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Oliver North

Oliver North


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IntroduçãoOliver L. Ele é um fuzileiro naval decorado, autor de best-sellers, fundador de uma pequena empresa, inventor com três patentes nos Estados Unidos, colunista sindicalizado e apresentador de "WarStories" no canal Fox News. Ele afirma que sua realização mais importante é ser "marido de uma e pai de quatro". North também é o fundador e presidente honorário da Freedom Alliance¹, uma fundação sem fins lucrativos que oferece bolsas de estudo para filhos de militares mortos em combate. North continua a escrever e falar em defesa dos soldados da América. Ele também é o presidente e co-fundador da Guardian Technologies International, Inc., um fabricante com sede na Virgínia de coletes à prova de balas para policiais.Início de carreira e famíliaNorth nasceu em 7 de outubro de 1943, em San Antonio, Texas, e foi criado como católico romano no interior do estado de Philmont, Nova York. Ele frequentou a State University of New York em Brockport antes de se matricular na U.S. Naval Academy, onde se formou em 1968. North serviu como fuzileiro naval por 22 anos, incluindo serviço na Guerra do Vietnã. Ele foi premiado com a Estrela de Prata, Estrela de Bronze e dois Corações Púrpuras. Atribuído à equipe do Conselho de Segurança Nacional na administração de Ronald Reagan, o Coronel North foi o coordenador de contraterrorismo do governo dos EUA de 1983 a 1986. Ele esteve envolvido no planejamento do resgate do 804 médico estudantes na ilha de Granada em 1983, e desempenharam um papel importante na ousada captura dos sequestradores do navio de cruzeiro Achille Lauro em 1985. invasão às bases terroristas de Muammar Kadafi na Líbia, North foi alvo de assassinato por Abu Nidal (por ordem de Kadafi), o infame terrorista encontrado morto em Bagdá em agosto de 2002. Cobertura de notícias de combate premiada de North, enquanto ele estava " incorporada "com unidades da Marinha e do Exército dos EUA para a Fox News durante a Operação Iraqi Freedom em 2003, ganhou muitos aplausos. Oliver North é casado com a ex-Betsy Stuart desde 1967 e têm quatro filhos. A vida de North no serviço militar e sua jornada para a fé são tópicos sobre os quais ele fala abertamente: Como equilibrar as demandas de uma carreira com obrigações familiares, fé e responsabilidades cívicas.Caso Irã-ContraNorth tornou-se famoso - ou infame, dependendo do ponto de vista político - devido à sua associação no caso Irã-Contra. Ele era o coordenador central da venda ilegal de armas por intermediários para o Irã, com os lucros sendo canalizados para ajudar o grupo rebelde Contra na Nicarágua. De acordo com o Arquivo de Segurança Nacional, em um e-mail de 23 de agosto de 1986 para John Poindexter², North descreveu uma reunião com um representante do homem forte do Panamá, Manuel Noriega. "Você deve se lembrar que ao longo dos anos, Manuel Noriega no Panamá e eu desenvolvemos um relacionamento bastante bom", escreveu North. as autoridades podem "ajudar a limpar sua imagem" e suspender a proibição da venda de armas à Força de Defesa do Panamá, Noriega vai "'cuidar' da liderança sandinista por nós". North disse a Poindexter que Noriega poderia ajudar na sabotagem contra os sandinistas. Ele sugeriu pagar a Noriega US $ 1 milhão - do capital do "Projeto Democracia" levantado com a venda de armas dos EUA ao Irã - pela ajuda do líder panamenho na destruição dos investimentos econômicos da Nicarágua. Em novembro de 1986, North foi demitido pelo presidente Reagan por seu envolvimento no caso , e em julho de 1987, North foi convocado para testemunhar antes de audiências televisionadas de um comitê parlamentar conjunto formado para investigar o Irã-Contra. Ele defendeu suas ações afirmando que acreditava no objetivo de ajudar os Contras, que ele via como "lutadores pela liberdade", e disse que via o esquema ilegal Irã-Contra como uma "ideia legal". Indicado em 16 acusações criminais, North foi julgado em 1988 por suas atividades enquanto fazia parte do Conselho de Segurança Nacional. Gesell em 5 de julho de 1989, a uma pena suspensa de três anos, dois anos de liberdade condicional, $ 150.000 em multas e 1.200 horas de serviço comunitário. Apesar da condenação, um painel de recursos de três juízes anulou a condenação de North duas semanas depois, antes de procedimentos posteriores com base no fato de que seu testemunho público pode ter prejudicado seu direito a um julgamento justo. Os EUA. A Suprema Corte recusou-se a revisar o caso, e o juiz Gesell rejeitou as acusações em 16 de setembro de 1991, após audiências sobre a questão da imunidade, por causa de um advogado independente. Essencialmente, as convicções de North foram revogadas porque ele tinha recebido imunidade limitada para seu depoimento no Congresso, e esse depoimento foi considerado como tendo influenciado as testemunhas no julgamento.Vida posterior e carreira políticaEm 1994, North perdeu uma candidatura republicana aos EUA na Virgínia. Um dos motivos pode ser que, pouco antes da eleição, a ex-primeira-dama Nancy Reagan informou à imprensa que North havia mentido para seu marido nas discussões sobre o Irã-Contra. A candidatura de North foi o tema de um documentário de 1996, "A Perfect Candidate". North escreveu vários livros best-sellers, incluindo Sob fogo, Mais uma missão, Histórias de guerra - Operação Iraqi Freedom, Missão Comprometida, e A Sanção de Jericó. Ele também é colunista sindicalizado, apresentador do programa de televisão "War Stories with Oliver North" e comentarista frequente de "Hannity and Colmes" no canal Fox News. Além disso, ele está ocupado com o circuito de palestras.Legado político e históricoNorth foi um ator polêmico no cenário político americano, com apoiadores aceitando sua defesa ardente de suas ações e críticos desaprovando sua violação da lei. Apesar da história de North, ele recebe o apoio de alguns conservadores. Outros defendem a visão de que o objetivo de North de derrotar a expansão comunista era justo, e a maneira como ele tentou alcançá-lo é irrelevante. Alguns apreciam sua defesa de causas políticas conservadoras. Os críticos de North argumentam que em uma democracia e em uma nação de leis, um homem não pode agir acima da lei, independentemente de quão justo ele acredite que seus objetivos sejam. Alguns apontam que suas atividades contribuíram substancialmente para uma tentativa de derrubar um governo soberano e democraticamente eleito, bem como o terrorismo na Nicarágua - e que ajudaram o Irã, uma nação hostil aos Estados Unidos. Aparentemente, a resposta depende das perguntas: O que fez o presidente sabe, e quando ele sabe disso? Ninguém poderia responder, a não ser o presidente e seus assessores mais próximos. Ao desviar fundos da venda de armas, durante as audiências Irã-Contras em 15 de julho de 1987, ele disse: "Tomei uma decisão muito deliberada de não pedir ao presidente, para que eu pudesse isolá-lo da decisão e fornecer alguma negação futura para o presidente. "A hábil negação de Poindexter tanto libertou o presidente da ameaça de impeachment como livrou o Congresso da obrigação de impeachment contra ele. "Ao permitir que as ações daqueles que serviram ao governo fossem criminalizadas, o próprio governo foi capaz de se afastar das reais questões associadas", escreveu North. “Isso foi bom para o Congresso e um presente para a imprensa.” Há lições óbvias a serem aprendidas com o caso. O governo Reagan acabou vencendo a Guerra Fria. Os enganos e a hipocrisia impingidos ao povo americano foram, em última análise, o triunfo do pragmatismo sobre a lei?


¹ Página da web da Freedom Alliance
² John Poindexter foi Conselheiro de Segurança Nacional sob Ronald Reagan. Ele foi condenado por conspiração, mentira para o Congresso, fraude ao governo e destruição de evidências no escândalo Irã-Contras.


Iran-Contra

North ganhou destaque durante seu mandato como membro da equipe do Conselho de Segurança Nacional durante o caso Irã-Contra, que envolveu a venda ilegal de armas ao Irã para encorajar a libertação de reféns americanos mantidos no Líbano. North formou e orquestrou a segunda parte do plano, que era desviar a receita da venda de armas para apoiar os grupos rebeldes Contra na Nicarágua, que haviam sido especificamente proibidos pela lei federal.

Falando sobre o caso, North declarou sua falta de arrependimento:

"Achei boa a ideia de usar o dinheiro do aiatolá Khomeini para apoiar os lutadores pela liberdade da Nicarágua. Ainda acho. Não acho que foi errado. Acho que foi uma ideia legal e estou aqui para aceitar a responsabilidade pelo que fiz porque estou orgulhoso do que realizamos. "


Sandinistas na Nicarágua

Logo após assumir o controle do Congresso, os democratas aprovaram a Emenda Boland, que restringia as atividades da Agência Central de Inteligência (CIA) e do Departamento de Defesa (DoD) em conflitos estrangeiros.

A emenda visava especificamente a Nicarágua, onde os Contras anticomunistas lutavam contra o governo comunista sandinista.

Reagan descreveu os Contras como & # x201Co equivalente moral dos Pais Fundadores. & # X201D Mas muito do seu financiamento, até aquele ponto, tinha vindo do comércio de cocaína da Nicarágua & # x2019s, daí a decisão do Congresso & # x2019 de aprovar a Emenda Boland.

Ainda assim, o presidente instruiu seu Conselheiro de Segurança Nacional, Robert McFarlane, a encontrar uma maneira de ajudar os contras do narcotráfico, independentemente do custo político ou não.


A NAÇÃO O castigo de Oliver North

GERHARD A. GESELL, o imprevisível juiz do Distrito Federal de 79 anos que presidiu o julgamento Irã-contra de Oliver L. North, deixou uma surpresa final para o final ao punir o Sr. North por seus crimes com uma sentença que incluía uma multa , serviço comunitário e liberdade condicional, mas sem pena de prisão.

Os admiradores do Sr. North & # x27s e seus detratores esperavam um tratamento muito mais severo, considerando o respeito frequentemente falado do Juiz Gesell pelo cumprimento da lei, a seriedade das acusações e uma recomendação do promotor independente, Lawrence E. Walsh, que o Sr. Norte cumprir pena na prisão. Além disso, o juiz Gesell não mostrou relutância em enviar funcionários do governo de alto escalão para a prisão quando presidiu vários julgamentos relacionados a Watergate em meados da década de 1970 & # x27s.

O Sr. North, o ex-tenente-coronel do Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais e assessor do Conselho de Segurança Nacional, foi condenado por destruição de documentos, aceitando a doação de um sistema de segurança doméstica de $ 13.800 e incitando a obstrução do Congresso. O juiz Gesell poderia ter imposto uma pena máxima de 10 anos de prisão e multas de US $ 750.000. Em vez disso, ele impôs uma multa de US $ 150.000, dois anos de liberdade condicional, uma sentença suspensa de três anos e uma ordem para realizar 1.200 horas de serviço comunitário.

A leniência da sentença deixou os promotores saindo do tribunal sem comentários. E houve críticas dispersas de democratas liberais, como o deputado Howard M. Metzenbaum de Ohio, que disse que a sentença foi uma & # x27 & # x27 surpresa decepcionante. & # X27 & # x27 Mas alguns outros democratas, incluindo o deputado Lee H. Hamilton de Indiana , um dos críticos mais severos do Sr. North & # x27s, não encontrou nada para criticar sobre a punição. O Sr. Hamilton, presidente do painel da Câmara que investigou o Irã-contra, disse que a sentença foi & # x27 & # x27bom e sábia. & # X27 & # x27

Ao mesmo tempo, a leniência do juiz Gesell & # x27s pareceu esvaziar a campanha dos defensores conservadores de North & # x27s por um perdão presidencial. Assim, Bush, que expressou satisfação por North não ter recebido pena de prisão, pode ser poupado de uma decisão politicamente delicada.

As implicações para os julgamentos Irã-contra restantes eram incertas. O juiz Gesell disse que figuras mais altas na administração Reagan têm mais responsabilidade pelos crimes Irã-contra do que o Sr. North. Isso significava que os futuros réus poderiam esperar um tratamento mais severo, se condenado, do que o Sr. North recebeu?

Não necessariamente. Alguns funcionários do governo disseram que a sentença leve parece reforçar a posição dos quatro réus restantes, incluindo o ex-conselheiro de segurança nacional John M. Poindexter, cujo julgamento deve começar no final deste ano. Esses réus podem ser encorajados a desafiar vigorosamente a acusação, acreditando que, mesmo se condenados, eles também podem escapar da pena de prisão.


A NRA realmente conhece a história de Oliver North e # 8217s?

Gage Skidmore / flickr

Nunca perguntei a David Corn por quê, quando ele era o editor de Washington da A nação, ele decidiu passar uma fração significativa de sua vida pesquisando a carreira do agente da CIA Ted Shackley, mas acho que é uma aposta segura que ele não poderia resistir a uma história que conectou a Baía dos Porcos ao roubo de Watergate e ao caso Irã-Contra. Seria uma boa ideia que todos os membros da National Rifle Association comprassem uma cópia de Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA & rsquos Crusades (disponível em capa dura na Amazon por apenas US $ 3,99). É provavelmente a maneira mais simples para eles conhecerem as pessoas que seu novo presidente Ollie North usou para financiar os Contras.

Quanto à parte do escândalo do Irã, I & rsquod recomenda o Capítulo 8: A Empresa e Suas Finanças, do Conselho Independente Lawrence E. Walsh & rsquos Relatório Final para Assuntos de Irã / Contra. É uma história emocionante envolvendo alguns dos mais notórios canalhas que corre nas veias de nossa política nacional na segunda metade do século XX. Você não ficará entediado lendo sobre os agentes da CIA Rafael & ldquoChi Chi & rdquo Quintero, Thomas Clines e Edwin Wilson, acredite em mim. E é sempre emocionante aprender sobre o estilo de vida de comerciantes de armas como Adnan Khashoggi.

Tudo isso é importante porque o verdadeiro caráter de Oliver North não foi totalmente compreendido, mesmo quando ele estava no centro das atenções da nação, e a passagem do tempo não ajudou nesse sentido. Parte do problema era que o Conselho Independente teve que retirar a maioria das acusações realmente sérias contra North porque provar sua culpa teria revelado informações confidenciais e porque ele tinha recebido imunidade limitada do Congresso e porque seus advogados eram muito competentes, agressivos e dispostos para usar graymail em sua defesa.

Sempre foi relativamente fácil ter simpatia por North se você não estava muito preocupado com a operação ilegal que ele orquestrou. Ele foi convidado a manter os Contras à tona em um momento em que o Congresso havia proibido qualquer assistência direta à causa. O presidente disse que era importante e seu secretário de defesa, diretor da CIA e conselheiro de segurança nacional estavam dando sua aprovação. Mais tarde, North foi convidado a ajudar a obter a libertação de reféns que estavam detidos por procuradores iranianos no Líbano. Essa era uma das principais prioridades de Ronald Reagan. O verdadeiro Norte poderia ter renunciado ao invés de fazer algo ilegal, mas também era fácil ver por que ele sentia que estava fazendo algo que era autorizado e patriótico.

Se tudo que North fez foi seguir as instruções que lhe foram dadas, ele certamente poderia ter sido considerado o bode expiatório. Seus superiores deveriam estar na pauta antes dele, e o presidente era, em última análise, a parte mais responsável. Até algumas de suas mentiras eram compreensíveis, já que seus superiores mentiam e pediam-lhe que mentisse sobre assuntos que tinham o potencial de prejudicar as relações externas e comprometer fontes e métodos.

O problema com essa narrativa é que North simplesmente não seguiu as instruções. Ele e seus tenentes Richard Secord e Albert Hakim montaram um elaborado esquema para enriquecer às custas dos Contras e do governo americano. Eles fizeram isso esquecendo os negócios que fizeram com os iranianos, os israelenses, os contras e o governo. Isto é do Relatório Walsh:

Secord e Hakim se beneficiaram substancialmente como resultado de seu envolvimento nas operações do Irã e contra. A Secord em 1985 e 1986 recebeu $ 2 milhões em benefícios pessoais diretos da Enterprise e mais de $ 1 milhão em pagamentos em dinheiro. Hakim em 1985 e 1986 recebeu $ 2,06 milhões em benefícios diretos e mais de $ 550.000 em dinheiro.

Os benefícios caíram em três categorias amplas: distribuições de lucro rateado sobre vendas de armas contrárias, para as quais cada um recebeu $ 1.557.377 em dinheiro de contas da Enterprise que foram para empreendimentos de negócios Secord-Hakim, totalizando $ 520.000 cada e fundos retirados de contas da Enterprise para uso pessoal, incluindo reparos em um avião da Secord no valor de $ 5.729, pagamentos de $ 20.000 cada pela Secord e Hakim para um empreendimento comercial no Oriente Médio e $ 3.000 cada para investimento em um empreendimento comercial bagre.

North supervisionou todas as atividades da Secord e Hakim & rsquos, e ele teve seu próprio gosto:

North testemunhou que $ 4.300 em cheques traveller & rsquos dados a ele por Calero para o fundo operacional, e que North gastou em supermercados, postos de gasolina e outros pontos de venda, deviam se reembolsar pelas despesas operacionais que pagou de seu próprio bolso. Ele disse que não estava nervoso em destruir o único registro que mantinha dos desembolsos do fundo operacional, porque nunca acreditou que seria acusado de fazer algo desonesto com o dinheiro.

North testemunhou que tinha $ 15.000 em dinheiro em uma caixa de metal aparafusada ao chão de um armário em sua casa, economizados de alguns trocados e um acordo de seguro de décadas. Esta, disse North, foi a fonte de fundos para um carro que comprou em outubro de 1985. North não conseguia explicar por que pagou pelo carro em dois pagamentos em dinheiro - o segundo depois de North ter visitado Secord. Ele disse que não conseguia se lembrar do pagamento de outubro de 1985.

North alegou não ter conhecimento de uma conta de investimento de $ 200.000 que o parceiro de negócios da Secord & rsquos, Albert Hakim, abriu para North na Suíça, embora tenha admitido que enviou sua esposa Betsy para a Filadélfia em março de 1986 para se encontrar com Willard I. Zucker, a Secord-Hakim Enterprise & rsquos gerente financeiro. North disse acreditar que o objetivo da viagem de Betsy North à Filadélfia era que ela se identificasse a Zucker caso North não voltasse de uma perigosa viagem ao Irã. North disse que presumia que, no caso de sua morte, algo seria feito & ldquot que fosse adequado e honrado e nada de errado de qualquer forma & rdquo, negando que a conta de investimento tenha sido uma tentativa de suborno de Hakim.

[Hakim se confessou culpado em novembro de 1989 de tentar complementar o salário de North, com base em parte no estabelecimento de uma conta de investimento de $ 200.000. Veja o capítulo Hakim.]

North não foi capaz de culpar os outros por sua aceitação de um sistema de segurança residencial da Secord, exceto para explicar que ele aceitou o sistema em resposta a ameaças terroristas relatadas contra sua vida. North admitiu que, depois que o caso Irã / contra se tornou público, ele trocou cartas com datas anteriores falsas com Glenn Robinette, um ex-oficial da CIA que trabalhou para Secord na instalação do sistema, sugerindo arranjos de pagamento. “Foi uma coisa bastante estúpida de se fazer”, disse North.

Grande parte do dinheiro que Secord e Hakim ganharam foi cobrando caro demais ao governo dos EUA ou por não pagá-los adequadamente. De certa forma, esse tipo de atividade foi incorporado ao projeto da operação. Sobrecarregando os iranianos e israelenses, eles conseguiram fundos para desviar para os Contras. Mas eles cobraram demais dos Contras também, assim como do governo dos Estados Unidos, e ficaram com o dinheiro para si próprios.

O problema fundamental com Ollie North não era que ele estava conduzindo uma operação ilegal autorizada pelo presidente e por toda a sua equipe de segurança nacional. O problema não era nem mesmo que seus erros resultaram na exposição da operação Contra e do acordo iraniano de armas por reféns sem garantir a libertação de nenhum refém. O problema não era que ele destruiu documentos e cometeu perjúrio. O problema é que ele usou sua posição para roubar. E ele definitivamente não estava autorizado por ninguém a roubar.

Em retrospecto, ninguém diria que foi uma decisão sábia confiar a Ollie North essas operações. E o principal motivo pelo qual foi um erro foi porque North utilizou as mesmas pessoas que estragaram a operação da Baía dos Porcos, as mesmas pessoas que estragaram o roubo de Watergate e as mesmas pessoas que utilizaram a confiança que lhes foi dada no Laos durante o Vietnã Guerra para introduzir a heroína do sudeste asiático no mercado global. A moral não era o ponto forte desta tripulação, e seu histórico de incompetência e exposição deveria ser lendário e ensinado em todas as escolas de operações clandestinas.

Estou bastante confiante de que as pessoas que tomaram a decisão de fazer de Oliver North o presidente da National Rifle Association não estão familiarizadas com o roubo de North & rsquos e se dedicam mais à lenda mitológica do Norte do que ao homem real. Eles podem ter considerado melhor, no entanto, seu registro real de desempenho. Seu oleoduto para os Contras foi exposto quando os sandinistas abateram um dos aviões de transporte da North & rsquos e capturaram Eugene Hasenfus, um piloto veterano dos dias de tráfico de heroína de Ted Shackley & rsquos no Laos. North & rsquos supostamente acordos secretos com os iranianos foram expostos causando o escândalo Irã-Contra, com todos os problemas legais que envolveram isso, bem como criando um pesadelo político para o presidente Ronald Reagan e seu herdeiro aparente George H.W. Arbusto.

North sabe muito sobre armas. Ele sabe como protegê-los de traficantes de armas internacionais e governos estrangeiros. Ele sabe como movê-los de um lugar para outro. Ele sabe quem contratar para criar empresas de fachada e comprar frete e transporte aéreo. Ele sabe como ignorar cada transação.

O que ele não sabe é como se safar. O que ele não sabe é como atingir os objetivos que lhe foram dados. A liberdade dos reféns não foi garantida. As operações não permaneceram secretas. Todos os envolvidos, incluindo seus superiores, tiveram seus papéis expostos e / ou seu disfarce descoberto.

Mais importante para a NRA, North usou a fé que foi confiada a ele para roubar, traindo assim até o próprio St. Ronnie Reagan.

Os membros da NRA devem conhecer essa história porque, embora possam gostar quando North diz que devemos passar por cinco detectores de metal para entrar na escola de nossos filhos, eles não gostam quando North segue sua natureza e descobre uma maneira de inadvertidamente expor sua roupa suja enquanto engana-os para fora de seu dinheiro.

E com mais e mais evidências sugerindo que a NRA já esteve até o pescoço em comportamento criminoso envolvendo o uso de dinheiro estrangeiro para financiar ilegalmente campanhas políticas domésticas, agora é realmente a hora de trazer alguém como North, com suas conexões de décadas com um desastre após o outro?


O segredo da história judaica de Oliver North

Ao selecionar Oliver North para liderar o poderoso lobby pró-armas, a National Rifle Association (NRA) está obtendo mais do que apenas o cérebro do caso Irã-Contra e um criminoso condenado que mentiu para o Congresso. They’re also getting a rabidly pro-Israel Christian evangelist who for decades has been outing what he claims are anti-Semites in the U.S. government and chiding Palestinian leaders for not renouncing terrorism.

Just this past January, North led a 10-day trip to Israel for Freedom Alliance’s Holy Land Tour and Security Conference. “Together, we will visit Nazareth, the Jordan River, and the City of David we’ll dine on the Sea of Galilee and travel to places that make the words of the Old & New Testaments come alive,” wrote North in a letter to potential participants, posted on the website of Inspiration Cruises & Tours, which describes itself as a “Christian-owned and led company [that] turn[s] vacations into life-changing encounters in the best places on earth…. your opportunity to get away with God. … The privilege of serving the body of Christ and expanding His Kingdom on earth is what drives us to achieve ever-increasing levels of excellence.” The tour, North continued, would “explore the special relationship between the United States and Israel with informative seminars led by Israeli military, political and business leaders.” A “special relationship” in which North at one time was a key player. But I get ahead of myself.

North’s love affair with Israel is nothing new. At a 1989 Roundtable Prayer Breakfast for Israel at the National Religious Broadcasters convention sponsored by three Christian groups — the Religious Roundtable, the Brotherhood Forest of Israel, and Intercessors for America — North called on the Palestine Liberation Organization to condemn the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, the Ma’alot massacre of schoolchildren, and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer on the Achille Lauro cruise ship. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, North also recalled the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, calling it “the day in which Adolf Hitler turned loose his jack-booted thugs to start one of the most murderous atrocities known to man.”

In his 1991 book “Under Fire,” North wrote that the U.S. government contained an “ingrained streak of anti-Semitism” and that the State Department exhibited a “long-standing and barely hidden pro-Arab tilt.” He also took on former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, writing that he “seemed to go out of his way to oppose Israel on any issue and to blame the Israelis for every problem in the Middle East,” attributing Weinberger’s antipathy toward the Jewish state to the latter’s “sensitivity about his own Jewish ancestry.”

But North of course is and always will be best known for his somewhat bizarre wheeling and dealing whereby this military assistant at the National Security Council oversaw arms sales to Ayatollah Khomeini-era Iran — he of “America is the Great Satan” — and used the profits to fund the anti-Sandinista campaign in Nicaragua by the Contras, in defiance of a Congressional ban on such assistance. In subsequent testimony before Congress, North himself termed the deal “a neat idea.”

In fact, the Iran-Contra deal was an outgrowth of secret arms sales of American weapons to Iran by Israel. Iran sought the weapons for its burgeoning struggle against Iraq, and in 1985 Iranian arms merchant Manucher Ghorbanifar and National Security Council consultant Michael Ledeen — the latter working for National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane — came a-calling in Washington. President Reagan himself approved the sales, funneled through Israel — which itself viewed this deal-with-the-presumptive-devil in the same “Godfather”-like terms held by the U.S., in which the enemy of my enemy is my friend — over the objections of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz. Saudi billionaire oil and arms trader Adnan Khashoggi also played a role in financing the effort. All of those involved became household names when the deal became public knowledge (via a report in a Lebanese newspaper) and an investigation was launched by a Joint House-Senate Committee, whose televised hearings were the biggest show out of Washington since Watergate a decade or so earlier. (Some termed the affair “Irangate.”)

There are those, however, who view North as having betrayed Israel with his plan to use the profits to fund the Contras. In order to do so, North removed Israel as the middleman in selling arms to Iran. Israel paid North back by cooperating with the congressional investigation, which resulted in the indictment of 14 administration officials (including Weinberger) and conviction of 11, including North. Of these, all either had their convictions reversed on appeal (mostly due to technicalities) or were pardoned by George H.W. Bush in the waning days of his presidency.

Some also see more than a modicum of irony in having North take the helm of an organization that pledges fealty to the U.S. Constitution, albeit mostly focused on one particular amendment to the founding organizational document of the United States.

“For an organization so concerned with law and order, picking a new leader who admitted that he lied to Congress is a truly remarkable decision,” said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The gun lobby, continued Gardiner, “will be led by a man whose own concealed carry permit was revoked because he was ‘not of good character.’”


Oliver North - History

Furthering the Version

Reagan-myth worshipers would prefer to erase from the national conscious and conscience the embarrassing events of the final years of his second term, especially the entire Iran-Contra affair. It was, for a lot of people, yet another case of a Republican administration getting caught up in another humiliating scandal. In many ways, the Iran-Contra affair went far beyond anything seen in the Watergate hearings.

The threat of another Cuba had preoccupied the Reagan administration and, with the openly declared mission of the Nicaraguan Marxist regime to spread revolution throughout the region, the policy had been to arm and train right wing insurgent militias called the Contras.

However, direct funding of this insurgency was made illegal through the Boland Amendment -the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984, all aimed at limiting US government assistance to the Contras militants.

In order to circumvent these laws, senior officials of the Reagan administration decided to continue arming and training the Contras secretly and in violation of the law as enacted in the Boland Amendment. Senior Reagan administration officials started what they came to call "the Enterprise."

Additionally, in order to raise funds- obviously everything had to be “off the books”- another scheme was devised to finance their illegal funding of the Contras insurgency. At that time, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, one of our allies, had launched into a bloody war against Iran. Arm sales to Iran, a violation of the official US policy of an arms embargo, were established, initially through third parties and then directly, and the profits were funneled into funding for the Contras. (That is the shortest possible version.)

Eventually, as could have been expected, the whole thing, blew up in everybody’s faces. The Democratic-controlled Congress was enraged by the administration’s lies and conducted a bi-partisan investigation.

People forget and people forgive, but mostly they forget. However, I do recall North's six-day appearance before the a special joint House and Senate investigating committee investigating Iran-Contra events. He was for a lot of viewers one of the stars in what seemed to be a tiresome redux of Watergate. All summer long the hearings appeared on daytime television, like a third rate sumer stock production of an obscure historical tragedy.

Political bias along party lines was painfully clear. One one side, a group of white haired pale faced men made long monotone speeches that somehow became questions at the last moment. On the other side, another pale face, accompanied by a whispering lawyer, would usually answer, “I can’t recall that, Senator.” All the events seemed practiced and self-serving. Nobody seemed very interested in either asking the right questions or giving the honest answers. A sad spectacle, in every sense of the word.

Then along came Oliver North, the dashing ex-Marine, in full military regalia, a stamp collection of medals over his heart. Handsome and well-spoken, he oozed charisma and patriotism. This was a hero, people remarked at the time. When he spoke, it was difficult not to be moved. Unlike so many of those that testified before him, North appeared committed to his mission and stood proudly to defend his noble ideals. Based only on appearance, North was a hero in the Iran-Contra scandal. Yet, as details emerged from a closer committee examination, things were not nearly as black and white as they initially appeared.

Lt. Colonel North freely admitted that he had shredded documents, lied to Congress and falsified official records. Such seeming forthrightness was courageous and admirable. In a weird mix of political spin and legalese, North told the committee, "I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version."

The final opinion of the committee was not at all favorable to President Reagan. With the sharp criticism of the president, the report concluded that a “cabal of zealots” in the administration had managed to take control of key aspects of foreign policy. Among the targets of the criticism were Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, the former National Security Council aide Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter, the president’s former national security adviser William J. Casey, the former director of central intelligence and Attorney General Edwin Meese III.

Despite strong condemnation in the final report on the Iran-Contra Scandal. for a number of House Republicans, North was, and is still today, unquestionably a hero. Sean Wilentz points out in a New York Times' op-ed piece: .

At the conclusion of the hearings, a dissenting minority report codified these views. The report’s chief author was a former resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael J. Malbin, who was chosen by Mr. Cheney as a member of the committee’s minority staff. Another member of the minority’s legal staff, David S. Addington, was later the vice president’s chief of staff.

The minority report stressed the charge that the inquiry was a sham, calling the majority report’s allegations of serious White House abuses of power “hysterical.” The minority admitted that mistakes were made in the Iran-contra affair but laid the blame for them chiefly on a Congress that failed to give consistent aid to the Nicaraguan contras and then overstepped its bounds by trying to restrain the White House.

The Reagan administration, according to the report, had erred by failing to offer a stronger, principled defense of what Mr. Cheney and others considered its full constitutional powers. Not only did the report defend lawbreaking by White House officials it condemned Congress for having passed the laws in the first place.

Like so much of the Neo-conservative rhetoric, tin the dissenting report was much picking and choosing of statements made by founding fathers to give weight to their argument. For example, a bit of the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton’s remarks endorsing “energy in the executive” gave an aura of approval. If anything, according to the dissenting minority report, the powers of president should be less restrained and limited by the legal restrictions imposed by Congress. As Wilentz notes:.

Hamilton certainly desired a strong executive, but warned that it would be “utterly unsafe and improper” to give a president complete control over foreign policy.

In truth, as Mr. Cheney has also remarked, the struggle for him began much earlier, during the Nixon administration. A business partner says that Mr. Cheney told him that Watergate was merely “a political ploy by the president’s enemies.” For Mr. Cheney, the scandal was not Richard Nixon’s design for an imperial presidency but the Democrats’ drive for an imperial Congress.

Still, Mr. Cheney’s quest to accumulate unaccountable executive power — a quest that has received much attention of late — took a major turn 20 years ago. And part of Iran-contra’s legacy has now become a legacy of the Bush-Cheney administration.

The Federalist Papers , incidentally, have a great deal of interesting things to say about the potential for governmental abuse of power, such as, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” Those are, of course, excerpts that Dick Cheney would have skimmed.

Madison also warned against another kind of threat to the republic which would relate to North’s later career. In Federalist No. 10, for example, in answer to Hamilton, Madison warned against the the destructive role of faction in breaking apart the republic. He defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." He identifies the most serious source of faction to be the diversity of opinion in political life which leads to dispute over fundamental issues such as what regime or religion should be preferred.

Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.

James Madison, November 22, 1787

In any case, in the minority report, we can see, perhaps, an unheeded warning for the future. For in different Republican administration, it was precisely this disdain of oversight and contempt for Congress- and the Constitution- that was to led to the abuse of the Bush II administration, with Cheney presiding.

Bungled Justice

Mr. North was eventually convicted of three federal felonies — receiving an illegal payment, obstruction of a Congressional inquiry and destroying official documents, although an appellate court held that his testimony delivered under Congressional immunity may have affected jurors and reversed one conviction.

In fact, North served no jail time whatsoever which left both his admirers and his detractor scratching her heads in disbelief.

According to a New York times article Mr. North, the former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and National Security Council aide, was convicted of destroying documents, accepting the gift of a $13,800 home security system and abetting the obstruction of Congress. [Federal District] Judge Gesell could have imposed a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines of $750,000. Instead, he imposed a $150,000 fine, two years of probation, a three-year suspended sentence and an order to perform 1,200 hours of community service.

The decision was, no doubt, a sound political move. A campaign had been underway for a presidential pardon which would have put then president George Bush, Sr. in a particularly difficult situation. George Bush I, vice president for Reagan, along with others in the Reagan cabinet, had been the prime backers in the arms for hostages plan. No doubt Bush was delighted and relieved. Yet this decision was proof enough for most people that justice, according to the Far Right, was only an admirable but flexible ideal.

In fact, president George Bush, Sr., formerly vice- president during the operation, would later go on to pardon Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger. along with five other Iran/contra defendants.

The Weinberger pardon marked the first time a President ever pardoned someone in whose trial he might have been called as a witness, because the President was knowledgeable of factual events underlying the case. Apparently the prevailing notion was: some things are just too important to leave for justice to decide .

With each Republican cycle, the scope of the abuse of power seems to grow larger and affect more innocent lives. If Watergate was a sordid tale of a bungled burglary, Iran-Contra was a pathetic account of a bungled covert operation, and so many of the same players returned for the next act, in a deadly serious performance of a bungled war. Isn't it only fair to ask what the next bit of theater will be? A bungled overthrow of the government? A bungled Armageddon?

"Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of right-wing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by right-wing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.

Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to right-wing extremists. DHS/ I & A is concerned that righ-twing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.

Race was also mentioned in the report.

He concludes with this rather cheap shot:

In his own mind and the collective mind of Fox news, Oliver North has been defamed and victimized and long misunderstood. He has said, "I'm like John Wayne. I only play good guys." (The operative word, one might assume, is "play.")

On a radio talk show with Randi Rhodes , North himself appeared to have swallowed his own revisionist history of the Iran-Contra events when he claimed "No-one even charged me of lying to Congress" Rhodes immediately pointed out that according to the Report of the Independent Counsel:


"Count One: The indictment charged that North and McFarlane obstructed Congress by falsely denying in three letters North's contra- assistance efforts.

"Counts Two, Three, and Four: False statements to Congress, charging specific misrepresentations in the three letters described in Count One."

Later he would tell listeners that "Lawrence Walsh had every record from my office, he had absolutely everything." Again the report by Independent Counsel prove the contrary.

Perhaps most outrageously, North refutes all the allegations against him despite the record.

Oliver North: "No-one ever convicted of me of lying to Congress" Randi Rhodes: "You were convicted in a court of law"

Oliver North: "I am denying it"

Report of the Independent Counsel:

"On May 4, 1989, he was found guilty of three counts, including aiding and abetting obstruction of Congress, shredding and altering official documents, and accepting an illegal gratuity from Secord."

Such confabulations shouldn't surprise anybody when the interview begins with a statement from North as, "Randi, Randi, one of the reasons why liberals don’t make it in radio is they can’t tell the truth. First of all. "

Forever Denied


According to the San Jose Mercury News Gary Webb’s expose and subsequent book Dark Alliance: the CIA, the contras, and the crack cocaine explosion cites the Kerry report on the connections between terrorism and drugs the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel. Webb charged that the Reagan administration shielded inner-city drug dealers from prosecution in order to raise money for the Contras, especially after Congress passed the Boland Amendment , which prohibited direct Contra funding.

In 1987, the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations began an investigation focusing on allegations received by the subcommittee chairman, Senator John Kerry, concerning illegal gun-running and narcotics trafficking associated with the Contras. A two-year investigation produced a 1,166-page report in 1989 analyzing the involvement of Contra groups and supporters in drug trafficking, and the role of United States government officials in these activities. Allegations of cocaine trafficking by Contras also arose during the investigation conducted by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh into the Iran-Contra affair. Drug trafficking allegations, however, were not the focus of that inquiry and the Walsh report included no findings on these allegations.

The Kerry Report was, in fact, a well-researched and scathing document which established a clear relationship between high level officials in government and drug cartels. Among the allegations, here are a few as stated in the introduction of the report which seem particularly relevant.

We learned how high United States officials, including Lt. Col. Oliver North, went to the Justice Department to intercede on behalf of a man convicted of a narco-terrorist assassination plot against a Honduran President--because the man had been the administration's liaison to the Contras.

We also found out that the State Department chose four companies controlled by drug traffickers to provide assistance to the Contras. As a result, drug traffickers got funds out of the United States public treasury as part of our Contra humanitarian assistance program.

We were told by the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency that someone at the National Security Counsel leaked information on a DEA drug sting operation against the Sandinistas in order to influence a congressional vote on Contra aid, causing the operation to abort.

After the Gary Webb report in the Mercury News, the CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz was assigned to investigate these allegations in 1996. Although the investigators promised to release their report in three months, it was only pressure by both the Washington Post and New York Times, that news stated that Hitz had found no “direct of indirect” connection between the CIA and cocaine traffickers.

When the report was finally the release, much of the controversy had dissolved. The implications of the report were virtually ignored by the media. According to the book, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press , by authors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, the Hitz report described a cable from the CIA's Directorate of Operations dated October 22, 1982, describing a prospective meeting between Contra leaders in Costa Rica for "an exchange in [the United States] of narcotics for arms, which then are shipped to Nicaragua." The two main Contra groups, US arms dealers, and a lieutenant of a drug ring which imported drugs from Latin America to the US west coast were set to attend the Costa Rica meeting. The lieutenant trafficker was also a Contra, and the CIA knew that there was an arms-for-drugs shuttle and did nothing to stop it.

The United States was not the only nation investigating North's involvement with shady organizations. For example, in the second report by the Costa Rican Assembly's Commission on Narcotics Trafficking , an examination of the explosion of cocaine and drug trafficking in during the 1980s, the commission recommended that that former ambassador Lewis Tambs , CIA station chief Joseph F. Fernandez , and Lt. Col. Oliver North be forever denied entry in Costa Rica, a recommendation adopted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.

Easy Hero

North ran unsuccessfully as a Republican Senate candidate in Virginia. On the eve of the election, former first lady Nancy Reagan told a reporter that North had lied to her husband when discussing Iran-Contra with the former president, effectively stopping his campaign.

In this current Wonderland of Republican politics, who knows whether Palin might not choose him as her running mate? Given the respective characters at play, there is a kind of warped logic about it.

North has penned several books, fiction and non-fiction (though many reviewers wouldn't care to distinguish one from the other). It has been a gradual but steady rehabilitation of his image with the kind assistance of his Fox Friends.

In past years, with his pal Sean Hannity, he has helped organize and is the honorary chairman for the Freedom Alliance , whose mission, according to its website, "is to advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense."

Freedom Alliance , a 501(c)3 educational and charitable foundation, was founded in 1990 by Lt.Col Oliver L. North, who now serves as the organization's honorary chairman. We will work to "keep America strong, keep America prosperous, and keep America free," said North upon the founding of Freedom Alliance.

For the last several years, Sean Hannity and the Freedom Alliance “charity” have conducted “Freedom Concerts” across America. The organization is raises funds for scholarships for the children of fallen soldiers and to pay severely wounded war vets. However, ultra-conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel charged that entire arrangement was nothing more than a scam.

In fact, less than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferry the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

Freedom Alliance has strongly denied such allegations , calling them "false and malicious."

His last book, American Heroes he wrote "first hand accounts of faithful American heroes in the fight against global terrorism and jihad." Interestingly, but perhaps not unexpectedly, the book shares a copyright with Fox.

He has a comfortable life, I am sure, a warm home and a large family. North has four children, eleven grandchildren, and lives with his wife in Virginia.

He has plenty of people to share his thoughts with and a warm blanket. He is able to come and go as he pleases, and he has the luxury of choosing his meals. Whenever he wishes, he can step outside and look at the sky.

Not so far away from this decorated hero's Virginia home, however, in a Quantico prison, there is another soldier who is considered a hero by many. And, not unlike Oliver North, many consider him a traitor who betrayed his country. Without standing trial or without being convicted, Bradley Manning has already served more time in prison than Oliver North. Many patriotic Americans have condemned Manning. It is, for them, a clear case Manning swore an oath and he broke that oath, a crime that Oliver North shares with Manning.

North, at the commencement of his testimony before the Congressional hearings back in 1986, boldly stated something Bradley Manning might well have said, "I am here to accept responsibility for that which I did. I will not accept responsibility for that which I did not do. I came here to tell you the truth, the good, the bad and the ugly. I never considered myself a fall guy. I know what I did. I know why I did it. I'm not ashamed of it."

However, the obvious difference between Manning and North is that North made this noble declaration, not facing life in prison or a firing squad and not in solitary confinement, but under a grant of immunity. Given Lt. Col. North's Fifth amendment objections when subpoenaed, the only way to obtain his testimony was to compel it through a grant of use immunity. Despite the fact that North was the target of an a criminal investigation, It was felt that without his testimony the record would have been incomplete. Nothing he told Congress would, or could, be used against him in a criminal proceeding. Being honest, therefore, would cost him nothing.

Under those circumstances,. it's fairly easy to be a hero.

Drawing Comparisons

This week, the military brought 22 new charges - including one that carries the death penalty - against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning. That capital offense, according to the statement that outlined the 22 charges, was aiding and abetting the enemy- although it was not clear who the proposed enemy was. Presumably, the rest of the world.

While military prosecutors have recommended life in prison instead, "the presiding military judge would have the authority to dismiss the prosecution's recommendation and impose the death penalty," according to NBC .

Manning stated in his private chats to an informer, “God knows what happens now.. hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. If not… than we’re doomed.. as a species. I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens. I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

On the other hand, perhaps the same defense could be used in Manning's case as well, Here is a statement made by Obama in a town hall meeting for the future leaders of China:


Oliver North - History

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Oliver North

The scandal grew worse for the Reagan administration after it became clear that National Security Council member Oliver North had ordered the destruction and concealment of documents related to the Iran and Contra arms sale. In July 1987, North testified before a televised hearing of a special joint congressional committee created to investigate the Iran-Contra scandal. North admitted that he had lied when describing the deal to Congress in 1985, stating that he had viewed the Nicaraguan Contras as “freedom fighters” engaged in a war against the Communist Sandinista government. Based on his testimony, North was indicted on a series of federal felony charges and ordered to stand trial.

During the 1989 trial, North’s secretary Fawn Hall testified that she had helped her boss shred, alter, and remove official United States National Security Council documents from his White House office. North testified that he had ordered the shredding of “some” documents in order to protect the lives of certain individuals involved in the arms deal.

On May 4, 1989, North was convicted of bribery and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to a three-year suspended prison term, two years on probation, $150,000 in fines, and 1,200 hours of community service. However, on July 20, 1990, his conviction was vacated when a federal court of appeals ruled that North’s televised 1987 testimony to Congress may have improperly influenced the testimony of some witnesses at his trial. After taking office in 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued presidential pardons to six other individuals who had been convicted for their involvement in the scandal.


Oliver North Worked With Cocaine Traffickers to Arm Terrorists. Now He’ll Be President of the NRA.

The National Rifle Association has always been clear about drugs: They’re terrifying.

Last year, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre darkly warned that members of drug gangs “are infiltrating law enforcement and even the military.” In 2013, LaPierre proclaimed that “Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States” and are a key part of the “hellish world” that awaits us in the future. When Charlton Heston was president of the NRA in the 1990s, he declared that regular Americans would soon be besieged by 10,000 drug dealers freed from prison by the Clinton administration.

It seems odd, then, that the next president of the NRA will soon be Oliver North, who spent years in the 1980s working together with large-scale cocaine traffickers and protecting a notorious narco-terrorist from the rest of the U.S. government.

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This reality about North has been largely covered up, first by North himself and then by Fox News and the passage of time. Thirty years later, it’s been almost totally forgotten. But the facts remain genuinely appalling.

North was an active-duty Marine when he joined the Reagan administration’s National Security Council in 1981. One of Reagan’s top priorities was organizing and funding the Contras, a guerrilla military force, to overthrow the revolutionary socialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. But the Contras engaged in extensive, gruesome terrorism against Nicaraguan civilians. Congress gradually reduced and then eliminated appropriations supporting them, leading the Reagan administration to secretly search for money elsewhere.

According to the report from a later congressional investigation, North was put in charge of this operation, which participants dubbed “The Enterprise.”

"Report of the congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra Affair,” U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran U.S. Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, 1987

North enthusiastically looked for cash wherever he could find it and led many of the clandestine schemes that later became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. The Sultan of Brunei donated $10 million (which North’s secretary Fawn Hall accidentally wired to the wrong Swiss bank account), and Saudi Arabia ponied up as well. North also pushed what he called “a neat idea”: selling U.S. military equipment to Iran, with the proceeds passed along to the Contras.

Meanwhile, the Contras had a neat idea of their own: facilitating cocaine trafficking through Central America into the U.S., with a cut going toward supporting their war against the Sandinistas. Some Contras were themselves cocaine traffickers, and others were simply happy to make alliances of convenience with drug cartels.

There’s no evidence that North actively procurado cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S. It was simply that he had other priorities. But was he aware of the Contras’ drug trafficking? sim. Did he try to shield one of “his” cocaine traffickers from consequences from the other branches of the U.S. government? sim. Did he work together with a known drug lord? sim.

All in all, North’s connections to drug trafficking were so egregious that in 1989 he was banned from entering Nicaragua’s neighbor Costa Rica by Óscar Arias, the country’s president and 1987 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

This may seem shocking to the easily shocked. But it’s all been documented in various government investigations. All you need in order to learn about it is curiosity and an internet connection. For instance, here’s a screenshot from the CIA’s website about the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Democratic Alliance, or ADREN by its Spanish acronym, which was later folded into the Contras:

"Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States,” CIA, 1998

The full extent of North’s complicity in cocaine trafficking will never be known. When the Iran-Contra scandal story broke in November 1986, he ordered Hall to destroy so many documents that the shredder malfunctioned, and she had to ask White House maintenance to come and fix it. Moreover, when North was removed from his National Security Council job, he took with him 2,848 pages of daily notes — which legally belonged to the federal government. By the time a congressional investigation was finally able to examine the notes, North and his lawyers had redacted huge amounts of information. Nonetheless, 543 of the pages mentioned drugs or drug trafficking, with the probe finding that “in many of these cases, material in the Notebooks adjacent to the narcotics references has been deleted.”

"Drugs, Law Enforcement And Foreign Policy,” U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 1989

But despite North’s cover-up, what we do know for sure is incredibly damning.

Perhaps most significantly, according to North’s own notes he met with Panama’s then-dictator Manuel Noriega in London in September 1986 to collaborate on a plan for Noriega to support the Contras in return for American money and arms. They discussed sabotaging a Nicaraguan airport and oil refinery, as well as creating a program to train Contra and Afghan mujahedeen commandos in Panama with Israeli help. (It’s not completely clear, but North appears to have written that “Rabin” – i.e., Yitzhak Rabin, who was then Israel’s minister of defense – “approves.”)

North was clearly enthusiastic about the potential partnership with Noriega. In an earlier email selling the proposal to one of his superiors, he wrote that “we might have available a very effective, very secure means of doing some of the things which must be done if the Nicaragua project is going to succeed. … I believe we could make the appropriate arrangements w/ reasonable OPSEC and deniability.”

Email, Oliver North to John Poindexter, May 8, 1986

But of course, Noriega was himself a powerful drug trafficker. Knowing this didn’t require a top-secret clearance: It was published on the front page of the New York Times three months before North met with him. According to the Times article, “A White House official said the most significant drug-running in Panama was being directed by General Noriega.”

The North-Noriega operation ultimately didn’t come to fruition the Iran-Contra affair was exposed just two months after they met. But the planning that did occur is conclusive evidence that North eagerly worked with drug dealers operating on the largest scale imaginable.

“Panama Strongman Said to Trade In Drugs, Arms and Illicit Money,” New York Times, June 11, 1986

North also went to great lengths to protect an ally who was a key participant in what the Justice Department called “the most significant case of narco-terrorism yet discovered.”

In 1984, José Bueso Rosa, a Honduran general, plotted with several others to assassinate the president of Honduras. They planned to fund the hit with the proceeds from selling 760 pounds of cocaine in the U.S. The FBI, however, had the participants under surveillance, intercepted the shipment when it arrived at a small airfield in Florida, and arrested everyone involved.

But Bueso had played a key role in Honduran support for the Contras. So North went to work to get him off as lightly as possible. (Bueso had not himself been charged with drug trafficking, but wiretaps made it obvious he participated in that part of the project.)

In email, North explained his plans to “cabal quietly” with other Reagan administration officials “to look at options: pardon, clemency, deportation, reduced sentence.” Eventually, North planned to have the case’s judge informed “in camera” — that is, secretly — about “our equities in this matter,” in order to push for leniency. Then, North wrote, it would be necessary to quietly brief Bueso, so that he wouldn’t “start singing songs nobody wants to hear.”

North didn’t get everything he wanted, but did succeed in having Bueso transferred to a “Club Fed” minimum security prison. Bueso was released on parole after 40 months.

Há também numerous documented examples of North being informed that members of the Contras were involved in drug trafficking, with no signs that North took any action.

For instance, after meeting with a key assistant, North wrote in his notebooks about a plane being used by the brother of a top Contra leader to ferry supplies from the U.S. to Central America. “Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans,” North jotted down, “is probably being used for drug runs into U.S.”

North testified in front of Congress that he’d passed this information along to the Drug Enforcement Administration. When later questioned by the Washington Post, the DEA, the State Department, and the U.S. Customs Service all stated that there was no evidence North ever said anything about the matter to them.

Oliver North, notes, August 9, 1985

The same aide who told North about the plane also informed him about the “potential involvement with drug running” of one Contra official and that another was “now involved in drug running out of Panama.” And after a call from another subordinate, North noted that the Contras were planning to buy weapons from a Honduran warehouse — and 󈫾 M to finance came from drugs.”

North was getting similar reports from outside the government as well. Dennis Ainsworth, a Republican real estate investor who’d volunteered to help the Contra cause, informed a U.S. attorney that the top Contra commander “was involved in drug trafficking,” but that the Nicaraguan community was frightened to come forward because “they could be blown away by Colombia hit squads.” Ainsworth said he’d tried to inform the White House about this but “we were put off by Ollie North,” and “I was even physically threatened by one of Ollie North’s associates.” (The U.S. attorney later wrote a memo with Ainsworth’s statements and transmitted it to the FBI.)

“Regarding Dennis Madden Ainsworth, Information Concerning,” FBI, January 6, 1987

North and the NRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this history. When North ran for Senate in 1994, his campaign spokesperson said his involvement with the Bueso case was “old news and garbage and nobody cares about it.” In a 2004 appearance on Fox News, North called a congressional investigation that focused on the Contra-cocaine connection “a witch hunt” with witnesses “who clearly had a political agenda.”

But the extraordinarily sordid nature of North’s past will be clear to anyone who appraises it honestly. In announcing North’s appointment, Wayne LaPierre said there’s “no one better suited to serve as our president,” and he’s correct. Óscar Arias wrote Thursday that the NRA “finds in Oliver North a leader worthy of its mission.” Peter Kornbluh, who was co-director of the Iran-Contra documentation project at the National Security Archive, is even more straightforward: North, he says, is “the perfect pick to further the NRA’s reputation for favoring bloodshed and criminality over responsible gun control and ownership.”


Assista o vídeo: Nabożeństwo niedzielne 26 września 2021, godz. 10:00 (Julho 2022).


Comentários:

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