Surprise issue, Steven Emerson, a journalist with close ties to Likud, produced a cover story for the neoconservative New Republic claiming to prove the allegations were a ‘myth.’ Almost simultaneously, Newsweek published its own cover story also attacking the October Surprise allegations. The article, I was told, had been ordered up by executive editor Maynard Parker who was a close associate of Henry Kissinger and was known inside Newsweek as a big admirer of prominent neocon Elliott Abrams. The two articles were influential in shaping Washington’s conventional wisdom, but they were both based on a misreading of attendance documents at a London historical conference which William Casey had gone to in July 1980.
The two publications put Casey at the conference on one key date – thus supposedly proving he could not have attended one of the Madrid meetings with Iranian emissaries. However, after the two stories appeared, follow-up interviews with conference participants, including historian Robert Dallek, conclusively showed that Casey wasn’t there. Veteran journalist Craig Unger, who had worked on the Newsweek cover story, said the magazine knew the Casey alibi was bogus but still used it. ‘It was the most dishonest thing that I’ve been through in my life in journalism,’ Unger later told me…..
In 1993, I took part in an interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Tel Aviv during which he said he had read Gary Sick’s 1991 book, October Surprise, which made the case for believing that the Republicans had intervened in the 1980 hostage negotiations to disrupt Carter’s reelection. With the topic raised, one interviewer asked, ‘What do you think? Was there an October Surprise?’ ‘Of course, it was,’ Shamir responded without hesitation.
‘It was.’ Later in the interview, Shamir, who succeeded Begin as prime minister in the 1980s, seemed to regret his frankness and tried to backpedal on his answer, but his confirmation remained a startling moment….. The current knock on the October Surprise story is that it’s now ancient history and that it’s wrong to dig up unpleasant facts about the late President Ronald Reagan, who has become an icon on the Right and whose 100th birthday was lavishly celebrated in February with hagiographic documentaries and near-universal praise.
Further, Jimmy Carter is now held in disdain by many Washington insiders, considered a ‘failed president.’ In other words, the prevailing view is that things worked out just fine in replacing Carter with Reagan no matter how it was done and it makes no sense to rehash any of this unpleasantness. However, there is another way to read the history: If Carter had freed the hostages and won a second term, the United States might have continued on a path toward alternative energy, the federal deficit would not have soared as it did under Reagan, and deregulation of corporations would not have opened the environment and the financial sector to such dangers. Further, the United States might not have embarked on a massive military buildup or engaged in the aggressive intelligence operations that went with it. And, Israel might have been pushed into an equitable peace with its Palestinian neighbors three decades ago, rather than pursuing a settlement policy that now makes such an agreement close to impossible. Possibly even more important, if the sabotaging of Carter’s reelection in 1980 had failed or at least if it had been exposed in the 1990s, the United States might now enjoy a much healthier democracy – based on hard truths, not comforting illusions.”
Robert Parry – Jimmy Carter’s October Surprise Doubts
Consortium News, 12 May 2011
“Just six months after Iran freed 52 Americans hostages in 1981, senior Reagan administration officials secretly endorsed third-party weapons sales to Iran, a move to align U.S. policy with Israeli desires to sell arms to the Islamic republic then at war with Iraq, according to documents recently released by the National Archives. This Israeli arms pipeline to Iran already was functioning at the time of the policy shift on July 21, 1981.
Three days earlier, on July 18, an Argentine plane strayed off course and crashed (or was shot down) inside the Soviet Union exposing Israel’s secret arms shipments to Iran, which apparently had been going on for months….. The reason that the Israeli weapons shipments violated U.S. law was that no formal notification had been given to Congress about the transshipment of U.S. military equipment as required by the Arms Export Control Act. But the Reagan administration was in a bind about notifying Congress and thus the American people about approving arms shipments to Iran so soon after the hostage crisis. The news would have infuriated many Americans and stoked suspicions that the Republicans had cut a deal with Iran to hold the hostages until Carter was defeated….
Though this secret conduit between the neocons and Israel may have originated before Election 1980, it continued, with some fits and starts, for years finally merging with what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair of 1985-86. In that scandal, Reagan secretly authorized the sale of U.S. anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Iran through Israel. The documents – declassified by National Archives personnel at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California – suggest that the Iran-Contra machinations were an outgrowth of these earlier U.S. contacts with Israel regarding arms sales to Iran dating back to 1980-81…. Through the latter half of 1981, Iraqi officials complained bitterly about what they viewed as U.S. complicity in Israel’s arms shipments to Iran and about Iran’s resulting capability to sustain its war effort…..
U.S. policy on the Iran-Iraq War would begin to move in the opposite direction as President Reagan grew worried that Iran was gaining the upper hand in the war and might actually defeat Iraq. To prevent that possibility, Reagan authorized a ’tilt’ toward Iraq in June 1982, according to a sworn affidavit filed in a 1995 criminal case by a Reagan NSC aide, Howard Teicher. Teicher described a highly classified National Security Decision Directive that called for providing intelligence assistance to Iraq and directing the CIA to help Saddam Hussein’s army secure third-country military supplies, a project that fell largely to CIA Director William Casey and his deputy, Robert Gates…. Even after stepping down as National Security Advisor in December 1985,
McFarlane continued to participate in these Iranian arms sales, as the operation also evolved into a scheme for enriching some of the participants and generating profits that were diverted to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, a U.S. proxy force fighting to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government in that Central American country. According to one of the declassified documents, the Reagan administration’s expectation of Israeli cooperation in such paramilitary operations extended to a request from NSC aide Oliver North to Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin to supply hundreds of AK-47s to the Contras in September 1986.
‘North told Rabin that the United States was out of funds to support the Contras,’ according to a secret cable from U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering.“North said he was aware of the fact that Israel had in its possession some 400-600 AK-47 rifles which he, North, would like to see provided to the Contras. Rabin asked if North was thinking of a gift and North replied that he was. … ‘Later, it was decided in the affirmative and the weapons were made available for shipment. Rabin insisted, however, that he would only provide the weapons to the United States, not directly to any other recipient. What the United States then did with the weapons was its own business.
In October, the weapons were loaded on a ship and the ship departed Israel. However, the story began to break and the ship was returned to Israel and the weapons unloaded here. Rabin wanted us to know that the conversation had taken place.’ In November 1986, the convoluted Iran-Contra scandal exploded into public view, forcing the dismissal of North and National Security Advisor John Poindexter and prompting both criminal and congressional investigations. Embarrassed by the catastrophe that he helped create, McFarlane attempted suicide by taking an overdose of valium on Feb. 9, 1987, but survived. In 1988,
McFarlane pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of concealing information from Congress, but he was pardoned – along with five other Iran-Contra defendants – on Christmas Eve 1992 by President George H.W. Bush, who himself had come under investigation for his role in the secret operations and the cover-up. Ultimately, the investigations into Iran-Contra and related scandals – including the October Surprise allegations of a secret Reagan-Iran deal in 1980, to stop Carter from resolving that earlier hostage crisis, and Iraqgate, the secret arms sales to Iraq – failed to get to the bottom of the secret policies. Republican cover-ups largely succeeded. The long-term consequences of the Reagan administration’s secret dealing with Israel, Iran and Iraq have resonated to the present day. With both Iran and Iraq bolstered by outside arms deliveries, the Iran-Iraq War continued until 1988 – with a death toll estimated at about one million.
Over the next several years, the alliance of convenience between Israel and Iran began to sour with the two countries drifting toward becoming the bitter enemies that they are today. Meanwhile, Iraq – strapped by its war debts – invaded Kuwait in 1990 in a dispute over money and oil. President George H.W. Bush responded with the Persian Gulf War, driving Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait and putting the Iraqi dictator in the top tier of U.S. ‘enemies.’”
How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast
Consortium News, 15 February 2012
The Lee Hamilton
“Congress will not formally investigate charges that the Reagan campaign stole the election in 1980, in large part because Israel’s supporters on Capitol Hill do not want to put the spotlight on Israel’s role, which during that period sold weapons to Iran in blatant disregard of President Carter.”
Prediction by Newsweek correspondent Eleanor Clift
NBC television talk show The McLaughlin Group, May 12, 1991
“The very fact that some Democrats are reluctant to open an inquiry, for fear that it might backfire on them, is further reason that it probably would not be a ‘show trial.’ A small, select committee with adequate Republican representation could conduct a discreet investigation, without televised hearings … This is the second case, for example, in which Republican campaigners have been accused of tampering with foreign policy for political purposes.
In 1968, Nixon aides were charged with persuading the South Vietnamese to delay their participation in peace talks to deny possible advantage to Democrats in that year’s elections. Some allegations suggest, moreover, that the proven later dealings of the Reagan Administration with Iran grew out of the alleged hostage deal in 1980. Mr. Bush, in denying that he knew of such a deal did not insist that it never happened. Mr. Reagan, as usual, only said he knew of no such arrangement; but he never knew much of what went on around him. The overriding reason for a Congressional investigation is the possibility that the truth might be established. The death of [CIA Director] Mr. Casey, who would have been the key witness, and the unavoidable political aspects of an inquiry, may make that possibility remote.”
A Necessary Inquiry
New York Times, 26 June 1991
“[The ‘October Surprise’ sabotage] was a covert operation by the Reagan-Bush campaign that secretly forged a deal with the Iranian radicals who, after overthrowing the US-backed Shah, were holding 52 Americans (including several CIA agents) as hostages. In exchange for holding the hostages until after the [1980 Presidential] election, the Reagan-Bush team offered the Iranians millions of dollars in arms, material, and other considerations. Sure enough, the hostages were held until minutes after Reagan’s inauguration, then ‘suddenly’ released. Bush and Casey personally participated in the secret negotiations.
James Baker, who would be Reagan’s chief of staff and Bush’s Sec. of State, was also involved. To this day, Bush et al. vehemently deny the plot, but their alibis don’t hold up to scrutiny and just such secret arms shipments undeniably took place. Most damning is the fact that other participants, including senior Iranian government officials and intelligence operatives from several countries, have publicly confirmed they were involved in [the] secret deal…. Further confirmation came in 1993, in the form of a six-page Russian intelligence report that corroborated much of the story. The sensitive report was released by Russia’s prime minister as a gesture of post-Cold War cooperation, in response to a request for information from a US Congressional task force [which reported in Jan 1993] investigating the charges. 15
But the report was suppressed, task force chairman Rep. Lee Hamilton (backed by Henry Hyde) sandbagged the rest of the inquiry, and the final verdict was that there was ‘no credible evidence’ of a secret deal. The ‘investigation’ was such a sham that Hamilton publicly exonerated Bush (by then the president) before it even started. 16 By engaging in renegade ‘foreign policy,’ the Reagan-Bush team undercut President Carter’s own secret efforts to free the hostages and thereby stole the White House. It was, in fact, a coup d’etat.”
COUP 2K by JOHN DEE
Lumpen, January 2001
“Hamilton held a press conference to clear Bush before the investigation into the deal between the Reagan-Bush candidates for presidential office and the Iranians, had even started. Hamilton then admitted he had not interrogated witnesses or talked with his special attorney hired to Investigate the matter.”
SARAH MCCLENDON’S WASHINGTON REPORT 20 Oct 1992
“Little did the Russians know that not only did the [October Surprise] House task force ignore the Stepashin report, but actually stuck it in a box that was piled unceremoniously on the floor of a former Ladies Room off a congressional parking garage.”
Russia’s Prime Minister and October Surprise
Online Journal 1999
“According to Republican sources, former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton’s nomination as either Ambassador to the UN or as CIA director is also being considered (by the new Bush Administration)”
Bush Announces More Appointments
PTI, 21 December 2001
The Investigation By Paul Wilcher
“On or about May 21, 1993, Washington attorney Paul Wilcher went to the Department of Justice and hand delivered a letter claiming holdover DOJ employees from the Reagan-Bush era were responsible for a number of government cover ups, unbeknownst to the Attorney General and President Clinton. The 100 page letter was addressed to Janet Reno. On or about June 11, Wilcher was interviewed regarding the contents of the letter. Later, after days of not hearing from him, worried friends contacted the police, who went to Wilcher’s apartment on June 23. His decomposing body was found [by police after pressure to ivestigate from White House press corp member Sarah McClendon] propped on a toilet….In January of 1996, PACC received an unsolicited copy of the Wilcher letter…. the section on the ‘October Surprise’ is detailed, specific, and attributed to a Wilcher client with first hand knowledge, according to the letter. PACC can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of the information below, excerpted verbatim from the Wilcher letter, with no changes in spelling, punctuation, or emphasis.”
Wilcher and the ‘October Surprise’
Parents Against Corruption and Coverup, 18 June 2000
“[Paul Wilcher, the] Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 ‘October Surprise’ was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993 in his Washington, DC apartment. [He] Had delivered a report to [US Attorney General] Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.”
Just A Few People Clinton Didn’t Have To Pardon
Afrocentric News, 2000
“McClendon has been told that preliminary autopsy results have found no natural cause of death, and no other cause of death to explain Wilcher’s demise. Given that Wilcher, in his 40s, was in apparent good health, this seems fairly astonishing. A much larger issue is also implied here: if critics of our government are found dead in their bathrooms from obscure causes, and the government itself doesn’t take steps to find out why, then our freedoms themselves are threatened–as well as the activities that protect those freedoms. If individual investigation and criticism of government activities is chilled or intimidated into silence, then democracy loses its most important protection.”
Letter To Attorney General Janet Reno
Dr Garby Leon, Columbia Pictures, 14 July 1993
“Wilcher, who felt his family had been beaten out of their estate by corrupt judicial processes in Chicago, came here to Washington, to find a new life. Then he heard about a man whom he helieved to be a political prisoner, Gunther Russbacher, the man who says he is being persecuted because he flew former President George Bush to Paris to meet, with leading Iranians and make a deal to supply Iran with weapons in exchange for that government keeping the 52 American hostages until after the November election so that former President Jimmy Carter would not get a boost by bringing home the American citizens held there. Instead the deal was they were to be delivered to Candidate Ronald Reagan. That agreement was kept as soon as Reagan inaugurated in 1981. Wilcher was working daily for Russbacher.”
THE DEATH OF MY FRIEND PAUL WILCHER
Sarah McClendon’s Washington Report, 4 July 1993
“I have been writing about October Surprise since 1986 when Barbara Honegger and I broke the first story on the telephone. Some one listening, broke in, and interrupted our first broadcast. I have written numerous articles about Russbacher in my Washington column and newsletter over the years. I do think that Vice President Candidate George Bush went to Paris in 1980 to seal a deal between the Iranian government’s top officials, the Republican candidates, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and the Republican Party; to keep 52 Americans hostage 71 more days in Iran. At least eight of these hostages have said they believe this to be true.
A number of them do not talk as they work now for the government…Paul Wilcher, investigative attorney, was found dead in his apartment about June 23. He had been dead for several days. He was reported by Russbacher and others to have received a secret tape from the back seat camera of the SR 71 which would have proved that Bush was on the plane. If Wilcher received this tape it could have been the cause of death by unknown hands. The District of Columbia ruled that the death was due to unknown causes or ‘undetermined’ causes. The DC examiner said death was not from natural causes…
Wilcher, with whom I kept in close contact, had not been ill…. The congressional investigations of October Surprise have all been ‘rigged’ from the beginning….. There is a new book that is probably one of the most credible of those written about October Surprise. It is Robert Parry’s ‘Trick or Treason; the October Surprise Mystery,‘ in which Parry does not pin down the story of October Surprise, but raises all the doubts about those who discredit it. Most journalists and U.S. newspapers spent more time denying the story than reporting about it. The Democratic National Committee, in 1993, started to investigate it by a team of amateurs and then backed off for some unknown reasons.”
SARAH MCCLENDON: ON GUNTHER RUSSBACHER
|Who Is Paul Wilcher? – NameBase Report- Click Here; Who Is Gunther Russbacher? – NameBase Report – Click Here ; Who Is Sarah McClendon? – NameBase Report – Click Here
More On Sarah McClendon, The Long Serving White House Correspondent – Click Here
|“White House reporter Sarah McClendon, who covered every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt and was known for shouting questions at most of them, died Tuesday at 92. McClendon wrote often about treatment of veterans, government secrecy and other issues….For over half a century, presidents had found themselves confronted by her questions — often shouted — about treatment of veterans, government secrecy and other issues. ‘She was one of the greatest newspaperwomen Washington ever saw,’ said Helen Thomas, who has covered the White House for decades and is currently a columnist for Hearst newspapers. ‘She walked in where angels fear to tread,’ Thomas said. ‘She had guts, she asked the questions that should have been asked, and she asked questions for people who had no voice.’ She said McClendon ‘made the veins stand out’ on President Eisenhower’s forehead. President Clinton sometimes seemed amused by McClendon. ‘All of us who called on her in news conferences did so with a mixture of respect and fear, I suspect, because we would never quite know what she might say,’ Clinton said in a statement. ‘I couldn’t help but admire her spirit.’… She told her story for the McClendon News Service, a biweekly newsletter, which she founded, and a radio commentary which at one point was carried by 1,200 stations. Besides her 1996 book, McClendon also wrote about her experiences in My Eight Presidents in 1977.”
Veteran White House reporter Sarah McClendon dies
USA Today, 8 January 2010“McClendon is the true dean of the Washington press corps….she cranks out a weekly syndicated newspaper column, a biweekly newsletter, and a weekly radio commentary that airs on 1,200 stations across the nation. McClendon still doesn’t miss a day in the White House press room…'”
Sarah McClendon, longest serving White House correspondent
Mother Jones, May/June 1996
“A BAC 111 aircraft, which had been reconfigured to carry a sufficient amount of fuel to travel 3,600 miles, left Andrews Air Force Base in the late afternoon of October 19, 1980. The aircraft’s destination: Paris, France. The Passengers aboard the aircraft included the command pilot U.S. Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher, Richard Brenneke and Heinrick Rupp, on the flight deck; and in the cabin was William Casey, soon to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Donald Greggs, soon to be the ambassador to South Korea; and George Bush, the future Vice President and President of the United States and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
There were also Secret Service agents aboard the aircraft. This is the weekend – three weeks before the November 1980 Presidential Election, that Bush has claimed he spent at Andrews Air Force Base. Testifying to this flight is Russbacher, the pilot. The Navy pilot is currently at Terminal Island, a federal prison, awaiting an appeal on a charge of misuse and misappropriation of government properties, misuse of government jets, and misuse of government purchase orders for purchase of fuel. He was also a member of the Office of Naval Intelligence and worked with the Central Intelligence Agency. Russbacher‘s alias is Robert A. Walker. Russbacher now becomes the second crew member of that flight to testify to this clandestine episode that may have changed the politics of this nation and which has been labeled the ‘October Surprise’.
Brenneke was upheld by a Federal jury when he testified about the flight. After his testimony he was charged by the Federal Government with perjury, but a Federal jury acquitted him upholding his testimony that the flight actually took place. The trial was held in Portland, Oregon last year. Russbacher, in an exclusive interview, states that Bush stayed at the Hotel Crillion in Paris. Russbacher has stated that more than one flight was involved, but that this was the initial flight at which time an agreement was made between Bush and Casey and the Government of Iran to delay the release of American hostages in Iran until after the November 1980 election.
Former President Jimmy Carter and several Congressmen are now asking for an investigation into the ‘October Surprise’. According to Russbacher statements, Bush stayed only a couple of hours. He attended a meeting at the Hotel Crillion and at the Hotel George V. Russbacher, Brenneke, and Rupp stayed at the Hotel Florida. Bush did not return on the same BAC 111 aircraft or return with some of the people he had flown with to Paris, but instead Russbacher flew him back in the SR71. The aircraft was refueled about 1800 to 1900 nautical miles into the Atlantic by a KCl35. The returning flight with Bush landed at McGuire Air Force base at approximately 2 a.m. on October 20. Russbacher states that Bush, while in Paris, met with Hashemi Rafsanjani, the second in command to the Ayatollah and now the president of Iran, and Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who was extremely powerful. Arrangements were apparently made to pay Iran $40 million to delay the release of hostages in order to thwart President Jimmy Carter’s re-election bid. The $40 million was the beginning of terms that created the Iran-Contra scandal that is now being reopened by Congress.”
BUSH MADE DEAL WITH IRANIANS, PILOT SAYS
Napa Sentinel 1995
Russbacher and The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) – click here
“The badly decomposed body of Paul David Wilcher, age 46, was found today at his Washington, D.C. apartment. Mr. Wilcher was an attorney and an investigative researcher who had been working with Gunther Russbacher, the deep cover CIA operative who claims to be the October Surprise pilot (to be discussed later). Mr. Wilcher and Navy Captain Russbacher have been trying to expose the 1980 Reagan campaign deal to delay the release of the 52 American Embassy hostages. Such a delay meant certain victory for Reagan. Wilcher had recently told friends and colleagues in Washington that he knew far more about the October Surprise and all the related scandals, such as the Inslaw scandal, the BCCI scandal and other government scandals and coverups, than did Danny Casolaro.
Mr. Casolaro was a reporter and writer who was ‘suicided’ in Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1990. ‘Suicided’ is a term applied to assassinations which are made to APPEAR as a suicide. Many people believe Casolero was murdered to keep him from revealing the pattern of related government scandals that Casolero dubbed ‘The Octopus.’ …Mr. Wilcher had been working on many different pieces of ‘The Octopus’ at the time he was murdered. He had asked for a copy of the cockpit video of George Bush being flown home from the treasonous Paris meeting in an SR71. Since Bush had been defeated, no one felt that it would be dangerous for Wilcher to have a copy. According to the operatives who arranged for its delivery to Wilcher, the drop was to have occurred between June 10th and 19th.
Verification of its delivery has not been made. Mr. Wilcher was also in possession of documents showing the link between George Bush, Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton in the BCCI-BNL scandal.”
OCTOBER SURPRISE INVESTIGATOR FOUND DEAD
Article By Rayelan Allan Russbacher [wife of Gunter Russbacher], 23 June 1993
Who Are Gunther and Rayelan Russbacher? – Click Here
|The Covert Arming The Contra Rebels In Nicargua
With The Proceeds Of Illegal Arms Sales To Iran
|Cheney And Hamilton (Again)
Help Cover The Iranian Tracks
|Presidential Pardons Issued
By President George. H.W. Bush
|The CIA Drugs/Iran-Contra
The Covert Arming The Contra Rebels In Nicargua With The Proceeds Of Illegal Arms Sales To Iran
“The administration would sell arms to Iran and divert the proceeds to the Contras. Since both ends of the operation were highly illegal – Iran was also under a US arms embargo – it had to be secret…. But … later the Nicaraguans shot down a CIA supply plane. A month after that, a Lebanese newspaper reported Reagan’s arms deals with Iran. A frenzy of shredding and the destruction of emails broke out, and it took a congressional investigation – during which Poindexter, Elliott Abrams, Caspar Weinberger, Colin Powell (now  secretary of state) and Richard Armitage (now  deputy secretary of state) lied – and a specially appointed independent counsel to get the full story.
By then, though, as the independent counsel reported, the administration’s web of deceit had achieved its objectives – to protect Reagan, vice-president George Bush and the rest from the consequences of their conspiracy. As the independent counsel put it, Poindexter and North were made ‘the scapegoats whose sacrifice would protect the Reagan administration in its final two years’…. Poindexter, North and two others were indicted on 23 counts of conspiracy to defraud the US and Poindexter was convicted on five felony counts of conspiracy, false statements, destruction and removal of records and obstruction of Congress.
Elliott Abrams later pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress. George Bush senior pardoned him; and Bush junior appointed him director of the National Security Council’s office for democracy, human rights and international operations and then to his current job as director of Middle East affairs in the White House. The wars these men promoted had left 75,000 dead in El Salvador and 30,000-40,000 dead in Nicaragua, not to mention many thousands dead in Guatemala and Honduras”.
Masters of deceit- Convicted felons responsible for thousands of deaths are calling the shots at the White House
Guardian, 7 August 2003
“On Nov. 25, 1986, Attorney General Edwin Meese announced at a White House press conference that tens of millions of dollars from illegal sales of weapons to Iran had been siphoned to Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua by a far-flung conspiracy centered in the National Security Council. National Security Advisor John Poindexter immediately resigned and NSC military aide Oliver North was fired.”
Salon.com, 27 October 2005
“…. the events [of ‘October Surprise’] suggest that the arms-for-hostage deal that in the twilight of the Reagan Presidency became known as the Iran-contra affair, instead of being an aberration, was in fact the re-emergence of a policy that began even before the Reagan-Bush Administration took office.”
Gary Sick – The Election Story of the Decade
New York Times, 15 April 1991
“The Iran-Contra scandal can be traced to the October Surprise during the 1980 Presidential election between incumbent Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan”
Chapter 7, Iran-Contra [and October Surprise]
Silent Repression: The CIA’s Covert Operations
“B.C.C.I. was the largest criminal enterprise in history, a bank whose principals stole an estimated $12 billion from their depositors…. TIME reported in July that the Justice Department was understaffing FBI and U.S. attorneys’ teams assigned to the case. Morgenthau’s complaints that Justice was withholding potential witnesses and blocking access to critical records led then Attorney General Richard Thornburgh to pledge greater cooperation. That promise has not been kept, according to Morgenthau’s investigators and Justice Department officials in the field, who have declined to speak on the record for fear of retaliation……… long-standing grand jury probes of B.C.C.I. in Miami and Washington have languished, some for as long as two years without visible progress.
The frustration has spread to the ranks of federal law enforcement. In October a U.S. Customs officer wrote to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, ( chairman of the Senate subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations, and complained that ‘tons of documents were not reviewed . . . and the CIA put a halt to certain investigative leads’ in a 1988 Florida inquiry that eventually led to the indictment of five mid-level B.C.C.I. officers. ‘We had drug traffickers, money launderers, foreign government involvement, Noriega and allegations of payoffs by B.C.C.I. to U.S. government political figures. I will not elaborate on who these U.S. government figures were alleged to be, but I can advise you that you don’t have all of the documents. Some were destroyed or misplaced.’ Similar reports, coupled with the Justice Department’s heavy censoring of B.C.C.I.-related documents subpoenaed by the Senate, have angered [Senator] Kerry, who claims that the Justice Department is stonewalling his investigation.
Kerry, who has held several hearings into the B.C.C.I. affair, is battling a Justice Department decision to prohibit him from taking testimony from former U.S. Customs Service agent Robert Mazur. Mazur, who led the undercover sting operation that produced the first indictments of B.C.C.I. in 1988, quit the agency to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He reportedly was disgusted over the government’s failure to pursue leads concerning secret B.C.C.I. ownership of U.S. banks and alleged payoffs to U.S. politicians. Although Kerry has declined to release correspondence from Mazur, sources who have seen Mazur’s allegations about a cover-up say they are political dynamite….. Several federal attorneys and agents contend that they have been told by Justice Department officials that B.C.C.I. is a ‘political’ case and that prosecutorial and investigative decisions must be made in Washington.
‘We are constantly flabbergasted that the Justice Department says we should go forward and yet we never get the permission from Washington,’ says a senior investigator. Others complain that applications to subpoena witnesses, suspects and records have backed up in Washington. Reporters on the B.C.C.I. story find as they interview former officers of the bank who possess critical knowledge that these people have never been contacted by law-enforcement officials. ‘None of us can figure out why the department has become a roadblock on B.C.C.I.,’ says another high-level investigator. ‘Why hasn’t there been a departmental priority on B.C.C.I.?’ But according to the Justice Department official who heads the B.C.C.I. investigation, such bickering from the field is the result of Washington’s efforts to centralize and coordinate the far-flung investigation.
‘The orders from the top are to aggressively pursue this investigation and not to spare resources,’ says Robert S. Mueller, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. ‘There may be people who are frustrated, but the investigation is not being held up, it’s being coordinated. We’ve got some blemishes, but we have not covered up.’ …..The question that has not been answered is why the Justice Department has limited its inquiry and allowed the law-enforcement community to believe the B.C.C.I. case is too sensitive to be handled in a routine manner.
Former ; B.C.C.I. officers have told investigators that they believe the bank’s extensive U.S. intelligence connections — which figured importantly in such undertakings as the Pakistan-based supply operation to the Afghan rebels, the bank’s role in the covert resupply of the Nicaraguan contras, and the sale of arms to Iran — help explain why the Justice Department is treating the inquiry so gingerly.'”
B.C.C.I. Scandal: Too Many Questions
TIME, 11 November 1991
Cheney And Hamilton (Again)
Help Cover The Iranian Tracks
“[November 13, 1987] The designated congressional committees filed their joint report on the Iran-Contra affair. Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney, the senior Republican member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, helped steer the joint committees to an impotent result. George Bush was totally exonerated, and was hardly mentioned. George Bush, when President, rewarded Dick Cheney by appointing him U.S. Secretary of Defense, after the Senate refused to confirm John Tower.”
Chapter -XVIII- Iran- Contra
‘Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin – ‘George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography’
“……former Congressman Lee Hamilton, chairman of the House select committee investigating the Iran-contra affair, was shown ample evidence against Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, but he did not probe their wrongdoing. Why did Hamilton choose not to investigate? In a late 1980s interview aired on PBS ‘Frontline,’ Hamilton said that he did not think it would have been ‘good for the country’ to put the public through another impeachment trial. In Lee Hamilton’s view, it was better to keep the public in the dark than to bring to light another Watergate, with all the implied ramifications. When Hamilton was chairman of the House committee investigating Iran-contra, he took the word of senior Reagan administration officials when they claimed Bush and Reagan were ‘out of the loop.’ Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh and White House records later proved that Reagan and Bush had been very much in the loop. If Hamilton had looked into the matter instead of accepting the Reagan administration’s word, the congressional investigation would have shown the public the truth. Hamilton later said he should not have believed the Reagan officials. However, today, George W. Bush is considering appointing Hamilton UN ambassador.”
Uncovering the Florida cover-up: The good fight continues
A Past Look, 25 December, 2000
“When the [Iran-Contra] scandal broke, in late 1986 and early 1987, George Bush maintained that he knew nothing about these illegal activities; that other government officials involved in them had kept him in the dark; that he had attended no important meetings where these subjects were under discussion. Since that time, many once-classified documents have come to light, which suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, or most, of the criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures. The most significant events relevant to George Bush’s role are presented here in the format of a chronology. At the end of the chronology, parts of the testimony of George Bush’s loyal assistant Donald Gregg will be provided, to allow for a comparison of the documented events with the Bush camp’s account of things. Over the time period covered, the reader will observe the emergence of new structures in the U.S. government…”
Chapter -XVIII- Iran- Contra
‘Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin – ‘George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography’
|The Plame Game – Shades of Iran/Contra
Counterpunch, 24 October 2005
|“…Back in the Reagan administration, a scheme was hatched to illegally sell weapons to Iran, which was in a long bloody war with none other than Iraq. Proceeds from the sales of weapons were then diverted to the Contras, the US-backed gang of thugs who were fighting to topple the democratically-elected Sandinista government of Nicaragua.Independent Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh indicted several administration officials. Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Elliott Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress. He was pardoned by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and has now been appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Security Council….Poindexter was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of Congress and two counts of making false statements. Poindexter later surfaced under Bush II as the official in charge of the Defense Department’s fascist Total Information Awareness scheme.Though Walsh found that it was likely that President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President George H.W. Bush and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger knew entirely what was going on Bush I’s lame-duck, pre-emptive pardon of Weinberger’s perjury charge before he ever was tried, prevented the entire story from coming out.The story of the overthrow of an elected government and any attempt to mete out justice for the Nicaraguans was shunted aside. And, the probe never got higher than the operatives convicted and pardoned.Similarly, in the Plame case, the real story is not who revealed a covert CIA operative’s name (indeed, an heroic act in some circles), but who provided the fake Niger documents that Bush II cited to justify those famous “sixteen words.” [about the uranium claims in his 2003 State of the Union Address]. Tellingly, Poindexter’s Iran/Contra conspiracy conviction was based on his efforts to falsify documents.In December 2001, Cheney and Bush II senior advisor Karl Rove-connected neocons Michael Ledeen and Harold Rhodes, accompanied by now-in-custody Israeli spy Larry Franklin, met in Rome with Italy’s intelligence agency SISMI chief Niccolo Pollari and Italian defense minister Antonio Martino.Shortly thereafter, a break-in occurred at the Niger Embassy in Rome. The sole things taken were letterhead paper and official seals. Then, forged papers bearing the letterhead and seal of Niger were leaked to a magazine owned by Italy’s rightist Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The journal promptly turned the papers over to the CIA, not the ‘British Government’ as Bush lied when he used the forgeries as the basis for his State of the Union Address.Even before Joe Wilson called out this fraud, Rove et al. panicked. Embedded reporter Judith Miller’s New York Times notes show that the disclosure of Plame’s CIA employment status started weeks before Wilson’s famous expose was published . Stupidly, Rove thought that threatening Plame would get Wilson to back off; as such heavy and under-handed tactics had worked so well at cowing the Democrats and the press. Just eight days after Wilson’s NYT’s op-ed was published, administration mouthpiece Robert Novak wrote the piece that first publicly revealed Plame’s name and occupation.How worried are the Bushites? Already, the administration’s echo chamber at Fox News howls repeatedly of ‘prosecutorial overzealousness.’ With talk of some 22 indictments about to be handed down, this telling, takes-one-to-know-one quote appeared in the Oct. 24th NY Daily News : ‘He’s a vile, detestable, moralistic person with no heart and no conscience who believes he’s been tapped by God to do very important things,’ one White House ally said, referring to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.Still, the real question remains; will Fitzgerald get to the heart of it and charge all of those, even up to Bush II himself, who engaged in the entire series of lies and forgeries that led us into war? Or, like during Iran/Contra, will we see some underlings such as Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby indicted for his leaks to Miller and other reporters? And, will we see hush pardons all around?The Truth is out here. The path to finding it begins in Rome.”
Presidential Pardons Issued
By President George. H.W. Bush
“Clair E. George, a widely respected veteran of the CIA’s clandestine service who oversaw all global espionage activities for the agency in the mid-1980s and was later convicted of lying to Congress during investigations into the Iran-contra scandal, died Aug. 11 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 81 and died of cardiac arrest, said his daughter Leslie George.
Mr. George was the highest-ranking CIA official to stand trial over the biggest White House scandal since Watergate: a White House-led operation to covertly sell weapons to Iran and divert the profits to right-wing Nicaraguan rebels known as the contras. The operation had been engineered out of the White House by Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who served on the National Security Council staff. North was then aided by CIA Director William Casey. Aspects of the operation violated a congressionally-mandated restriction of overt U.S. support of the contras. Mr. George initially told Congress the CIA was not involved in the operation, and he later apologized for being evasive. He said he was trying to protect the agency.
He explained he had reservations about the operation all along but said he did not push hard enough to stop it outright. ‘At no time — which maybe I should have — did I dash into the director’s office and say, ‘Hey, Bill, we have got to stop all this stuff,’?’ Mr. George testified before Congress in 1987. He received a presidential pardon on Christmas Eve 1992, shortly after his conviction by a federal jury…. In the early 1980s, Casey brought Mr. George into the top management ranks, and he became unwillingly — some said unwittingly — embroiled in the Iran-contra affair. As deputy director for operations from 1984 until his retirement in 1987 — essentially the man who presided over the agency’s multibillion-dollar cloak-and-dagger activities in every cranny of the world — he became a target for congressional and independent investigators looking into the imbroglio.
The Iran-contra operation began to unravel after an American cargo plane ferrying arms to Nicaraguan rebels was shot down in October 1986 by Sandinista forces. Congress, which had prohibited military aid to the contras, asked Mr. George and others at the CIA to explain what had happened. Mr. George said he ‘categorically’ denied the CIA’s involvement. This boomeranged on him as the extent of Iran-contra began to unfold. Called back to Congress in 1987, Mr. George said he’d been ‘almost megalomaniacal in trying to prove one thing: that we were not involved in that activity because it would have been illegal.’ Motivated by loyalty to the CIA, he said he had not answered as fully as he might have.
He said he had ‘perceived my charter too small’ when initially hauled before Congress, but he added, ‘I don’t lie, and I did not mean to lie.’ Casey died in May 1987. FBI Director William Webster took over the CIA with a mandate to clean house. That December, Mr. George was essentially asked to retire. A federally appointed special prosecutor, Lawrence E. Walsh, spent years investigating the Iran-contra affair. He found ‘no credible evidence’ that President Ronald Reagan broke the law. But criminal charges were filed against many top administration figures and some at the CIA. In September 1991, Mr. George was indicted on 10 counts, including making false statements to Congress and obstruction.
After the first court case ended in a mistrial, a federal jury at a second trial convicted Mr. George in December 1992 of two felony charges of perjury and misleading Congress. Mr. George faced up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. But on Christmas Eve, before sentencing could occur, President George H.W. Bush pardoned Mr. George and several other former administration officials, including former defense secretary Caspar W. Weinberger. Ultimately, no one went to jail.”
Clair E. George, CIA officer who figured in Iran-contra scandal, dies at 81
Washington Post, 13 August 2011
“In 1991, the retired George was indicted on 10 felony counts of perjury, giving false statements and obstruction in his 1986 testimony to congressional panels and a federal grand jury investigating Iran-Contra. He pleaded not guilty. The indictment reportedly relied greatly on a statement to prosecutors from Alan D. Fiers Jr., the former head of the CIA’s Central America task force, in which he said George directed him in October 1986 not to disclose his knowledge of a secret arms pipeline to the Nicaraguan rebels. The secret supply network was being run by National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver L. North.
The 1992 prosecution of George ended in a mistrial that August. A retrial began that October. In December, he was found guilty of two counts of lying to Congress, which made him the first high-ranking CIA official ever convicted of felony offenses while carrying out official duties. Independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, who had taken heat for continuing his investigation of Iran-Contra for six years, called the verdict ‘a significant victory.’ ‘It will be an important deterrent to protect the Congress and the public from cover-ups by high-level national security officials,’ Walsh said in a statement. George faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count and was scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 18. But on Christmas Eve 1992, outgoing President George H.W. Bush pardoned George — as well as former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, former Reagan national security advisor Robert C. McFarlane and three other Iran-Contra figures.”
Clair E. George dies at 81; spy was pardoned for Iran-Contra lies
Los Angles Times, 19 August 2011
The CIA Drugs/Iran- Contra
“In December 1985, when Brian Barger and I wrote a groundbreaking story for the Associated Press about Nicaraguan Contra rebels smuggling cocaine into the United States, one U.S. senator put his political career on the line to follow up on our disturbing findings. His name was John Kerry. Yet, over the past year, even as Kerry’s heroism as a young Navy officer in Vietnam has become a point of controversy, this act of political courage by a freshman senator has gone virtually unmentioned, even though – or perhaps because – it marked Kerry’s first challenge to the Bush family.
In early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America. Kerry assigned members of his personal Senate staff to pursue the allegations.
He also persuaded the Republican majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to request information from the Reagan-Bush administration about the alleged Contra drug traffickers. In taking on the inquiry, Kerry challenged President Ronald Reagan at the height of his power, at a time he was calling the Contras the ‘moral equals of the Founding Fathers.’ Kerry’s questions represented a particular embarrassment to Vice President George H.W. Bush, whose responsibilities included overseeing U.S. drug-interdiction policies…. Kerry’s probe infuriated Reagan’s White House, which was pushing Congress to restore military funding for the Contras. Some in the administration also saw Kerry’s investigation as a threat to the secrecy surrounding the Contra supply operation, which was being run illegally by White House aide Oliver North and members of Bush’s vice presidential staff.
Through most of 1986,Kerry’s staff inquiry advanced against withering political fire. His investigators interviewed witnesses in Washington, contacted Contra sources in Miami and Costa Rica, and tried to make sense of sometimes convoluted stories of intrigue from the shadowy worlds of covert warfare and the drug trade….. The Reagan administration did everything it could to thwart Kerry’s investigation, including attempting to discredit witnesses, stonewalling the Senate when it requested evidence and assigning the CIA to monitor Kerry’s probe. But it couldn’t stop Kerry and his investigators from discovering the explosive truth: that the Contra war was permeated with drug traffickers who gave the Contras money, weapons and equipment in exchange for help in smuggling cocaine into the United States.
Even more damningly, Kerry found that U.S. government agencies knew about the Contra-drug connection, but turned a blind eye to the evidence in order to avoid undermining a top Reagan-Bush foreign policy initiative. The Reagan administration’s tolerance and protection of this dark underbelly of the Contra war represented one of the most sordid scandals in the history of U.S. foreign policy. Yet when Kerry’s bombshell findings were released in 1989, they were greeted by the mainstream press with disdain and disinterest. The New York Times, which had long denigrated the Contra-drug allegations, buried the story of Kerry’s report on its inside pages, as did the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. For his tireless efforts, Kerry earned a reputation as a reckless investigator.
Newsweek’s Conventional Wisdom Watch dubbed Kerry a ‘randy conspiracy buff.’ But almost a decade later, in 1998, Kerry’s trailblazing investigation was vindicated by the CIA’s own inspector general, who found that scores of Contra operatives were implicated in the cocaine trade and that U.S. agencies had looked the other way rather than reveal information that could have embarrassed the Reagan-Bush administration.
Even after the CIA’s admissions, the national press corps never fully corrected its earlier dismissive treatment. That would have meant the New York Times and other leading publications admitting they had bungled their coverage of one of the worst scandals of the Reagan-Bush era. The warm and fuzzy glow that surrounded Ronald Reagan after he left office also discouraged clarification of the historical record. Taking a clear-eyed look at crimes inside Reagan’s Central American policies would have required a tough reassessment of the 40th president, which to this day the media has been unwilling to do….. In private, Reagan referred to the Contras as ‘vandals,’ according to Duane Clarridge, the CIA officer in charge of the operation, in his memoir, ‘A Spy for All Seasons.’
But in public, the Reagan administration attacked anyone who pointed out the Contras’ corruption and brutality. The Contras also proved militarily inept, causing the CIA to intervene directly and engage in warlike acts, such as mining Nicaragua’s harbors. In 1984, these controversies caused the Congress to forbid U.S. military assistance to the Contras – the Boland Amendment – forcing the rebels to search for new funding sources. Drug money became the easiest way to fill the depleted Contra coffers. The documentary evidence is now irrefutable that a number of Contra units both in Costa Rica and Honduras opened or deepened ties to Colombian cartels and other regional drug traffickers. The White House also scrambled to find other ways to keep the Contras afloat, turning to third countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and eventually to profits from clandestine arms sales to Iran.
The secrets began to seep out in the mid-1980s. In June 1985, as a reporter for the Associated Press, I wrote the first story mentioning Oliver North’s secret Contra supply operation. By that fall, my AP colleague Brian Barger and I stumbled onto evidence that some of the Contras were supplementing their income by helping traffickers transship cocaine through Central America. As we dug deeper, it became clear that the drug connection implicated nearly all the major Contra organizations. The AP published our story about the Contra-cocaine evidence on Dec. 20, 1985, describing Contra units ‘engaged in cocaine smuggling, using some of the profits to finance their war against Nicaragua’s leftist government.’ The story provoked little coverage elsewhere in the U.S. national press corps.
But it pricked the interest of a newly elected U.S. senator, John Kerry….. Besides looking into Contra drug trafficking, Kerry launched the first investigation into the allegations of weapons smuggling and misappropriation of U.S. government funds that were later exposed as part of North’s illegal operation to supply the Contras. Kerry’s staff soon took an interest in a federal probe in Miami headed by assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Feldman.
Talking to some of the same Contra supporters whom we had interviewed for the AP’s Contra-cocaine story, Feldman had pieced together the outlines of North’s secret network….. Negative publicity about the Contras was particularly unwelcome to the Reagan-Bush administration throughout the spring and summer 1986 as the White House battled to restore U.S. government funding to the Contras.
In the politically heated atmosphere, the administration sought to smear anti-Contra witnesses cooperating with Kerry’s investigation…. Beyond intimidating some witnesses, the Reagan administration systematically worked to frustrate Kerry’s investigation. Years later, one of Kerry’s investigators, Jack Blum, complained publicly that the Justice Department had actively obstructed the congressional probe. Blum said William Weld, who took over as assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division in September 1986, was an ‘absolute stonewall’ blocking the Senate’s access to evidence on Contra-cocaine smuggling.
‘Weld put a very serious block on any effort we made to get information,’ Blum told the Senate Intelligence Committee a decade after the events. ‘There were stalls. There were refusals to talk to us, refusals to turn over data.’…. On Sept. 26, 1986, Kerry tried to spur action by presenting Weld with an 11-page ‘proffer’ statement from a 31-year-old FBI informant who had worked with the Medellin cartel and had become a witness on cartel activities.
The woman, Wanda Palacio, had approached Kerry with an account about Colombian cocaine kingpin Jorge Ochoa bragging about payments he had made to the Nicaraguan Contras. As part of this Contra connection, Palacio said pilots for a CIA-connected airline, Southern Air Transport, were flying cocaine out of Barranquilla, Colombia. She said she had witnessed two such flights, one in 1983 and the other in October 1985, and quoted Ochoa saying the flights were part of an arrangement to exchange ‘drugs for guns.’ … After Kerry left Weld’s office, however, the Justice Department seemed to concentrate on poking holes in Palacio’s account, not trying to corroborate it. Though Palacio had been considered credible in her earlier testimony to the FBI, she was judged to lack credibility when she made accusations about the Contras and the CIA. On Oct. 3, 1986, Weld’s office told Kerry that it was rejecting Palacio as a witness on the grounds that there were some contradictions in her testimony.
The discrepancies apparently related to such minor points as which month she had first talked with the FBI. Two days after Weld rejected Palacio’s Contra-cocaine testimony, other secrets about the White House’s covert Contra support operations suddenly crashed -literally – into view. On Oct. 5, a quiet Sunday morning, an aging C-123 cargo plane rumbled over the skies of Nicaragua preparing to drop AK-47 rifles and other equipment to Contra units in the jungle below. Since the Reagan administration had recently won congressional approval for renewed CIA military aid to the Contras, the flight was to be one of the last by Oliver North’s ragtag air force.
The plane, however, attracted the attention of a teenage Sandinista soldier armed with a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile. He aimed, pulled the trigger and watched as the Soviet-made missile made a direct hit on the aircraft. Inside, cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus, an American mercenary working with the Contras, was knocked to the floor, but managed to crawl to an open door, push himself through, and parachute to the ground, where he was captured by Sandinista forces. The pilot and other crew members died in the crash. As word spread about the plane crash, Barger – who had left the AP and was working for a CBS News show – persuaded me to join him on a trip to Nicaragua with the goal of getting an interview with Hasenfus, who turned out to be an unemployed Wisconsin construction worker and onetime CIA cargo handler. Hasenfus told a press conference in Managua that the Contra supply operation was run by CIA officers working with the office of Vice President George Bush….
In fall 1986, Weld’s criminal division continued to withhold Contra-drug information requested by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. According to Justice Department records, Lugar and Pell – two of the Senate’s most gentlemanly members – wrote on Oct. 14 that they had been waiting more than two months for information that the Justice Department had promised ‘in an expeditious manner.’ ‘To date, no information has been received and the investigation of allegations by the committee, therefore, has not moved very far,’ Lugar and Pell wrote in a joint letter.
‘We’re disappointed that the Department has not responded in a timely fashion and indeed has not provided any materials.’ On Nov. 25, 1986, the Iran-Contra scandal was officially born when Attorney General Edwin Meese announced that profits from secret U.S. arms sales to Iran had been diverted to help fund the Nicaraguan Contras. The Washington press corps scrambled to get a handle on the dramatic story of clandestine operations, but still resisted the allegations that the administration’s zeal had spilled over into sanctioning or tolerating Contra-connected drug trafficking.
Though John Kerry’s early warnings about White House-aided Contra gunrunning had proved out, his accusations about Contra drug smuggling would continue to be rejected by much of the press corps as going too far…. The joint Senate-House Iran-Contra committee averted its eyes from the Contra-cocaine allegations. The only time the issue was raised publicly was when a demonstrator interrupted one hearing by shouting, ‘Ask about the cocaine.’ Kerry was excluded from the investigation…. In a classified deposition to the congressional Iran-Contra committees, senior CIA officer Alan Fiers said, ‘with respect to [drug trafficking by] the Resistance Forces [the Contras] it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people.’ Despite official denials and press hostility,
Kerry and his investigators pressed ahead. In 1987, with the arrival of a Democratic majority in the Senate, Kerry also became chairman of the Senate subcommittee on terrorism, narcotics and international operations. He used that position to pry loose the facts proving that the official denials were wrong and that Contra units were involved in the drug trade. Kerry’s report was issued two years later, on April 13, 1989. Its stunning conclusion: ‘On the basis of the evidence, it is clear that individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the Contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers.
In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.’ The report discovered that drug traffickers gave the Contras ‘cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials.’…. Although Kerry’s findings represented the first time a congressional report explicitly accused federal agencies of willful collaboration with drug traffickers, the major news organizations chose to bury the startling findings. Instead of front-page treatment, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times all wrote brief accounts and stuck them deep inside their papers. The New York Times article, only 850 words long, landed on Page 8. The Post placed its story on A20. The Los Angeles Times found space on
Page 11…. Kerry’s vindication in the Contra drug case did not come until 1998, when inspectors general at the CIA and Justice Department reviewed their files in connection with allegations published by the San Jose Mercury News that the Contra-cocaine pipeline had contributed to the crack epidemic that ravaged inner-city neighborhoods in the 1980s. (Ironically, the major national newspapers only saw fit to put the Contra-cocaine story on their front pages in criticizing the Mercury News and its reporter Gary Webb for taking the allegations too far.)
On Oct. 4, 1996, the Washington Post published a front-page story, with two more pages inside, that was critical of the Mercury News. But while accusing the Mercury News of exaggerating, the Post noted that Contra-connected drug smugglers had brought tons of cocaine into the United States. ‘Even CIA personnel testified to Congress they knew that those covert operations involved drug traffickers,’ the Post reported. A Post editorial on Oct. 9, 1996, reprised the newspaper’s assessment that the Mercury News had overreached, but added that for ‘CIA-connected characters to have played even a trivial role in introducing Americans to crack would indicate an unconscionable breach by the CIA.’ In the months that followed, the major newspapers – including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times – joined the Post in criticizing the Mercury News while downplaying their own inattention to the crimes that Kerry had illuminated a decade earlier.
The Los Angeles Times actually used Kerry’s report to dismiss the Mercury News series as old news because the Contra cocaine trafficking ‘has been well documented for years.’…. The government’s decade-long Contra cocaine cover-up began to crumble when CIA inspector general Frederick Hitz published the first of two volumes of his Contra cocaine investigation on Jan. 29, 1998, followed by a Justice Department report and Hitz’s second volume in October 1998. The CIA inspector general and Justice Department reports confirmed that the Reagan administration knew from almost the outset of the Contra war that cocaine traffickers permeated the CIA-backed army but the administration did next to nothing to expose or stop these criminals.
The reports revealed example after example of leads not followed, witnesses disparaged and official law-enforcement investigations sabotaged. The evidence indicated that Contra-connected smugglers included the Medellin cartel, the Panamanian government of Manuel Noriega, the Honduran military, the Honduran-Mexican smuggling ring of Ramon Matta Ballesteros, and Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans. Reviewing evidence that existed in the 1980s, CIA inspector general Hitz found that some Contra-connected drug traffickers worked directly for Reagan’s National Security Council staff and the CIA. In 1987, Cuban-American Bay of Pigs veteran Moises Nunez told CIA investigators that ‘it was difficult to answer questions relating to his involvement in narcotics trafficking because of the specific tasks he had performed at the direction of the NSC.’ CIA task force chief Fiers said the Nunez-NSC drug lead was not pursued then ‘because of the NSC connection and the possibility that this could be somehow connected to the Private Benefactor program [Oliver North’s fundraising].
A decision was made not to pursue this matter.’…. Hitz found that a chief reason for the CIA’s protective handling of Contra-drug evidence was Langley’s ‘one overriding priority: to oust the Sandinista government … [CIA officers] were determined that the various difficulties they encountered not be allowed to prevent effective implementation of the Contra program.’ This pattern of obstruction occurred while Vice President Bush was in charge of stanching the flow of drugs to the United States. Kerry made himself a pest by demanding answers to troubling questions. ‘He wanted to get to the bottom of something so dark,’ former public defender Mattes told me. ‘Nobody could imagine it was so dark.’…
How John Kerry Exposed the Contra-Cocaine Scandal
Salon.com, 25 October 2004
“Gary Webb, 49, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter from the San Jose Mercury News made America hold its breath in 1996 when he showed us proof of direct CIA involvement in drug trafficking. For a few months many of us had hope….. Webb’s August 1996 series Dark Alliance for the San Jose Mercury News pulled deep covers away from US covert operations and American denial about connections between the CIA and drugs….. In death the major press is beating him almost as ruthlessly as they did in real life. No part of the major press has acknowledged that Webb’s work was subsequently vindicated by congressional investigations and two CIA Inspector General’s reports released in 1997 and 1998….. It was in Los Angeles where Webb dug up and documented the direct connection between the CIA and cocaine smuggling/trafficking as crack cocaine ravaged this city in the 1980s and the Contra war decimated Central America…. “
GARY WEBB – PULITZER PRIZE WINNER, AUTHOR OF DARK ALLIANCE CIA-DRUG SERIES DEAD OF REPORTED SUICIDE
From The Wilderness, 13 December 2004
“Webb’s tale is a sad one. He was on to something but botched part of how he handled it. He then was blasted and ostracized. He was wrong on some important details but he was, in a way, closer to the truth than many of his establishment media critics who neglected the story of the real CIA-contra-cocaine connection. In 1998, a CIA inspector general’s report acknowledged that the CIA had indeed worked with suspected drugrunners while supporting the contras. A Senator named John Kerry had investigated these links years earlier, and the media had mostly ignored his findings. After Webb published his articles, the media spent more time crushing Webb than pursuing the full story. It is only because of Webb’s work–as flawed as it was–that the CIA IG inquiry happened. So, then, it is only because of Webb that US citizens have confirmation from the CIA that it partnered up with suspected drug traffickers in the just-say-no years and that the Reagan Administration, consumed with a desire to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, allied itself with drug thugs.”
Gary Webb Is Dead
The Nation, December 2004
“Most Americans could not do the political calculus to equate Afghan warlords and Sicilian mafia with the heroin in their cities. But when the CIA used the same covert tactics, with similar compromises, to fight the Contra war in Central America, simple proximity sparked controversy and forced a succession of investigations – first by the press, then Congress, and, ultimately, the agency’s own inspector general. After decades of denial, the CIA’s investigation would document, in surprising detail, the dynamics of its cold war alliances with drug lords… The end of the cold war did not erase the bitter legacy of the CIA’s Afghan adventure, nor did it end the agency’s alliances with drug lords….. During the 1990s, Afghanistan’s soaring opium harvest knitted Centra Asia, Russia, and Europe into a vast illicit market of arms, drugs, and money laundering… Across these vast distances with poor communications, ad hoc alliances within and among ethnic diasporas provided critical criminal linkages [including] Kosovars scattered from Geneva to Macedonia…
In 1990, Swiss Federal Police launched Operation Benjamin, which uncovered an arms-heroin traffic with Kosovo and, eight years later, reported that Albanians dominated heroin distribution in all cantons. A Kosovar diaspora based in Skopje, Pristina, and Tirana smuggled heroin across the Adriatic Sea. In Western Europe, Albanian exiles used drug profits to ship Czech and Swiss arms back to Kosovo for the separatist guerrillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In 1997-98, these Kosovar drug syndicates armed the KLA for a revolt against Belgrade’s army… Even after the 1999 Kumanovo agreement settled the Kosovo conflict, the UN administration of the province, preoccupied with mediating ethnic conflict, allowed a thriving heroin traffic along this northern route from Turkey.
The former commanders of the KLA, both local clans and aspiring national leaders, continued to dominate the transit traffic through the Balkans, battling Serbian police for control of strategic smuggling corridors. The most militant of these local commanders, Muhamed Xhemajli, had reportedly been a major drug dealer in Switzerland before joining the KLA in 1998. In May 2001, Italian peacekeepers in KFOR seized a truck-load of heavy weapons, including 52 rocket launchers and five SAM-7 ground-to-air missiles, near the Kosovo border believed destined for Albanian guerrillas inside southern Serbia. According to Croatina police sources, Albanian syndicates had probably bartered heroin for these arms from Croatian criminals, many of them former army officers.”
The Politics of Heroin – CIA Complicity In The Global Drug Trade
Alfred W. McCoy, Lawrence Hill Books, 2003
International Court Of Justice Rules
US Support For Contras Illegal
“The International Court of Justice yesterday ruled that US support to the contras in Nicaragua is illegal, and demanded that the US pay reparations to the Sandinistas. Nicaragua intends to sue the US for more than dollars 1 billion in damages in US domestic courts as a result of yesterday’s World Court ruling, a legal counsel for the Managua Government said yesterday in Washington. In a 16-point ruling on a complaint lodged by Nicaragua , the judges rejected American claims of collective self-defence and found the US guilty of breaches of international law and the 1956 treaty of friendship between the two countries. Three judges submitted dissenting opinions: Judge Oda (Japan), Judge Schwebel (US) and Sir Robert Jennings (Britain).
The US rejected the judgment, claiming that the Managua regime is a Soviet puppet. A Soviet judge did not take part in the case. One judge was withdrawn last August and was only replaced in December – too late to join his 14 colleagues, plus the ad hoc judge added to the court to represent Nicaragua. The Sandinistas had appealed to the World Court in April, 1984, to condemn American intervention, but the US has always maintained that the court’s jurisdiction did not extend to ruling on this issue.
The US does recognise the jurisdiction of the court in many other cases, such as the 1984 ruling on the Bay of Maine dispute with Canada. In its verdict, the court stated that US acts and actions in training and financing the contras, the attack on Puerto Sandino and interference with maritime commerce constituted breaches of international law and the obligation not to violate national sovereignty. The court argued that the two parties should negotiate on the level and type of reparations, but that if agreement could not be reached, the court would determine compensation at a later date. The US benches were empty when the court announced its decision.
Among the Nicaraguan delegates was the Foreign Minister, Father Miguel d’Escoto, who said he hoped that the verdict would help the Americans to re-evaluate their position and stop defying the law and the court. Dutch legal experts argue that the decision is legally binding on the US, despite the American refusal to recognise the court’s jurisdiction. One said: ‘The USA has always recognised the ICJ. It should have changed its position earlier if it wanted to duck the court in this case.
It is a well-known principle of international law that, if a country submits to the jurisdiction of a court, it cannot sidestep the court after the judges have started their work,’ a professor of international law at Amsterdam University said.”
US dismisses World Court ruling on contras
Guardian, 28 June 1986
Trying To Bury Information On The Reagan-Bush Era
“The US president, George Bush, last night signed an executive order that allows either a past or sitting president to block access to White House papers, a move that has angered historians, journalists and former president Bill Clinton. The order amends – and some argue, reverses – a 1978 law that allowed journalists, historians and other interested parties to read presidential papers twelve years after the term of office finished.
The law, known as the Presidential Records Act, was the result of a lengthy legal battle over the papers of Watergate president Richard Nixon. Under the terms of Mr Bush’s order, any sitting or former president could veto the release of presidential papers. The current president could not override a former president’s veto, nor could a former president override the decision of sitting president….The immediate provocation for last night’s order is believed to be an outstanding request for 68,000 pages of former president Ronald Reagan’s papers, which should have been opened to public scrutiny in January.
The Bush administration has delayed that release three times, and yesterday White House counsel Alberto Gonzales would not say when or if the Reagan documents will be placed in the public domain. Some historians have voiced suspicions that the Bush administration is worried about what the Reagan papers might reveal about officials now working for Mr Bush…. the order would also mean that Mr Bush’s personal papers detailing the decision-making process in the current war on terrorism could remain secret in perpetuity.”
Bush blocks public access to White House papers
London Guardian, 2 November, 2001
The Earlier ‘Nixon’ Model
The Election Of 1968
|Although the term ‘October Surprise’ is most closely associated with the Republican Party’s alleged secret deal with the Iranians in 1980 to delay the release of American hostages in Iran in order to help prevent Democrat Jimmy Carter from being re-elected American President, that was not their first covert intervention in US foreign policy in order to try and influence the outcome of a US Presidential election.Much less well known is that in 1968 Repuplican Presidential candidate Richard Nixon had secretly sabotaged Vietnamese peace talks so as to prevent the Democrats (under the outgoing President Johnson) from claiming, in the run up to polling day, that they were bringing the Vietnam war to an end.On both occasions the Republicans won the election in question.nlpwessex.org
“Twenty years ago, Charles Wheeler and David Taylor, his Washington based producer, were told that Richard Nixon had secretly sabotaged the Vietnamese peace talks in the autumn of 1968, to continue the war and ultimately strengthen his chances of claiming the presidency. It was an act of political espionage that cost thousands of American lives. Back in 1994, Wheeler and Taylor conducted their own investigation, tracking down those involved to piece the story together. Then they waited for the classified material to be released to confirm one of the greatest acts of political subterfuge in American history. Charles Wheeler died in 2008, before the release of key White House tapes relating to the affair.
Now, using these newly released recordings, as well as many of the interviews they recorded at the time, David Taylor pieces together this intriguing story. On a White House tape, secretly recorded on November 2nd 1968, LBJ denounces Richard Nixon as a traitor, a man with blood on his hands. His Secretary of Defence, Clark Clifford, tells Johnson the candidate’s actions threaten American democracy. Johnson fears the country is too fragile to learn the truth about the Republican candidate’s exploits and remained silent about the affair until his death in 1973.”
Archive On 4
BBC Radio 4, 16 March 2013
“This is the second case, for example, in which Republican campaigners have been accused of tampering with foreign policy for political purposes. In 1968, Nixon aides were charged with persuading the South Vietnamese to delay their participation in peace talks to deny possible advantage to Democrats in that year’s elections. Some allegations suggest, moreover, that the proven later dealings of the Reagan Administration with Iran grew out of the alleged hostage deal in 1980. Mr. Bush, in denying that he knew of such a deal did not insist that it never happened. Mr. Reagan, as usual, only said he knew of no such arrangement; but he never knew much of what went on around him. The overriding reason for a Congressional investigation is the possibility that the truth might be established. The death of [CIA Director] Mr. Casey, who would have been the key witness, and the unavoidable political aspects of an inquiry, may make that possibility remote.”
A Necessary Inquiry
New York Times, 26 June 1991
NLPWESSEX, natural law publishing