(Reagan later confirmed that the trip had taken place, on 11/13 and 11/19.)
"As long as Iran advocates the use of terrorism, the U.S. arms embargo will continue." -- John Poindexter, 11/4/86
"[There has been] no manifestation of a definitive change in Iran's policy on terrorism." -- Larry Speakes, 11/4/86
"There's been no evidence of Iranian government complicity in acts of terrorism against the United States." -- Ronald Reagan, 11/13/86
"Iran has and continues to pursue a policy of terrorism." -- George Shultz, 11/16/86
Making sense out of the current state of affairs is enough to keep anybody occupied full time. There is no way I can even begin to cover the incredible series of revelations that has come out in the last few weeks. I will have to content myself by pulling out some interesting bits and pieces that might have been easy to overlook.
The most recent "revelation du jour": When Eugene Hasenfus' plane was shot down over Nicaragua, the FBI started an investigation into aspects of the Contra-supply effort, with Southern Air Transport being of particular interest. Apparently that investigation was put on hold by the Justice Department, which cited national security concerns. It was explicitly stated that the investigation could jeopardize the lives of hostages in the Middle East. The Justice Department has confirmed that this hold took place, while still denying that they knew anything about the Iran/Contra link. [Boulder Daily Camera (L.A. Times), 12/13/86]
Former Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox has charged the Reagan Administration with "high level duplicity," and has told Congress to conduct its own probes, as opposed to relying on an independent prosecutor. Quoth Cox: "[The diversion of funds to the Contras took place] under circumstances creating reasonable suspicion of some form of approval by high authority." [Boulder Daily Camera, 12/11/86]
It turns out that Iran was responsible for the bombing of the U.S. Marine compound in Lebanon that killed over 240 people. This information was obtained by the National Security Council by early 1985. The information was certainly in the hands of Oliver North, John Poindexter, and Ronald Reagan by the time the arms shipments to Iran were authorized. [New York Times, 12/8/86]
Further Administration links to the Contra arms supply network: the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr, closely monitored all of the arms flights into Nicaragua. It is also clear that the flights could not have possibly moved between Nicaragua and Honduras without U.S. support, since that border is very closely guarded with sophisticated radar systems. Further, the arms suppliers had a warehouse at Ilopango -- a Salvadoran air force base; they were also issued Salvadoran air force ID cards. One of the chief operatives in the program, Felix Rodriguez ("a former CIA agent"), was given a U.S. Embassy ID card and radio. "Several Americans who flew on the secret flights said they often met American officials during their work in El Salvador and Honduras."
A number of safe houses have been identified in El Salvador -- these houses were used for the arms suppliers. Telephone records from these safe houses indicate frequent calls to a CIA agent in Costa Rica, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, to Oliver North's office, and to Richard Secord's office.
There is an airstrip near the town of Liberia, Costa Rica, that was used for the supply operations. When the new Costa Rican government tried to close that strip down, they came under immense pressure from the U.S. to allow it to continue to function. This pressure included at least two visits from the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs. Tambs has since resigned his post.
A name that has come up recently is that of Colonel James Steele, until recently the senior U.S. military advisor in El Salvador. Steele apparently kept close tabs on the supply flights, and was usually at the airport when they left. He had been ordered to monitor the operation by Ambassador Corr. Clearly, the U.S. government was very much aware of the details behind Eugene Hasenfus' flight, despite its claims to the contrary.
[New York Time, 12/4/86, 12/8/86; Boulder Daily Camera, 12/5/86]
When the whole Iran/Contra thing blew open, Attorney General Edwin Meese claimed that nobody in the government other than Oliver North and John Poindexter had known about it. However, CIA directory William Casey has testified that he found out in early October. The general feeling about Casey seems to be similar to that about Reagan: if he truly didn't know before then, then something is wrong. After all, this person is the director of our intelligence agency. If he did know, he is lying. There is likely to be increased pressure to have Casey fired in the next few weeks.
[Boulder Daily Camera (L.A. Times), 12/12/86]
Secretary of State George Shultz apparently persuaded the Sultan of Brunei (a tiny (but rich) country bordering Malaysia) to donate several million dollars to the Contras. This money was passed through a Swiss account run by Oliver North. This may have been the same account that was used to handle the Iranian money.
[Boulder Daily Camera (L.A. Times), 12/12/86]
"Everything that we sold to Iran could be put in one cargo plane and there would be plenty of room left over." -- Ronald Reagan
According to the Administration, $12 million in "spare parts" were sent to Iran. The real figures have been coming out for a while now: at least four direct shipments from the United States, and 12 via Israel have gone to Iran since last fall. Included in these shipments are over 2,000 anti-tank missiles and over 200 surface-to-air missiles. Some radar equipment was also sent. I have seen estimates (in several places) of $0.5 to $1.0 billion as being the true amount of arms sent to Iran.
[Christian Science Monitor, 12/11/86]
Perhaps the bizarrest twist of them all: The armed services chief in the Phillipines under Marcos was General Fabian Ver. Ver was implicated in the shooting of Benigno Aquino, among other crimes. Apparently, Ver also signed false certificates to the effect that the arms sent to Iran really were sent to the Phillipines. The reason cited for the false documents is that they were intended to keep George Shultz unaware of the real destination for the weapons.
[Christian Science Monitor, 12/12/86]
According to a Newsweek poll, 90% of the U.S. population believes that President Reagan is lying when he claims not to have known about the funding of the Contras through the Iran arms deals. 56 percent said that it would be worse if he really hadn't known than if he had. When asked what should happen if it turns out that Reagan really did know, 49% said that "he should admit his mistakes and apologize," 19% said he should resign, and 10% said that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings.
[Boulder Daily Camera (AP) 12/8/86]
Of the $27 million in "humanitarian" aid sent to the Contras last year, over half can not be accounted for. At least $80,000 worth of false receipts have been found, and some of the money was used to buy weapons. All this according to a report by the General Accounting Office.
[Boulder Daily Camera (AP) 12/8/86]
Once again, much fuss has been made of Sandinista military presence in Southern Honduras. Once again, President Reagan has sent U.S. helicopters to move Honduran troops to the border to fend the Sandinistas off. These helicopters have been landing at the airfield at Jamastran, Honduras. This airfield is less than 20 miles from the Nicaraguan border, which makes the landings a violation of U.S. law, which requires that U.S. forces remain at least 20 miles away from Nicaragua. The State Department claims that since the operation is in support for Honduras, not the Contras, the 20 mile limit does not apply...
The Sandinista troops have apparently been in Honduras since the incursion last March. It seems that their main purpose there is to draw attention to the presence of the Contras in Honduras. What has also been made amply clear is that the Contras are incapable of even defending their own base camp against a small contingent of Nicaraguan soldiers, much less take over Nicaragua, prompting wide speculation in the U.S. press that the Contras are almost finished.
The other interesting event in this whole incident is that Honduran planes crossed over the border and bombed the Nicaraguan town of Wiwili. Honduras has denied making the raids, but, since nobody else in Central America has fighter jets, it is quite clear that Honduras was responsible.
There have been reports that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega received a phone call from Honduran President Jose Azcona in which Azcona warned Ortega that the United States was pressing hard for Honduras to attack Nicaraguan border positions. This phone call explains why Nicaragua is refraining from criticizing Honduras over the attacks, but is instead coming down on the United States.
[Christian Science Monitor, 12/10/86, 12/12/86; Boulder Daily Camera, 12/11/86, New York Times, 12/8/86]
The tension along the border has wound down again for now. This will be an important area to watch in the future: since the Contras have lost any ability they once had to cause serious trouble for Nicaragua, Reagan's only alternative would appear to be a direct invasion. Reagan may also look to such an action to divert attention from his recent problems. Hopefully such a thing will not happen, but the possibility is real.
Over the past few years, many Miskito Indians have fled Nicaragua. It now appears that over 10,000 of those Indians have returned to their homes in eastern Nicaragua. Many thousands simply went back over the Rio Coco river. However, the Miskito Contra group, Kisan, is now stopping Indians from returning. The only safe way back now is under the protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Over 3,000 Miskitos have returned under UN protection.
The reason for the return is this: the negotiations between the Miskitos and the Sandinistas have resulted in substantial agreements, which provides for autonomy for the Miskito region. Kisan has also turned to more brutal methods of recruiting and disciplining Miskitos, to the point that most of them no longer wish to be around Kisan at all.
A large anti-Sandinista coalition is forming in Nicaragua for the 1987 mayoral elections. Several parties, including the Independent Liberal Party, the Social Christian Party, the Popular Social Christian Party, the Marxist-Leninist Popular Alliance, and the Nicaraguan Communist Party will throw in their lots together, with the intention of running the candidate with the best chance for success in each city, regardless of his party alliance. There is also talk of the Conservative Party joining in. There will be elections, sometime in 1987, for the Mayor's seat in Managua, Masaya, Leon, and several other cities.
[New York Times, 12/8/86]
Personally, I hope they win a few. Criticism of the legitimacy of the government in Nicaragua will hopefully abate when the opposition parties win some high-profile seats.
There have been a couple of interesting pronouncements from the Soviet Union regarding arms control. Perhaps their most surprising one is their intention to abide by the provisions of the SALT II treaty, even though the United States is now in violation if that treaty.
The other, not so hopeful, is that the Soviet unilateral nuclear test ban may well be ended at the end of this year, if the U.S. continues testing. There have been no definite statements, only threats.
[Christian Science Monitor, 12/3/86, Boulder Daily Camera, 12/6/86]
My guess is that the test ban will in fact not end then. My reasoning is this: there will almost certainly be test ban bills in Congress again this year -- many representatives are upset at how last year's ban was dropped for Reagan just before the Iceland summit, from which he returned empty- handed. The issue will come up again, and the new Congress will be more sympathetic to it. Certainly the Soviets know this, and certainly they understand that a resumption of testing on their part would doom such an effort.
The "right to life" movement strikes again: a bomb was planted in an abortion clinic in Lathrup Village, Mich., on December 4. Police were able to defuse the bomb before it exploded. A Planned Parenthood clinic in Kalamazoo was burned down a few days earlier; the fire was determined to be an arson case.
[Boulder Daily Camera, 12/5/86]
Many of you may be aware of an event scheduled for New Year's Eve entitled the "World Instant of Cooperation." This event is a large, worldwide effort to get as many people as possible together for an hour to pray or meditate for world peace. Their goal is to get 1% of the world's population doing this at the same time. It seems like a perfectly harmless idea -- what could be wrong with getting people to think about peace? It seems like it could only help.
However, a group of local fundamentalists disagrees. In reaction to a one-hour event, these people are putting together a three-day conference on the "dark side" of this event. Rather than me trying to explain their point of view, I'll just pass on a couple of quotes:
"We believe peace is a good idea. We're not against peace, but we don't believe there will be peace in the world until Jesus returns a second time. Man by his own efforts will not be able to bring peace to the world." [emphasis mine]
"These people think we're about to move into a new age, and there will be some great positive changes. We're not against peace, but the Bible states that the next event is Armageddon, or world war -- then the return of Jesus. So we don't believe the world is headed for peace. Armageddon is inevitable."
[Colorado Daily, 12/11/86]
I really hope that I am not the only one who finds this mentality to be hard to swallow. Not only do these people believe that we are headed toward the end of the world (and, I must admit, sometimes it seems we are...), but they are determined to bring it about. What is especially scary is that Ronald Reagan has been reported as thinking this way.
(THE COMPUTER THAT KEPT SECRETS, p. 20)
"Shades of Watergate: only this time instead of a hidden tape-recording system in the Oval Office, it is a computer system with a steel trap memory humming away unnoticed in a small room in the Old Executive Office Building. Like businesses concerned with far more mundane transactions, the NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL is wired with an electronic mail network known as PROFS, IBM's acronym for Professional Office System software. Unlike PROFS software in the average office network, though, this gave the *appearance* of being a TOP-SECRET SYSTEM, open only to NSC staffers. ... (An aside: PROFS is used here at Bellcore on VM/370 as our divisional electronic mail and calendaring offering. --rlr)
"The technology must have been very seductive. After centuries of using paper, bureaucrats have become wary of leaving paper trails: indeed, a paper shredder dominates one corner of the offices formerly used by LT. COL. OLIVER NORTH. But the fleeting nature of the electronic messages on the computer screen encouraged a different attitude: 'There was something disinhibiting about the system,' says a former NSC staffer. 'You'd really open up and lay out what you wanted to say. You'd be very candid about the state of play.' ...
"So after the system was installed about three years ago, PROFS quickly became the NSC's electronic central nervous system. The network pulsed with messages of all kinds, covering everything from innocuous day-to-day bureaucratic housekeeping to URGENT NATIONAL SECURITY QUESTIONS. Many NSC staffers apparently were UNAWARE THAT EVERY MESSAGE WAS *AUTOMATICALLY* *STORED* in a permanent electronic archive. (called a "note log" --rlr) Investigators for the Tower Commission are now sifting through an avalanche of records in search of evidence of the Iran affair. 'If they've got access to the backup memory, they've got a gold mine of information,' says one former NSC staffer."
According to the Washington Post, last week Mikhail S. Gorbachov told an audience of 850 visiting Americans, other foreigners and Soviets that President Reagan, at their 1985 meeting in Geneva, promised to join forces with the Soviet Union in case the world was invaded by aliens from outer space. "At our meeting in Geneva," Gorbachov said, "the U.S. president said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials the United States and the Soviet Union should join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, although I think it is too early to worry about such an intrusion."
(From "In These Times," Feb 25-March 10, 1987).
The magazine article said a National Security Agency electronic device was found in the sewing closet of McFarlane's home in Bethesda in January during a sweep ordered by his attorneys.
Spokesmen for the NSA and for McFarlane refused comment. The White House said it would have no comment until it saw the magazine, which is to be on newsstands Saturday.
The magazine quoted intelligence sources as saying that phone conversations of senior U.S. officials have been recorded for "archival purposes by the Pentagon and the CIA and for communication security by the NSA."
In the article entitled, "The White House Tapes, Again," the magazine quoted sources as saying the program produced "a still-undisclosed archive of recorded conversations" involving Reagan, Vice President Bush, former White House chief of staff Donald T. Regan and former National Security Council staff members Oliver L. North and John M. Poindexter.
The article, written by freelance reporter Allan Nairn, said McFarlane, who left the White House in December 1985, had been falsely told that a security unit on his home phone had been deactivated.
It said the unit uses a computerized encryption device that makes a call unintelligible to anyone trying to listen in without the proper equipment and authorized code.
The article said that the monitoring of top officials generaly seems to have been done on a basis of express or implied consent and therefore would not appear to violate federal communications laws.
In McFarlane's case, however, the monitoring continued after he left the White House, the magazine said. A government team, according to the magazine, removed the unit's handset from McFarlane's home, but, unknown to McFarlane, left intact the system's control panel that enabled NSA to monitor calls, and in turn, record them.
After leaving the national security adviser's job, McFarlane continued to have access to classified material as unpaid consultant until the Iran-contra affair was disclosed in November. He took a secret trip to Tehran last May in a fruitless effort to free American hostages in Lebanon.
Neil Reagan said in an interview published Wednesday that he thinks Congress' refusal to approve aid for the Nicaraguan rebels prompted the president to arrange the diversion because "there's more than one way to skin a cat."
"My brother said that?" Reagan asked, eyes widening. "I'll skin him!"
Reporters burst out laughing, and the president joined in.
The citizen, a weekly San Diego newspaper, quoted Neil Reagan as saying: "He went to Congress and asked Congress for the money and was turned down. So, knowing this, I bet he just went back to his office and said, 'There's more than one way to skin a cat. Get ahold of those guys down in Iran and see if they want some armaments.' Then he was under no obligation to go to anyone and say, 'Can I have a couple of bucks for the contras?'"
It happened again yesterday as Marlin Fitzwater began his morning news briefing with the revelation that Reagan's Wednesday speech on the Iran-contra matter drew 3,645 positive and only 247 negative calls.
"A very encouraging 93.5 percent positive," Fitzwater said.
Well, now. Let's take a look at that.
In light of what happened at the Agriculture Department and in other redoubts of loyal Republicanism, the notion that Reagan's heart-to-heart evoked such an outpouring of spontaneous huzzahs takes on a somewhat different hue.
An advisory of uncertain origin circulated among GOP political groups and activists on the eve of Reagan's talk saying "calls in support of the president should be made directly after his address. The White House Comment Line is 456-7639."
The memo, typed on plain paper bearing no letterhead, also suggested that further supportive calls be made the morning after the speech to the House intelligence and foreign affairs panels, their Senate counterparts and the special committees investigating the Iran-contra deception. Appropriate phone numbers were listed.
Reagan loyalists at the Agriculture Department took it a bit further. A support-the-president exhortation meant for political appointees apparently fell into the hands of an offended civil servant and set off a minor furor.
The sequence began Wednesday when Diane McIntyre, political aide to Secretary Richard E. Lyng, told an assistant to send out a reminder of the speech with a note that anyone who wanted to "critique" the address could call a special White House number.
On down the line, a secretary in the office of George Dunlap, assistant secretary for natural resources and environment, entered into the spirit of things. She typed up the message, adding "SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT" in capital letters, and dropped it in boxes for political types in the Soil Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service. But somehow it turned up in at least one pair of civil service hands.
"How it got beyond there is beyond me," McIntrye said.
Dunlop issued a statement denying that he had ordered the memo sent and saying that it had been prepared and inadvertently distributed because of "a mistake in judgment." McIntyre said the secretary -- also a political appointee -- had been "talked to" and told to curb the exuberance.
McIntyre said she routinely "advises" political appointees in advance of major presidential statements but the reaction to this week's advisory had been "blown totally out of proportion." She added: "In some respects, it's interesting to see how little response there was." Polling employees, she discovered that very few had volunteered reactions to the speech.
At the White House, someone asked Fitzwater about reports from USDA that employees were being told to call with supportive statements.
"No," Fitzwater said, "that would be wrong."
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 91 21:18:19 CDT
Oliver North ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal today.
In it, his handlers said, "The Special Prosecutor is taking Oliver North to Court again...at _your_ expense!"
"Next Wednesday, Lt. Colonel Oliver North, USMC (Ret.) is to appear in court again at the insistence of Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. While tens of millions of taxpayer's dollars have been spent on this fruitless prosecution, Oliver North has had to rely on his friends to bear the financial burden of defending himself. By forcing Ollie to maintain a costly, never ending legal defense, Walsh is punishing him in the only way he can--by trying to inflict as much financial damage as possible."
"Colonel North needs your financial help to once again face the Special Prosecutor and his unlimited budget. Please make a generous gift today."
"Call 1-800-933-8565 to make your donation..."
My God. What has this world come to? A man convicted of conducting one of the most heinous crimes of this nation in the last fifteen years is running a $15K dollar ad on page A2 of the Wall Street Journal, begging for money so that he can afford the best criminal lawyers in the country to defend him against his well known wrong doings. North seems to be the symbol of the modern american[sic]. "I did it. And I won't take the rap for it. Not no how, not no way."
This man should be hung in front of the Congress building.
Let's take this advertisement apart. North's ad-men claim that the Government is spending our tax dollars recklessly to take him down. They are doing this, we need to be reminded, because Oliver North conducted acts of treason against the United States of America, and it costs dollars to prosecute someone because our system of government regards the accused as innocent until proven guilty. Not because they are on a vendetta. In other words, it is Oliver North who has caused the Government to spend these dollars, and not Lawerence Walsh.
The ad describes the efforts of the Special Prosecuitor as "fruitless." They are, if you consider selling weapons to Iran in exchange for help in releasing Americans held by Islamic terrorists to be a perfectly OK thing to do as a representative of the United States of America. I don't, do you? I certainly don't think that efforts to unravel the truth about the Iran-Contral scandal is a "fruitless" effort, unless I also take into account the efforts made by Presidents Reagan and Bush to obfuscate the investigation.
The ad also points out that not only has Oliver North essentially escaped from the clutches of Justice, but that he has found "friends" to "bear the financial burden" of his wrong doings. Who are these fools, and what are they getting for helping this criminal? Isn't that aiding and abeiting? It sounds like the only people who have sufferened a continuous financial burden are these poor souls who are funding North's Constitutionally protected right to self defense by buying him better lawyers than the US Government can afford.
There must be something that can be done to defile this stupendous asshole. I am writing a more diginified version of this to send to my Senators and Representatives, for what good that will do.
Please pass this message on to the Net in the appropriate topics!
Bill Casey, the most corrupt head of the CIA ever, is actually alive and well in a top secret government command and control facility buried deep beneath a mountain. Reports of his death were greatly exagerated, as were reports of complete innocence and ignorance on the part of Ronald Reagan and others in his administration. Bill Casey is activly involved with the day to day internal working of the US Government (and governments of many other countries run by the US), in his new ultra-secret position, SPOOK CZAR, the highest seat of power in the nation. One of the requirements of this incredibly powerful, sensative office is that the SPOOK CZAR must be legally dead. One of the last retroactive mental findings signed by Ronald Reagan was Casey's brain tumor diagnosis (the examination was of course performed by Ed Meese, as competent a doctor as he is an attorney).
Gary Trudeau put out a musical and a spinoff to the musical ("Rap-Master Ronnie") that was absolutely fantastic. And he released a rap record to go with it.
Scratching for a raise
Looking for some scratch
On the want ad page
Good time scratching
Ronnie gotta plan
If that don't hatch
Catch as catch can
Okay, people, ease on tbrough
Brother Ron Reagan got cheese for you
Got a big civil service that'll hire your best
And a volunteer army that'll take the rest
Ronnie he be tough! Ronnie he defends!
Lieutenant Bob Goodman is a personal friend
Ronnie he be tough! Ronnie always wins!
Don't need cardboard for my shoulder spins