Podcasts de historia

Oliver North

Oliver North

IntroducciónOliver L. Es un Marine decorado, autor de best-sellers, fundador de una pequeña empresa, inventor con tres patentes estadounidenses, columnista sindicado y presentador de "WarStories" en Fox News Channel. Afirma que su logro más importante es ser "el marido de una y el padre de cuatro". North también es el fundador y presidente honorario de Freedom Alliance¹, una fundación sin fines de lucro que ofrece becas para los hijos de miembros del servicio muertos en acción. North continúa escribiendo y hablando en defensa de los soldados estadounidenses. También es presidente y cofundador de Guardian Technologies International, Inc., un fabricante de chalecos antibalas para personal policial con sede en Virginia.Carrera temprana y familiaNorth nació el 7 de octubre de 1943 en San Antonio, Texas, y se crió como católico romano en el norte del estado de Philmont, Nueva York. Asistió a la Universidad Estatal de Nueva York en Brockport antes de inscribirse en la Academia Naval de los Estados Unidos, de la que se graduó en 1968. North sirvió como infante de marina durante 22 años, incluido el servicio en la Guerra de Vietnam. Fue galardonado con la Estrella de Plata, la Estrella de Bronce y dos Corazones Púrpura. Asignado al personal del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional en la administración Ronald Reagan, el Coronel North fue el coordinador antiterrorista del gobierno de EE. UU. De 1983 a 1986. Estuvo involucrado en la planificación del rescate de 804medical. estudiantes en la isla de Granada en 1983, y jugó un papel importante en la atrevida captura de los secuestradores del crucero Achille Lauro " incrustado "con unidades de la Marina y el Ejército de EE.UU. para Fox News durante la Operación Libertad Iraquí en 2003, ganó un gran aplauso. Oliver North ha estado casado con la ex Betsy Stuart desde 1967, y tienen cuatro hijos. La vida de North en el ejército y su camino hacia la fe son temas de los que habla con franqueza: Cómo equilibrar las demandas de una carrera con las obligaciones familiares, la fe y las responsabilidades cívicas.Asunto Irán-ContraNorth se hizo famoso, o infame, según el punto de vista político de cada uno, debido a su asociación en el asunto Irán-Contra. Fue el coordinador central de la venta ilegal de armas a través de intermediarios a Irán, con las ganancias canalizadas para ayudar al grupo rebelde Contra en Nicaragua. Según el Archivo de Seguridad Nacional, en un correo electrónico del 23 de agosto de 1986 a John Poindexter², North describió una reunión con un representante del hombre fuerte de Panamá, Manuel Noriega. "Recordarán que a lo largo de los años Manuel Noriega en Panamá y yo hemos desarrollado una relación bastante buena", escribió North. Si los funcionarios pueden "ayudar a limpiar su imagen" y levantar la prohibición de venta de armas a la Fuerza de Defensa de Panamá, Noriega "se hará cargo de la dirección sandinista por nosotros". North le dijo a Poindexter que Noriega podría ayudar con el sabotaje contra los sandinistas. Sugirió pagarle a Noriega $ 1 millón - del capital del "Proyecto Democracia" obtenido de la venta de armas estadounidenses a Irán - por la ayuda del líder panameño con la destrucción de las inversiones económicas nicaragüenses. En noviembre de 1986, North fue despedido por el presidente Reagan por su participación en el asunto. , y en julio de 1987, North fue citado a testificar ante audiencias televisadas de un comité conjunto del Congreso formado para investigar Irán-Contra. Defendió sus acciones afirmando que creía en el objetivo de ayudar a los Contras, a quienes veía como "luchadores por la libertad", y dijo que veía el plan ilegal Irán-Contra como una "buena idea". Acusado por 16 delitos graves, North fue juzgado en 1988 por sus actividades mientras estaba en el Consejo de Seguridad Nacional. Gesell el 5 de julio de 1989, a una pena de prisión con suspensión de tres años, dos años de libertad condicional, $ 150,000 en multas y 1,200 horas de servicio comunitario. otros procedimientos sobre la base de que su testimonio público puede haber perjudicado su derecho a un juicio justo. Los Estados Unidos. La Corte Suprema declinó revisar el caso y el juez Gesell desestimó los cargos el 16 de septiembre de 1991, luego de audiencias sobre la cuestión de la inmunidad, por decisión del abogado independiente. Esencialmente, las condenas de North fueron anuladas porque se le había otorgado inmunidad limitada por su testimonio ante el Congreso, y se consideró que ese testimonio había influido en los testigos en su juicio.Vida posterior y carrera políticaEn 1994, North perdió una oferta en Virginia como candidata republicana por Estados Unidos.Una razón puede ser que justo antes de las elecciones, la ex primera dama Nancy Reagan informó a la prensa que North le había mentido a su esposo en las discusiones sobre Irán-Contra. La candidatura de North fue el tema de un documental de 1996, "A Perfect Candidate". North fue autor de varios libros más vendidos, entre ellos Bajo fuego, Una misión más, Historias de guerra - Operación Libertad Iraquí, Misión comprometida, y La sanción de Jericó. También es columnista sindicado, presentador del programa de televisión "War Stories with Oliver North" y comentarista frecuente de "Hannity and Colmes" en Fox News Channel. Además, está ocupado en el circuito de conferencias.Legado histórico y políticoNorth era un actor controvertido en el escenario político estadounidense, con partidarios que aceptaban su ardiente defensa de sus acciones y críticos que desaprobaban que infringiera la ley. A pesar de la historia de North, recibe el apoyo de algunos conservadores. Otros opinan que el objetivo de North de derrotar la expansión comunista era justo, y la forma en que trató de lograrlo es irrelevante. Algunos aprecian su defensa de las causas políticas conservadoras. Los críticos de North argumentan que en una democracia y una nación de leyes, un hombre no puede actuar por encima de la ley, independientemente de cuán justos crea que son sus objetivos. Algunos señalan que sus actividades contribuyeron sustancialmente a un intento de derrocamiento de un gobierno soberano elegido democráticamente, así como al terrorismo en Nicaragua, y que ayudaron a Irán, una nación hostil a los Estados Unidos. el presidente lo sabe, y cundo lo supo? No pudo ser respondido por nadie más que el presidente y sus colaboradores más cercanos. Sobre el desvío de fondos de la venta de armas, durante las audiencias Irán-Contra el 15 de julio de 1987, dijo: "Tomé una decisión muy deliberada de no preguntarle al presidente, para poder aislarlo de la decisión y proporcionar alguna negación futura para el presidente. "La hábil negación de Poindexter liberó al presidente de la amenaza de acusación y liberó al Congreso del deber de acusarlo. "Al permitir que las acciones de quienes habían servido a la administración fueran criminalizadas, la administración misma pudo alejarse de los problemas reales asociados", escribió North. "Esto estuvo bien con el Congreso y fue un regalo para la prensa". Hay lecciones obvias que aprender del asunto. La administración Reagan finalmente ganó la Guerra Fría. ¿Fueron los engaños y la hipocresía impuestos al pueblo estadounidense en última instancia, el triunfo del pragmatismo sobre la ley?


¹Página web de Freedom Alliance
² John Poindexter fue asesor de seguridad nacional bajo Ronald Reagan. Fue declarado culpable de conspiración, mentir al Congreso, defraudar al gobierno y destruir pruebas en el escándalo Irán-Contra.


Irán-Contra

North saltó a la fama durante su mandato como miembro del personal del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional durante el asunto Irán-Contra, que implicó la venta ilegal de armas a Irán para alentar la liberación de los rehenes estadounidenses retenidos en el Líbano. North formó y orquestó la segunda parte del plan, que consistía en desviar las ganancias de la venta de armas para apoyar a los grupos rebeldes de la Contra en Nicaragua, que había sido específicamente prohibido por la ley federal.

Hablando sobre el asunto, North declaró su falta de arrepentimiento:

"Vi esa idea de usar el dinero del ayatolá Jomeini para apoyar a los luchadores por la libertad nicaragüenses como una buena idea. Todavía lo hago. No creo que esté mal. Creo que fue una buena idea y estoy aquí para aceptar la responsabilidad". por lo que hice porque estoy orgulloso de lo que logramos ".


Sandinistas en Nicaragua

Poco después de tomar el control del Congreso, los demócratas aprobaron la Enmienda Boland, que restringió las actividades de la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) y el Departamento de Defensa (DoD) en conflictos extranjeros.

La enmienda estaba dirigida específicamente a Nicaragua, donde los contras anticomunistas estaban luchando contra el gobierno comunista sandinista.

Reagan había descrito a los Contras como & # x201C el equivalente moral de los Padres Fundadores & # x201D. Pero gran parte de su financiación, hasta ese momento, había llegado a través del comercio de cocaína en Nicaragua, de ahí la decisión del Congreso & # x2019 de aprobar la Enmienda Boland.

Aún así, el presidente instruyó a su asesor de seguridad nacional, Robert McFarlane, para encontrar una manera de ayudar a los contras que trafican drogas, independientemente del costo, político o de otro tipo.


LA NACION El castigo de Oliver North

GERHARD A. GESELL, el impredecible juez de distrito federal de 79 años que presidió el juicio Irán-contra de Oliver L. North, guardó una sorpresa final para el final al castigar al Sr. North por sus crímenes con una sentencia que incluía una multa. , servicio comunitario y libertad condicional, pero sin pena de prisión.

Los admiradores de North & # x27 y sus detractores habían esperado un trato mucho más severo, considerando el respeto a menudo expresado por el juez Gesell por el cumplimiento de la ley, la seriedad de los cargos y una recomendación del fiscal independiente, Lawrence E. Walsh, de que el Sr. North cumple tiempo en la cárcel. Además, el juez Gesell no se mostró reacio a enviar a la cárcel a funcionarios gubernamentales de alto rango cuando presidió varios juicios relacionados con Watergate a mediados de la década de 1970.

North, ex teniente coronel del Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina y asistente del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional, fue declarado culpable de destruir documentos, aceptar el regalo de un sistema de seguridad para el hogar de $ 13,800 y ser cómplice de la obstrucción del Congreso. El juez Gesell podría haber impuesto una pena máxima de 10 años de prisión y multas de $ 750,000. En cambio, impuso una multa de $ 150,000, dos años de libertad condicional, una sentencia suspendida de tres años y una orden para realizar 1,200 horas de servicio comunitario.

La indulgencia de la sentencia dejó a los fiscales acechando desde el tribunal sin comentarios. Y hubo críticas dispersas de los demócratas liberales, como el representante Howard M. Metzenbaum de Ohio, quien dijo que la sentencia fue una & # x27 & # x27 sorpresa decepcionante. & # X27 & # x27 Pero algunos otros demócratas, incluido el representante Lee H. Hamilton de Indiana , uno de los críticos más duros de North & # x27, no encontró nada que criticar sobre el castigo. Hamilton, presidente del panel de la Cámara que investigó Irán-contra, dijo que la sentencia era & # x27 & # x27buena y sabia & # x27 & # x27.

Al mismo tiempo, la indulgencia del juez Gesell pareció desinflar una campaña de los partidarios conservadores del Sr. North para obtener un indulto presidencial. Por lo tanto, Bush, quien expresó su satisfacción por el hecho de que North no haya sido encarcelado, puede evitarse una decisión políticamente delicada.

Las implicaciones para los restantes juicios Irán-Contra eran inciertas. El juez Gesell dijo que las cifras más altas en la administración Reagan tenían más responsabilidad por los crímenes Irán-contra que el Sr. North. ¿Significa eso que los futuros acusados ​​podrían esperar un trato más severo, si son condenados, que el que recibió el Sr. North?

No necesariamente. Algunos funcionarios del gobierno dijeron que la sentencia leve parecía reforzar la posición de los cuatro acusados ​​restantes, incluido el exasesor de seguridad nacional John M. Poindexter, cuyo juicio comenzará a finales de este año. Se puede alentar a estos acusados ​​a desafiar enérgicamente la acusación, creyendo que incluso si son condenados, ellos también podrían escapar de una pena de cárcel.


¿Conoce realmente la NRA la historia de Oliver North?

Gage Skidmore / flickr

Nunca le he preguntado a David Corn por qué, cuando era el editor de Washington de La Nación, decidió pasar una fracción significativa de su vida investigando la carrera del agente de la CIA Ted Shackley, pero creo que es una apuesta segura que no podría resistirse a una historia que conectaba Bahía de Cochinos con el robo de Watergate y el asunto Irán-Contra. Sería una buena idea que todos los miembros de la Asociación Nacional del Rifle fueran a comprar una copia de Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA & rsquos Crusades (disponible en tapa dura en Amazon por solo $ 3.99). Probablemente sea la forma más sencilla de conocer a la gente que su nuevo presidente, Ollie North, utilizó para financiar a los Contras.

En cuanto a la parte del escándalo de Irán, I & rsquod recomienda el Capítulo 8: La empresa y sus finanzas del Asesor jurídico independiente Lawrence E. Walsh & rsquos Informe final para asuntos de Irán / Contra. Es una historia apasionante que involucra a algunos de los sinvergüenzas más notorios que recorren las venas de nuestra política nacional en la segunda mitad del siglo XX. No te aburrirás leyendo sobre los agentes de la CIA Rafael & ldquoChi Chi & rdquo Quintero, Thomas Clines y Edwin Wilson, créeme. Y siempre es emocionante aprender sobre el estilo de vida de los comerciantes de armas como Adnan Khashoggi.

Todo esto es importante porque el verdadero carácter de Oliver North no se entendió completamente incluso cuando estaba en el centro de la atención de la nación, y el paso del tiempo no ha ayudado en este sentido. Parte del problema fue que el Consejero Independiente tuvo que retirar la mayoría de los cargos realmente serios contra North porque probar su culpabilidad habría revelado información clasificada y porque el Congreso le había otorgado inmunidad limitada y porque sus abogados eran muy competentes, agresivos y dispuestos. para usar el correo gris en su defensa.

Siempre ha sido relativamente fácil sentir simpatía por North si no te preocupas demasiado por la operación ilegal que orquestó. Se le pidió que mantuviera a flote a los Contras en un momento en que el Congreso había prohibido cualquier ayuda directa a su causa. El presidente dijo que era importante y su secretario de defensa, el director de la CIA y el asesor de seguridad nacional estaban dando su aprobación. Más tarde, se le pidió a North que ayudara a lograr la liberación de los rehenes que estaban retenidos por representantes iraníes en el Líbano. Esta fue una de las principales prioridades de Ronald Reagan. Es cierto que North podría haber renunciado en lugar de hacer algo ilegal, pero también es fácil ver por qué sentía que estaba haciendo algo autorizado y patriótico.

Si todo lo que hizo North fue seguir las instrucciones que le habían dado, ciertamente podría haber sido considerado el chivo expiatorio. Sus superiores deberían haber estado en el expediente antes que él, y el presidente era, en última instancia, la parte más responsable. Incluso algunas de sus mentiras eran comprensibles, ya que sus superiores mentían y le pedían que mintiera sobre asuntos que tenían el potencial de dañar las relaciones exteriores y comprometer fuentes y métodos.

El problema con esta narrativa es que North no se limitó a seguir las instrucciones. Él y sus lugartenientes Richard Secord y Albert Hakim establecieron un elaborado plan para enriquecerse a costa de la Contra y el gobierno estadounidense. Lo hicieron eliminando los tratos que hicieron con los iraníes, los israelíes, los contras y el gobierno. Esto es del Informe Walsh:

Secord y Hakim se beneficiaron sustancialmente como resultado de su participación en las operaciones de Irán y contra. Secord en 1985 y 1986 recibió $ 2 millones en beneficios personales directos de la Enterprise y más de $ 1 millón en pagos en efectivo. Hakim en 1985 y 1986 recibió $ 2.06 millones en beneficios directos y más de $ 550.000 en efectivo.

Los beneficios se dividieron en tres categorías amplias: distribuciones de ganancias prorrateadas sobre las ventas de armas de los contratistas, por las cuales cada uno recibió $ 1,557,377 de dinero de cuentas Enterprise que se destinaron a empresas comerciales de Secord-Hakim, por un monto de $ 520,000 cada una y fondos retirados de cuentas Enterprise para uso personal. incluidas las reparaciones de un avión de Secord que ascienden a $ 5.729, pagos de $ 20.000 cada uno por Secord y Hakim para una empresa comercial en el Medio Oriente, y $ 3.000 cada uno para la inversión en una empresa comercial de bagre.

North supervisó todas las actividades de Secord y Hakim & rsquos, y obtuvo su propio gusto:

North testificó que $ 4,300 en cheques de viajero y rsquos que Calero le dio para el fondo operativo, y que North gastó en tiendas de abarrotes, estaciones de servicio y otros puntos de venta, fueron para reembolsarse a sí mismo los gastos operativos que pagó de su propio bolsillo. Dijo que no estaba nervioso por destruir el único registro que tenía de los desembolsos del fondo operativo porque nunca creyó que alguna vez lo acusarían de hacer algo deshonesto con el dinero.

North testificó que tenía $ 15,000 en efectivo en una caja de metal atornillada al piso de un armario en su casa, salvado del cambio de bolsillo y un acuerdo de seguro de décadas. Esto, dijo North, fue la fuente de fondos para un automóvil que compró en octubre de 1985. North no pudo explicar por qué pagó el automóvil en dos pagos en efectivo y el segundo después de que North visitó Secord. Dijo que no recordaba el pago de octubre de 1985.

North afirmó no tener conocimiento de una cuenta de inversión de $ 200,000 que el socio comercial de Secord & rsquos, Albert Hakim, estableció para North en Suiza, aunque admitió que envió a su esposa Betsy a Filadelfia en marzo de 1986 para reunirse con Willard I. Zucker, Secord-Hakim Enterprise & rsquos. gerente financiero. North dijo que creía que el propósito del viaje de Betsy North a Filadelfia era que se identificara con Zucker en caso de que North no regresara de un viaje peligroso a Irán. North dijo que asumió que, en caso de su muerte, se haría algo "que era apropiado y honorable y nada malo de ninguna manera", y negó que la cuenta de inversión fuera un intento de soborno por parte de Hakim.

[Hakim se declaró culpable en noviembre de 1989 de intentar complementar el salario de North, basándose en parte en el establecimiento de la cuenta de inversión de 200.000 dólares. Véase el capítulo de Hakim.]

North no pudo culpar a otros por su aceptación de un sistema de seguridad para el hogar de Secord, excepto para explicar que aceptó el sistema en respuesta a las amenazas terroristas contra su vida. North admitió que después de que el asunto Irán / Contra se hizo público, intercambió cartas falsas con fecha anterior a Glenn Robinette, un ex oficial de la CIA que trabajó para Secord en la instalación del sistema, sugiriendo arreglos de pago. "Fue una cosa bastante estúpida", dijo North.

Gran parte del dinero que hicieron Secord y Hakim se debió a cobrar de más al gobierno de los EE. UU. O por no pagarles adecuadamente. En cierto modo, este tipo de actividad se incorporó al diseño de la operación. Al cobrar de más a los iraníes y los israelíes, pudieron obtener fondos para desviarlos a la Contra. Pero también cobraron de más a los Contras, así como al gobierno de los Estados Unidos, y se quedaron con el dinero para ellos.

El problema fundamental con Ollie North no era que estuviera dirigiendo una operación ilegal autorizada por el presidente y todo su equipo de seguridad nacional. El problema no fue ni siquiera que sus errores dieron como resultado la exposición de la operación de la Contra y el trato iraní de armas por rehenes sin asegurar la liberación de ningún rehén. El problema no era que triturara documentos y cometiera perjurio. El problema fue que usó su puesto para robar. Y definitivamente no estaba autorizado por nadie para robar.

En retrospectiva, nadie diría que fue una sabia decisión confiar a Ollie North estas operaciones. Y la razón principal por la que fue un error fue porque North utilizó a las mismas personas que habían echado a perder la operación de Bahía de Cochinos, las mismas personas que habían echado a perder el robo de Watergate y las mismas personas que utilizaron la confianza que se les dio en Laos durante el Vietnam. Guerra para introducir heroína del sudeste asiático en el mercado mundial. La moral no era el punto fuerte de este grupo, y su historial de incompetencia y exposición debería ser legendario y enseñado en todas las escuelas de operaciones clandestinas.

Estoy bastante seguro de que las personas que tomaron la decisión de nombrar a Oliver North presidente de la Asociación Nacional del Rifle no están familiarizadas con el robo de North y están más dedicadas a la leyenda mitológica de North que al hombre real. Sin embargo, podrían haber considerado mejor su historial real de desempeño. Su oleoducto hacia los Contras quedó expuesto cuando los sandinistas derribaron uno de los aviones de transporte de North & rsquos y capturaron a Eugene Hasenfus, un piloto veterano de los días de tráfico de heroína de Ted Shackley & rsquos Laos. Los acuerdos supuestamente secretos de North & rsquos con los iraníes fueron expuestos, lo que provocó el escándalo Irán-Contra, con todos los problemas legales que lo acompañaron, además de crear una pesadilla política para el presidente Ronald Reagan y su aparente heredero George H.W. Arbusto.

North sabe mucho sobre armas. Sabe cómo protegerlos de los traficantes de armas internacionales y los gobiernos extranjeros. Sabe cómo moverlos de un lugar a otro. Sabe a quién contratar para crear empresas fantasma y comprar transporte marítimo y aéreo. Sabe cómo escatimar cada transacción.

Lo que no sabe es cómo salirse con la suya. Lo que no sabe es cómo lograr los objetivos que se le han encomendado. La libertad de los rehenes y rsquo no estaba asegurada. Las operaciones no permanecieron en secreto. Todos los involucrados, incluidos sus superiores, vieron sus roles expuestos y / o su tapadera descubierta.

Lo más importante para la NRA, North usó la fe que le fue confiada para robar, traicionando así incluso al propio St. Ronnie Reagan.

Los miembros de la NRA deben conocer esta historia porque, si bien les puede gustar cuando North dice que deberíamos pasar por cinco detectores de metales para ingresar a la escuela de nuestros niños y rsquos, no les gusta cuando North sigue su naturaleza y encuentra una manera de hacerlo sin darse cuenta. exponer su ropa sucia mientras los estafa con su dinero.

Y con más y más evidencia que sugiere que la NRA ya ha estado metida hasta el cuello en un comportamiento delictivo que involucra el uso de dinero extranjero para financiar ilegalmente campañas políticas nacionales, ahora es realmente el momento de traer a alguien como North con sus conexiones de décadas con uno. debacle tras otra?


La historia judía secreta de Oliver North

Al seleccionar a Oliver North para liderar el poderoso lobby pro-armas, la Asociación Nacional del Rifle (NRA) se está convirtiendo en algo más que el cerebro del asunto Irán-Contra y un delincuente convicto que le mintió al Congreso. 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 deseado 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? Si. Did he try to shield one of “his” cocaine traffickers from consequences from the other branches of the U.S. government? Si. Did he work together with a known drug lord? Si.

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.

Tambien hay 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.”


Ver el vídeo: Arrow. For Oliver (Diciembre 2021).